Counter-Strike’s first Main of 2022, the PGL Main Antwerp 2022 began earlier this week, and what week it has been! Now we have seen varied surprises throughout these previous days, from Astralis in the end failing to advance to Imperial protecting the Brazilian dream alive, and that was simply the beginning of the match. This Saturday, we’ll be seeing the eight survivors from the Challengers Stage dealing with the eight Legends groups, and with the likes of FaZe Clan and Natus Vincere round, issues will solely get spicier.
Due to this fact, let’s make one of the best out of the small break the Main will take this Friday, proper earlier than the subsequent stage of the competitors kicks off. Right here’s all it’s good to know concerning the Legends Stage in addition to our conventional storyline previews, the place we overview the eight extra attention-grabbing groups coming to the competitors. After all, be at liberty to have a look at our earlier preview right here because it features a have a look at sure storylines which gained’t be lined right here, and don’t overlook to have a look at our Choose’em predictions, too!
The PGL Main Antwerp 2022: Legends Stage can be kicking off this Saturday, 14th. At 10 AM UTC, PGL can be internet hosting the primary two matches of the day: Heroic can be taking up Crew Liquid, whereas Dangerous Information Eagles face Copenhagen Flames. The opening day of the Legends Stage will see a complete of sixteen best-of-one sequence being performed in whole, with every taking taking part in twice.
As for the match format, the Legends Stage will see the identical Swiss System bracket that was used within the Challengers Stage. Because of this the Buchholz System can be used for seeding matches from the second spherical onwards. As for the matches, preliminary matches are best-of-one sequence. Within the different hand, deciders and elimination video games are best-of-three sequence. The highest eight groups – these which handle to get three victories earlier than three defeats – will qualify for the Main’s last stage.
Lastly, it is possible for you to to observe all of the motion by varied methods. PGL will stream all video games by Twitch and YouTube, and you too can observe the motion by Valve’s Steam.TV. It’s also possible to observe gamers’ point-of-views by PGL official web site, which may be discovered right here. This imply that you could all the time have your favourite participant POV as soon as he’s on the server. Lastly, let’s have a look at the opening spherical schedule, and the storylines to observe.
CLOUD9 – THE PRODIGAL ORGANIZATION RETURNS
Cloud9 leaving Counter-Strike final 12 months actually broke some hearts. The group has been a family title in International Offensive, and its Main title is fondly remembered to this present day, in any case. Nevertheless, again then the group promised it could be again someday, and they’re going to lastly debut their new roster in Antwerp this Saturday. The workforce which beforehand performed underneath Gambit is now in Cloud9’s ranks, and followers have excessive expectation for that squad.
These expectations are comprehensible, although. Vladislav “nafany” Gorshkov crew certified for Antwerp undefeated, and so they have been constantly the most effective groups from the CIS area. Now, this roster does have some points that some have been criticising them for, and this Main may also be the grounds for these gamers to point out whether or not these criticisms are unfounded. Antwerp may also be the place for Cloud9 to point out that in a world with ENCE, FaZe, FURIA and G2, they’ve a spot among the many greatest.
On the finish of the day, each workforce coming to Belgium this week has or had one thing to show, and but, for Cloud9, it’s like there’s one thing else right here for them. This roster goes by a seemingly endless journey to show themselves and beat expectations. They’re seen as one of many groups affected by the tip of the web period, and it’s tough to argue in opposition to that. As an alternative, the dialogue is about how a lot they had been affected, and the way far they’ve progressed since then at offline occasions.
Consequently, Cloud9 will lastly reply this query later beginning this weekend. Having a corporation backing them as soon as once more actually lifts a weight off their minds, and this crew wants to point out that they aren’t “onliners” and as a substitute present that they’re Cloud9’s ticket to the highest of the scene.
ENCE – A DIAMOND IN THE CUTTING
PGL Main Antwerp marks a brand new level in Marco “Snappi” Pfeiffer’s profession. The Danish captain has been lively for over a decade, however he largely remained within the shadows of Denmark Counter-Strike. Regardless of being near a breakthrough previously, equivalent to when his Heroic roster completed as one of many prime 4 groups in IEM Katowice 2017, solely now we’re seeing what the in-game chief is actually able to. A lot in order that his first Main look was finally 12 months’s Stockholm Main.
Nevertheless, ENCE isn’t just Snappi’s present. In truth, it’s Lotan “Spinx” Giladi who is usually on the highlight from the roster. The 21-year-old rifler has been placing world-class performances constantly for some time now, and his 1.28 HLTV Score at this week’s Challengers Stage is just not even one of the best we’ve seen from him in these previous couple of months. Spinx is a spotlight machine however extra importantly, he’s the sort of participant each workforce aiming for the highest wants.
But, ENCE isn’t simply Snappi and Spinx both. If there’s one man that additionally wants a shoutout, it’s Pavle “maden” Bošković. The newest addition to ENCE ranks has grow to be an important a part of the roster. With him, Snappi has one other robust participant to work with however extra importantly, Spinx has extra freedom with maden round, permitting each to play to their greatest. Add in the truth that Paweł “dycha” Dycha has additionally been enhancing his consistency and it’s straightforward to grasp why this workforce has been so good since he joined.
However, the reality right here is that final 12 months ENCE was a tough gem. We might see the markings of greatness, however they weren’t there but. In Antwerp, although, this diamond goes to point out how vivid it could actually shine.
FAZE CLAN – GOLD IS NOT ENOUGH
Again in Stockholm final 12 months, FaZe Clan got here to that Main as underdogs after barely managing to qualify for it. Again then, the workforce gave the impression to be one participant away from greatness and it was disappointing, but comprehensible, to see Finn “karrigan” Andersen failing to make that squad work. Finally that one roster transfer got here, and in lower than one 12 months since its final Main, FaZe at the moment are coming as favorites. The participant chargeable for this transformation is nobody else however Robin “ropz” Kool.
On the similar time ropz is a key issue for this workforce changing into contenders, he gained’t be alone in Antwerp. FaZe, as a unit, desires this title. For that, they might want to step up much more than they did in IEM Katowice and EPL XV. That is, in any case, the Main! That is the occasion Karrigan and Håvard “rain” Nygaard have been ready for for the reason that ELEAGUE Main Boston 2018. Again then, FaZe had been favorites to win their first Main title, however they failed. Afterwards, the workforce crumbled, and each did not dispute Main titles till now.
BACK FOR ANOTHER RIDE
Nonetheless, Karrigan and Rain are again collectively, and so they have three world-class gamers with them. The distinction right here in comparison with Boston is that they changed its fragging trio composed by veterans equivalent to Ladislav “GuardiaN” Kovács with younger but skilled blood. As an alternative of GuardiaN, for instance, we have now the 21-year-old Helvijs “broky” Saukants within the AWPer position. FaZe’s younger stars haven’t reached their potential, however they know very nicely the best way to carry out on the most important phases CSGO has to supply.
And this makes clear why many see the celebs aligning for FaZe in Antwerp. This roster is the closest to perfection the group has ever fielding. Moreover, they’re going by an excellent part after profitable two premier occasions, and so they know PGL Main Antwerp could possibly be the third. The return of Cloud9 to Counter-Strike may’ve shaken followers that noticed their desires shattering again in 2018, however it’ll take greater than a dream run to take FaZe off the trophy this time. Until, maybe, lacking Robert “RobbaN” Dahlström, their coach, turns into an excessive amount of of a difficulty for FaZe.
FURIA – ROAR HIGH
FURIA are the darkish horses of PGL Main: Antwerp. The Brazilians have been taking part in very nicely recently, and very similar to ENCE, they selected the proper time to step up. Coming to the Main, we’ve a extra assured than ever Andrei “arT” Piovezan, a Kaike “KSCERATO” Cerato desirous to go additional than FURIA ever did in Majors, and a Rafael “saffee” Costa who retains proving that age gained’t cease him from changing into one of the crucial fearsome AWPers within the sport.
Extra importantly, although, the Brazilians appears to be higher than ever. Even again once they had Henrique “HEN1” Teles and Vinicius “VINI” Figueiredo of their ranks this roster didn’t look fairly nearly as good. Whether or not this is because of their assist participant, André “drop” Abreu, changing into precisely what the workforce wants or saffee’s affect on the workforce’s morale, it’s undeniably that FURIA has by no means been so nicely rounded up.
It’s going to be very attention-grabbing to see how far FURIA goes in Antwerp, and the way they’ll carry out general. As talked about above, arT’s playstyle could be a blessing or a curse relying on how his opponent adapts to him. Yuri “yuurih” Boian may also be a participant to maintain an in depth eye on. The rifler went by a stoop final 12 months however he’s again, and I’m curious to see how nicely he’ll fare now.
FURIA is a robust workforce, one no opponent ought to underestimate. For instance, they had been overwhelmed by FaZe again in EPL XV, however that was an in depth match. Will arT be capable of problem groups like FaZe in Antwerp? Additionally, how not having Nicholas “guerri” Nogueira behind them as their coach will have an effect on this workforce’s efficiency?
G2 – NO SECONDHAND DIAMONDS
Coming to Antwerp, G2 had but to totally persuade the world that they might be capable of struggle for the trophy. Certain, Aleksi “Aleksib” Virolainen has an unbelievable quantity of firepower to work with on this workforce, together with Nikola “NiKo” Kovač, however every time G2 left the server, it felt like somebody would level a difficulty with them. To actually be thought-about challengers in opposition to the likes of FaZe and Na’Vi, G2 wanted to point out far more than they did till now.
Happily, the Europeans did simply that on the Challengers Stage, virtually. G2 certified for the Legends Stage undefeated, nevertheless it’s undeniably that the workforce had some troubles. Extra particularly, their match in opposition to Crew Spirit highlighted that this roster nonetheless has points with their T sides. Some enhancements had been seen of their subsequent match which noticed G2 dealing with ENCE.
Finally, evidently their attacking facet is linked to how Ilya “m0NESY” Osipov performs. If the teenager can win duels in opposition to his opponents’ AWPer, G2 will carry out a lot better than what we noticed from their sport in opposition to Spirit. With this in thoughts, m0NESY present kind needs to be mentioned. It’s clear that he’s removed from reaching any ceiling, and he’s creating rapidly. But, proper now, is he capable of compete with one of the best on the earth? Will he be capable of tackle FaZe’s broky in a possible encounter?
MAKE OR BREAK
Finally, regardless of having a roster of veterans, G2 can be relying a lot on their AWPer, similar to some other workforce. As we talked about above, m0NESY is creating nicely sufficient, however he nonetheless is a danger taker. His type is entertaining when it really works, and due to his ability, it typically does. When it doesn’t, although, m0NESY turns into a really irritating participant to observe. For each participant there’s a line between taking dangers and making dumb performs, and one solely uncover how far he can go earlier than passing this line with expertise.
Till then, although, followers higher count on to see the younger AWPer relying so much on his uncooked expertise, which may grow to be an issue right here. It wouldn’t be shocking to be taught that G2’s opponents are investigating what m0NESY tends to do as an attacker, and the best way to correctly shut him as early as doable as he’ll finally give openings. For a workforce like Na’Vi which has a robust AWPer, they won’t even want this. If their participant can outplay m0NESY with expertise, G2 can be at an obstacle instantly.
Nonetheless, admittedly this part has been overly detrimental about m0NESY. He is perhaps one of many largest risktakers within the prime degree proper now, however he has ability to again his entertaining type. Moreover, his explosive type will help G2 overwhelm opponents that don’t have such a proficient AWPer. Similar to he is perhaps irritating to observe, he can be fairly the headache for his opponents.
IMPERIAL – NEVER LET THE SPARKLE FADE AWAY
Imperial retains surpassing expectations. Earlier within the 12 months, some anticipated Gabriel “FalleN” Toledo’s workforce to fail to qualify for the Main. But, they solely misplaced as soon as throughout the American RMR. Then, many thought-about them to be one of many groups leaving the Main within the Challengers Stage. Some even anticipated them to exit winless. But, Imperial is coming for the second stage of the Main.
It wasn’t straightforward, although. The Brazilians had a tough time in opposition to Crew Spirit, who crushed them of their opener. Crew Liquid was no match for Fernando “fer” Alvarenga, however after being overwhelmed by Dangerous Information Eagles, Imperial was on the verge of being eradicated. Within the final days of the stage, IHC gave a scare to Imperial’s followers, however the Brazilians survived. Finally, Imperial confronted forZe as underdogs, however as a present to their large fanbase, they crushed the CIS powerhouse and certified for the Legends Stage.
Consequently, the one query that continues to be about this roster is how far can they take this dream? FalleN has been doing an excellent job because the workforce’s AWPer and captain. Fernando retains delivering on the fragging entrance. Lincoln “fnx” Lau is performing like solely he can, clutching like solely he can. Ricardo “boltz” Prass has carried out nicely in Antwerp and together with Vinicius “VINI” Figueiredo, they’ve been FalleN’s knights. Whether or not they take the initiative or grow to be late-round bastions for the squad.
This, whereas this workforce doesn’t have a star like ENCE’s Spinx or G2’s NiKo, Imperial is making one of the best out of what they’ve. And fact be instructed, this workforce has expertise, an excellent thoughts main them, and quite a lot of struggle in them. This isn’t a Main-winning roster. Imperial is a squad made to interrupt expectations. And so they’re doing this simply positive.
NATUS VINCERE – ONLY THE NOW MATTERS
It’s tough to wrap our heads about the truth that after Antwerp Natus Vincere may not be the identical. Not as a result of outcomes, however as a result of present world occasions which can be regrettably affecting esports. Even so, although, Na’Vi gamers are devoted to take advantage of out of each match they attend. If this workforce requested for a break, it could be fully comprehensible. But, Oleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev and his teammates are nonetheless combating, and nonetheless taking part in like the most effective CSGO squads in the entire world.
Therefore, it’s no shock to see why Natus Vincere is among the favorites coming to Antwerp. This workforce is specializing in what’s occurring now for them and live someday at time. Proper now, they’re fully centered on this Main and this goes to point out resilient everybody right here is. It’s clear that some gamers aren’t taking part in at their greatest, equivalent to Denis “electroNic” Sharipov who has confronted a stoop earlier within the 12 months. Even so, it’s not like they’ve given up. Natus Vincere is competing with all they’ve.
As for Na’Vi probabilities of profitable PGL Main Antwerp, it’s honest to say which have an honest shot at it. FaZe can be favorites in a doable encounter, however Na’Vi is a powerhouse on their very own. There’s a really life like world the place Natus Vincere reaches the playoffs and finally wins over FaZe. Unlikely, however nonetheless not unattainable in any respect.
General, Natus Vincere ought to a minimum of be concentrating on a playoffs end. Something after reaching the Champions Stage can be going above expectations for them, and a doable win over FaZe can be welcome. Nonetheless, if Na’Vi is taking someday at time – one match at time – why we must always fear about what’s going to occur up to now forward?
This Saturday, sixteen groups will begin writing the climax of their tales in Antwerp. For favorites and underdogs alike, their future is of their palms.
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