The Legends systems that Valve has always used at the CS:GO Majors has come under scrutiny from fans for rewarding teams for their performance 6 months ago, a lifetime in the current tournament circuit.
For those unaware the Legends system means that if a team reaches the quarter finals at a Major, they are automatically invited to the Top 16 stage of the following major, avoiding the ever competitive qualifying stage.
So the question stands what are the chances that the set of Legends teams from the IEM Katowice Major prove the system rewards the best and will keep their top 8 placing at the upcoming Starladder Berlin Major.
The Australian squad had a career high result in Katowice with great individual performances and a high level of team play, earning them the prestigious label of “Astralis-Lite”. However, the lineup seems to have followed Astralis a little too religiously in that they have achieved nothing significant since the Major.
Photo Credit: ESLEver since their AWP player Sean "Gratisfaction" Kaiwai temporarily had to stop playing due to VISA issues the team just hasn’t looked the same with an appalling 25.9% map win rate over the past 3 months. Star player Justin "jks" Savage has remained the sole pillar of consistency for the team showing the skill of a top 20 player but this doesn’t seem enough for Renegades to earn a top 8 finish.
Chance of top-eight: 20%
Ninjas In Pyjamas
Admittedly reaching Legends status isn’t the greatest issue facing one of the renown Swedish organisation at the moment. Instead, the NiP management is most concerned with former player Robin "Fifflaren" Johansson accusing the organisation of not paying players among a litany of other malicious activities.
The organisational issues, combined with the team being forced to field former Cloud9 player Maikil "Golden" Selim in place of newcomer Nicolas "Plopski" Zamora, makes reaching quarter finals a difficult goal. However, with legendary player Christopher "GeT_RiGhT’ Alesund's future in the team likely ending after the major one would imagine that the team would work hard to give their franchise player a proper sendoff.
Photo Credit: ESL
Chance of top-eight: 25%
READ MORE: Richard Lewis interview with Fifflaren
Made in Brazil
The beloved Brazilian legends have a long history of success at the Majors. Gabriel "Fallen" Toledo and Fernando "Fer" Alvarenga hold the second longest streak of top 8 placings just behind Natus Vincere’s Danylo "Zeus" Teslenko.
Yet this streak could be nearing its end as the roster is fielding coach Wilton "zews" Prado over 2016 & 2017’s world number one Marcelo "coldzera" David because of internal disputes.The Brazilian’s are no stranger to using stand-ins having done it twice before. What’s more this major they must play during the roster’s worst slump yet, placed #14 on HLTV’s world rankings which is their lowest rating since the rankings were created back in late 2015.
The future doesn’t look entirely dark for MIBR as the squad recently reached the semi-finals of IEM Chicago showing a renewed sense of passion for the game in the process.
Chance of top-eight: 35%
Read More: IEM Chicago Winners and Losers
Originally hailed as the most skilled line-up of all time at the roster’s inception in2017, Faze has looked relentlessly mediocre throughout 2019 with a singular exception in the form of Blast Pro Series Miami.
The addition of Polish legend Filip "NEO" Kubski in the in-game leader role has done little to ignite any change to the European super team’s stagnation. While the team is unlikely to achieve the deep placing their talent would like the sheer skill of Nikola "NiKo" Kovač, combined with the occasional star performance of Ladislav "GuardiaN" Kovács and Håvard "rain" Nygaard, means the renown organisation possesses the means to reach top 8.
Photo Credits: Blast Pro Series
The Berlin Major stands as the time for this collection of former and current greats to prove that they can still outperform younger players who no longer waver when seeing their legendary names in the server.
Chance of top-eight: 60%
It was at the last Major in Katowice where Ence established themselves as an elite team with their miracle run to the grand finals.
The team has successfully proved this performance wasn’t a fluke showing great consistency throughout the year with a win in Madrid and two second-place finishes at tier one events, most notably DreamHack Masters Dallas.
What the team hasn’t managed is to develop beyond their Katowice finish to become a consistent title contender. Furthermore, the nerfs to the AUG have made the Finnish squad more susceptible to being out-aimed by their opponents since the gun allowed for CT sides more based around passive team play and coordination, Ence’s forte.
This was recently shown in the finals of IEM Chicago whereupon the Finns showed few signs of any resistance to the individual skill of Team Liquid. This being said the organised and methodical play used by in-game leader Aleksi "Aleksib" Virolainen should be enough to propel the team into top 8 if not further.
Chance of top-eight: 80%
Natus Vincere (85%)
Photo Credit: ESL
While other players have been deservedly enjoying the player break, posting photos of lovely holidays on Instagram, Aleksandr "s1mple" Kostyliev, the best player to touch Counter Strike ever, has been constantly streaming the game and making highlight plays effortlessly.
As s1mple’s tenure in NaVi has shown if he alone plays even close to his best level the Russian/Ukranian squad should have no trouble reaching top 8. The recent addition, Kirill "Boombl4" Mikhailov has shown good potential both in his individual potency and in his ability to work well within the team.
Also, as is often overlooked in awe of s1mple, is the skill Denis "electronic" Sharipov has been bringing this year, standing as the 6th highest rated player at Big Events in 2019 per HLTV. The only point against NaVi is how little they have played recently, with a semi finals finish at Cologne being their only result in the past 3 months.
Despite this while we may not know what NaVi will show as a team it is certain that s1mple will, as always, play the game at an inhuman level.
Chance of top-eight: 85%
The Danes looked unbeatable after their win in Katowice, dropping a single map throughout the event, it seemed it would take something amazing to dethrone the kings of counter strike.
Little did we know that Astralis themselves would be the ones to do it with the infamous “Blastralis” era, whereupon the team didn’t attend any events outside the less important Blast Pro Series tournaments.
Due to their inactivity, the Astralis that showed us consistent, seamless team play throughout 2018 has degraded into a standard top 5 team if that. However, while Astralis have rightly received a great deal of criticism for their drop in rankings, the team is still ultimately elite level.
Photo Credit: Astralis
Furthermore, the Danes will have to work harder than ever in a bid to become the first ever 4 time Major winners, overtaking Jesper "JW" Wecksell and Robin "flusha" Rönnquist who also hold 3 Major titles.
It is safe to say Astralis will make Legends but this team will need a very good placing to reignite hope that they will ever return to their legendary form of 2018.
Chance of top-eight: 90%
As IEM Katowice finished, Astralis had cemented themselves as the best line-up ever and the question was raised of “Will there ever be a better team?”. Yet 6 months later, on the dawn of the next Major, Team Liquid have created the same sentiment among the community.
Team Liquid come off the back of their 5th consecutive tournament win and their 7th this year. Not only that but the team hasn’t lost a match since 18 June and have decisively defeated every top 10 team, even Astralis who they never defeated in a best of three series last year.
The addition of Jake "Stewie2K" Yip at the beginning of they year has given the squad the clutch factor they need to win the finals that so often eluded them throughout 2018. Although to give this credit entirely to Stewie2K would be neglectful.
The main reason Liquid has come to dominate is because every one of their players is performing at a career high level with Jonathan "EliGE" Jablonowski, in particular, starting to challenge s1mple statistically. Legends stage is not only a lock for North America’s best ever squad but anything besides the trophy would be an immense disappointment for them.
Chance of top-eight: 99%
Photo Credit: ESL