After two weeks of a few of the finest Counter-Strike motion we’ve seen in months, the PGL Main Antwerp reaches its climax. This Thursday, the primary World Offensive Main of the yr will kick off the Champions Stage, its third and remaining stage. From this level till Sunday, shedding means being eradicated, and there’s no room for error. Each technique and plan the eight remaining groups have will probably be put to make use of, each trick they’ve will probably be in play, and by the top of Sunday, a brand new Main winner will probably be topped.
Earlier than the ultimate stage begins, although, followers and gamers could have a small break to catch their breach after the explosive Legends Stage we simply had. On this small window, I’ll be taking one remaining take a look at these eight remaining groups which have survived this lengthy and might now dream of lifting the trophy this Sunday in entrance of a crowd in some of the visited arenas in your complete world. Earlier than we get to the storylines, although, let’s additionally overview this stage format and related info.
The PGL Main Antwerp 2022: Champions Stage will probably be beginning this Thursday, 19th. The primary match is deliberate to kick off at 16:30 CEST, and it’ll be adopted by the second quarterfinal recreation as soon as it’s over. Every day of the Champions Stage however Sunday will function two video games every. The grand-finals will probably be performed on Sunday, 21st, and are deliberate to start out at 17:00 CEST. As for this part format, the Champions Stage will run a single-elimination bracket, and all matches are best-of-three sequence.
Because it’s custom with Counter-Strike Majors, the Champions Stage can even be transferring the competitors to an area. This time, Antwerp’s Sportpaleis stadium will probably be internet hosting the ultimate days of the competitors. Followers who’ve acquired tickets to attend the occasion dwell and have doubts concerning the location, planning and associated issues might wish to verify the Sportpaleis official portal which may help with these questions.
For individuals who gained’t attend the occasion in particular person, the occasion will proceed to be streamed by means of PGL official Twitch and YouTube Channels, accomplice streamers and thru Valve’s Steam.TV. For followers who’re collaborating within the Decide’em Problem, additionally, you will wish to do your picks as quickly as attainable as they are going to be beginning simply after the primary match begins on Wednesday. You could find extra details about the Decide’em Problem right here.
SLIGHTLY SMILING – COPENHAGEN FLAMES
The Danish Fireplace is coming to the Sportpaleis with lots to show, and lots already underneath their belts. That is, in any case, the primary Main playoffs for your complete roster, and opposite to the Copenhagen Flames we noticed final yr in Stockholm, this roster already has a repute. They may not be as constant as they’d like in on-line tournaments, however they’re a risk on LAN, and reaching this stage of the Main is a brand new excessive level of their careers.
But, it feels just like the Flames have extra to perform in Antwerp – and of their careers – than only a single look on the playoffs. The Danish squad was one of many first two groups to qualify for the Main from their RMR occasion with a dominant efficiency which even noticed Flames taking down NiP in a BO3. On the Legends Stage, the Danes had been additionally one of many two first groups to succeed in the mark of two wins. Whereas they finally failed to shut the stage undefeated, they began this occasion with the proper foot.
Undeniably, Copenhagen Flames did not proceed their momentum after their crushing defeat to Staff Spirit. After shedding that BO3, Rasmus “HooXi” Nielsen squad additionally misplaced the next recreation towards FaZe. Within the verge of elimination, although, the Danes confronted the seemingly unstoppable Imperial, and whereas the latter had all momentum on this planet, weren’t sufficient for the Flames.
Taking down Imperials
Whereas profitable over Imperial shouldn’t be spectacular for a workforce like Flames, anybody who has been following the Main is aware of it’s. Imperial grew to become the embodiment of hype and momentum after they survived the Challengers Stage and beat Unhealthy Information Eagles and surprisingly upset Cloud9 to succeed in the identical rating than CPHF within the Legends Stage. Successful that match for the Danes meant that they had been lastly capable of put a cease to their fall. They had been capable of say, “sufficient is sufficient, we’re going to the playoffs.”
These sorts of matches are essential for any workforce to interrupt by means of. The Danes already knew how good they’re, and the potential the squad has, however it’s solely by profitable matches like these that the Flames can burn as brightly as they by no means did earlier than. And it’s on the playoffs the place we’ll see for a way lengthy these flames can maintain burning this scorching, and the way a lot they’ll have the ability to burn. As talked about by Copenhagen Flames’ Daniel “Vorborg” Vorborg, the longer term is unsure for this roster. But, for now, the one factor they’ve to fret about is that this weekend.
THE DIAMOND HAS TAKEN SHAPE – ENCE
In case you ask the Counter-Strike neighborhood about who they suppose will win Antwerp, you’ll most positively see a fierce competitors between FaZe and Natus Vincere within the swimming pools. Nevertheless, in third place, you’d additionally positively see ENCE. The European squad led by Marco “Snappi” Pfeiffer has been on the rise for the reason that final months of 2021, and this yr they lastly broke by means of the very best degree of competitors by bringing Pavle “maden” Bošković to the workforce.
Nonetheless, we’ve mentioned ENCE’s rise lots previously, and the one factor the squad did in Antwerp was fulfilling our expectations for them. They’ve proven that Lotan “Spinx” Giladi is likely one of the finest gamers on this planet. They’ve confirmed that they gained’t fail to stress. In the end, they’ve additionally proven that they should be right here. As a lot as this Main is Karrigan’s stage to lastly win his first Main, Antwerp can even be the stage the place Snappi’ll write his identify in CS historical past after years within the shadows.
FAZING THE WORLD – FAZE CLAN
Very like ENCE, there isn’t a lot left to say about this FaZe Clan that haven’t been mentioned earlier than. Whereas the squad hasn’t been an entire dominant power like many followers would’ve preferred, Finn “karrigan” Andersen’s workforce has additionally met the expectations the neighborhood set for them thus far. FaZe had a significantly snug street to qualification for the Champions Stage and in addition to a defeat to ENCE and a comeback try from CPHF, this workforce had no troubles reaching the playoffs. That’s all we may’ve requested.
On the playoffs, FaZe gained’t have room for error, although, to allow them to’t have misses like that they had towards ENCE. And whereas the European darkish horse isn’t on the identical facet of the bracket as Karrigan’s workforce, FaZe nonetheless has lots to fret about with FURIA round. The Brazilians had been capable of push FaZe sufficient of their final encounter, and in the event that they meet on the semi-finals, their match has every part to be some of the explosive video games within the historical past of Valve’s Majors.
Earlier than worrying about FURIA, although, FaZe must cope with NiP. The Swedes had been defeated as soon as of their 4 matches on this occasion, and even FURIA was no match for them. Whereas many didn’t anticipate NiP to be this good already, the workforce maintain making greater than some other workforce may with the playing cards they’ve been dealt, and they’ll give Karrigan loads of hassle, too. But, it’s solely becoming that FaZe faces these trials. Being the perfect Counter-Strike workforce on this planet. Successful Majors. That is the form of goal FaZe has set for themselves, and it’s solely by means of beating these hard-as-nails groups they’ll have the ability to accomplish these with out leaving any room for doubters questioning their legitimacy because the best workforce CSGO has to supply.
THE DANCE THAT STILL IS GOING ON – FURIA
With Imperial out of rivalry, FURIA is the final remaining workforce from Brazil in Antwerp. In truth, FURIA is the one remaining workforce from the Americas nonetheless in rivalry, very similar to they had been again in Stockholm final yr.
Otherwise than that point, although, FURIA is in a significantly better place. As one may bear in mind, again then FURIA didn’t even had a correct AWPer, and André “drop” Abreu was nonetheless adjusting to the workforce, and to the very best degree of competitors within the recreation. For this time, although, FURIA has discovered a greater than succesful AWPer in Rafael “saffee” Costa. It additionally goes with out saying that drop has discovered his voice within the workforce and is pushing them ahead.
It’s plain that FURIA isn’t fairly on level as some might have hoped for, although. Apart from their match towards Staff Liquid, FURIA didn’t had a single snug recreation within the Main but. NiP was capable of demolish them, even, and Staff Spirit’s comeback can be worrisome. The Brazilians nonetheless are heavy contenders to shock, however they’ve proven to have fairly a couple of weaknesses right here.
FURIA’s first match will see them taking up Staff Spirit and this rematch will probably be fairly attention-grabbing. It can enable followers to see whether or not Spirit is ready to constantly overcome Andrei “arT” Piovezan’s aggressiveness. Within the different hand, it’ll be a chance for FURIA to point out that there’s a cause to contemplate them darkish horses, and that the winner of the FaZe and NiP encounter could have a world of hassle ready for them within the semi-finals.
CADIAN HAS A MOUTH, AND HE MUST SCREAM – HEROIC
Heroic is coming to their second ever Main, and whereas the workforce has its honest variety of critics, Casper “cadiaN” Møller doesn’t care. He desires to maintain pushing this workforce to its limits – one thing he may have already got achieved – and if final yr he was capable of attain the semi-finals, this time they wish to go even additional. Heroic may not be favorites, and it’s a incontrovertible fact that they apparently hit their ceiling, however that’s a really excessive ceiling. One which is sufficient to give a headache to some other of the seven groups right here.
For Heroic to dream concerning the grand-final, although, they might want to first defeat Natus Vincere within the quarterfinals. Till the European RMRs, this was one thing thought-about inconceivable, although. Heroic by no means appeared to have the ability to break by means of Na’Vi, however one thing modified of their most up-to-date encounter. Final month, Heroic and Natus Vincere confronted off and for the primary time since 2020, Heroic gained. The Danes even gained Nuke, one of many strongest maps for Na’Vi previously.
That is the explanation as to why whereas unlikely, cadiaN can nonetheless dream excessive in Antwerp. Though this workforce may’ve reached touched their ceiling, they nonetheless can hit new highs. Consistency is essential, and thankfully, Heroic is a workforce that’s not solely constant, but in addition capable of take advantage of out of their opponents’ inconsistencies. Casper will and his boys will catch their rivals’ smallest errors and construct upon these. Give Heroic a gap they usually will provide you with hell. How far being hellish like this could take them now, although?
ONE MAJOR IS NOT ENOUGH – NATUS VINCERE
There was loads of uncertainty concerning Natus Vincere of currently. As beforehand talked about, they’ve nonetheless been capable of take advantage of out of the scenario they discover themselves in, besides, there’s solely a lot you may ignore. But despite the fact that we’ve seen rumours about upcoming roster strikes coming for this workforce after the Main began, Na’Vi nonetheless was capable of go undefeated by means of the Legends Stage. This goes to show how targeted this squad is, and the way a lot they wish to shine in Antwerp.
Regardless of that, it’s additionally undeniably that now we have but to see Na’Vi being examined out right here. In the course of the Legends Stage we noticed them profitable towards G2 in extra time. Then, they beat BIG comfortably, after which defeated NiP in a BO3 with out many points. That is the extent we already know Natus Vincere can attain. It’s solely on the playoffs that we’ll see Kirill “Boombl4” Mikhailov being pressured to ship this workforce to the identical degree we noticed them reaching in Stockholm.
Nonetheless, this weekend we’re going to be seeing whether or not Natus Vincere drive to win is larger than the uncertainties that encompass them. Unbiased of what occurs, although, everybody on this workforce deserves loads of reward for his or her resilience. Additionally, regardless of the future holds for the squad, they’ve already made historical past and have achieved sufficient in Antwerp to be happy with.
BRUTE FORCING THEIR WAY IN – NiP
It’s spectacular to see every part Hampus “hampus” Poser and his workforce achieved this yr towards the percentages. With out their major AWPer, NiP needed to carry considered one of their academy gamers to the primary workforce. Even so, they had been capable of retain their place among the many finest on this planet. Now, NiP just lately acquired a firepower improve by bringing the ex-FNATIC star Ludvig “Brollan” Brolin and moved Patrick “es3tag” Hansen to the AWPer function forward of Antwerp. This setup is way from supreme, however NiP makes it seems to be like it’s.
Sadly, as nice as NiP has been with the playing cards they’ve been dealt, they nonetheless miss some parts of their composition that can enable them to take the ultimate step to start out difficult the best possible groups on this planet comparable to FaZe and Na’Vi. Considered one of these parts, and maybe the primary one, is what solely a devoted AWPer can carry to the desk. The aspect Nicolai “dev1ce” Reedtz was introduced in so as to add in NiP’s formulation.
Nevertheless, there’s a sensible world proper now the place NiP can brute power their approach towards the absolutely rounded up groups with correct AWPers. In the beginning, Brollan has been one hell of an addition. his eagerness to lastly play on the greatest stage CSGO has to supply after years in FNATIC has surpassed any stress that might’ve negatively affected him. Then, Nicolas “Plopski” Gonzalez Zamora has stepped up in Antwerp when NiP wanted him essentially the most. Plopski has been nice thus far, and he can take this workforce far.
Beating the present meta the place a prime workforce wants a proficient AWPer will probably be troublesome. Nearly inconceivable even. Be that as it might, NiP is coming to provide it a shot. And it’s going to be one hell of a shot.
MORE THAN JUST PICK’EM RUINERS – TEAM SPIRIT
Final however not least, now we have Staff Spirit. The powerhouse coming from the CIS area hasn’t been the favorites in both Challengers or Legends phases. But they’re within the playoffs after shedding the entire of 1 match out of seven. Many have wrongfully – but someway understandably – slept on Spirit, however there’s no extra room to underestimate them. They’re deep Antwerp, and it’ll be laborious to cease them.
Now, it’s no shock some might need picked Spirit as their winless workforce within the Decide’em Problem. Final yr, this workforce went by means of a complicated roster rework which noticed them dropping their then star participant. Moreover, they weren’t having an excellent yr in 2022 both. But, in Antwerp we’re lastly seeing this workforce coming collectively as the perfect roster the group has fielding in CSGO.
As for why that’s, effectively, the primary standout in Spirit is considered one of their latest additions, Robert “Patsi” Isyanov. The 18-year-old could be a power of nature at instances, however extra importantly, he’s constant. His affect in Spirit took them to Antwerp’s playoffs and having the ability to rely on such a reliable participant absolutely helps Leonid “chopper” Vishnyakov. After which, together with Patsi, we are able to’t discuss Spirit with out highlighting Abdulkhalik “degster” Gasanov. Gasanov has made a reputation as top-of-the-line AWPers from this area, however at Antwerp he’s aiming to go increased. With Patsi giving him area, he has turn into few can constantly battle towards.
What’s extra necessary right here, although, is that Staff Spirit feels appears to have lastly began to develop some workforce chemistry. Again when Nikolay “mir” Bityukov was on this roster, one may observe no participant was snug round one another. Now, it looks as if Spirit desires to be collectively. They wish to compete collectively. They wish to win collectively.
ONE LAST STOP
This Thursday, historical past will begin to be written. Two out of those eight groups will probably be despatched house, and two will probably be one match nearer to greatness. From then till Sunday, we’re in for a fantastic weekend of Counter-Strike, whether or not you’ll comply with the motion in particular person or not. That is, in any case, the occasion we’ve all being ready for.