This weekend, Insomnia60 will be hosting the CWL Birmingham EU-only event, featuring a prize pool of $50,000 and with 30,000 Pro Points being shared out between the top eight teams.
Here, Jacob Hale takes a look at how UK teams should perform at the event.
Group A seems like a fairly simple win for Splyce – they have been dominating all teams in Europe and are commonly ranked as a top four team in the world, so this group (and indeed the tournament) should not be too much trouble for them. They are likely to be undefeated here in Group A.
iGame, the seventh-placed side in Pro Point standings, are prime for making a spot in relegation to achieve the goal of playing in S2 and representing the UK there, should they get that far. Although unlikely to beat Splyce, the newly-formed roster of Qwiker, Braaain, Desire and Weeman should see off Black Forest Green with relative ease and place second in their group.
Black Forest Green are a team that have been together for a few months now, but struggled to really make an impact. Brits Revolt, dReeaLL and Carbines join Dutchman Subsist, but are unlikely to make much of an impression on Splyce and iGame. They will possibly come third, if not last.
Millenium, who recently acquired this roster from Team Infused, have struggled of late. The team, led by veteran MarkyB, placed 13-16th at the CWL Dallas Open despite having the status of international specialists, and came 5-8th in the online 2K tournament the week after.
Nonetheless, they are expected to perform well in Birmingham after a few weeks of rusty play. They should take wins against Black Forest Red and the Frenchmen of Supremacy.
Black Forest Red is the team of EndurAAA and BoabyCee, who join Netherlands’ Torres and Germany’s UAVSlays. The team only formed at the beginning of March and their only achievement since then is a top eight placing in the 2k OLT on March 26th.
Unfortunately, like their sister ‘Green’ team, I do not have high hopes for this squad and foresee a third or fourth place in groups followed by a swift tournament exit.
This team is the most interesting to me, as it seems to be the most likely to see upsets.
Fnatic have been growing stronger throughout most of the year, but have plateaued recently. 13-16th place at CWL Dallas and 5-8th in the most recent 2k OLT are disappointing results for Tommey and co, who will hope they can go the distance in Birmingham.
They will have a lot of competition from the steady-growing Epsilon squad, who haven’t had the best results since picking up Joshh in place of Desire, but show the promise and ability to be a very good team. Not that we would expect any less from the UK’s highest earning console player in Joshh.
The newly-formed Team Vitality roster are also in this group, and will be hoping to see success in their first tournament together. Veteran player Shane takes Zerg, Defrag and the French Wailers to Birmingham in hopes of making a solid run in anticipation of Stage 2 of the Global Pro League.
Red Reserve come into this group as its highest seed and not without reason. Recently, they have been showing that despite not being highlight-reel players, they grind the objective and play the game to such a degree that every engagement counts, and for that reason I can’t see them losing a match in this group.
They initially seemed to have pulled the short straw after the European roster shuffle, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Niall and Seany were picked up to replace leading players Zero and Rated, who were both seen to be moving to Europe’s top two teams at the time.
Although this worked out well for Zero’s new team Splyce, Elevate were not so lucky, and the combination of Rated and Reedy seems not to be working well for them. They saw themselves drop down the pro point standings from second to fifth after the change, culminating with a 21-24th placement at CWL Dallas, not taking a series throughout the entire tournament.
Hopefully they have managed to work on their problems and play how they were first expected to; relentless, forceful and without mercy. Should they achieve their initial expectations, they could challenge the UK’s strongest teams.
FAB Games Esports comprises of a group of very young players in the UK’s Addiction, TypicalNerd, and Momentus, alongside Austrian player Kivi. I’ll be honest; the fact that they made pool play was unexpected to most.
Despite clearly being a decent group of players, they are not yet close to making a huge mark on the UK scene and I don’t expect much from them in Birmingham this weekend.
Black Forest Green
Black Forest Red
FAB Games Esports
Overall, the tournament should be a good one; Insomnia events always prove to be good and it will be great to see all the young UK talent that we don’t get to watch at international events. Most of all, it will be great to see how some of these teams perform before flying out to Columbus, Ohio for the inaugural Global Pro League.