PGL Major Antwerp teams preview: Legends
Twistzz FaZe Clan RMR
Provided by PGL

PGL Major Antwerp teams preview: Legends

One of three previews for the teams qualified for the upcoming CS:GO major

PGL Major Antwerp 2022 is slated to begin with the Challengers stage on May 9, but teams with Legends status do not play until May 14. Until then, these legends will bide their time and prepare for the competition fighting to meet them.

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This teams preview series is to get you acquainted with all 32 of the teams at Antwerp. This is the third preview and focuses on the teams that had the best performances at the Regional Major Ranking events — those with Legends status. They qualified from Asia-Pacific, Americas and Europe and now await the eight best teams from the Challengers stage.

Heroic
cadian Antwerp Major RMR A
Casper “cadiaN” Møller at the PGL Major Antwerp 2022 European RMR A. | Photo by João Ferreira. Provided by PGL.

There are only a couple surprises in terms of teams that have made it to the PGL Major Antwerp with Legends status. Heroic are not one of them. Over the past couple years, Heroic have consistently been a top five team, sometimes higher. They demonstrated that pedigree at the RMR A, where they went 3-0, taking a 2-1 match victory over Natus Vincere to cap the event off.

What Casper “cadiaN” Møller and his team of fiery Danes need more than anything else is a big event win. They’ve shown they can compete with the best but have had difficulties being the best. That’s especially true for LAN and in-arena matches. Even still, this is a team that’s got talent. If momentum is in their favor, they’re a dark horse to win the whole damn thing.

Copenhagen Flames

There’s something about Copenhagen Flames and majors that just elevates their play. This is the second major where the Flames catapulted through the RMR event in style. Their performance at the Intel Extreme Masters Fall RMR ahead of PGL Major Stockholm 2021 is what brought this team into the public eye in the first place.

The Flames had a phenomenal showing at Stockholm, falling short to Ninjas in Pyjamas just shy of the playoffs. Since then, they’ve had their fair share of difficulties, none of which were evident in their dominant performance in RMR B. They even finished with an upset win over NiP, perhaps expelling some of their demons from Stockholm. Jakob “Jabbi” Nygaard in particular looked like a true superstar.

BIG
BIG PGL Major Antwerp RMR A
BIG celebrate at the PGL Major Antwerp 2022 European RMR A. | Photo by João Ferreira. Provided by PGL.

The second of the two “surprise” teams to net themselves Legends status, BIG looked unstoppable at the RMR A. They beat FaZe Clan in their deciding match in a 2-0 upset. Florian “syrsoN” Rische had a good event, which is pivotal for BIG. The team’s AWPer hasn’t been able to recapture his peak form for a while now.

But even considering syrsoN’s strong play, it was Karim “Krimbo” Moussa who stole the show. The young German rifler, promoted from BIG Academy on trial, absolutely chewed through his opponents.

BIG are a team that have vacillated between being a top five team and a tier 2 team rapidly over the past few years. They’ve brought in some fresh blood for Johannes “tabseN” Wodarz to work with, and the result could be a rejuvenated BIG that can threaten the best teams at Antwerp.

Cloud9

Shortly after the conclusion of RMR B, Cloud9 bought Players, who were formerly under Gambit Esports. This marked a return of the North American organization back into the Counter-Strike: Global Offensive scene. What this means for Vladislav “nafany” Gorshkov and co. is they will have the backing of an org as they head to PGL Major Antwerp as Legends.

Like Heroic, Cloud9 have been a consistent top five team over the past couple years. They too have struggled following the end of the “online era” of CS:GO. It’s hard to put faith in the team netting themselves a trophy at Antwerp, but they’re a pretty safe bet to make the playoffs.

FURIA Esports
FURIA RMR Americas
FURIA Esports at the PGL Major Antwerp 2022 Americas RMR. | Provided by PGL.

At the Americas RMR, FURIA Esports made a case that for themselves as the best team in the region. They beat out fellow Brazilians MIBR for the sole Legends spot. They’ve also been more consistent than Team Liquid, who have been their biggest competition in the Americas recently.

Yuri “yuurih” Boian and Kaike “KSCERATO” Cerato continue to be one of the deadliest duos in Counter-Strike. If you had to pick one of the handful of Brazilian teams at Antwerp to go far, FURIA are your safest bet. Can they win it all? It’s unlikely but far from impossible.

FaZe Clan

FaZe Clan are the No. 1 team in the world and favorites to win the trophy at Antwerp. Although the team drops maps from time to time, they have clearly looked like the best team in the world in the crunch moments. Coming off back-to-back firsts at ESL Pro League Season 15 and IEM Katowice, FaZe have had the special stuff needed to close out the big matches.

On paper, the team is as scary as they are in the server. You’ve got one of the greatest in-game leaders of all time in Finn “karrigan” Andersen. He’s calling the shots for three bonafide superstars: Russel “Twistzz” Van Dulken, Helvijs “broky” Saukants and Robin “ropz” Kool. Finally, there’s the glue guy, Håvard “rain” Nygaard, who does the dirty jobs without complaint. It’s a winning formula.

Ninjas in Pyjamas

Ninjas in Pyjamas took a big leap when they decided to sign Ludvig “Brollan” Brolin ahead of Antwerp. The star rifler was arguably the best Swede not already on NiP’s roster.

Thus far, the move has looked like the right one. Still, it’s hard to look past the absence of Nicolai “dev1ce” Reedtz and a true AWPer coming into the major. Patrick “es3tag” Hansen has been filling the role admirably, but star AWPers have a tendency to define matches. It’s hard to put too much faith in the Swedes making a deep run, but maybe they can prove everyone wrong.

Natus Vincere
s1mple PGL Major Antwerp RMR A
Oleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev at the Antwerp European RMR A.| Photo by Stefan Petrescu. Provided by PGL.

Natus Vincere, the reigning major winners from Stockholm, haven’t looked themselves in recent months. That’s understandable given that the Ukrainian org and players —  Oleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev and Valerii “b1t” Vakhovskyi — have had a lot of external circumstances to cope with as the invasion of their home country rages on.

In spite of the shakiness at ESL Pro League and IEM Katowice, Na’Vi qualified as Legends with only one minor snafu when they lost to Heroic. Despite a lack of practice time in the server, s1mple was an absolute beast at the RMR.

Even though FaZe will be the favorites at Antwerp, no one is counting out Na’Vi. If the team can mentally distance themselves from external events while they’re in the server and recapture the suffocating form they had in 2021, this is easily a team that can go back-to-back.

Author
Image of Coby Zucker
Coby Zucker
Coby Zucker is Upcomer's resident CS:GO writer. He's also played League of Legends at the collegiate level and is a frequent visitor in TFT Challenger Elo. He's a firm believer that Toronto should be the next big esports hub city.