The first teams were sent packing in round 3. Let's find out who will be going home disappointed.
The games in round 3 were not as close as some from the past rounds, but there was still a great deal of triumph, drama, and heartbreak in Atlanta on Saturday. Let’s check out some of the highlights from the day and analyze the remaining matches in the field.
GODSENT > HellRaisers 16-11
The Swedish team has had its fair share of issues since the roster swap with fnatic dropped both teams down in the rankings. In this qualifier, the team leader pronax assured the scene that their problems are now in the past, and that they “always had the major spot”, by comfortably going 3-0 (in a statistical anomaly, they actually went 16-11 in all of their matches). JW was a beast in this one; HR had no answer for his aggressive AWP pushes. All the fans will now hope for an epic fnatic – GODSENT clash at the major next month. HellRaisers, on the other hand, will be trying to pinpoint where their success came from in their first 2 matches, as they routinely got overpowered on the easier train CT side and couldn’t string any rounds together on the attack. They still only need one win, and will look to get it against Optic in round 4.
FaZe > Immortals 16-11
The other team that qualified for the major today was the Euro mix in another second half blowout. The most fascinating trait of Faze is that any of their players can go off at any time. Of the three maps played, allu top fragged in the first, karrigan in the second, and aizy in the third. Immortals can take solace in the fact that they couldn’t crack the defense of what has looked like the strongest team in this qualifier. Steel had a great game, and he’ll have to bring the same fragging power against mousesports on Sunday.
Cloud 9 > Renegades 16-9
I wanted to touch on a few key topics from this match:
1) I hate to sound like a C9 fanboy, but this match would have been a much bigger blowout if it weren’t for 2 rounds in which multiple C9 players were dropped from the game and which were not replayed due to too much time elapsing. To have these technical issues occur at a qualifier in ultimately inconsequential rounds is one thing. However, it is imperative that ELeague get its act together in time for the major in 1 month. Could you imagine a situation like the one today, where C9 instantly goes from a man up to a man down for no reason, except it's match point of the grand final? And having that decide a round, let alone a tournament? Me neither – it just can’t be allowed to happen. Semmler likened these connection drops to a tennis player’s shoelaces coming untied mid-point. It’s much more severe - like a tennis player being up 30-0 in a game, having one of their shoes vanish completely during a rally, and the chair ump not letting him get a new pair until after his serve is broken. Totally unacceptable from a tournament perspective.
2) If Cloud 9 manage to claw back from 0-2 and secure a major spot, autimatic will be the MVP of this tournament. He top fragged again in this match and was one kill away from his third straight 3 bomb. His performance over the last several months, especially in important situations like this one, has certainly put him in the running for inclusion in the top 10 players of the year, if not top 5.
3) Renegades will have the holidays to reflect on a tournament filled with utter disappointment. They were pretty much dominated from start to finish against NiP and Cloud 9, and of course had the choke of the weekend against CLG. At the very least, an honest reassessment of the team’s tactics is overdue after tallying an abysmal 12 rounds over 3 terrorist sides. An Aussie shuffle might occur in the near future as well.
Cloud 9 plays CLG in an American elimination challenge on Sunday.
Qualified teams – GODSENT, FaZe
Eliminated teams – Renegades, Spirit
I have to admit that my predictions have been terrible so far in this tournament. Hopefully I can make up for it in this next round!
OpTic > HellRaisers
Is HR losing steam? They weren’t able to rally the same way they did in round 2. I don’t know if that’s cause for concern, but what I do know is that RUSH is a better aimer than anyone on their team. If mixwell or tarik contributes alongside him, I see Optic just outskilling their opponents in this one.
G2 > Dignitas
These teams look incredibly even right now. Both lost to GODSENT, and both beat up on a weak CIS team. This match is a toss-up, but I’m giving the edge to G2 for 1 reason: shox looks lethal this weekend, and I don’t think anyone on dig can match up to him.
EnVyUs > Tyloo
So much for the pride of China rolling through the rest of this tournament! Tyloo was steamrolled by mouz on train today in an utter defensive collapse. NV, on the other hand, destroyed a weak Spirit team. The trends will continue in this one. But disclaimer: watch out, because if anyone can shake off a 16-3 loss, it’s Tyloo.
NiP > Vega Squadron
The only people who picked NiP to be 1-2 after three rounds of this qualifier are Norwegians and fnatic fans. The Swedes had a tough OT loss and a difficult round 3 matchup, but get a respite against the weakest team left in the tournament. Expect them to move into the final round.
Cloud 9 > CLG
One year ago, these two teams were dueling for North American dominance. They have since been eclipsed, first by Liquid, then by Optic. One thing has stayed the same though – C9 have had CLG’s number, winning the last 8 maps against them. The winning streak stays alive in this one, and C9 moves from 0-2 to 2-2
Immortals > mousesports
Mousesports showed how dominant they can be against Tyloo. The issue for them is that IMT is much more consistent than the Chinese team. These teams have only played 2 mirage games and split the wins, making their history unreliable. This is going to be another close match, but I see the Brazilians getting in mouz’s head, either through a clutch or eco win, and their willpower pushing them through to the major. I would not be surprised if this went to OT though.
I won’t have time to do the same kind of blog for the 5th round, so this will be my last post for the qualifier. Based on my predictions, the 4 teams left in round 5 would be NiP, HR, C9, and mouz. I think HR would have to play C9 in that case, since they already played the other two. If that happens, I'm picking NiP > mouz, and HR > C9 for the last 2 spots. I hope you guys have enjoyed these write-ups and I anticipate being back around for the major!
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