Less than a week after the conclusion of the FACEIT London Major, Counter-Strike fans are already getting their next dose of premier gameplay at ESL New York.
From the UK to the US, the tournament being held at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn features a star-studded lineup and a sweet $250,000 cash pot on the line. While the Major was thought to have gone pretty much according to plan in terms of results, ESL One New York has comparably gone far off-script; with two of the favourites knocked out of the event after Day 2, we’ll waste no time breaking down the action in this week’s ESI Gambling Report, Powered by Thunderpick.
As mentioned, ESL One New York saw two premature exits in the Group Stage from FaZe Clan and Fnatic that has set the stage for the underdog’s story, so to speak.
“His (olofmeister’s) return was thought to be FaZe Clan’s golden-ticket back to the top of the leaderboards – the reality has been far from that, though”
In the case of FaZe, this is a team that has undeniably struggled over the last several months; after spending quite some time fielding stand-ins during Olof “olofmeister” Kajbjer Gustafsson’s absence. His return was thought to be FaZe Clan’s golden-ticket back to the top of the leaderboards – the reality has been far from that, though. Despite qualifying for playoffs at the Major, the squad hardly looked put-together enough to contest any of the giants and much hasn’t seemed to change in the brief time between London and New York for them. An opening shocker against G2 would force FaZe to play for their tournament life in which their next opponent, NRG, would finish them off and show their departure.
Middle of the pack
Running hot and cold with a win and a loss apiece in Group A is Na’Vi and Gambit who will square off against one another for the second time this event.
Fans got their first taste of what would prove to be an underdog’s arena when Gambit stunned Na’Vi 2-1 in the ESL One NY opener. Typically, Nuke is a strong suit for Na’Vi, having picked the map against global leaders, Astralis, less than a week ago in their Grand Finals appearance – needless to say, a loss here against Gambit was not forecast on anyone’s radar. To be blunt, Gambit simply overpowered Na’Vi, constantly putting them up against the ropes with little space to work with where ultimately, they would crumble.
Na’Vi quickly responded by taking the second map and started showing signs of life; however, Mihail ‘Dosia’ Stolyarov and company would tighten up their defence and close things out. The stars point to Na’Vi in this next matchup, obviously, after falling once to Gambit already in New York though, their playoff prospect doesn’t seem promising. Denis “electronic” Sharipov would admit later that the downhearted group were still grieving a hard loss against Astralis just days prior in one of the biggest events in CS:GO’s calendar year.
Barring the Ukrainian side has sutured the loose ends – which it seems they have following their win against Fnatic – they should have this Bo3 against Gambit in the bag.
The Group B decider match will show G2 and NRG face off in what should be an interesting showing from the two; both mid-tier teams are playing exceptionally well at the moment and the decider skirmish will likely go the distance.
“NRG features some star power in the form of Vincent ‘Brehze’ Cayonte, who has stepped up immensely so far and lead the charge against FaZe”
NRG are understandably the favourites in this bout, having swept FaZe more convincingly and they even managed to steal a game off Liquid whereas G2 collapsed. NRG features some star power in the form of Vincent ‘Brehze’ Cayonte, who has stepped up immensely so far and lead the charge against FaZe. As for G2, the side is sporting stand-out players such as Kenny ‘kennyS’ Schrub and Richard ‘shox’ Papillon who have both worked closely together to convert maps thus far in the tournament. G2 might appear to be the better team on paper, however, NRG has come out on-fire, and as we so often see in CS:GO, this momentum is critical in traversing through the bracket.
We’re thinking this meeting might be a little closer than expected – though if we’re siding with one or the other, NRG is our pick based off performances in New York foregoing their G2 clash.
Clawing their way back to the top
After several trivial months with consistently poor results, the return of Liquid is here and they’re off to a great start so far in New York.
As mentioned, it took some time for Liquid to position former SK Gaming extraordinaire Epitácio “TACO” de Melo in a way that worked within the team’s composition. Under Nick ‘nitr0’ Cannella’s command, the team has found a synchrony he believes to be one of the strongest iterations of the team, ever. It’s tough to dispute Liquid’s climbing back up the ranks – their run through the Major thrilling to watch as they maintained a supremacy all the while keeping things interesting. Although they weren’t able to make that title finish pipedream come to life, Liquid has preserved a positive attitude towards how they are moving forward. Taco told HLTV after edging past NRG:
At face value, the NA powerhouse should be able to trounce the teams remaining in Brooklyn at this velocity while keeping a sharp eye out for Na’Vi and possibly Mousesports as threats. Our prediction is that Liquid will go all the way, although, the heavy upset theme at this tournament makes us a bit wary…
If you didn’t get your fix of action and unhinged narratives at the London Major, you’ll likely get it here in New York; a string of shockwaves in the form of surprise wins has kept us on the edge of our seats thus far – there’s really no telling exactly how this one will pan out.
If you do plan on wagering on any of the matches at ESL New York, Esports Insider reminds you to bet responsibly!