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Natus Vincere vs Astralis: Esports Betting Analysis @ FaceIT London Major

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Sponsored by ArcaneBet

This betting prediction is sponsored by ArcaneBet, an esports bookie with a betting platform where you can bet on your favourite teams across multiple esports titles—including DoTA 2, CS: GO, League of Legends, Vain Glory, Call of Duty, and more. Want to gamble on the winner of the match? The winner of the first map or the team to get the first kill/round? ArcaneBet is the way to master your trade as one of the best bettors and predictors worldwide.

Use code 100ARCANE on your first deposit to get an extra 100 EUR/120 USD on your bet

The FaceIT Major is currently underway with 16 of the top teams in attendance at the New legends stage. Eight of these teams are from the previous major, having secured their Legends status at that Major. The remaining eight fought their way through the New Challengers stage and ensured their place in the top 16. But in order to be truly immortalised in Counter-Strike, the teams need to ensure a place in the New Champions stage. They need to have a good performance in this Major in order to secure the Legends status for themselves.

The FaceIT Major Legends Stage will be held at the Twickenham stadium, the same venue as The New Challengers stage. This stage uses the Swiss format with each team having to win 3 matches in order to proceed to the next stage. At the same time, each team with 3 losses is out of the tournament.

We hope FaceIT has fixed the various PC issues that have plagued the CS:GO teams during the Challengers stage. Valve recently released a hotfix for the ‘footsteps audio’ issue where players would not be able to hear footsteps close to them.

Format

The New Legends Stage: September 12th – 16th, 2018

  • 16 Team Swiss System Format
  • Round 1 to 4 matches are Bo1
  • Round 5 matches are Bo3
  • The Buchholz system is used to seed matches from Rounds 3 to 5
  • Top 8 Teams proceed to The New Champions Stage
  • Bottom 8 Teams are eliminated
  • Click here for a detailed explanation of the Swiss System format

 

Broadcast Talent

 

  • Desk Host:
  • Stage Host:
  • Interviewer:
    • Pala (Pala Gilroy Sen)

Observer:

Natus Vincere

Na’Vi roster:

  • S1mple
  • Electronic
  • Edward
  • Flamie
  • Zeus

Natus Vincere is one of the top teams in Counter-Strike. They have a rich history and their potential for the future looks even brighter. With two of the best players in the world, S1mple and Electronic on their active roster this team has a lot of potential on paper. However, they have not been able to convert it into results and that is a sore point in their performance.

S1mple joined Na’Vi after a very controversial past with regards to his attitude within the game. The veterans on the Na’Vi roster were able to mould S1mple into being the team player that he is today. His ability to understand the situation of the round and control his movements across the map is something that was a recent addition to the player’s skill set. S1mple remains a player with a lot of firepower and he can single-handedly turn the outcome of a match. He often plays within the confines of the team’s tactics in order to ensure a better team-play and overall coordination. As we have seen multiple times in the past, we have seen S1mple performing really well on an individual level. However, the team does not always live up to his standards which is why they often fail.

The world’s best player: S1mple

Na’Vi is a team that relies heavily on individual performances while striving towards ensuring better team play and coordination. They added Electronic to their team very recently and that is a smart move. Electronic has shown us glimpses of what he is capable of recently. Regularly posting 30 or more frags in matches, Electronic is able to have a big impact on the team’s performance. Recently, he has been improving his individual performance. Electronic and S1mple form the perfect duo who can help Na’Vi become a top-tier team once again.

However, for Na’Vi the bigger problem lies in their map pool and team synergy. The top teams in Counterstrike Global Offensive [ read Astralis and Faze Clan] have very deep map pools. Ofcourse a lot of it had to do with Valve’s decision to remove Cobblestone from the active duty map pool. But regardless, if Na’Vi is to compete at the top level and remain consistent, they need to be able to start winning on a variety of maps. A match’s result can often be decided in the veto phase itself as some teams are just too good on certain maps. But a team like Astralis will always pose a challenge, no matter which map is selected.

S1mple believes Electronic will be the MVP at FaceIT London Major

Na’Vi won three consecutive tournaments recently, which has sparked hopes that the team can pose a serious threat at the FaceIT London Major. However, two of these tournaments were with relatively weaker teams which definitely puts a marker on this performance. Na’Vi is always the team that can defeat the best teams in the world, but they lack the consistency to do it on a regular basis. It is important for a team to be consistent in order to be considered a top three ranked team.

 

Astralis

Astralis Roster:

  • Device
  • Dupreeh
  • Glaive
  • Xyp9x
  • Magisk

The Danish powerhouse has been the dominant team in CS: GO for some time now. They did not have a good run at the Eleague Boston major. This led to a roster change with Kjaerbye no longer with the team. However, this proved to be a boon for the Astralis roster since they actually improved their results with the new team. Magisk brought on a lot of firepowers, but he also allowed for changes in the roles.

 

Glaive is key to Astralis tactical advantage over other teams

Glaive as the In-game leader is crucial to Astralis’ success as a CS: GO, team. In terms of skill, they are as good as some of the other teams in the scene, however, Glaive’s excellent mid-round calls make up for any potential disadvantage. The core of the roster has been playing together for quite some time. Their level of comfort is unprecedented in esports, so it becomes natural for them to focus on developing the team synergy and coordination. Glaive has excellent control over the team’s game flow and their movement across the map. But what makes the Astralis roster thrive is their ability to change the plan mid-round. It is not always that Astralis gets everything according to plan. So when something goes into in their favour, they take some time to reassess the situation, enemy positions and their strengths. All of this is done within seconds as they have to plan their next attack.

Astralis quickly picked up where they left off with Magisk (credit: StarLadder)

The Astralis roster is possible for its success mainly due to the skill level of Dupreeh and Device. The duo is one of the most talented duos in all of Counter-Strike. Device himself is a challenger for the title of the best player in the world. His consistency over the past few years is exactly what is necessary for a top team like Astralis. He is a dependent player on the team and can often hold back certain sections of the map on his own. He is one of the few AWPers who is as effective with the rifle as he is with the AWP.

Prediction:

Astralis is supposed to be the best team in the world. After all, they have been dominating the entire scene for quite some time. The Danish roster has had to fend off challenges from Faze Clan and Na’Vi in the past. But Na’Vi really has only put up strong performances very recently. They won the three tournaments, although, as we said it was against much weaker teams.

But Na’Vi is looking decent so far, although we are not sure if it is enough to defeat a team like Astralis. Astralis has had the dominance and experience to play against the top teams regularly. They are obviously well-versed in Na’Vi’s tactics and strategies which form the core of the team’s success.

We recommend a bet on Astralis for this match. It is because of their past success that we recommend placing a bet on the Danish roster.

 

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North vs Natus Vincere: Esports Betting Analysis @ Dreamhack Masters Stockholm 2018

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Sponsored by ArcaneBet

This betting prediction is sponsored by ArcaneBet, an esports bookie with a betting platform where you can bet on your favourite teams across multiple esports titles—including DoTA 2, CS: GO, League of Legends, Vain Glory, Call of Duty, and more. Want to gamble on the winner of the match? The winner of the first map or the team to get the first kill/round? ArcaneBet is the way to master your trade as one of the best bettors and predictors worldwide.

Use code 100ARCANE on your first deposit to get an extra 100 EUR/120 USD on your bet

 

Introduction

Dreamhack Masters Stockholm is Dreamhack’s first flagship tournament in Sweden. The event has been a regular in the CSGO calendar year for several years now. The 2018 version is also a part of the Intel Grand Slam Season 1.  Dreamhack Stockholm 2018’s venue is the Ericsson Globe in Stockholm. It has a seating capacity of 16,000 attendees and is primarily an Ice Hockey Venue.

This tournament is the first big event featuring the best teams in Counter-Strike since the player break. It is one of the first steps that the teams need to take en route to the London FaceIT Major. Big names such as Natus Vincere, Astralis, Faze Clan and Mousesports will compete to establish their rankings once more in the global scene.

Dreamhack Masters Stockholm will be a five-day event starting from the 29th of August 2018. It will continue until the 2nd of September 2018. It has a prize pool of $250,000 and will be streamed live on Twitch.

Broadcast Talent

  • Analysts:
  • Reporter:

Format

  • Group Stage: August 29th – 31st, 2018
    • Four double-elimination formats (GSL) Groups (4 teams each)
    • Opening matches are Bo1
    • Winners’, Elimination & Decider matches are Bo3
    • Top two teams from each group advance to the Playoffs
  • Playoffs: September 1st – 2nd, 2018
    • Single-elimination bracket
    • All matches are Bo3

North

North Roster:

  • MSL
  • Aizy
  • Valde
  • Kjaerbye
  • Niko

North has long been considered to be the second best Danish team. They have always been in the shadows of the Danish powerhouse, Astralis. As a roster this team has the potential to become really big, however, they are often shadowed by the big names in CS:GO.

However, North’s win against Astralis at Dreamhack Stockholm definitely was a big surprise to everyone. North is a team that has amazing chemistry. With MSL at the helm, this team is not averse to providing insightful and meticulous strategies by the player. His personal performance might not be the best, however, he has an arsenal of great players at his disposal.

Kjaerbye’s addition to North was sudden and shocking

Kjaerbye moved to join this team after leaving Astralis a few months ago. His role on this team definitely is very important, but apart from his leadership abilities, it is his personal firepower that gets the team to be as strong as it is right now. North have a decent map pool, one that can be used to make the team much better than it is right now.

In this tournament so far, North has won matches against Astralis (2-1) and Tyloo (16-7). Their series against Astralis was relatively close. While it could have gone either way it points to their ability to close out matches.

Natus Vincere

Natus Vincere Roster:

 

  • S1mple
  • Edward
  • Flamie
  • Electronic
  • Zeus


The Natus Vincere roster has two of the most promising talents in CS:GO. S1mple and electronic are exceptional players. While S1mple is largely considered to be the best player in the world, Electronic is not far behind.

Na’Vi has put up strong performances in the past few months. But their three tournament winning streak is stigmatized by the lack of strong teams. The team has not been able to provide consistent results and that is something that will bother them. With Zeus at the helm, they could not ask for a better In Game Leader. However, they need the other players to put up decent performances.

Flamie is one such player who has the capacity to go big, but of late his performances have lacked firepower. If Flamie were to stick to great results, the Na’Vi team is truly unstoppable. S1mple has been moulded into a team player by the veterans in Na’Vi. We have witnessed S1mple being able to win matches on his own, especially against lower-tier teams. But when it comes to the team’s potential winnings against top teams, he has to play according to the plan.

Even restrained S1mple remains a very strong performer and can single-handedly turn the outcome of the match. The player’s restraint on his aggressiveness has enabled the rest of the team to be much more effective.

Prediction:

North and Na’Vi come as two different styles of play. North has a very defensive approach to their game. The North roster won their Best of Three series against Astralis and that puts their performance into perspective. This team has the potential to win against top teams but they have consistency issues. As a Danish roster, they always have a set of maps where they are better than other teams. Such maps like Nuke, Overpass etc provide them with a strong map arsenal, which is handy while going into the veto phase.

Natus Vincere is a team that potentially can defeat the likes of Astralis and Faze Clan. But they have not been able to maintain their consistency despite showing dominance over Tier 2 teams and somewhat decent result against Tier 1 teams. The team has been doing decent so far at the Dreamhack Stockholm 2018 tournament. But their real test will come now

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Gambit vs. Team Liquid CS:GO Esports Betting Analysis @ Dreamhack Marseille

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Sponsored by ArcaneBet

This betting prediction is sponsored by ArcaneBet, an esports bookie with a betting platform where you can bet on your favorite teams across multiple esports titles—including DoTA 2, CS:GO, League of Legends, Vain Glory, Call of Duty, and more. Want to gamble on the winner of the match? The winner of the first map, or the team to get the first kill/round? ArcaneBet is the way to master your trade as one of the best bettors and predictors worldwide.

Use code 100ARCANE on your first deposit to get an extra 100 EUR/120 USD on your first deposit! 

Use code 100ARCANE on your first deposit to get an extra 100 EUR/120 USD on your first deposit! 

Introduction

Dreamhack Marseille 2018 is going to be one of the most interesting events in CS:GO to date. A lot of top teams have been shaken up by roster changes (primarily FaZe Clan and SK Gaming), and a lot of roster turmoil for other teams (Natus Vincere) makes the favorites for this event quite unclear. Without a top team like FaZe Clan or SK Gaming to dominate the soil, anyone can claim the championship with their own. The recent roster additions have yet to be tested on LAN, so it is unclear if online results could set a concrete precedent to each team’s level coming into this LAN.

While mousesports and Astralis can be considered the clear favorites for this tournament, primarily due to recent results and that both teams have yet to change their roster. Both teams have played consistently and for the better, with Astralis being able to get out of their slump with the addition of Magisk and mousesports having won V4 Future Esports Festival over Virtus.Pro. Apart from that, there’s also fnatic, but their online results have been mixed since winning WESG and IEM Katowice; part of this may be due to roster turmoil over Golden’s status within the team.

Boasting a $250,000 prize pool, Marseille also has an untested competitor from Asia, with TyLoo coming to prove themselves with a potent AWPer in xcurrate leading the squad. With their upset potential from StarSeries along with rivals Renegades, anything could happen at Marseille. In a time where dominance is uncertain, Marseille might just turn out to be an exciting event with these new rosters in the field.

Happy betting from EsportsBet, and let’s get into the esports betting analysis and prediction for this bookie match! Make sure to bet wisely.

Prize Distribution

  • 1st – $100,000
  • 2nd – $50,000
  • 3rd-4th – $22,000
  • 5-8th – $10,000
  • 9-16th $2,000

Broadcast Talent

  • Host:
  • Analysts:
  • Commentators:
  • Reporter:
  • Remote Commentators:

Format

  • Group Stage: April 18th – April 20th, 2018
    • Four double-elimination format (GSL) Groups (4 teams each)
    • Opening & Elimination matches are Bo1
    • Winners’ & Decider matches are Bo3
    • Top two teams from each group advance to the Playoffs
  • Playoffs: April 21st – 22nd, 2018
    • Single-Elimination bracket
    • All matches are Bo3

Credit to Liquipedia

_________

Kazakhstan Gambit (powered by EsportsBet)

 

  • Kazakhstan AdreN
  • Kazakhstan mou
  • Kazakhstan Hobbit
  • Russia seized
  • Russia Dosia
  • Ukraine Andi (coach)

Gambit themselves are going through a very rough patch, with poor results that included Hobbit stepping down from the IGL position (and seized returning to it!). This is in an attempt to bring Hobbit back to star-form (by focusing on his own game) and bring Gambit back to its former glory. It hasn’t been successful so far, as they lost to BIG in the qualifying match for ESL One Belo Horizonte, but it seems that Gambit are still working out the kinks.

Albeit, Gambit aren’t necessarily known as an online team, and seem to perform way better on LAN. From their matches against Liquid and Space Soldiers, seized seems to be replicating Zeus’ very slow paced style on Na`Vi. Rather than with old Gambit, where AdreN and Hobbit were relied on to open up sites, this new Gambit works around the AWP of mou. If it doesn’t work, they’ll play a very slow and turtley style while putting presence all around the map. This is to confuse enemies and the CT setup, that is, until Gambit burst out and completely catch the CTs off guard.

mou is now a gambit in the plans, having gone from a supportive to an AWP role in Gambit (credit: ESL)

In recent times, Gambit have started relying on mou to perform on the AWP as the star of the team. On the other hand, Hobbit and AdreN are definitely not the same as  they were on the old Gambit, whereas seized has been hindered by the micromanaging role of the IGL. Dosia, once again, continues to play a supportive/lurking role, but it seems to have not changed Gambit one bit. If Hobbit and AdreN magically return to their star roles of fragging and entry fragging, though, Gambit can definitely pull one out of the bag.

One hindrance to Gambit is their shallow map pool. Apart from de_train, Gambit are in the middle of the pack on other maps. Assuming Liquid vetoes de_train in this bo3, Gambit should be looking towards vetoing de_inferno and aiming for de_overpass. Otherwise, if they don’t get any good maps and screw up the veto, they’re going to lose BADLY.

North America Team Liquid  (powered by EsportsBet)

  • USA nitr0
  • Brazil TACO
  • USA EliGE
  • Canada Twistzz
  • Canada NAF
  • Brazil zews (coach)

Team Liquid made one small change before Marseille, adding TACO in place of steel, who left due to personal reasons undisclosed. Albeit, there isn’t much structure change, other than slotting TACO into steel’s roles. TACO, on SK Gaming, played a similar support role to that of steel’s, but is being put into a more opportunistic role to that of his old team.

A Liquified TACO? Sounds gross, but it works! (Credit: Fragbite)

nitr0 still continues to hold the IGL’ing helm, and Liquid haven’t looked half bad in their performance at Marseille so far. Liquid beat Gambit on Liquid’s trademark map, de_cobblestone, and took a map off of Astralis is a closely contested series. Albeit, the next 2 maps thereafter were a rout from the Danish side, with poor performances from the Liquid side altogether. The main takeaway from their 4 maps so far is that Team Liquid’s cohesion doesn’t seem to have changed. Actually, it feels like it’s the same Liquid of old; the only reason they faced 2 routs against Astralis is that gla1ve’s individual performance and Astralis’ overall play-style is hard to beat with Magisk on the lineup.

gla1ve & Astralis prevented Liquid from a strong day 1 (Credit: Redbull)

Liquid follows a very methodical play-style, relying on exploiting the enemy’s weaknesses on CT and T side and using EliGE to get up in their faces. On occasion, they’ll utilize nitr0/Twistzz to push A or certain positions on the map, looking to play a very aggressive style in order to catch the enemy off guard. NAF is usually seen on the other side, making space for his team, whereas TACO plays with the team to setup openings.

The only weakness that can be seen before betting on Liquid is that they won’t be following too many complex strategies. It’s best to assume that there wasn’t much preparation with TACO (not having played an official before Dreamhack) before this event, which may affect the Liquid roster as a whole. This could lead to stupid mistakes and blow huge holes in their overall game-plan, but their diverse map pool should be the counter to that. Especially, against a team like Gambit, whose map pool is not the strongest of the best.

 

Prediction

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EnVyUs vs. Team Russia CS:GO Esports Betting Analysis WESG 2017

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Sponsored by ArcaneBet

This betting prediction is sponsored by ArcaneBet, an esports bookie with a betting platform where you can bet on your favorite teams across multiple esports titles—including DoTA 2, CS:GO, League of Legends, Vain Glory, Call of Duty, and more. Want to gamble on the winner of the match? The winner of the first map, or the team to get the first kill/round? ArcaneBet is the way to master your trade as one of the best bettors and predictors worldwide.

Use code 100ARCANE on your first deposit to get an extra 100 EUR/120 USD on your first deposit! 

Use code 100ARCANE on your first deposit to get an extra 100 EUR/120 USD on your first deposit! 

Introduction

Esports Betting players will have a field day at WESG’s 2017 Global LAN Finals. The World Electronic Sports Games 2017 is a continuation of last year’s finals, where organizers AliSports and ImbaTV hosted tournaments across multiple esports titles with spectacular prize pools. With patriotism and nationality pride on the line, many countries travel across to China in hopes of taking home a significant result to their country, as the whole purpose of WESG is to have “national team” competitions against one another.

Because of this, all the teams represent one single nationality. Last year, it was the French side of EnVyUs that won in the grand finals over Team Kinguin to take home the $800,000 grand prize. And, once again, that same prize will be part of the golden pot of $1,500,000 USD; teams placing as quarterfinalists or above will be taking home $10,000 at the minimum placing.

While last year’s national competition for Counter-Strike’s esports scene did not feature many top teams, there are a lot of top tier esports squads to bet on for this year. Reigning champions Team EnVyUs return with an altered lineup (kioshiMa standing in for ScreaM due to nationality rules), and recent and former champions fnatic, SK Gaming, and Cloud9 look to battle their way to take home the lion’s share.

Of course, they’ll be subject to fierce competition, as teams across South America, North America, Canada, Europe, CIS, Asia, Oceania, and more have come this far; these teams will be giving it their all to fight their way to the bitter end. Anything can happen, but there are sure to be sheer favorites and complete underdogs. But, at an intercontinental LAN like this with many group stages and matches to played, anyone can go home disappointed. Because of the plentiful amount of matches, esports bettors will surely be betting on a lot of the matches at WESG!

Broadcast Talent

English Broadcast
Chinese Broadcast

Format

  • Group Stage 1:
    • Eight Round-Robin format groups (4 teams each)
    • Top two team in each group advance to Group Stage 2
    • Bottom two teams are eliminated
    • All the matches are Bo1
  • Group Stage 2:
    • Four Double Round-Robin format groups (4 teams each)
    • Top two team in each group advance to the Playoffs
    • Bottom two teams are eliminated
    • All the matches are Bo2
  • Playoffs:
    • Single-Elimination Bracket
    • All matches are Bo3
    • 3rd place decider for semi-finalists

Credit to Liquipedia

_________

 

France Team EnVyUs  (powered by EsportsBet)

  • France kioshiMa
  • France Happy
  • France hAdji
  • France SIXER
  • France RpK
  • France maLek (coach)

EnVyUs come into this tournament with very little practice, as hAdji’s interview with HLTV commented on EnVyUs’ preparation for the event.

We practiced with our team, the main lineup with ScreaM, one or two weeks. Then we were about to start the ESL Pro League matches and I had personal issues, I couldn’t be there for a week to play the matches or play CS at all. So they played with xms during that period, and we didn’t play with SIXER at all for this tournament, we never practiced with this team.

hAdji talking about EnVyUs’ circumstances before WESG

hAdji moved up from the academy squad, and is one of the rising stars from France (Flickshot.fr)

WESG is also the first tournament of this altered EnVyUs lineup (with the closest rendition being WESG Europe w/ kioshiMa); albeit, this lineup is a bit altered, as SIXER is playing instead of kioshiMa due to nationality restrictions. There is no telling as to how they’ll perform with this new lineup, considering that their only match with this lineup was against a lower skilled Bravado team for seeding purposes (due to the other 2 teams dropping out of their group).

From what we’ve watched, we can safely assume that they’re following the old structure of EnVyUs, with SIXER reassuming the AWPing role, and hAdji filling in for xms’ entry role. On the other hand, kioshiMa will also be playing entry, whereas Happy will be lurking and RpK will serve to either take map control/trade frag with the lineup.

For now, expect EnVyUs’ map pool to be shotty, but it’s clear that one map they’re very strong on is de_inferno. Another map that they could be good on is probably de_cobblestone (considering historical context).

 

Russia Team Russia (powered by EsportsBet)

  • Russia Dosia
  • Russia seized
  • Russia WorldEdit
  • Russia electronic
  • Russia hooch
  • Russia MSE (coach)

Team Russia lost a firepower when original 5th man, flamie of Natus Vincere, declined to attend WESG, presumably due to Na`Vi’s failure to qualify for ECS after losing to GODSENT. Luckily, their original coach for WESG, hooch, was able to make amends and attend last-minute for Russia. This seems to have worked out for them greatly, as they were able to beat SK Gaming and nearly defeated BIG (who defeated SK, allowing Russia to advance).

While hooch does not have the same firepower as flamie, he has the respect of the other players on this lineup, having been their coach for previous iterations for Russia; hooch also has a general reputation of being one of the godfathers of Russia, with his CS career dating back to 1.6 teams such as Virtus.Pro and so on.

hooch is a pioneer of the Russian scene, and brings leadership to Team Russia

Luckily, for Russia, hooch has been able to keep up with his teammates in the fragging department, as the kills were distributed evenly between the 5 Russians across their two matches at WESG.

The only problem with Russia, much alike to EnVyUs, is their CT side. With a sudden change in hooch, their CT roles may take a little more time to be cohesive with each other. Albeit, this shouldn’t be too much of a worry as this Russian lineup has played together for two games already. Plus, on the other hand, hooch is a traditional IGL who is most likely going to be shot-calling along with Gambit IGL Dosia. Due to that, the roles are more likely set and the chemistry is there between the players, making them a very dangerous team to fight against.

 

Prediction

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FaZe Clan vs. Astralis CS:GO Esports Betting Analysis @ IEM Katowice XII

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This betting prediction is sponsored by ArcaneBet, an esports bookie with a betting platform where you can bet on your favorite teams across multiple esports titles—including DoTA 2, CS:GO, League of Legends, Vain Glory, Call of Duty, and more. Want to gamble on the winner of the match? The winner of the first map, or the team to get the first kill/round? ArcaneBet is the way to master your trade as one of the best bettors and predictors worldwide.

Use code 100ARCANE on your first deposit to get an extra 100 EUR/120 USD on your first deposit! 

Use code 100ARCANE on your first deposit to get an extra 100 EUR/120 USD on your first deposit! 

Introduction

The final tournament of ESL’s XII Season and part of the Intel Series Grand Slam, IEM Katowice returns during a time where CS:GO is at its most competitive era. With no “true” top team to hold the throne, Katowice will only strengthen each team’s standing within the world’s best. In an era filled of uncertainty, the only winners could be the spectators that witness some of the best matches that esports and Counter Strike has to offer as a whole.

IEM Katowice will feature ESL’s new Group Stage format, where the Group Stage Ladder will feature most of its matches in a bo3 setting; the only matches that will be best of 1s will be the group stages’ opening matches. 3 teams will make it out of each group, with both the upper bracket finalists making it out—the winner of the upper bracket securing a quarterfinal bye—and the winner of the loser bracket finals securing a spot of the quarterfinals.

SK, FaZe, and C9 are in a period of confusion, as they attempt to cement themselves as the consistent best, whereas new rosters (Ninjas in Pyjamas, Astralis) will be looking to test the waters with their new lineups. Anything can happen in one of the most iconic tournaments of Counter Strike 1.6 & GO’s history: IEM Katowice.

Format

  • Group Stage: February 27th – March 1st, 2018
    • Two double-elimination format (GSL) Groups
    • The initial matches are Bo1
    • All following matches are Bo3
    • The top three teams from each group advance to the playoffs:
      • Group stage winners advance to the Semifinals
      • Group stage runners-up advance to the Quarterfinals as the High Seeds
      • Group stage 3rd place teams advance to the Quarterfinals as the Low Seeds
  • Playoffs: March 2nd – 4th, 2018
    • Single-elimination bracket
    • The Quarterfinals and Semifinals are Bo3
    • The Grand Final is Bo5

Credit to Liquipedia

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Europe FaZe Clan  (powered by EsportsBet)

  • Bosnia and Herzegovina NiKo
  • Slovakia GuardiaN
  •  karrigan
  • Sweden olofmeister
  • Norway rain
  • Sweden RobbaN (coach)

FaZe Clan have been looking a bit up-and-down in recent times, faltering to teams they wouldn’t fall to on usual occasions. That doesn’t take away FaZe’s prestige as the “European international all-stars,” as they pack some of the deadliest firepower in the current CS:GO scene.

Ever since the major, their play-style and usual roles have shifted. While karrigan remains to be the support and IGL, GuardiaN has taken a shift into having a lot more impact with the AWP; it’s almost as if the Slovakian is slowly returning to his Na`Vi days. olofmeister has defined himself as a lurker and clutch-time player, whereas NiKo and rain continue to represent their usual anchor and fragging roles.

The team has become well-rounded, but many holes still fill the FaZe team. While they are, unarguably, a top 3 team, some of their star players seem to falter against the pressure. The most prominent name would be NiKo, who has shown time and time again to disappear in high pressure matches. While same can be said for many, NiKo’s potential is on a whole new level to that of his team’s. He disappointed many with subpar performances at StarLadder, ESL Pro League, and the ELEAGUE Major more importantly.

GuardiaN has performed when FaZe needed it most (StarLadder)

FaZe’s roles are set in stone and work as a well-oiled machine. To counter that, a team must remove FaZe’s “OPness,” which equates to a stable economy and also nullify FaZe’s ability to win force-buys or cause important economical damage. That is when FaZe start to “tilt,” and karrigan finds himself at a loss for words on how to lead his men.

Denmark Astralis (powered by EsportsBet)

  • Denmark gla1ve
  • Denmark device
  • Denmark dupreeh
  • Denmark Xyp9x
  • Denmark Magisk
  • Denmark zonic (coach)

Astralis have been deadly since the addition of Magisk, who promptly meshed well with gla1ve’s system. The more surprising part is dupreeh reprising his role from the device-less Astralis, performing up to par with his counterpart in the fragging and rating department. dupreeh and device have been headlining Astralis’ Katowice and StarLadder runs as the two clear stars, with the other half playing a support and stability role in tow.

Astralis has always been the mix of a well-rounded team. The star players, gla1ve’s intuitive in-game leading style, and Xyp9x’s clutching. Add in a star like Magisk who can anchor and has the experience to mesh in with gla1ve’s play-style, and you have a set team. In fact, gla1ve’s leading is renowned for his ability to call mid round and read the enemy team like a book. With a style like glaive’s, Astralis surely should be a championship contending team, right?

zonic & co. need to find a way to not fall under the pressure (StarLadder)

Not necessarily. Even with the support of zonic’s coaching, Astralis find a way to fall under the pressure of high level games. While they do have the experience, they can find themselves stumped easily when a part of their system isn’t working, and it all leads from there. A relatable moment of this was their inability to close out de_inferno vs. Na`Vi in a pivotal round, where the round ended due to a lack of defuse kits from Astralis. As long as they’re able to continue to mesh together and overcome the psychological hurdle of closing out games, Astralis should be a team to fear.

Prediction

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