If you're looking to bet on the FACEIT CS:GO Major, it’s almost time: after what seemed like an excruciatingly long wait, it’s time for another major. In many respects, this is going to be a ground-breaking one: the first one to be organized under the auspices of FACEIT, the first one to take place in the United Kingdom – and perhaps the last one to feature Virtus.pro for a while if their recent form is anything to go by. Sixteen teams will duke it out in the New Challengers Stage for the eight spots to go on to become one of the New Legends – here’s a little rundown of the colorful cast of characters and what you can expect from them.

Byali DreamHack Valencia 2018

Astralis’ journey starts early

The headline portion of the major’s first stage has to be the premature entry of the dynamic Danes who, despite their incredible run over the course of the last few months, now have to atone for their early exit in Boston. They are clearly head and shoulders above the rest of the field here – however, their unexpected defeat in a best-of-three against North showed that they are also mortal, and the gap between them and the rest of the pack may have closed a bit during the player break as is often the case. Still, it would be hard to pinpoint a team that would reasonably be able to pose a serious threat to them in the New Challengers Stage, even if you take the unpredictable nature of a best-of-one Swiss format into account.

In a way, this early start could actually turn out to be a blessing in disguise for the team that is widely considered to be the favorite to win it all: Boston has clearly showed that the teams who made it past this first challenge were warmed up and ready to go while the other, often much more prestigious outfits needed some time to get up to speed, setting up a few upsets in the early rounds of the New Legend Stage. Of course, the fact that we’re already talking about that part of the tournament is an indication of how humongous an upset it would be if Astralis didn’t make it past the first hurdle: it’s quite rare that you can reliably expect a 3-0 romp through this kind of a bracket, but if there’s ever a team that can dispatch this kind of a competition like that, it is this one.

Astralis Winning ELEAGUE Premier 2018

Many happy returns

One of London’s many fascinating storylines involves the return of some lovely veterans to the grand stage: NiP’s long absence has finally drawn to a close as GeT_RiGhT and f0rest have made it past the purgatory of the European minor, and Hiko’s triumphant return with an overperforming and oft-derided Rogue roster is also something worth looking out for.

Some of Boston’s fallen are definitely there for the taking: Gambit has been in the wilderness for a very long time now, a stretch of mediocrity perhaps only rivalled by Virtus.pro’s complete collapse – and while North’s impressive showing at Stockholm alleviated some of the concerns about them during the run-up to the major and BIG have also re-established themselves as a credible competitor after their great run at Cologne, a special mention must go out to Vega Squadron, a team that has been shockingly quiet since Boston with no meaningful event other than cs_summit 2 to their name. The Russian org is a complete dark horse whose main activity was a protracted contract kerfuffle with mir over the last few months – it seems like there’s an astronomical amount of rust to shake off, and it would not be surprising if they struggled to qualify for the New Legends Stage.

Styko and Golden ELEAGUE Premier 2018

Last chance saloon

Beyond Vega Squadron, there’s a bunch of other teams that will have to treat this event as potentially their last shot at the big time, at least for the time being – especially when you consider that two extra teams will not get a direct invite due to the recently announced rule changes.

As previously mentioned, both Gambit and Virtus.pro are on a massive downward slope – though the Poles have so thoroughly redefined the term “slump” that it doesn’t really feel right to mention any other team in the same sentence alongside them –, and Space Soldiers also only has one meaningful win – DreamHack Open Austin – to their name in 2017, one of the few larger ones they even got a chance to attend. A special mention must go out to any of the smaller North American organizations as they may very well be under fire if the current, clearly transitional iteration of Cloud9 were to blow up, likely triggering a North American shuffle.

For some others, this is their first real shot at the big time, and Boston has clearly showed that those teams are ready to jump at the chance. Beyond the old stalwart(s) of NiP and Rogue, Team Spirit and compLexity Gaming were surprisingly decent at the minors, and it will also be interesting to see how the so-called lesser regions’ teams manage to keep up with the big boys.

After more than seven months, it’s going to be really nice to return to the biggest stage of them all – if you want to spice things up even more by betting on the FACEIT CS:GO Major, you’ve come to the right place. Rivalry has pre-match betting and live betting for every single match. Be sure to become a member of our VIP Rewards Club (free) so you can earn up to $350 while betting. GL!