The EPICENTER 2018 is currently underway and there are only six teams remaining. This includes the likes of Na’Vi, Faze Clan, Team Liquid amongst others. The EPICENTER is a great chance for any team to exert its dominance over others, especially in the absence of Astralis.
Let’s take a look at the quarterfinals teams and their performances so far. The four teams competing in the Quarterfinals are Avangar, Hellraisers, Faze Clan, Ninjas in Pyjamas. We take a look at three of the more diverse teams in contention. Faze Clan is a former best team which has slid through the rankings and in their performance. NIP is one of the fan favourites, and they are slowly rising in performance, but they cannot possibly have improved drastically in the last few days. Hellraisers, on the other hand, remains a surprise package for whoever is matched up against them.
Hellraisers – The inconsistent team
For many analysts, Hellraisers represents an enigma. They are a team with the highest potential to grow. And they do surprise us in their performances especially in the way Woxic and ISSAA. However, one good tournament does not mean that Hellraisers has seen its performance improve. The inconsistency on this team regularly manifests itself, almost mocking analysts predictions.
Hellraisers’ performance in tournaments comes from a lot of momentum. The early Group Stages are probably the riskiest moments for Hellraisers. The team’s performance through the past year has been a mixture of Elation and despair for their fans. Hellraisers depend heavily on their star players to lift their firepower.
ISSAA is the entry-fragger on the team and he has been able to consistently deliver. On the CT side, ISSAA has the excellent judgement of the positioning and timing on his peeks. In addition to this, his high level of skill is exactly what the Hellraisers roster needs. He does not need second chances very often and yet is one of the most impactful players for a team in Counter-Strike Global Offensive.
On the other hand, Woxic has an equal if not more impressive performance for Hellraisers. The AWP Player is able to shut down certain sections of the map with ease. For Hellraisers, these two players represent the X-factor in their arsenal. The Hellraisers team already has a lot of experience on its veteran players. Their experience in addition to the raw firepower on the team is exactly what enables these periodic performances for the team.
We don’t expect Hellraisers to possibly reach the finals, but on their best days, this team is definitely able. Their peak is definitely enough to cause a few upsets, but Hellraisers rarely functions for elongated periods at their peak level.
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Ninjas in Pyjamas
The Ninjas despite their string of poor results over the last few years, still remains a fan favourite team. This roster definitely has a few problems especially in the way they handle their economy and map choices.
As a Counter-Strike team, NIP is not really a strong team. They have made several changes to their roster, however, their results are only seeing slight improvements. For the team, the resurgence in form for F0rest and Get_right is exciting. The two veteran players who are in all means, the face for NIP have put up strong performances so far at EPICENTER. F0rest had over 30 kills in NIP’s match against Swole Patrol. His cool and collected playstyle which saw him win a 1v3 situation definitely speaks volumes of his patience and experience.
However, when it comes to facing off against stronger teams such as Faze Clan, Team Liquid or Natus Vincere; NIP fall flat. They seem to be lacking in multiple departments when it comes to firepower as well as tactics. Speaking of tactics, this team’s backbone is in the hands of Lekro. The young In Game Leader has catapulted the team’s performance. Today, NIP is possibly knocking at the doors of Tier one teams but they still have a long way to go before other teams start respecting their progress.
Right now, Lekro is helping the team on multiple fronts. Not only is he an able In a Game leader, but he is also able to put big numbers on the scoreboard. However, as history has taught us,high-scoring In Game leaders are a rare breed. In time, we will see Lekro’s performance wane and that is when the remainder of the roster comes under severe strain. NIP does have Dennis who remains one of the best pistol players in the Game. However, in what is yet another blow to the NIP squad, Valve’s recent economic changes will hurt them. Teams can not buy into the 3rd round despite losing the pistol round.
The Ninjas in Pyjamas team is improving but is not at a level to compete against the best in the game. Their opponents for the quarterfinals, Faze Clan are definitely high amongst the top teams in contention at this event.
Faze Clan – A leadership question
Faze Clan is definitely one of the best teams when it comes to the skill potential on this roster. Actually, Faze Clan is probably the most skilled roster in the entirety of Counter-Strike. The likes of Guardian, Olofmeister and Niko in one team is simply too good of a scenario to exist. However, for Faze Clan, this also presented another problem to the players and the management. We will see Faze Clan attempting to rebuild their roster in a way that suits their gameplay.
The team recently changes its leadership from Karrigan to Niko. While this change in their roles, the team’s performance will definitely change. Karrigan’s role on this team is exactly why the entire team sticks together. He is responsible for much of this team’s success in the recent past. However, he does not have the best statistics when it comes to the results. The player was unable to lift Faze Clan into the top tier at the Major. There was some obvious discontent within the roster and that is why there was a change in the leadership.
How long can Niko take on the role of the In-Game Leader as well as remain the star performer on this team? We don’t believe he can sustain the same level across both the tasks. Even in his current form, Niko’s leadership seems to fall flat on its face when compared to other strong teams. Faze Clan’s recent loss to Na’Vi definitely pokes a huge gap in their game and performance.
Faze Clan does not look as strong as let’s say, a Team Liquid or a Natus Vincere. But they have the potential and no analyst will ever count out Faze Clan in their entirety. This roster has the potential to easily be the best team in the world, but they need the majority of the roster to start performing. Right now, despite Olofmeister having a great time, the rest of the team is nowhere near their average performance.
With the likes of Rain, Guardian and Niko underperforming, things are not looking good for Faze Clan. We can only expect this team to either improve dramatically or undergo roster changes in order to get better results. Right now, they look a far cry from their Elageue Boston Major performance.
EPICENTER 2018 resumes on October 27th and there are just six teams left in the tournament. All the matches can be seen on Twitch.