The Esports Championship Series returns with its LAN Championship on the 6th of June 2019. The tournament will take place at the SSE Arena in Wembley. It will feature a total of eight teams in attendance competing for a prize pool of $500,000. The event takes place over a time period of four days and the competition is going to be intense.
The team list at the LAN finals is not as impressive as some of the previous editions. However, we will still see Astralis, the world’s best team present at the event.
Groups and Format
The eight teams are divided into two groups of four teams each. Each group features a decent mixture of teams based on their ranking and skill.
The event features a double elimination GSL Format for the Group stage. Only the opening matches are Best of One matches while all the remaining matches will be Best of Three series. THe top two teams from each event will move forth to the Playoffs.
The Playoffs will feature Best of One Elimination matches. Each match will be Best of Three and these matches will take place live at the Wembley Arena.
The teams in Group A are Astralis, NIP, Furia and NRG Esports. Astralis and NIP are obviously the more well-known organisations in this group, however, no one would be able to discount NRG or Furia from possibly causing an upset.
Astralis – Nothing but a Victory is acceptable
The Danish team is the world’s best team and rightfully so. They have dominated the entire Counter-Strike scene for quite some time. While the Danish team can truly put forth a strong performance, anything but a victory is simply unacceptable. The reason for the high but not particularly impossibly expectation is due to the quality of teams in attendance. This event will not see participation from several Top 5 teams such as Na’Vi, ENCE or Team Liquid. With Astralis already under pressure to establish their dominance and their rank amongst the CS:GO teams, fans will expect them to secure a victory at this tournament.
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The Danish team prides itself on its synergy and the excellent communication between the players. They are able to dissect their opponents’ gameplay and adapt accordingly. We have had multiple instances when Astralis would not fare well at the start of the map, but they would be able to put forth a strong counter-attack towards the end of the map. With many teams already studying the Astralis’ gameplay, it becomes difficult for them to establish themselves and maintain their advantage. However, this is where Astralis’ absence from multiple tournaments will come in handy. The team has refrained from attending each and every tournament in the circuit and their absence will definitely be used to develop new strategies.
Astralis is the hot favourite to take away the trophy. It wouldn’t surprise anyone to see the team put forth a strong performance and win the event with ease. However, if Astralis is unable to win in this event, it should surely affect their ranking and position amongst the teams in CS: GO.
Ninjas in Pyjamas
The Swedish team played at Dreamhack Dallas without one of the most crucial members on the roster. Dennis is essential to the team’s performance and his visa issues meant that he was unable to attend the bulk of the event with NIP. Playing with Pita meant that the team was able to maintain its synergy, but it came at a significant cost to their firepower.
At ECS Season Season 7 finals, NIP is placed in the same Group as Astralis. They also have to contend with NRG And Furia two teams with the capacity to defeat NIP on a decent day. Apart from Astralis being the best team in the Group, the rest of the Group is pretty even when it comes to the second team to qualify.
Ninjas in Pyjamas have a very strategic approach to their gameplay, establishing a clear direction before the start of the round. However, the success of the round depends heavily on the ability of the players to win their duels. If they are unable to win the duels from an often advantageous position, it can spell the end of the round for the Swedes. It is a risky affair as they rely on their strategy more than their skill and it can backfire. However, NIP has shown a proclivity towards ensuring a strong presence on the map and making sure they have an advantage in these duels.
The Ninjas might just be the second best team in the Group stages, however, they are by no means safe from the likes of Furia and NRG in their own group.
The North American squad has quickly risen up the ranks after their stellar performances. While the old roster was already very strong with Cerq, Ethan and Brehze, the addition of Tarik have definitely tilted the scales. With Tarik on the roster, there is a marked increase in their overall skill level.
The earlier roster was heavily dependent on Cerq pulling off really strong plays on LAN, something that he was unable to replicate from his online performances. However, with the addition of an experienced veteran such as Tarik, it reduces a lot of pressure on the rest of the squad. They are able to play their game with the freedom and flexibility that Tarik provides for them. It becomes impossible for an opponent to ensure that they are able to dominate each and every player on the roster.
On a good day, each member of NRG can contribute immensely and carry the team on their back. The team has slowly developed a decent map pool, which helps them immensely when it comes to the veto stage with stronger rosters. They also have a high win rate on Dust 2, a map that rewards good aim and communication.
The Brazilian roster, Furia esports reached the semifinals at the Dreamhack Dallas 2019. The Brazilian roster has definitely surprised many talents and fans with their unique brand of Counter-Strike. Their strong map pool remains one of their better attributes when it comes to seeking an advantage.
Furia’s team has unique strategies and they are very complex. At times, it is not surprising to see these strategies be a bit too complex for their own good. However, for the most part, Furia is able to out-wit their opponents and ensure an advantage when it comes to their map pool. Having a comfortable set of maps essentially allows the team to be able to exercise their gameplan to its maximum effect.
Statistically, Furia is the weakest team in this group. They don’t have the results to speak of, but their performance at Dreamhack Dallas represents their capacity to upset stronger teams. Furia can very well win matches against Ninjas as well as NRG which would see them in the Playoffs.
The second group for ECS Season 7 LAN Finals has Complexity Gaming, MiBr, North Gaming and Vitality. These teams will have their task cut out for them as they need to secure a Top Two finish in order to establish their position in the playoffs.
Complexity Gaming’s North America squad has not really put forth any strong performances since the few blips on the radar. The team shows a lot of promise, however, they have made a significant change ahead of this LAN event. The Complexity team will be using a 15-year-old young player Owen “oBo” Schlatter on their roster. The player will replace their existing In Game Leader Stanislaw in what is definitely a shocking move from the roster.
The young player has a lot of talent and bringing him on to the team definitely makes sense for the organisation. However, the urgency of the matter means that the roster does not have time to practice together or even become comfortable with each other’s playstyle.
The new roster will take time to adjust their playstyle, their shot-calling amongst other aspects of the game. The youngster’s addition to the team raises hopes for the team’s future, but for their immediate tournament, the ECS Season 7 LAN Finals, it is going to be a tough call.
Complexity Gaming were never the favourites coming into this tournament. Their performance will see them hoping for a playoff spot at best. If they are able to present a strong performance and reach the playoffs, they should consider it a successful event.
Few teams command as much respect and awe as Team Vitality in Counter-Strike today. The upcoming French roster has a single weapon and he is more than enough on most occasions. Zywo has proven himself to be a capable player in all aspects of the game. He can play extremely aggressive ensuring an advantage for his team. His 4 kills on Inferno is just one of the examples of the players’ ability to stand up and become the star on the server.
The rest of the squad understands the importance of allowing Zywoo the freedom on the server. The performance of the team relies on Zywoo having a good game. While the rest of the squad is no small feat, their current form is not inspirational enough. Vitality’s recent victories suggest the development of the team in a very cohesive and synchronous movement for the players.
Speaking specifically about this Group B, Vitality will have competition from the likes of MiBr and North Gaming. The French team should be able to take down Complexity CS: GO Squad. Their challenge would be to win against MiBr, which has seen improvements in their players’ form. If they can move past the Group stages, and that is a big ‘if’ cause the team is pretty inconsistent.
The Made in Brazil roster is one of the most hopeful rosters in CS: GO. Despite having repeated changes after their dominance in 2016, the team has been unable to make an impact with their new rosters. The current team features a Brazilian roster and they have been a team together before. Ofcourse, they have had much more success in previous years than in their current form. However, judging by the sheer amount of skill on this roster, it would be extremely prudent to suggest that this team can never become a threat.
The team has had a lot of time together under the guidance of Zews who has led many of these players before. The addition of Zews and TACO to the roster solved one of the biggest problems for the Brazilian team. Their communication is obviously much better now and it should save them a lot of time and make them extremely efficient in their approach to the game. MiBr still seems to be working on their map pool. The addition of Vertigo threw the entire game into a toss for many teams and MiBr is no exception. Fortunately for them, they started out on a new journey and hopefully ECS Season 7 will be the one for the team to shine bright.
North Gaming features a fully Danish roster, one which has been overshadowed by the Astralis roster for a long period of time. However, they are by no means a walkover and can definitely challenge several Tier-one teams quite easily. The North roster is led by Valde right now. They are a team that requires the individual skill of the players to be at the very top.
Valde is one of the high skill players on North Gaming. His move to become the In-Game leader does make sense on paper. He can present his ideas regarding the Complexity playstyle and hope that the team can rise to the occasion and have success. That being said, it is a fact that when superstar players start in the IGL position; they inadvertently lose some of their firepower. Valve’s firepower is one of the key reasons for North’s limited success in the past.
With Valde moving to the IGL position, it will almost surely ensure a lack of firepower on the roster ( especially coming from Valde). The rest of the squad needs to step up and provide adequate performance in order to compensate for any lacklustre performance from their In-Game Leader.
The rejig also saw Jugi joining their CS: GO team and Valde moving into the IGL position. These changes are almost a month old and by now, the team has had enough time to practice together and develop into a strong roster. They are placed in the Group along with Vitality and MiBr. They will need to be able to defeat either of these teams if they are to possibly qualify for the Playoffs.
ECS Season 7 LAN finals will be a test for many teams to check out Astralis and their current form. Astralis recently lost their number one position in theHLTV rankings and that in itself definitely presents a psychological impact for the team. the rest of the teams are slowly catching up to Astralis. There are multiple storylines at this event, however, Astralis’ dominance and the continuity of its era will be one of the key storylines.
You can watch all the action live on Twitch here.