Smite Season Ticket Predictions

Smite Season Ticket predictions: Week 6

Moving into the last week of the Spring Split, we’ve got some interesting matches lined up.

On the EU side, it will be exciting to see how Obey Alliance will perform. After their upset against NRG, they’ve proven they have what it takes to stand up to Europe’s best teams. And with match-ups against Team Rival and Dignitas, we’ll know how they stack up against the best by the end of the week.

Over in North America, it’s still intensely even competition in the Spring Split. After finding their footing in week three of the split, we get to see how far EUnited has come. With matches against the teams that obliterated them in the first week of the split, Luminosity and Spacestation, EUnited has their chance at redemption.

With that, let’s go to the picks.

Tuesday

Smite Season Ticket PredictionsTeam Rival vs NRG EsportsSmite Season Ticket Predictions

Team Rival

Both of these teams are around the same skill level. However after dropping a game to Obey Alliance last week, I have to give this one to Rival.

 

Smite Season Ticket PredictionsSK Gaming vs MousesportsSmite Season Ticket Predictions

SK Gaming

Mousesports are having some trouble finding their playstyle as a team. Everyone enjoyed watching their crazy picks at the beginning of the split. And while it may not have worked out for them in the short run, it’s better to be the meta definer coming up with new strategies if you aim to be a top team. In the past week, though, Mousesports have been picking fairly conventionally. And they haven’t seen any more success than when they were picking Janus Jungles and Chaac Mids. I don’t anticipate this being a good direction for the team, and I can’t see them finding their footing in the last week of the split.

 

Wednesday

Smite Season Ticket PredictionsEUnited vs LuminositySmite Season Ticket Predictions

EUnited

While Luminosity took this match up 2-0 in the first week of the split, EUnited is stronger than they were back then. While I don’t doubt Luminosity’s skills either, I think EUnited can manage to pull a win this time.

 

Smite Season Ticket PredictionsSplyce vs Counter Logic GamingSmite Season Ticket Predictions

Counter Logic Gaming

Splyce is still having trouble finding wins in this split. And while they’re not a weak team by any means, CLG is still looking stronger right now.

 

thursday

Smite Season Ticket PredictionsTeam Dignitas vs MousesportsSmite Season Ticket Predictions

Team Dignitas

Again, Mousesports are having identity problems. If they can’t manage to beat SK gaming, there’s certainly no reason to change my mind in a match-up against the EU powerhouse Team Dignitas.

Smite Season Ticket PredictionsTeam Rival vs Obey AllianceSmite Season Ticket Predictions

Team Rival

I want to believe that Obey can take these matches. They’re definitely the team to root for if you like underdogs. But I pick with my brain, not my heart, and my brain says Team Rival.

Smite Season Ticket PredictionsObey Alliance vs Team DignitasSmite Season Ticket Predictions

Team Dignitas

Again, I would love to pick Obey here. But with the information we have, Dignitas is just the stronger team.

 

Friday

Smite Season Ticket PredictionsTrifecta vs Counter Logic GamingSmite Season Ticket Predictions

Trifecta

CLG has been underwhelming lately. They’ve fallen from grace after looking like the strongest team in the split half way through. On the other side of the spectrum, Trifecta has been fairly impressive. Taking wins off of both EUnited and Luminosity, Trifecta has had a strong showing in the past two weeks. Because of that, I have to predict Trifecta.

Smite Season Ticket PredictionsEUnited vs SpacestationSmite Season Ticket Predictions

Spacestation

This is another match-up where I want to vote for EUnited, but I just can’t. Spacestation has seated themselves on the throne of the SPL, and while EUnited certainly has a chance to take this I wouldn’t hold my breath.

Smite Season Ticket PredictionsSpacestation vs TrifectaSmite Season Ticket Predictions

Spacestation

Just like with the last match, Trifecta is a strong team that has a chance. But it’s hard to deny that Spacestation is the strongest team in North America right now.

 

Summary

Team Rival > NRG Esports

SK Gaming > Mousesports

EUnited > Luminosity

Splyce < Counter Logic Gaming

Team Dignitas > Mousesports

Team Rival > Obey Alliance

Obey Alliance < Team Dignitas

Trifecta > Counter Logic Gaming

EUnited < Spacestation

Spacestation > Trifecta

 

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Top Image courtesy of Smitegame.com, SPL logo and Esports Team logos courtesy of Esports.Smitegame.com

Smite Season Ticket Predictions

Smite Season Ticket predictions: Week 5

Now that we’re done with rerun week, I can start actually predicting things instead of regurgitating last weeks results. Which would be more fun in a different SPL climate. But this split’s North American teams are so even that it seems practically impossible to make clear power rankings.

EUnited beat Counter Logic Gaming, Counter Logic beat Spacestation, Spacestation beat Luminosity, Luminosity beat EUnited… All of these teams are in the same tier. It’s great for watching games, but stressful for predicting them.

At least the European side is a little easier. There seem to be two distinct echelons of EU teams, with Rival, NRG and Dignitas being top teams and Obey, SK and Mousesports being lower. But if teams from the same tier face off in EU, it can be just as hard as an NA game to predict.

Oh well, you’ve gotta pick someone. Let’s get into the picks for week 5.

 

Tuesday

Smite Season Ticket PredictionsTeam Rival VS Team DignitasSmite Season Ticket Predictions

Team Dignitas

Rival and Dignitas are both great teams, and both could easily take this. But for my money, Dignitas comes out on top. Dignitas are still the standout team of the European Pro League, even if they’ve recently lost some sets.

 

Smite Season Ticket PredictionsObey Alliance VS MousesportsSmite Season Ticket Predictions

Obey Alliance

Two of the weaker teams square off in this set. But Mousesports is too inconsistent, and their drafts can get a little too crazy. And while I like experimental drafts as much as the next guy, they don’t translate cleanly into wins.

 

Wednesday

Smite Season Ticket PredictionseUnited VS TrifectaSmite Season Ticket Predictions

eUnited

It’s hard to vote against eUnited in these match-ups after their Week Three comeback. Last week they looked as strong as they did in the World Championship. And while I don’t doubt that Trifecta could take this, the same could be said for the team I vote against in practically any North American match-up. They’re just too even.

 

Smite Season Ticket PredictionsSpacestation VS Counter Logic GamingSmite Season Ticket Predictions

Spacestation

On the opposite end of the spectrum, before eUnited’s comeback CLG was looking like the best team in the world. But after taking a loss from not only eUnited, but from Luminosity, they don’t look so tough anymore. Spacestation, on the other hand, is a consistently great team.

Thursday

Smite Season Ticket PredictionsTeam Dignitas VS SK GamingSmite Season Ticket Predictions

Team Dignitas

This is the day where that short tier list I made starts coming in handy. Dignitas is in the top three, and SK is in the bottom, which makes this prediction easy.

 

Smite Season Ticket PredictionsNRG Esports VS Obey AllianceSmite Season Ticket Predictions

NRG Esports

Thursdays in the EU SPL seem to be the designated strong team versus weak team days. NRG is good, Obey isn’t. Easy FP.

 

Smite Season Ticket PredictionsNRG Esports VS SK GamingSmite Season Ticket Predictions

NRG Esports

I like the low stress environment Thursday is creating here. I don’t have to think very hard. But there’s also not much to write about. That tier list is pretty real; so far none of the lower echelon teams have managed to take even a game off of the top three, let alone a whole match. It would be exciting to be wrong about these matches. But it also wouldn’t be responsible of me to predict SK.

 

Friday

Smite Season Ticket PredictionsTrifecta VS SplyceSmite Season Ticket Predictions

Trifecta

This is the battle of teams I’m not quite sure what to think of yet. Splyce has a number of talented veteran players that we haven’t seen in action for a while, and I’d love to see them find their footing in this match. But for right now, they’re not great. Trifecta in the short term is a pretty lukewarm team. They never seem to look that strong or that weak. But in the short term, I have to give this one to Trifecta.

 

Smite Season Ticket PredictionsLuminosity VS SpacestationSmite Season Ticket Predictions

Spacestation

This is the match that I’m most unsure of. Spacestation is still a consistently strong team, but Luminosity had a strong showing last week. But when in doubt, vote for Spacestation. That way at least John “BaRRaCCuDDa” Salter fans won’t get mad at me.

 

Smite Season Ticket PredictionsLuminosity VS SplyceSmite Season Ticket Predictions

Luminosity

I’m still reluctant to give Splyce my vote, and to repeat myself Luminosity has been looking incredibly strong lately. This is probably about as easy to predict as North American matches can get. And even here, I have no doubt that Splyce could take the game. It’s really anyone’s league in North America.

 

Summary

Team Rival < Team Dignitas

Obey Alliance > Mousesports

EUnited > Trifecta

Spacestation > Counter Logic Gaming

Team Dignitas > SK Gaming

NRG Esports > Obey Alliance

NRG Esports > SK Gaming

Trifecta > Splyce

Luminosity < Spacestation

Luminosity > Splyce

 

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Top Image courtesy of Smitegame.com, SPL logo and Esports Team logos courtesy of Esports.Smitegame.com

Smite Season Ticket Predictions

Smite Season Ticket predictions: Week 4

At first this looked like a hard week to start on. Not only am I late, but accurate predictions of NA match-ups are getting harder. With EUnited’s comeback, North American teams are so even that it’s nearly impossible to tell who will win in these match-ups. And Europe, while not as bad, is still harder to predict than past SPL seasons.

But looking at the next week’s schedule gave me déjà vu. Which is probably because they’re the exact same match-ups as last week. I don’t understand why, but it does make predicting the winner pretty easy. Just vote for the team that won a week ago. So let’s get into my Smite Season Ticket predictions for the next week of the Spring Split.

Tuesday, April 10

 

Smite Season Ticket PredictionsNRG Esports VS Team DignitasSmite Season Ticket Predictions

NRG Esports

Well, at least this whole rerun week makes the picks pretty easy. Remember last week when NRG beat Dignitas? I’ve used my expert deduction skills to decide that that will probably happen again.

 

Smite Season Ticket PredictionsObey Alliance VS SK GamingSmite Season Ticket Predictions

Obey Alliance

Both of these teams have been a little weak so far. And while Obey took this match-up last week, it was incredibly close. This game could easily go to SK as well. But Obey’s chances are still a little bit better.

 

Wednesday, April 11

 

Smite Season Ticket PredictionsLuminosity VS TrifectaSmite Season Ticket Predictions

Trifecta

Trifecta won last week, and I don’t see any reason to doubt them this time. Last week they won the set but lost game two. Trifecta learned a valuable lesson during that second game: Ban Nemesis. Even if she winds up in solo lane, you still need to ban Nemesis. And as long as they remember that, they should be able to beat Luminosity again.

 

Smite Season Ticket PredictionsSpaceStation VS SplyceSmite Season Ticket Predictions

SpaceStation

After the last week, Splyce has been looking like one of the worst teams in the league. Meanwhile SpaceStation looks like one of the best. It’s not quite that simple, though. Splyce is full of team members that have been out of the SPL for a while. And as they continue to readjust themselves to competitive play and learn to work with their new teammates, it wouldn’t surprise me to see Splyce rise above SpaceStation. But that’s in the long term, and this match is next Wednesday. So I have to give it to SpaceStation.

Thursday, April 12

 

Smite Season Ticket PredictionsTeam Rival VS SK GamingSmite Season Ticket Predictions

Team Rival

Unfortunately for SK gaming, they just don’t stack up to Rival. Last time we saw this match it went 2-0 to Rival, and I don’t see any reason that would change.

 

Smite Season Ticket PredictionsNRG Esports VS MousesportsSmite Season Ticket Predictions

NRG Esports

Thursday is going to be a whole day of strong team versus weak team. And unfortunately for Mousesports, they don’t give Fantasy Points for voting for underdogs.

 

Smite Season Ticket PredictionsTeam Rival VS MousesportsSmite Season Ticket Predictions

Team Rival

It’s bad enough that Mousesports is having to face Rival, but they also have to play two matches in a row. And they’re likely coming into this match after losing to NRG. And they lost both of these matches 2-0 last week. This match will probably feel like a recurring nightmare for Mousesports. But who knows? Maybe they’ll win against NRG and bring that momentum into this match. That scenario’s a little too unlikely to get me to vote for Mousesports, though.

 

Friday, April 13

 

Smite Season Ticket PredictionsEUnited VS SplyceSmite Season Ticket Predictions

EUnited

EUnited proved last week that they’re still a powerful team, taking a decisive victory against Counter Logic Gaming. While this match was fairly close last week, EUnited are sure to be more confident after that comeback.

 

Smite Season Ticket PredictionsLuminosity VS Counter Logic GamingSmite Season Ticket Predictions

Counter Logic Gaming

Don’t let their loss against EUnited distract you: Counter Logic Gaming is still a force to be reckoned with. And while Luminosity certainly isn’t a bad team, I don’t see any reason to vote for them over CLG.

 

Smite Season Ticket PredictionsEUnited VS Counter Logic GamingSmite Season Ticket Predictions

EUnited

I was really hoping that I would get the chance to play devil’s advocate and vote for last week’s loser at least once. But after the dominance EUnited showed in this match-up last week, I couldn’t possibly vote for CLG. The message of this game last week was clear: EUnited is back, and they’re still the world champs.

 

Summary

NRG Esports > Team Dignitas

Obey Alliance > SK Gaming

Luminosity < Trifecta

SpaceStation > Splyce

Team Rival > SK Gaming

NRG Esports > Mousesports

Team Rival > Mousesports

EUnited > Splyce

Luminosity < Counter Logic Gaming

Eunited > Counter Logic Gaming

 

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Top Image courtesy of Smitegame.com, SPL logo and Esports Team logos courtesy of Esports.Smitegame.com

 

Smite Verdict: Mousesports

Mousesports – Season 5 Meta Makers or Meta Breakers – Our Verdict

Are Mousesports making a new meta?

One of the most unexpected teams coming out in season 5 so far has been MouseSports. A big question mark at the start of the season, the mixed-bag of Europeans has been something refreshing to watch with their eye-catching drafts. In this article, we will take a look at their weird picks, give our verdict, and work out what the impact for the rest of the meta in Europe is.

Mousesport’s Roster is made up of the following

Support: Bastien “Dardez” Proust

ADC: Ethan “Jermain” Batarsé

Jungle: Mohaned “Cherryo” Walied

Mid: Jordan “BigManTingz” Theaker

Solo: Nika “Nika” Pataraia

 

Match 1: MouseSports vs SK Gaming

 

Game 1

Mouse begun the set by banning Daji, Thoth, Anhur and Athena, pretty standard Season 5 bans – excluding an Anhur which was most likely a targeted ban vs. SK gaming.

Their first picks were also “meta” – with Discordia a comfort pick for BigManTingz and Ullr, considered top of the Hunter Tierlist for Jermain. They then picked up another comfort pick for Cherryo (Cabrakan) followed by what was considered two unusual picks, Camazotz Solo and Ravana Support.

Camazotz solo worked out! Nika, the new Solo laner for this team, looked excellent in game 1 finishing the game with five kills, zero deaths and was able to make a huge impact with his bruiser build. Since this game, this pick has been played a lot in the SPL, working well – reminiscent of Late S3/Early S4 where Camazotz Solo was meta before. Verdict – 5/5.

Ravana support was somewhat more dubious. Mousesport’s philosophy is clearly “pick whatever the roster needs”, ignoring what is considered meta. However, while Ravana can have lane pressure early, his team utility is somewhat limited. Indeed, his kit more focused on burst damage and self-mobility – which means he is more suited to playing Jungle or Solo. Verdict – 2/5.

Game 2

This game saw Mouse pick as “meta” as they ever have (or will). The only unusual and unexpected pick was Ravana support. This again had very little impact as Mouse once again lost the game. Verdict – 1/5.

Game 3

Game three again had similar bans for Mouse, however, they decided to pick “Triple assassin”. Somewhat of a strange pick – leaving only a single Raijin as magical damage – however with assassin’s relative strength in this meta being obvious to all, the composition made a lot of sense. Camazotz solo had been proven in game 1, Hun Batz jungle is very standard so the pick worth analyzing here is Fenrir Support.

Dardez, well known for his flex-pick support gods, was the first to bring out Nox support in the SPL last season. This Fenrir pick worked very well. My personal concerns over having no traditional frontline was negated entirely by the insane burst damage as well as control provided by the Fenrir, as well as the sustain from Camazotz provided enough once the early game was survived. Verdict – 5/5.

Match 2: MouseSports vs Dignitas

 

 

 

 

 

 

Game 1

Once again, Mouse vs Dignitas begun with less-than-meta picks. The “standard” Ravana support and Camazotz solo again worked similar to before, with Ravana being marginally more successful this game – however the real talking point this match was Janus Jungle.

Cherryo’s Janus Jungle was an inspired pick this game. With such high mobility and with the exceptional damage that low-cooldown mages can put out this split, especially with cooldown items such as Chronos Pendant and Soul Gem being strong, it was only natural that some started to experiment with mages in the jungle and this worked out well for Cherryo. The pick worked well, allowing Cherryo to both roam and free-farm (including continually stealing the Dignitas back harpies) and proxy-farming the solo lane wave. This facilitated rotations from the continually excellent Nika, as well as allowing the two players to trade positions and farm/gank.

Ultimately, the composition did run out of gas before the end, and Dignitas (one of the best teams in the world) were able to comfortably win, but Janus Jungle absolutely did do what it was intended to do. Verdict – 5/5.

Game 2

In Game Two, the squad changed things up again and picked Chaac mid and Morrigan Support, against the aforementioned top-two team in Europe.

Chaac mid, piloted by BigManTingz, made sense in theory. The player well known for his support gameplay in Season 4 made sense to be on a warrior, however, the reality was somewhat different. At no point in the game did Mid Chaac make any sense really, despite the theory behind it. By the time Transcendence was online, his strong early game had already fallen off, and the missed burst damage from the role was sorely missed. Verdict – 0/5.

Morrigan Support, again, wasn’t the problem. While the pick didn’t really work out for Dardez, the idea was solid and I think could have had merit in a different composition – perhaps with a mid mage, warrior solo and guardian jungle. Expect this to be tried again. Verdict – 3/5.

What to expect next?

Expect more of the same. Mouse, while not yet defining the meta, will continue to do what works for them, pick for players rather than roles and continue to look for surprising picks that can help them forge their role in the league.

Things I would like to see again:

Janus Jungle

Camazotz Solo

Morrigan Support

Fenrir Support

Things that I would never like to see again:

Chaac Mid. (well, any warrior mid, please!)…

 

What do you think? Have your say in the comments or on twitter, you can tweet me @KingHazzam or us in general at @TheGameHausEsports

All images credit HiRez and Mixer

mousesports wins V4 Future Sports Festival

As the weekend draws to a close, so to does the illustrious V4 Future Sports Festival. With eight of the best teams in the game competing for a whopping prize pool of almost $600,000, the action was intense in the Hungarian capital, Budapest. Each of the participants brought their A game to the major. Teams were initially divided into two groups, where they played a round robin format. Group A saw FaZe Clan and HellRaisers emerge victorious over GameAgents and Dark Tigers. Group B saw mousesports and Virtus.pro triumph over eXtatus and x-kom Team.

 

Virtus.pro vs. FaZe

Virtus.pro and FaZe faced off in the first semifinal of the V4 Future Sports Festival. The first round went the way of the Polish side, as did the next two anti-eco rounds. Virtus.pro continued their hot start by winning the first gun round and the subsequent rounds. Then, in a shocking turn of events, the eighth round and the rest of the half went to a suddenly streaking FaZe; what was a 0-7 deficit suddenly became an 8-7 lead. In a thrilling second half, the two sides would go back and forth, with Virtus.pro narrowly winning 16-14.

 

Image courtesy of liquipedia.net

Virtus.pro continued their solid form and took the opening pistol round on Nuke, eventually grinding out an 8-7 victory in the first half. Although the second half saw FaZe take their first pistol round of the match, it was not meant to be for the European superpower. The Polish side won their force buy and rolled the rest of the half to win the map 16-10, shocking FaZe in the process.

mousesports vs. HellRaisers

mousesports and HellRaisers faced off in the second semifinal, with the former turning a 3v5 deficit into a surprising victory. The two sides traded runs before HellRaisers took the half 8-7. Krill “ANGE2” Kraslow’s 1v3 clutch in the pistol round saw HellRaisers extend their lead. This momentum came to a quick halt when mousesports picked up weapons, demolishing HellRaisers seven rounds in a row to hit 14 rounds. HellRaisers managed to make it exciting and tie the game at 14-14, before mousesports took the map 16-14.

Map 2 was Cobblestone, and HellRaisers began their pick with a victory on the pistol and anti-eco rounds. However, Martin “STYKO” Styk pulled off a 1v3 clutch to halt HellRaiser’s momentum and win the first round for his team. Each team would pull off multiple runs to end the half 7-8 in favor of HellRaisers. The second half began with three victories for mousesports and a 10-8 lead, before HellRaisers won the first gun round. Down 11-12, mousesports would go on a run and reach matchpoint, with Chris “chrisJ” de Jong eventually getting four kills to take mousesports to the finals

.

mousesports vs. Virtus.pro

mousesports and Virtus.pro kicked off the grand finals on Mirage, with the former taking the opening pistol round and the following anti-eco rounds. Virtus.pro then made things competitive, taking the first gun round, and holding their own against the favored mousesports, narrowly losing the half 8-7. The second half started with mousesports winning the first five rounds handedly. Although the Polish side was able to take a round back, the rest of the half went the way of mousesports, who took the map 16-8.

After getting smothered on Mirage, Virtus.pro looked much more convincing on Cobblestone, winning the first seven rounds. It would take three kills from Tomáš “oskar” Šťastný for mousesports to get on the board. Virtus.pro continued their run and took the half with an astounding 13-2 lead. The second half was much of the same, with Virtus.pro eventually taking the map 16-2.

The V4 Future Sports Festival grand final would come down to the final map: Train. Despite getting crushed on Cobblestone, mousesports won five of the first six rounds on Train. Once again, the two sides traded rounds, with the half ending 8-7 in favor of mousesports. The second half began with Virtus.pro overcoming an early deficit to win the pistol round and two more wins on the subsequent anti-eco rounds. Although mousesports were able to win the first gun round of the half, they immediately dropped the following round, forcing them to call a tactical pause. After some stunning play from Jarosław “pashaBiceps” Jarząbkowski, Virtus.pro held a 14-10 lead and looked ready to take the tournament. Then, in stunning fashion, mousesports won the following six rounds to win the map and the tournament.

image courtesy of liquipedia.net

MVP

Several players put on outstanding performances in this tournament, but none was better than Czech superstar Tomáš “oskar” Šťastný. oskar led mousesports to their second title of the year with a 1.28 rating and a +20 KDD in the finals against Virtus.pro. In addition, oskar had the third-highest tournament rating at 1.24, led the event in KDD (+63), AWP kills (134), AWP kills per round (0.47) and total opening kills (44). This is oskar’s second MVP medal, after previously winning at ESG Tour Mykonos.    

Tomáš 'oskar' Šťastný

Image courtesy of hltv.org

As Hungary’s first international tournament in the CS:GO, the V4 Future Sports Festival was one for the books. With Virtus.pro’s dramatic upset over FaZe in the semifinals and a thrilling three-map final that saw numerous lead changes, the weekend was certainly one to remember.

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Featured image from Liquipedia.net

allu

Where could allu end up?

This is an opinion piece that reflects the views of the author and not The Game Haus as a whole. 

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that a lot of crazy roster moves have been going on following the Valve sponsored ‘Major’; this sort of thing happens after basically every major. One big move that really shocked me was the removal of Aleksi ‘allu’ Jalli from FaZe Clan. His replacement, Ladislav ‘Guardian’ Kovács, plays an almost entirely different style, not to mention is much less effective without an AWP in his hands. When you take into account the aggressive buying style of FaZe, this move to me seems like a complete loss for FaZe; my colleague Joe Sitavanc seems to think this is more of a sidegrade than a downgrade. Either way, this isn’t an article about FaZe, this is about allu and where his esports career will lead him post-FaZe.

What teams would want allu?

It’s hard to know exactly what teams would per-say want him; however, we do know that PENTA just lost their star Finnish player Miikka ‘suNny’ Kemppi, and could use a new star Finnish player. I would assume he would have a spot on any North American roster, besides perhaps Cloud9 as they seem content with their current roster, and also have made it clear they don’t want players from outside North America. He’d be the perfect kind of player for an international team like mousesports; although they seem happy with the roster they have put together. An interesting team for him to end up on would be Renegades, though that’s highly unlikely. Another potential roster he could find his way on is Dignitas in place of Ricardo ‘fox’ Pacheco. If they really aspire to be a serious contender, fox has got to go in my opinion. 

What’s his best move?

PENTA wouldn’t be an awful place to put him, but someone of his skill level would be as good as wasted on the roster, as we saw with suNny. There just isn’t enough incentive for him to work with PENTA. Renegades would be interesting, but we have seen how the organization has failed in the past, and not to mention this team will not be a contender anytime soon, even with allu. Dignitas is realistic, could legitimately happen, and would make the team much scarier and potentially even a contender should you replace Jesper ‘TENZKI’ Plougmann or Jorgen ‘cromen’ Robertsen, maybe with someone like Emil ‘Magisk’ Reif. Though, RUBINO could be problematic should history repeat itself. NA or Dignitas are allu’s two best options, but personally, I think NA is better for him.

It makes sense for someone like allu, as NA has lacked a great AWP player since Óscar ‘mixwell’ Cañellas was doing it full time, and allu has been on English speaking teams for basically three years now. If you negate that period where he decided a Finnish super team was a good idea, he’s been on English speaking teams since 2014. He also has a quieter voice and leaves room for the huge NA egos to thrive. Personally, I think the perfect fit for him would be to plug him right into Josh ‘jdm64’ Marzano’s spot in Team Liquid. This move makes sense because of Peter ‘stanislaw’ Jarguz’ style on the terrorist side. It is more effective without an AWP. Allu has the flexibility that jdm just doesn’t; not to mention, allu is better with the AWP than jdm in my opinion. This move would make Liquid an instant title contender.

Post-FaZe Life

It’s likely allu will not find a better situation than what he found in FaZe, and I’m not just talking financially. The team was one of the favorites to win any tournament they entered and were really looking up. Maybe we’ll look back at this move and say it was the best thing for both FaZe and allu’s career in the long run. Maybe Guardian will completely work out and allu will find success with Liquid, or some other team. For right now we don’t know what the future holds, but we do know this was ‘just a phase’ for allu and he’s going to have to move forward.


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The great global shuffle: Where’s NA?

If you haven’t been living under a rock, you know about the insane roster moves lately including teams such as FaZe, fnatic, mousesports, Na’Vi, Gambit, and many more. It’s a surprise to not see any North American teams on that list. Today, I’ll go through some teams that should make some changes and explore some possibilities for players they could pick up.

Cloud9

shuffle

Photo by: hltv.org

The big dog of the North American scene, rarely not holding the title of the best, is currently uninvolved with the shuffles. While they may be looking for a new organization, they aren’t looking to change their roster. As far as we know of course. Cloud9 may have had recent international success, making the semis of ECS Season 3 finals and a 2nd place at ESL One Cologne. But, don’t let that distract you from the fact that the Warriors blew a 3-1 lead Cloud9 has done this before. Making the finals of, or even winning, a tournament and being content with their roster for six months.

Mike “shroud” Grzesiek has underperformed to a huge extent for the last year, aside from ESL One Cologne. One tournament has been enough to stop C9 from making a change, but it’s about time that they make one. Even replacing Jordan “n0thing” Gilbert would be a welcome, although saddening, change. Both players are inconsistent, and there are a few players that would definitely be good replacements in place of these two.

Skyler “Relyks” Weaver: A consistent player who seems to be able to play in almost every situation thrown at him. He can AWP, he can clutch, and he can entry. He’s versatile and it seems like that’s a role that needs to be filled if Shroud or n0thing need their shoes filled.

Adam “Friberg” Adam: An entry combo of Friberg and Jake “Stewie2k” Yip sounds awesome. Two people who are absolutely dedicated to running out and doing their job, what more would you want? This would also solve the issues of n0thing not wanting to take an entry frag role.

Derek “Desi” Branchen: Another consistent player, but unfortunately doesn’t seem to be much of a choice for the top teams due to toxicity issues. Cloud9 could use a player like Desi, especially if n0thing were to go as he’s an improved copy and paste of the player.

OpTic Gaming

You can say that OpTic was technically involved with the roster shuffles, having Oscar “mixwell” Cañellas almost being snatched up by mousesports, along with James “hazed” Cobb being removed from the roster. Though, the move with hazed was well known to happen beforehand. Unfortunately for OpTic, they’ve been stuck in this situation since January. Trying a player and dropping him, rinse and repeat. Not to mention the issue with mixwell not even wanting to AWP and being very open about that. This roster has many problems and they’ve made it seem impossible to fix them. Fortunately, there are a couple of free agents out there that OpTic could very well take advantage of.

shuffle

Photo by: hltv.org

Aleksi “allu” Jalli: A great AWPer, not the best, but definitely not the worst. He also happens to be a good rifler along with his AWP. That could fix the issue with mixwell, allowing him to be the most comfortable.

Adam “Friberg” Friberg: He seems like the biggest possibility as they’ve already seemed to contact him. Much like Cloud9, a Friberg and Will “RUSH” Wierzba entry combo sounds awesome.

Michael “Uber” Stapells: A decent player. He hasn’t completely proved himself as a player but on a team like OpTic could prove to be a great platform for the player to build himself on. He has potential, and while that’s not the best justification, I feel it’s worth a try for OpTic.

Renegades

shuffle

Photo by: hltv.org

The honorary NA team. Renegades have recently showed that they’re willing to play with international talent. First trying out Simon “atter” Atterstam, and then picking up Noah “Nifty” Francis and Nemenja “nexa” Isaković. With recent underwhelming performances and a rumored removal of nexa, trying out some of the new free agents around doesn’t seem like a bad idea. Especially with what Renegades needs the most: consistency. Obviously, this team doesn’t really need to change much. If their core roster begins to become more consistent, this team could be great. Unfortunately, they’ve been waiting too long for that to happen and it seems change is the only way to go right now.

Adam “Friberg” Friberg: Again? Well, if you look at Renegades in terms of roles, they don’t have a proper second in. Or even first at some times. Friberg would instantly fix that, making it his mission to get out there and do damage at the least.

Michael “Uber” Stapells: Formerly Uber stood in for Renegades in a time where they didn’t have a proper fifth. Performing at a decent level in his time with Renegades. Added with some built up chemistry, Uber seems like one of the best, if not the best, options for Renegades.

Jacob “pyth” Mourujärvi: Once upon a time pyth actually played in North America, so this isn’t as far fetched as the other international players. Not only that, pyth can play the positions that Renegades seems to be needing.

The Rest

For the other teams, it doesn’t seem like it’s much of an option to change their rosters. Other than NRG removing Peter “ptr” Gurney and him replacing Desi on compLexity, nothing much has even happened in the first place. Liquid seems even more content with their roster than Cloud9 ever has with theirs. CLG just doesn’t have many options for any roster moves. Misfits are in a weird place with their roster and it’s hard to say that they should make a change. It’s hard to say whether or not any NA team will take advantage of any of the free agents out there, but hopefully in the end they do.


Featured image via ESL Gaming.

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suNny and STYKO to mousesports is a risk vs reward move

Mousesports has been a team with a lot of roster changes in the last year. First putting Tomáš “oskar” Šťastný back into the roster and then picking up rising star Robin “ropz” Kool, they’ve been doing everything right since losing Nikola “NiKo” Kovač after the ELEAGUE Major in January. Hopefully this next move will be the best one yet. Mousesports has now picked up suNny and STYKO.

Miikka “suNny” Kemppi

When suNny was picked up by ENCE Esports in the first quarter of 2016, he had a nice platform to build himself as a player. Under the leadership of Aleksi “allu” Jalli, suNny emerged as a rising star in the tier two European scene. Consistently outperforming his opponents and showing that he can perform on a semi-high level of CS, people knew that he would get his chance on a higher skilled team one day. Unfortunately, it took almost a year for him to find a home on a new team.

mousesports

Photo by: hltv.org

After quite a bit of turmoil on ENCE after losing allu, he left the team and joined PENTA Sports a month later. While PENTA may not be the highest tier team, it gave suNny a chance to build a new team with Kevin “kRYSTAL” Amend. Picking up fellow Finn Jesse “zehN” Linjala, consistent players Kevin “HS” Tarn and Paweł “innocent” Mocek, this team was brand new and was built from scratch. This gave suNny a team that he could build himself further on, and he showed that he can be a star even at a high level.

Along with HS, suNny consistently performed well to earn the team a spot at the PGL Major in Krakow, qualifying off of the back of wins against OpTic, Liquid, and Vega Squadron. At the major, suNny achieved HLTV ratings above 1.05 in each of the matches he played. With the closing of the major, suNny had the fifth highest rating of the event. Mousesports couldn’t pick a better player.

Martin “STYKO” Styk

STYKO has been stuck on the tier two scene for years. HELLRAISERS has been his best chance to step into the tier one scene. They’ve had hot streaks but it’s been very inconsistent. STYKO himself has also been quite inconsistent, at least in 2017. Joining mousesports creates a huge question mark. How will he perform?

mousesports

Photo by: hltv.org

Looking at STYKO’s performances since joining HELLRAISERS is a huge contrast to how he performs now. He was quite consistent, getting ratings above 1.10. But, coming into the latter half of 2016 and so far throughout 2017, he’s been underperforming. HELLRAISERS as a whole, aside from Starladder Season 3 and Dreamhack Tours, has been underperforming as well.

Mousesports is taking a gamble picking up STYKO, and in place of Denis, he’s not much of an upgrade. Unless of course, he’s taking the IGL role. This would not only free up Chris “chrisJ” de Jong and allow him to focus on his game, but it would most certainly take a toll on STYKO’s performance.

Is the move worth it?

In my opinion, I do think the move is worth it. Bringing in suNny and STYKO in place of Christian “loWel” Antoran and Denis is a firepower upgrade in suNny alone. But, as I said above, unless STYKO becomes the IGL for mousesports, he is not much of an upgrade. Mousesports are taking a risk or reward move with these two. And while the reward could be huge, the risk could be even bigger.


Featured image via mousesports.com.

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ESL One Cologne 2017 predictions

One of the biggest upcoming tournaments other than the PGL major is ESL One Cologne 2017. While it is sad that Cologne is not a major this year, as it holds legendary status within Global Offensive, that doesn’t mean this tournament won’t be incredible. Astralis have chosen to opt out of Cologne, leaving the pool of teams slightly weakened; however, this tournament will decide a lot in terms of world rankings still. Today I’ll be giving some predictions as to roughly how the tournament will play out. To keep from getting too deep and convoluted, I’ll keep it simple by just giving predictions for Round 1 of the group stage, who I think will make the playoffs and who I think will win the tournament.

Mousesports vs Fnatic

via http://wiki.teamliquid.net

This is an interesting matchup, one that I think will produce a great game. In terms of what map we’ll most likely see, it’s a bit unclear, as both teams make some odd choices in terms of pick/ban. Mouz will permaban Overpass, as they always do. Fnatic will probably remove Cobble, as they have taken to banning it a lot recently. Mousesports will then remove Mirage, as they aren’t huge fans of it and Fnatic are great on the map. Fnatic will rebuttal with a Cache ban; although there is a scenario in which Fnatic let Cache through and ban Nuke instead. If Fnatic does end up banning Cache, Mousesports will most likely ban Nuke themselves. For the final ban, whether it be Cache or Train leftover with Inferno, I predict Fnatic will let Inferno through. This matchup will likely be close, barring any throwback performance from Fnatic where they just stomp Mouz. Mousesports 13-16 Fnatic.

FaZe vs Heroic

This one is much less interesting, as FaZe will likely stomp Heroic on whatever map they end up on. FaZe will remove Cobble, no questions asked. Heroic will likely remove Cache. From there FaZe ban Mirage, due to Heroic’s decent history on the map; Heroic ban Train. The final ban rotation is completely up to what FaZe want, as they could beat Heroic on Overpass, Nuke or Inferno. My best bet would be FaZe ban Nuke, as the Heroic squad has been respectable on the map in the past, and Heroic ban Overpass, as FaZe is on a tear on the map recently. Whatever map it ends up being, I’m certain FaZe will win this. FaZe 16-6 Heroic.

Immortals vs Virtus.Pro

via http://www.gosugamers.net/

I’m just going to leave this matchup as a ‘quite literally anything can happen’ kind of matchup. This matchup could bring anything to the table in terms of map pool. Immortals will certainly remove Nuke and Virtus.Pro will remove Cache. From there, anything could happen due to Virtus.Pro famously being poor in the early stages of tournaments, even those that they win. I’ll take Immortals winning this one. Immortals 16-10 Virtus.Pro

SK vs SpaceSoldiers

Similar to the FaZe vs Heroic matchup, it doesn’t matter what map this ends on, the Soldiers will find it hard to even find rounds in this matchup. The pick ban will have SK removing Nuke followed by SS banning Inferno. SK will remove Cache, as it is the Soldiers’ favorite map at the moment. SS will remove Train here most likely, followed by a removal of Overpass. Whatever SK chooses to ban before the removal of Overpass, will decide the map. I’ll predict the Brazilians remove Mirage leaving us with a matchup on Cobblestone. SK 16-3 SpaceSoldiers

NiP vs Cloud9 

via http://mashable.com

This one is almost as difficult to predict as the IMT vs VP matchup. Based on history, NiP will almost always remove Overpass and Mirage, and we know Cloud9 doesn’t play Nuke and don’t like to play Inferno if they don’t have to. Of the three maps remaining, it’s most likely we see Cobblestone, as I don’t think the Ninjas will want to play Train, and C9 have sort of driven away from Cache in the past. NiP will likely be held back by the freshness of their roster, and all the NiP magic seems to have been exhausted. NiP 7-16 Cloud9

G2 vs TyLoo

Another lopsided one, G2 will take this one every day of the week. G2 will ban Mirage, followed by Inferno. TyLoo will remove Nuke and Train. G2 from here have the pick of the litter, and the map this ends up on could really be anything. The only map that TyLoo even has an outside chance on is Cache, and even that is a huge stretch. No matter which of the three it ends up being, Cache, Cobble, or Overpass, G2 will have this one in hand. G2 16-3 TyLoo

Liquid vs Na’Vi

via http://wiki.teamliquid.net

By far the best matchup of Round 1, this one could really go either way. Liquid will likely ban Overpass, followed by a signature Na’Vi ban of Cache. Na’Vi will then ban Nuke, and be forced to remove Cobble, as Liquid will remove Mirage and likely Train due to the beating Na’Vi gave them on the maps at pro league. An interesting matchup on Inferno, as neither team is very good on the map at all, but I’ll take Liquid to win this one in very narrow fashion. Liquid 19-16 Na’Vi

North vs OpTiC

I predict to see the same exact pick ban we saw at Pro League, as I don’t see why either team would change their strategy. North ban Train, Cache and Inferno; whereas, OpTiC remove Overpass, Cobble and Nuke. There is definitely a chance OpTiC ban out Mirage instead of Cobble, leaving us on Cobble or Inferno; although, this seems a bit unlikely to me. North is always super solid in group stages, so they should have this one in hand. North 16-8 OpTiC

Playoff Predictions

The eight teams that I think will get through are SK, G2, FaZe, North, Liquid, Cloud9, Immortals and Fnatic. This one is definitely not said and done though, as basically every team in this tournament besides TyLoo has a scenario where they end up making the playoffs. The winner of the tournament will likely be SK, but G2 will have their chances, and if Virtus.Plow shows up, who knows what could happen.

ESL One Cologne 2017, despite not having Astralis and not being a CS ‘Major’, should make some great Counter-Strike, and will be great fun to watch.

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Featured image via HLTV.org

Dreamhack Summer 2017 Preview

Dreamhack returns for their first event back in Jönköping, Sweden this weekend. With several top teams and even a newcomer to the top tier, Dreamhack Summer 2017 is going to be a platform for teams to prove themselves.

 

Group A

SK Gaming

SK Gaming coming into Dreamhack Summer are the favourites to take the title in Sweden. Recent wins at cs_summit and IEM Sydney can back this up, as well as a semifinal finish at the ESL Pro League finals last weekend.

Photo by: hltv.org

Since adding João “felps” Vasconcellos in February, SK Gaming have had a resurgence in performance. While they had two disappointing finishes at IEM Katowice and Starladder i-League Season 3 in Kiev, the team has made three finals and one semifinal. Along with this journey, a slumping Gabriel “FalleN” Toledo has been able to rise up once again and become one of the top AWPers and IGLs in the world.

With Fernando “fer” Alvarenga looking at his best recently, SK Gaming are looking to take the title in Jönköping this weekend.

mousesports

Looking their best in a very long time, mousesports could be considered one of the favourites for the event. Having star level performances from Tomáš “oskar” Šťastný and a constantly improving Robin “ropz” Kool, mouz look to be taking the title or at least a top 2 finish.

When Nikola “NiKo” Kovač left the team in February, a lot of people thought that the team would be in the dumps. After adding in oskar in the place of NiKo, mouz looked impressive. Stealing the third seed in the EU division of ESL Pro League, and then one semifinal place at DH Tours, topping that off with a quarterfinal finish at the EPL Finals in Dallas; mouz have left people with mouths wide open.

A new and improved mousesports might be the recipe for success, and could possibly lead Chris “chrisJ” de Jong and his boys to the trophy this weekend.

Immortals

Photo by: hltv.org

After two events with their new pickup, Vito “kNg” Giuseppe, Immortals look sort of lost in game. With no clear or proper leadership, and the need for constant double AWP setups, Immortals might leave Sweden with a bucket full of disappointment.

Recently, Immortals with their new lineup have attended two LAN tournaments. Getting an upset win against G2 and a win against Cloud9 at the EPL Finals, they left without a chance at playoffs. A week later they went over to the Americas Minor and ended in 2nd place, losing out to a very confident Cloud9 in the Grand Finals. You can definitely make the argument that Immortals need more time, and I personally agree that they do need more time. But in terms of form, mousesports and SK Gaming are a mile above the Immortals.

Immortals are looking to come into Dreamhack Summer to prove themselves, and to prove kNg as a player. If the team come in their top form they can easily make playoffs, and unless they do, it will be a struggle.

Singularity

Coming in as the Danish underdogs, Singularity are going into this event looking to prove themselves and show the world what they got. In a group with two out of four of the toughest teams at the event, Singularity have a long road ahead of them coming into the group stage.

Battling their way through the European qualifier, Singularity faced the rising Team123, as well as the Polish Pride Gaming. Holstering their star Allan “AnJ” Jensen, Singularity essentially out-skilled most of their opponents throughout the qualifier.

With very little experience at a high level, Singularity will have plenty of issues coming into this event. With more experience, this team could make their way to the top of tier 2, and this event could be the boost they need.

 

Group B

Gambit

The Kazakhstani powerhouse have been the best team coming out of the CIS region in 2017. With the leadership of Daniil “Zeus” Teslenko and firepower of Dauren “AdreN” Kystaubayev and Abay “HObbit” Khasenov, Gambit have soared in the rankings coming into the second half of the year.

Photo by: gambit.gg

With a win at DH Austin and a second place finish at cs_summit, Gambit have shown that they are able to go far in tournaments. Something which they struggled with at the beginning of the year. With that as well, their recent form coming into the event is probably enough to get them to second place or even a win at Dreamhack Summer.

In the group stage, Gambit should have no problems. They’ve shown they’re well above Cloud9 and CLG in terms of skill, although they did lose to CLG at Starladder. Fnatic may be the only team to give them problems, and even then they’re a favourite in that matchup.

Fnatic

With the home field advantage, Fnatic are looking to come in swinging when they show up on stage. After narrowly going out in groups at EPL Dallas, fnatic are going to come back and they’ll surely be ready to attack.

With a legendary lineup, arguably the best in all of CS:GO, Fnatic reformed after the ELEAGUE Major. Since then, they’ve had some pretty disappointing results. Only making playoffs at one out of four of the $250k+ tournaments they attended. While Olof “olofmeister” Kajbjer has made a comeback in his performance, Fnatic as a whole have been a let down. Many looked to them as possible contenders for the number one spot, but they seem to be barely breaking in to the top 10.

With all that being said, Fnatic are in their own country. They’ll have the crowd and confidence on their side. While they should make playoffs, it’s hard to say if they could go any further.

Cloud9

Cloud9 have been the face of disappointment since their win at the ESL Pro League Season 4 Finals in October of last year. They’ve failed to make it out of groups at any big tournament, as well as failing to qualify for the ELEAGUE Major.

Carrying the same lineup, Cloud9 have refused to make any much needed changes. Mike “shroud” Grzesiek has been under-performing immensely since the EPL Finals. With a recently rising Tyler “Skadoodle” Latham, Cloud9 have failed to do anything significant other than winning the Americas Minor this past weekend. While many still say that Cloud9 are the best team in North America, they’re still very far from any meaningful ranking worldwide.

Although coming off steaming hot from their performance at the minor, Cloud9 have very little to show for what they can do at Dreamhack Summer. There is a small chance that Cloud9 could make it to the playoffs, but it’s a very slim one.

Counter Logic Gaming

CLG have been steadily rising since bringing back Pujan “FNS” Mehta into their lineup. With much needed leadership, the team was able to make their mark on the international scene and make their name something to talk positive about again.

Photo by: hltv.org

Bringing in Ricky “Rickeh” Mulholland brought in some much needed firepower. With Rickeh being one of the most consistent players on the team, Kenneth “Koosta” Suen slowly rose up as the team’s star player, finally living up to his potential as a top tier AWPer. While not having much experience aside from Starladder, he showed at the tournament why he can be considered one of the best AWPers in NA, if not the best.

CLG have nothing to lose and everything to win coming into Dreamhack Summer. If the right cards are played, we could definitely see CLG in the playoffs.

Featured image by: Dreamhack

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