The Esports Championship Series (ECS) finals – which will see some of the world’s top CSGO teams facing off at the Wembley SSE Arena – are just one week away.
Reece “Maestro” Barrett previews the event, taking place from June 24th to 26th.
In this article we will be looking at all eight teams which are attending, and we’ll be giving our thoughts on who will win and what fans can expect to see from the event.
There are eight teams in the ECS Finals, split into two groups.
- Luminosity Gaming
- G2 eSports
- Ninjas in Pyjamas
- Team Liquid
- Team SoloMid
The finals are taking place over three days. The first day, the 23rd, is happening offline, whereas the 24th and 25th are taking place live at the SSE Arena.
The format is a little confusing: eight teams are split into two groups of four. On the first day, all eight teams play in best-of-ones – the winners of these matches go on to face each other. Then, the winner of this match advances to the semi final and become number one in their group.
The losers of the first matches also play one another. The winner of this match will go on to face the loser of the winners match. They become number two in their group. These matches are best-of-three.
Then, in the semi-finals, the top team from Group A faces the second best of Group B. And vice versa with the other group – the second team in Group A faces the first place in Group B. Then the winners of those matches go onto the Grand Final. These matches are all best-of-threes as well.
Now that we have the teams, we’re going to go in depth with both of the groups and list who we think will advance from the group stages – and who will exit the tournament early.
Let’s start with Group A. As mentioned before, this group contains Luminosity, G2, NiP and Liquid – a pretty packed group to say the least.
First of all, let’s get rid of the first team who we believe have no chance of advancing to the semis. That team is Team Liquid. Earlier this year Liquid were a great team, they performed well in the MLG Columbus Major, but recently things have slipped.
In their recent attempt in the ELeague, they lost every single game they played, losing to fellow group member Luminosity, Renegades and Cloud9. However, one thing to note is a roster change after the tournament, dropping Eric “adreN” Hoag and temporarily bringing in s1mple to play in the ECS Finals and the ESL One Cologne Qualifier.
Though this might help them out, we can’t see Liquid advancing through the group stages.
Now, predicting who will not advance out of these three remaining teams was very hard; but we had to go with G2 eSports not to qualify. G2 have Liquid first, which should see them into the winner’s match of Group A, but we believe that NiP and Luminosity’s talents are simply better than G2’s.
G2 have beaten NiP three times in their past four meetings, but we think that G2 will be outplayed by the two major teams. Simply put, we think G2 are good, but not good enough to get past NiP and Luminosity.
Coming in as our number two in Group A, we’ve put Ninjas in Pyjamas. NiP definitely have the talent to qualify for the semis, but we put them in at number two due to their first game being against Luminosity, who we believe will take the win in the best-of-one.
NiP haven’t played Luminosity for a long time, but in their last match, Luminosity took the win in a best-of-one. We believe NiP will qualify, but in second place, because they’ll miss out on the winners match due to Luminosity.
And finally, we believe Luminosity Gaming will take the top spot in Group A. This is because they are currently ranked number in the world by HLTV and because they are currently on a 12-match winning spree. They won every single game in their group in the ELeague and they won 95% of their games in May, winning 21 and losing just one. These guys are on fire and we’re pretty sure they will take Group A, if not the whole competition.
Moving onto Group B. This contains another four teams: Astralis, Cloud9, TSM and Fnatic. This group is quite packed too, and it was hard to pick who will advance from the group stage.
As done before, we’ll go in an ascending order. So we’ll start off with the bottom team.
In our opinion, Team SoloMid will finish bottom of Group B. This is because personally we believe they don’t have the talent that the other teams have. They have Astralis in their first game and I think that it should be an easy game for Astralis due to their reinforced roster with the addition of Kjaerbye.
Team SoloMid won 68% of their games last month, but we don’t think they have what it takes to beat the other teams in the group.
It was once again a tough decision to place the third place in Group B, but we had to go with Cloud 9. They didn’t manage to qualify for the Major the other day, but they put in a good performance, and they have had a decent month so far. Cloud 9 also have a great team talent-wise, and in the final of the ESL One Cologne Qualifier, Stewie2k really stepped up and showed what he could do with an AWP.
Cloud 9 have a chance of advancing from the group stages but we don’t think they will do so. Coming in at number two in the group, we’ve put Fnatic here. Fnatic recently hadn’t found their mojo, but when Olofmeister returned at the ELeague they went flawless and won every game. They showed that all their players can step up and make an impact.
With the wide range of talent on the team, Fnatic have proved that they are one of the best teams in the world. With Olof back on the team, Fnatic are definitely advancing.
Finally, coming in number one, we’ve selected Astralis. Ever since Kjaerbye joined the team, Astralis have been on fire, winning seven out of eight games this month. Astralis are currently on a three-win streak too, so they are heading on up and they also did well last month, winning four games but also losing three.
Astralis also have Team SoloMid first, that should see Astralis advance to the winner’s match, and then Astralis should take the win from whoever they face.
So what can fans expect to see from this tournament? They can expect to see some great Counter Strike being played from some of the top teams in the world, inside a world-class stadium with what should be an amazing crowd.
Expect to see the top level of strategy as the best teams clash in what should be a phenomenal event.