The Champions Cup takes place in Malta, starting on the 19th of December. Eight teams are in attendance and will do battle in a group stage and single elimination bracket for a $300,000 prize pool. I’m telling you all this because I had never heard of this tournament, and I assume you haven’t either. Here’s the field and the odds, courtesy of Betway.
Obviously not the most impressive set of teams I’ve seen this year, but I suppose every event can’t be IEM Katowice. The field is pretty stratified, so we won’t spend much time talking about anyone past TyLoo.
— Champions Cup (@championscupgg) October 7, 2019
Your luck can turn fast in CS:GO. One wrong move is all it takes to send a top tier team crumbling in mediocrity. Chemistry is a difficult thing to balance, and teams often work or don’t work based on things that even the players can’t identify.
That isn’t really the case with ENCE though. Their big roster move, removing IGL Aleksib and replacing him with suNny was almost universally derided as a bad idea. While a roster change was something floated by plenty of analysts, I included, Aerial was the name mentioned most often as a candidate to be replaced.
Instead of a 1 to 1 firepower increase, ENCE have attempted to shift their play style and game plan almost entirely, electing to use a fast-paced and loose style as opposed to Aleksib’s calm and collected calling.
Unfortunately for the Finns, it hasn’t worked out. ENCE are 14-19 right now, with two ties, and their individual stats are abysmal. Allu is the only player with a positive rating, and it only gets sadder as you go down the list. Sergej is at 0.98 with a K/D of 1.01, and their new marquee superstar suNny is averaging a 0.96 in both Rating and K/D.
And yet, they’re the favorites. Why? Well, the field here is rather weak, ENCE’s performance at the CS:GO Asia Championships landed them a second-place finish, and because this team could still be good, maybe.
I had high hopes for these guys. Merging the cores of G2 and CR4ZY was an interesting idea. Getting kennyS away from shox and (presumably) building the team around his AWP looks good on paper, and it gives huNter- and nexa a chance to play for a Tier One organization, and attempt to solidify themselves as that will be around for a while.
So far, it hasn’t worked out. While huNter and kennyS- have been bright spots, with 1.12 and 1.02 Ratings respectively, the team has yet to make waves at any of the tournaments they’ve attended.
I imagine the language barrier is still a problem for G2, which is why I’ll continue to be patient with them. But this team hasn’t shown much in the way of encouraging results in the 50 maps that they’ve played so far.
Are you starting to notice a trend? This tournament is kind of depressing. Furia is yet another team that has made some questionable roster changes, although theirs stems from overconfidence in an overperforming team.
Since signing their players to five-year contracts the team has collapsed, which has spurred a roster change. In late September ableJ was benched and replaced with HEN1, one half of the Brazilian twins, to take up the main AWP.
I’m still sort of a closet HEN1 fan, so this move was at least moderately exciting, but at this point the most I can muster is “meh”. HEN1 is one of their top performers, alongside KSCERATO, but this team feels like one with a hard ceiling on it.
I don’t think they have what it takes to dispatch ENCE or G2, especially not in a best of three.
This list of teams just keeps getting weirder and weirder. We haven’t heard much from BIG recently, which is a shame. They’ve had some strange roster shuffles so far this year, but they still have XANTARES on their roster, who is supposed to be a top 10 guy.
Believe it or not, he’s just about neck in neck with tabseN as far as most stats go, which is depressing. BIG lost Gob B to retirement in August, and this team has felt rudderless since.
Do you think this will be one of the events where TyLoo inexplicably look like the best team in the world, dominating the top 15 teams and winning the tournament 2-0? Or do you think they’ll go out in groups, as teams attempt to poach their only saving grace BnTeT? My money would be on the second one.
Last we saw TyLoo on the international stage they were being blown out by FaZe to exit the EPL Season 10 Finals in last place. Not encouraging stuff from the Chinese super team.
Hard Legion, Spirit, and Movistar Riders
I don’t really have anything to say about any of these guys. Usually, I’ll try and come up with something, but I haven’t even heard of Hard Legion, Movistar Riders lost their best player to Cloud9 earlier this year, and Spirit are probably days away from another CIS shuffle.
Time to pick my best bet… I guess I’ll go G2? I don’t enjoy betting against kennyS in general, even when he’s in poor form, and ENCE feel like they’re likely to regress again before they get much better. So yeah, I’ll go G2 here. Watching them bumble about the server with my money riding on them will be exciting at least.