The big teams are back in action as the New Legends Stage of the StarLadder major kicked off in Berlin. Six of them managed to take the first hurdle, which should bode well for them going forward and should be a concern for the recently qualified sides. How’s the next round going to shape up? You can find the schedule and our predictions below.
The Aussies performed better than expected in their loss to NRG yesterday, with jks showing that his good form has not completely dissipated over the player break. That might be enough by itself to take out an AVANGAR side that’s been putting in progressively worse performances over the course of the event, especially with AdreN clearly not performing to his potential.
The fairytale story of the small CIS side may very well spiral out of control here after running into yet another top ten team in the world (the fourth so far!) at the New Legends Stage. There’s little to suggest they can answer s1mple’s brilliance who’s clearly come to play even if it wasn’t enough to carry his team across the finish line yesterday. Even if it’s a best-of-one, DreamEaters’ loss to Astralis showed that they don’t have a deep enough playbook to stay afloat against well-prepared teams like these.
The fact that the Ninjas couldn’t take out MIBR with zews on the servers is a concern, and highlights the fragile nature of playing with a loanee IGL in the form of GoldeN. Seeing how impressive CR4ZY’s run has been so far in the event – even if they were clearly outclassed by Liquid –, it makes sense that the bookies are treating them as a huge favorite for this one.
Both of these teams underperformed in the opening round of the New Legends Stage, losing to 16-8 and 16-9 respectively against sides that were there for the taking. Vitality has been floundering so far and mouz had a pristine 6/6 map record against FaZe since karrigan’s departure from the star-studded side. These losses should be a cause for concern for both sides. The Danes have already lost to mousesports in the Europe minor (16-11 on Inferno and 16-7 on Mirage), it’s one of the few matchups where they don’t have an advantage in the IGL department, they’re arguably more fragile mentally (which matters having to handle a heavy defeat and falling to the 0-1 bracket), plus mouz have a Vertigo curveball up their sleeve. We think the young guns will amend for yesterday’s failings.
It’s a North American barnburner between the kings and the pretenders, but even considering we’re still in best-of-one territory where technically anything can happen, NRG has not shown enough spice to make them worthy challenges for this one.
It’s an underperforming Vitality against an overperforming FaZe for this one, and the fact that the international squad pulled off such a comprehensive victory without NiKo popping off should be terrifying. With the Frenchmen not performing to the best of their abilities so far (except ZywOo and NBK-, of course), FaZe can very well take this one.
The Finns decimated AVANGAR in the opening game and have a pretty good record against even the full-strength Brazilian roster, let alone one hindered by the presence of zews. It should be pretty EZ 4 ENCE.
In the end, gla1ve and co. were fine against DreamEaters though not quite their old world-beating selves and it remains to be seen where their ceiling is. Meanwhile, this might be the best G2 we’ve seen on a big stage since the Swiss rounds of the Boston major, and this being a best-of-one, we can actually see an upset happening here.
Odds are, of course, subject to change.
(Photo credit: HLTV)