IEM Katowice 2019 Closed Qualifiers Preview And Predictions

After finishing all the regional qualifiers from around the world, we already know the 24 teams that will compete in the IEM Katowice 2019 . The first major of this 2019 will have the not insignificant figure of one million dollars in cash prizes.

In the past weeks, several teams around the world in different regions competed in the minor qualifiers of  IEM Katowice 2019, with the intention of participating in the great major of Counter Strike: Global Offensive, which will begin in February, and in which a million dollars will be distributed from the prize pool.

In the IEM Katowice 2019 only 24 teams will participate, and at the start there were already 10 classified teams while the rest made their way from the qualifiers.

Will 2019 still be the year of Astralis?

As mentioned, there are already several teams that have secured their participation in the February Major, and these are Natus Vincere, MiBR, Team Liquid, CompLexity Gaming, BIG, HellRaisers, FaZe Clan, NiP, FNATIC, G2 Esports, Vega Squadron, Cloud9 , TyLoo , and of course the great favorite and unanimously proclaimed as the best team of 2018, Astralis , which will be feared by everyone.

The team that managed to secure qualification a few days ago are: ENCE eSports, Team Vitality, NRG Esports, Team Spirit, AVANGAR, Grayhound Gaming, Renegades, FURIA Esports and Winstrike Team.

The Chinese ViCi team was the last team to get the pass to the Intel Extreme Masters after defeating North 2-0 in the final qualifier.

We will see some of the best team in the  competitive world of CS: GO at the IEM Katowice 2019, since the grand final will be held on March 3. This championship counts for the Intel Grand Slam, the prize won by Astralis in 2018.

IEM Katowice 2019 will adopt a renewed format

The ten teams classified through the Minors plus the teams that were between the ninth and fourteenth place in the FACEIT Major will compete in a phase called Challengers Stage. This stage will be played in Swiss, the best of three (BO3) form  and the top eight will qualify for the next phase, where teams wait for the Legends Stage.

In this second phase, formed by 16 teams, eight of them will be classified for the final phase called Championship Stage. The objective of this renewed format is to make the competition fairer, where teams must never base their success on matches in the best of one format.

The days in which the different phases of the Major will be played are the following:

⇒ Challengers Stage: will be held at the ESL studios and will take place in Poland between February 13 and 17.

⇒ Legends Stage: will be held between February 20 and 24 at the ICC Katowice.

⇒ Champions Stage: will be played between February 28 and March 3 at the Spodek Arena.

So will Astralis continue its dominance at the Grand Slam events, or will they slip up? Like they did a couple of weeks ago at the IBUYPOWER Masters. One time will tell.

iBUYPOWER Masters 2019 Preview And Predictions

The iBUYPOWER Masters 2019 will be the first major Counter-Strike tournament of 2019 and will feature a some of the best teams in the competitive world of CS:GO. The competition takes place in Los Angeles, United States, on January 19 and 20. The prize fund of the competition will be $ 200 thousand where the lion’s share of the prize pool $ 100,000 will be awarded to the winner of the competition. Of the top 10 ranked teams Astralis, FaZe Clan, Team Liquid and Fnatic will be competing in LA.

Two Titles In December For Astralis

2018 has been an unstoppable for Astralis. In the month of December, they continued to assert their dominance where they managed to lift a couple of titles. In the mid week of December, they achieved an incredible feat in the Danish town of Odense, in the finals of the eighth season of the ESL Pro League, a triumph against Team Liquid that also made them the first winners of the Intel Grand Slam.

For the second time in the history of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, a team has managed to win the two seasons of the ESL Pro League. Fnatic did it in 2015 and in 2018 the feat was achieved by Astralis after beating Team Liquid in the final by 3 to 1 , with a lineup that worked like a Swiss clock and didn’t give options to its rivals. Again,  Nicolai ‘ dev1ce ‘ Reedtz was the MVP of the competition, an achievement he is used to as the player with the most awards of this category in the history of the Valve shooter.

Then a week later, Astralis beat Natus Vincere in the final tournament of the BLAST Pro Series: Lisbon 2018. The meeting ended with a score of 2: 1.  This was the 10th title for Astralis in 2018. In addition, the team became the first winner of the Intel Grand Slam and received $ 1 million. So, with such formidable stats we bid Astralis to be the favourites of the competition.

Look into Brazil

Brazil will be represented by Luminosity Gaming, which recently replaced yeL by boltz . The competition marks the debut of Jacky “Stewie2K” Yip for Liquid. The former MIBR player was involved in an exchange deal where the North American team gave zews and TACO to the Brazilian team.

AdreN is 5th?

After much anticipation, a few hours ago FaZe has confirmed the announcement of the 5th man. As AdreN, ex-Gambit player, has joined one of the most successful teams in the competitive landscape. The new coach of the team is Yanko YNk Paunovich.

Rumors about signing AdreN appeared in late December. Many fans in the community took the news of the transfer as a joke. However, now the player himself has confirmed his transition. They will be aiming for a strong finish at iBUYPOWER Masters 2019.

Odds on bet365

  • Astralis – 1.66
  • Team Liquid – 6.00
  • FaZe Clan – 7.50
  • Fnatic – 15.00
  • CompLexity Gaming – 17.00
  • Cloud9 – 17.00
  • Luminosity Gaming – 21.00
  • Ghost Gaming – 34.00

CSGO – DreamHack Open Winter 2018 Preview

Sweden is all set to host one of the most anticipated competitions of 2018, The DreamHack Open Winter 2018 CS: GO. In a matter of day we will be seeing some of the most talented lineups of CS:GO in the West.

$100, 000 dollars will be on the line, form which the winner will get the lion’s share. Jönköping, Sweden will be hosting the DreamHack tournament from 30th November to 2nd December. Six teams have been invited by the organizers while two teams have made their way through the regional qualifiers. Bravado have emerged from the NA qualifiers, while from the European qualifiers, we will see x6tence Galaxy. One of the interesting facts is that the lineup of Bravado is based on all South African team but the teams still based in West and choses to compete in NA tournaments. Meanwhile x6tence Galaxy made their way to the main stage by beating one of the invited teams so don’t underestimate the composure of the European side.

Now let’s have a look into the format of the competition. The first stage will be the group stage, where the eight competing teams have been divided into two groups, consisting of four team in each of them. The matches of the first day, the opening match and the winner’s matches are set to follow the Best-of-one format. While the elimination and the tiebreaker matches will be played in the Best-of-three matches. Only two teams from each group will progress to the playoffs stage including the grand finale of the competition which will follow the traditional Best-of-three single elimination format.

Let’s have a look at some of the teams that are the favourites to win the competition:

ENCE eSports

Ence eSports is one of the favourites to lift the title and the have all the right to do so. Since the mid of 2018, the team have been performing quite impressively.  In 2018 they won three titles, ASUS ROG Finnish Championship 2018, StarSeries & i-League CS:GO Season 6 and Assembly GameXpo 2018. They even finished Runner ups in the DreamHack Open Montreal 2018. So it time for them to take redemption of the grand final defeat.

OpTiC Gaming

The other candidate for the title is Optic Gaming. The Danish lineup hosts some of the most talented players of the game. However, the team has not lived up to its expectations. The biggest achievement of the side this year is finishing at 2nd place at the cs_summit 3. They are rated as the favourites in this competition, because it hosts emerging teams and since Optic is a well experienced team, they will be looking to beat the rookies and make their way to the grand finale.

Heroic

The last true candidate for the title in our opinion is Heroic. Since on the minor level the team has shown impressive results all year long. They won the TOYOTA Master CS:GO Bangkok 2018 and Games Clash Masters 2018. The team includes one of the most experienced players of the game, Friberg who will surely be looking to lift another title this year.

Odds on gg.bet

  • ENCE – 3.75
  • OpTic – 4.5
  • LDLC – 4.5
  • Heroic – 7.5
  • complexity – 8.5
  • G2 – 9
  • x6tence Galaxy – 15
  • Bravado – 30

Dota 2 Kuala Lumpur Major Preview

On November 9, the first Major of the season will begin, The Kuala Lumpur Major. The best Tier 1 teams will be present in this tournament.

The event will take place in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, at the Axiata Arena. The 16 participating teams will face each other for a prize pool of one million dollars and 15,000 points from the Dota Pro Circuit.

As a novelty this year, no team comes to the official tournaments by direct invitation . All the teams have had to go through some regional qualifiers to obtain their place. The European teams that will be competing are Team Secret, Ninjas in Pajamas and Alliance. Representing CIS will be Virtus.pro and Gambit Esports. From China, PSG.LGD, Vici Gaming and Team Aster arrive. Fnatic and TNC Predator represent Southeast Asia. Three teams from North America Evil Geniuses, Forward Gaming and J.Storm. Lastly, paiN Gaming and paiN X will be representing South American region.

To finish the team formation, the winning team of the Dream League S10, Tigers will also be present. Tournament that had the category of Minor and whose winner, Tigers have received the direct invite for the Major. This team was known to everyone only five days before the start of the event. Let’s have a look at the three potential winners of the upcoming Major.

Team Secret

Secret will surely be the best contender to lift the title. The team was quite phenomenal in the ESL Hamburg. They might had a rough start in the playoffs, which got them dropped in the lower bracket. But from there the team simply went on a rampage. They didn’t dropped a single game until they got to the grand finale.

In the grand finals against Vici Gaming, they simply evolved to the playing strategy of the team and completely destroyed the entire team in the last game without any deaths on their team. The Mercedes winner, MidOne will also be aiming to enforce his superiority in the mid lane.

Virtus.Pro

After a disappointing run in the International, VP will looking to get back to its title winning ways. The team was exceptional in the 2017-2018 DPC. They won almost every tournament and was the first team to secure the direct invite to TI.

The team hasn’t gone any change in the roster and will surely be aiming to get on a winning note. If everything goes well, the grand finale finish is guaranteed for the Russian organization.

PSG.LGD

LGD was nowhere to be seen last year before their partnership with PSG who were looking to get back in pro Dota. This partnership flourished and PSG won almost everything.

The team was amongst the Top 3 teams to lift the TI title. They had a very good run until they were beaten by the current champions OG,  2-3. This grand finals were one of the most promising games of the tournament. So PSG.LGD should have learned from their mistakes and will surely have eyes on the first Major title.

Odds on GG.bet

  • Team Secret – 4.50
  • Evil Geniuses – 5.00
  • PSG.LGD – 5.50
  • Virtus.Pro – 4.00
  • Vici Gaming – 6.00
  • Ninjas in Pyjamas – 10.00
  • Forward Gaming – 8.50
  • Team Aster – 9.00
  • Fnatic – 12.00
  • TNC Predator – 20.00
  • Alliance – 30.00
  • paiN Gaming – 30.00
  • paiN X – 75.00
  • ferzee – 50.00
  • Marchoutofarmy – 50.00

Dota 2 ESL One Hamburg 2018 Preview

ESL One Hamburg 2018

Once again, Hamburg will become the focal point for eSports enthusiasts and fans with ESL One Dota 2 returning to the well-known metropolis and offering the largest Dota 2 event in Europe. 16 teams will compete against each other for six days. Compared to the previous year, this time the number of participants has doubled.

In 2017, the event was held in the Hamburg Barclaycard Arena and this year, the ESL One returns to the renowned site. In contrast to the previous year, the entire event was extended to six days owing to the high popularity of competition in the EU region.

Last year over 10,000 fans watched the event live over a four-day period. In the end, Virtus.Pro beat Team Secret 2-0 and topped Europe’s Dota 2 Champion.

Let’s take a look at this year’s potential contenders who might lift up the trophy.

Team Secret

This year, Secret might not be the reigning champions, but by many bookmakers, they have been rated as the favorites to lift the title. Team Secret has been one of the few teams that have improved just after The International break. All eyes will be on Nisha who will be playing his first competitive competition under a big organization.

Just a couple of weeks ago, they won the Singtel PVP Esports Championship. So it is fair to say that they are the strongest side in EU since other big teams have not participated in any competition or have been eliminated early just like the TI7 champions Team Liquid who are nowhere to be seen at the moment.

Team Secret Dota 2
Credits: GameAxis

Evil Geniuses

Apart from Team Secret, Evil Geniuses and Virtus.Pro are also tipped to be the future champions. For Evil Geniuses, this will a difficult feat since yesterday the organization has announced that they will be playing with a stand-in. So this a huge blow to their title ambition since their first choice, Sumail will not be playing. Sumail was arguably the best player at the TI8. Playing without him won’t help EG’s title ambitions.

https://twitter.com/EvilGeniuses/status/1053640054122467329

Virtus.Pro

For Virtus.Pro, we know that they are the reigning champions. So, the Russian organization should be placed first but that is not the case. The lineup failed to perform at the biggest Dota 2 competition in the World, The International. Before the start of the competition, Virtus.Pro was tippled by many to lift the trophy but they were knocked out in the quarterfinals. Despite the Post-TI results, they have not made any roster changes and surely are a big contender for the title. But their lack of consistency might not get them the title victory.

Ninjas in Pyjamas

The team led by the former TI champion, Peter “ppd” Dager is another team to watch out at the main stage. Ninjas in Pyjamas received the direct invitation to the event due to their excellent performance after the Post-TI. The lineup is a mixture of former Team Secret and OpTic Gaming players. The chemistry between the players is top-notch and ppd will be aiming to secure the title under his belt.

Ninjas in Pyjamas Dota 2
Credits: ggScore

Odds on GG.bet

  • Evil Geniuses – 3.50
  • Virtus.Pro – 4.00
  • Team Secret – 4.50
  • Ninjas in Pyjamas – 8.00
  • Alliance – 13.00
  • Forward Gaming – 13.00
  • Vici Gaming – 15.00
  • Team Aster – 15.00
  • TnC Predator – 17.00
  • paiN Gaming – 31.00
  • CompLexity Gaming – 34.00
  • Mineski – 34.00