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After eleven days of exciting Counter-Strike action, the Champions Stage at the FACEIT London Major is ready. There were some huge upsets, big blowouts, and some incredible comebacks. However, only eight teams could make it to the final stage. Unfortunately, we would have to say goodbye to some of our favorite teams in the process. Some organizations were very disappointing, where others can leave the tournament with their head held high.
For example, Mousesports was a big favorite to reach the Top Eight, but they were one of the worst teams in the Legends Stage. They would have the worst round win/loss ratios, with an abysmal 26-48. On the other hand, Ninjas in Pyjamas would have a resurgence during the London Major, finding form that they have not shown in many tournaments. Their veteran players in Patrik “f0rest” Lindberg and Christopher “GeT_RiGhT” Alesund were playing like their former selves. If they can continue this rate of improvement, watch out for NiP to make a big splash at the next big tournament.
Now, let’s move on to the best eight teams at the FACEIT London Major.
— FACEIT (@FACEIT) September 16, 2018
HellRaisers have been looking pretty decent through the Legends Stage, with some good wins against Cloud9, TYLOO, and Fnatic. However, it is clear that their success hinges on the success of their dynamic duo, Özgür “woxic” Eker and Issa “ISSAA” Murad. In games where woxic and ISSAA both have high frag totals, they usually end in victories. Unfortunately, when one of the two players are struggling, it is unlikely that HellRaisers can find success. For example, in their loss against BIG, ISSAA was playing pretty well. However, woxic could not find a foothold throughout the game and would finish with the lowest average damage per round (ADR) in the server. Luckily, some of their other members have been stepping up lately, like Vlаdуslаv “bondik” Nеchуроrchuk in their win against Fnatic.
When MIBR is all together, they are one of the scariest teams at the London Major. Superstar Marcelo “coldzera” David is heating up at the perfect time, securing himself 70 kills in their match against NiP. Even their in-game leader, Gabriel “FalleN” Toledo, has found some fragging success. This will only prove positive for them moving forward, as they will need everyone clicking on all cylinders. We have seen when they aren’t playing on the same page.
MIBR was at the mercy of Astralis in their Legends Stage matchup, where they would not even win a single round. They would also allow TYLOO to come back into a game where at one point, they were up 11-2. They have shown multiple weaknesses that, if repeated, will be their downfall against the best the London Major has to offer. Again, I think that they need to see more from their new additions, Jacky “Stewie2K” Yip and Tarik “tarik” Celik.
6. FaZe Clan
FaZe would start off their Legends Stage with a lopsided loss against BIG and a tightly contested loss to Natus Vincere. Luckily, they would bounce back and win three games in a row versus Mousesports, TYLOO and G2 Esports. Granted, they might have had one of the tougher first two games compared to most of the eight. Still, FaZe are looking poised to win the Major and capture the elusive Intel Grand Slam title. They will need continued brilliance from their star Nikola “NiKo” Kovač. Their AWPer Ladislav “GuardiaN” Kovács has been playing pretty well recently, leading the team with a 102.5 ADR in their dominant win against TYLOO.
BIG would have a pretty easy draw for the Challenger Stage. However, their Legends Stage would be a pretty good indicator of their London Major chances. The German-based team would take down FaZe Clan, HellRaisers, and TYLOO pretty easily. The only weakness they seem to have right now is compLexity Gaming, who looks very strong in their own right. Their star British AWPer Owen “smooya” Butterfield has been playing exceptionally throughout the tournament, leading the Legends Stage with an HLTV rating of 1.54. The big problem they have is the lack of support for Smooya. They need Johannes “tabseN” Wodarz and Tizian “tiziaN” Feldbusch to step up in a significant way. It is not realistic to think that smooya can carry this team through the toughest part of the London Major.
4. compLexity Gaming
It’s hard not to buy into the miracle run that compLexity Gaming has created for themselves. They would only drop one game through the Challenger Stage and Legends Stage against Astralis, but they have had some pretty impressive performances throughout the tournament. In the Legends Stage, they were able to defeat Fnatic, G2 Esports and BIG, three teams who are no easy feat. Beating BIG with an in-form Owen “smooya” Butterfield is a tough task to bear, and yet they were able to do it. In-game leader Peter “stanislaw” Jarguz and Shahzeeb “ShahZaM” Khan are in the top eight for player ratings in the Legends Stage. compLexity will need them to continue their strong play if they want any chance of making it far in the London Major.
3. Natus Vincere
I can see Na’Vi going to the London Major Grand Finals with the way they are playing. During the Legends Stage, they would barely miss on a win against Astralis. The CIS powerhouse would then take down FaZe Clan, Ninjas in Pyjamas and Fnatic in pretty convincing fashion. Both of Na’Vi’s stars, Oleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev, and Denis “electronic” Sharipov, have been playing at an impressive rate. They are second and third respectively in the HLTV rating leaderboards for the Legends Stage. Again, their FACEIT London Major hopes ride on their shoulders, but the rest of the team must show up as well. One player who needs to find his form again is Ioann “Edward” Sukhariev, who has been disappointing with his recent games.
The Kings of the World have been dethroned for now. However, they are still arguably the best team in the World and must be treated as such. Nicolai “dev1ce” Reedtz is still as deadly as ever with his AWP, and they are coming off of a surgical win against MIBR. They actually did not drop a single round in that game. Therefore, the momentum from a match like that will be great for team morale. They have shown that they can bleed, as losses to Team Liquid and Ninjas in Pyjamas have exemplified. All in all, Astralis is still the huge favorite heading into the FACEIT London Major Finals.
1. Team Liquid
And suddenly, the student bests the teacher. Team Liquid would finally take down Astralis to strip themselves the title of “American Astralis”, for now at least. They have been playing some of the best Counter-Strike we have seen from this roster. Also, Russel “Twistzz” Van Dulken and Keith “NAF” Markovic are solidifying themselves as two of the best young players in the world. Team Liquid has also gone undefeated through the FACEIT London Major, a testament to their dominance. They haven’t had an easy road to the Champions Stage either. For example, they have had to play against Astralis, Ninjas in Pyjamas and HellRaisers, and they beat them all. The whole team has locked down their calm, calculating style of play and right now it is hard to beat.
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