Coming to you from the Park of Legends Ice Palace in Moscow, Russia with a $300,000 prize-pool, EPICENTER is back featuring five of the best teams in the world as well as three teams that will make it through the regional qualifiers and then the Wild Card Qualifiers to have their chance in one of the premier CS:GO tournaments.
EPICENTER 2018 Betting Odds
EPICENTER 2018 Betting Tips
Ninjas In Pyjamas
Virtus Pro (-1.5)
Swole Patrol (1.5)
The Imperial (-1.5)
Monolith Gaming (1.5)
Swole Patrol (-1.5)
This tournament might not be as star packed as the London major but its still one of the premiere events. Mousesports and Astralis are the two most obvious teams we will miss. Besides them every team has a long and proven track record. With Liquid and Navi standing out as the two favorites.
This tournament will answer quite a few exciting cs:go questions:
- Can Liquid get something besides second place in a tournament?
- Will Faze remove Karrigan?
- Have Navi peaked or are they ready to challenge Astralis?
- Was Ence Starladder win a fluke?
- Is Lekro what NiP has been missing?
Myabe we should be happy that Astralis isn't here, this tournament is pretty much up for grabs for anyone. But Navi would probably be the most dissapointed if they don't win in front of their "homecrowd".
- Natus Vincere
- Wildcard qualifier
Seems like a pretty unlucky draw for ENCE, and I don't really care who makes it from the wildcard qualifiers, they will not make it past the group stage. Natus Vincere, FAZE and ENCE will make it through, I think the format with B03 will work against ENCE and for NAVI. But the top1 for a secure semi-finale is pretty much up in the air.
Even if all 3 spots seems set in stone (they might not be), the tournament format makes the difference between 1.st and third place in the group pretty big. 1st place gets one extra match to rest, and third place has to face off against the second place from the other group.
- Team Liquid
- Ninjas in Pyjamas
- Wildcard qualifier
Team liquid should be very pleased with their group, and this seems like the weaker of the two groups. Where a wildcard contender might stand a pretty good chance. If helleraisers ends up in this group it could be anyones guess who will advance.
That is besied team liquid, which have probably studied the moustports final in New York until their eyes where bleeding. And their online results are OK, leading ESC and looking secure enough at ESL.
The last two teams will be come from a closed qualifier. Four teams playing on Lan one day before the tournament starts.
- Virtus Pro
- Swole Patrol
Hellraisers should most definitely take one of the two spots. And I hope that Virtus.Pro gets the second spot. Even though Ive lost most fate in them, they are still a very solid team and should be heads and shoulders above Swole Patrol at the very least. 5POWER is a bit hard to get a handle on, but I don't think the chinese scene is very strong, and they are in no way a dominant force there.
The Ninjas have looked more and more solid lately. GeT_RiGhT has grinded himself back from the abyss, and Forest has been one of the best players in Counterstrike for the last 15 years. With Lekro being able to hold up his part of the fragging while still calling the shots and deciding tactics is pretty amazing.
REZ might be one the best m4 players you could have defending a site. Probably the most mechanicly gifted player in sweden at the moment.
If they got Lekro working well as a full time awper they can make a big dent in this tournament.
NIP Prediction: third place
Really exciting replacement for Mousesports. They have been steadily rising ever since people really became aware of them in ESL cologne, and crowned their achievement by winning the entire Starladder series 6. With very impressive results. Beating BIG in a bo3, and Mousesports in the group stages. Allu seems to have found his form again and leads the team very nicely. And Sergej, wow at 16 years old, that is just so impressive. But im a bit afraid they are not quite ready for the best teams on Lan quite yet, depends a bit on the draw.
They have the nice advantage of not participating in any of the big online leagues, and when they don't even have to play the wildcard qualifier they can focus 100% on this tournament. This is the chance to show everyone that they are the next big team to break into top 10.
Ence prediction: 5-6th place
Although losing the ESL one New York finals to Mousesports must be quite a big letdown for them. No one can be surprised if they win this tournament. They have for some time seemed like the only team that have a chance of challenging Astralis. The incredible aim of Twistzz and NAF can scare any team on this planet. They have had an pretty insane run of good showing in tournaments in 2018. However they have yet to win an important lan with this lineup.
If not for the Astralis team, who have knocked them out in four big tournaments since may 2018, this might have been the liquid era.
Liquid prediction: second place
Maybe one of the more surprising entrants to many out there, and one of the teams least people expect to win. But they got here fair and square through the CIS qualifier, winning MSI MGA finals and beating ENCE at the IEM qualifier.
Look out for Buster, he sometimes appears to have been summoned as a monster. A monster that only wants to play CS and hit headshots, but a monster none the less. I don't expect too much of this team, but i wont be surprised if they make it far either. This is cs:go after all
Avangar prediction: 5-6th place
What is going on with Karrigan? WIth Olofmeister back an performing well, the Major should have been their time to shine. Instead Niko had take the reigns to secure Legend status, but this poor start meant they faced Astralis early on and although they made it a good match, they were clearly the lesser team.
But it was when we saw them play in ESL one New York we saw how big the problem truly was, Karrigan seems to have lost complete controll of the team and his authority. How long can you play with an Ingame leader that doesn't lead? Niko can surely do a fine job, but arguably the second best rifler in the world should do what he does best. Maybe they have had enough time to talk things through and work everything out.
And we should not underestimate the presence of Robban their coach at this event. Although not too much involved in the tactics of the team, he helps them keep focus on the game and avoid meltdowns like they had in ESL New York (he wasn't there)
Faze prediction: 1st or last place
One of the more stable top teams in the last year, always finishing top 4 in any tournament it would seem. Some dislike them for the slow methodical approach and find it boring to watch. Some enjoy the art in slowly choking out your opponent. It can be quite beautiful the way they take map control and keep the opposing team guessing the entire round. Often they will wait until the last possible second before commencing an attack.
The worlds best player in 2018 S1mple and an Electronic that seems keen to catch up, they have plenty of star power. Flamie is no slouch either, and all this crazy aim is the reason they so often are able ot win the half buys with deagle and scouts. They did have a disappointing tournament in New York, losing twice to gambit of all teams. And they can be seen arguing pretty heavily during matches at tournaments. But they are ranked as the second best team in the world and for good reason. They are incredibly consistent, and you are surprised when they finish before the final day in any tournament.
Prediction: 1st place
Mousesports dropped out :(
- Groups consist of two double-elimination groups with four teams each.
- All matches are best-of-three.
- Winners of the group stage advance to Semifinals while runners-up advance to quarterfinals as the high seed while the 3rd place of the group advances as the low seed.
- All matches in the single-elimination bracket are best-of-three.