Here is the second half of our EPL Preview. Due to the aforementioned expansive format, we had to split it up to cover all 16 teams in attendance. If you haven’t read the Group A preview, you can find that here. Without further ado, here’s the rest of our EPL Preview.
*Odds provided by Betway.com
I’m not going to lie to you, it’s getting kind of boring to write about Astralis. For a while it seemed like their dynasty was dead, but since the Berlin Major they’ve been on a tear. An S Tier LAN win, a Grand Finals appearance, and some big wins over top five teams flesh out their resume to paint the picture of a fearsome titan, especially after their performance in Beijing.
If you’ll remember, the last time I expressed concern about Astralis it was mainly focused on Dupreeh’s lackluster stats. His stats are still nothing incredible, but the sheer firepower in the rest of the roster is pretty staggering – enough to cover up Dupreeh’s relative slump.
The rest of the roster is putting up historic numbers. Over the last month on LAN, the other four players have a K/D over 1.20, which is bonkers. Device is having one of the best stretches of his career somehow, with a Rating of 1.34 and a K/D of 1.40. The list of players with stats like that over a month long career is small, let me tell you.
With all that said, the most impressive stat might be Gla1ve’s 1.21 K/D. He continues to be, for my money, the most valuable player in the world. His in game leading and his system, plus his ability to frag at a high level, make him an indispensable part of the Danish juggernaut. If I was starting a CS:GO team and I could pick one player to build around (ignoring language barriers), I’d pick Gla1ve without a second thought.
With that said, +140 isn’t great odds for these guys. They’ve been performing well at ECS so far, and their IEM Beijing was incredible, but they certainly aren’t the world beaters that they were in 2018. They’ve lost more tournaments than they’ve won this year (It’s crazy that that’s something I can say about Astralis by the way. Teams are supposed to lose more tournaments than they win.), and they’ve lost multiple series to teams like EG and Fnatic in the last three months.
I’m kind of hesitant to say this, but it looks like Liquid might be turning things around. After having their dreams crushed at the Berlin Major they looked lost, floundering in New York, Malmo, and Copenhagen. It seemed like a roster change or a coaching might be in order to shake them out of their slump. And while this feels a little premature, things have looked good for the NA dream team so far at ECS. Decisive victories over NiP and EG (in a best of three no less) are encouraging signs for a team that has looked lost for months.
In their series against EG, EliGE was the top performer with a Rating of 1.47 over two maps, which is par for the course believe it or not. What isn’t par for the course was Stewie2k’s 1.44 and NAF’s 1.25, as both players have been underperforming in recent months. If Nitr0 and Adren can get all four of Liquid’s high powered core back to hitting their ceiling, this +450 starts to seem a little silly.
I’d suggest waiting until ECS is over to place your bets, but Liquid is looking frisky. Not to mention they’re in the softer of the two groups, and all but guaranteed a spot in the playoffs baring some sort of upset from North or Mousesports.
Speak of the devil. I said that Liquid is all but guaranteed a spot just moments ago, but Mousesports have actually looked kind of scary. I wrote about them and their break out (maybe) performance at the CS:GO Asia Championships.
It would be silly to rule Mouz out as legitimate contenders for the trophy at this tournament. Woxic and frozen’s Ratings have been steadily increasing since they joined Mousesports, and it looks like the trust in the process might finally start paying off.
Although, I feel like we’ve been saying that for a long time. This group has always had the potential to be a top five team in the world, at least. Woxic and frozen were two incredibly hyped prospects in their day, and ropz is one of the finest players to come out of FPL. When he was playing with Oskar, they were able to win several tournaments off the backs of their hammer and anvil approach to the game. With Karrigan he’s had a much tougher time impacting the game, although he’s still the statistical leader on the team.
We’ve seen teams like this breakout before, like ENCE, Furia or 100 Thieves, were a longstanding core elevates at a big LAN and turns themselves into real contenders. The question is, is this that tournament for Mouz? At +2500 the odds are juicy, and their group is less than impressive. I wouldn’t be mad at a bet on Mouz by any means, although I don’t know if they’re a lock for me.
I still have a lot of love for this G2 project. While they’ve been disappointing so far, I still like the roster in concept, and they’ve only played 36 maps together. KennyS and huNter- make a lot of sense on this team, far more than KennyS and shox ever did.
In fact, their resume isn’t nearly as bad as their 19-17 record would lead you to believe. Their worst loss is either Furia at StarSeries or NiP at EPL, which certainly aren’t great, but not nearly as embarrassing as some of the other teams on this list.
What if we look at just the last month? Well, there is a pretty marked improvement, but not with KennyS. While Kenny is playing about the same, K/D 0.98 and Rating 1.04, huNter- is looking like a bona fide superstar. Over 12 maps he’s averaging a K/D of 1.27 with a Rating of 1.22, which is nothing to sneeze at. He’s not device obviously, but he is doing almost NiKo level numbers which is pretty absurd.
G2 are the only reasonable dark horse in this group I think. Everyone else is just too far out of the realm of Tier One, that they really pose no threat. G2 has a player who’s at a superstar level right now, and a player that’s one of the best to ever play the game. That’s not something that can be discounted.
Why is Danish Counter Strike so bad outside of Astralis? Do any of you know? Please let me know, because I don’t understand. North did a little shuffle in October, only their second of the year somehow, acquiring cajunb to replace valde. That means their roster is aizy, Kjaerbyw, gade, JUGi, and cajunb, if you weren’t paying attention (I wouldn’t blame you if you weren’t).
This roster has played just two events, 22 maps in total, and they have looked uninspired so far. A 9-13 record, two players with positive K/Ds, and a lackluster resume. They really haven’t played enough games to give you a good list of embarrassing losses, but their best win right now is probably Mousesports at StarSeries? You could make an argument for NiP at EPL, and I’d shrug and say sure. This team bores me, unfortunately, and now I think I’m done talking about them.
Apparently this Grayhound lineup only has 32 maps together on LAN? Oh yeah, they added INS in September. You know, INS? He played on ORDER… no? Yeah, I don’t blame you.
Wait, I guess they have wins over Evil Geniuses and Liquid? That’s awfully strange. They’ve also beaten a bunch of Oceanic teams that I’ve never heard of, and they have losses to NiP and Mousesports. What a weird set of sentences.
Okay, I can’t lie to you guys. I have no idea who these people are. Apparently floppy is on this team, along with with a couple South African guys? He used to play for Singularity I guess, I don’t know why I remember his name.
EPL is this cores only LAN experience, where they beat Singularity twice, Envy, and DETONA to qualify for the finals. Good for them I suppose.
I’m going to be less snarky about these guys because I’m always scared that these Brazilian teams I’ve never heard of will turn out to be the next Luminosity and dumpster Astralis or something. I don’t think that’ll happen but I’m certainly wary of it.
They’ve played all of nine maps together on LAN, beating DETONA, Isurus and Infinity to qualify for this LAN, then an overtime loss to Astralis and a best of three loss to MIBR.
Like I said, this is the weaker of the two groups by a pretty wide margin. If I were a betting man, and I like to think that I am, I would be putting my money on one of these teams. The better teams in this group have a much better chance of making it through to the playoff bracket, which is kind of a prerequisite to winning the tournament.
As far as who I like, I think I’ll lock in Mousesports – why not? They looked good in Shanghai, Karrigan is pretty good, and there really isn’t any money in betting on Astralis anymore. Mousesports have the element of surprise in a series against Astralis, whereas Liquid is a more familiar opponent. So there you go, Mousesports at +2500.