Wembley is our next stop in the never-ending cycle of tournaments we are graced with. With a staggering $660,000 pot, the top four European and North American teams will duke it out in front of the sold-out Wembley crowd. New faces on new teams is the main focal point heading into this weekend along with some other storylines we’ll break down and some players to watch.
The Shox Project.
The time has finally come, Shox has been granted the wish he sought initially to have before his wrist surgery. The new look G2 features their legend status core of Kenny ‘kennyS’ Schrub, Richard ‘shox’ Papillon and Alexandre ‘bodyy’ Pianaro, adding former coach Edouard ‘SmithZz’ Dubourdeaux and legendary IGL Kévin ‘Ex6TenZ’ Droolans. On paper this team can either be a world beater challenging for the number one spot in the world any day, or this could be yet another roadblock in the crumbling French scene. G2 come into ECS placed into group B, which features the likes of FaZe, NRG and Luminosity. This is most notably the weaker of the two groups, with FaZe electing to use cromen as olofmeister is still on his leave of absence this group is anyone’s for the taking. The main puzzle to be solved for G2 is regarding roles.
For kennyS and shox, the pressure will be left on to them mostly, with SmithZz not primarily awping questions are left in the air how much fragging output he truly can produce. Perhaps the biggest surprise in this roster is the core of the team electing to opt with bodyy in favor of NBK-, this is the young Frenchman’s real opportunity to shine. Over the course of 2017 he was primarily the supportive player in the team getting stuck with the roles no one wanted to help set up his teammate’s. Bodyy will now be the third star in this team and will massively need to step up his fragging potential as all the weight cannot be left onto the star duo of kennyS and shox or this team is bound to fail. All eyes will be on the new look G2 in London, expectations are high for a team that features such household names but time will tell if the shox project was the right one all along.
Fnatics Time to Shine.
Fresh off a surprising roster change that saw star entry Lekr0 move to the bench of favor of bringing in the veteran IGL Xizt, whom recently spent the last few months playing a supportive role on FaZe now back to the captain role. This move has been under a lot of critique since the announcement as with the addition of Xizt, Golden has been moved to the entry role which is bizarre too many. GOLDEN was promoted from the academy team before Dreamhack Masters Malmo, late summer of 2017. Since his promotion to Sweden’s top squad, Fnatic have seen a resurgence in 2018, captivating the elusive IEM Katowice following it up with a nice paycheck in the form of WESG, all in this time Golden brought a new tactical atmosphere which rediscovered the form of JW and flusha along with Krimz’s presence already felt in 2018.
With Xizt now in the roster we have yet seen this new look Fnatic play an official match so many eyes will be on them in London. With Golden being seen as one of the few players in the scene who want to be a true IGL, in terms of his style and approach to the game it is a mystery, his fragging has never been seen as one of his strengths and has often been a liability in terms of frag output it is questionable how this role swap will work. With Krimz in stellar form, JW and flusha looking motivated again we are waiting to see if this move was evidently the right move. Fnatic are placed in group A of ECS, with the likes of world number one Astralis, FaZe and Cloud9 it is hard to muster any hope in the Swedes chances of making it out of groups. With the major on the horizon will this be the last roster move Fnatic make? Only time will tell and ECS is the first proving ground for the former giants of CS.
Was StarSeries a one off for NRG?
Finally, a third North American team that can contend at international events has appeared or has it? NRG experienced a turbulent run at the latest StarSeries this past week, much like their North American counterparts in Cloud 9 they replicated their historic run. Down 0-2 on the brink of elimination they clawed their way back and reached the grand final, however ultimately falling to s1mple and Navi. To put NRG’s run to the final in more context, their opposition on the way to the final was not the best crop of talent in teams VG.Flash, Hellraisers, Renegades, North and most notably Team Liquid, with StarSeries featuring a lesser group of top heavy teams as previous ones have held their run to the final is still impressive but still leaves a doubt in this team. With the young trio of CeRq, brehze and nahtnE this squad is loaded with potential all hungry to climb the ranks even more. Adding coach/analyst ImaPet who is renowned for his demo grinding and preparation for games has helped veteran IGL daps lock down his strats more.
NRG open ECS Finals against the new look G2 team, with no previous games to study for this team, daps and co will have to rely on instinct and previous strats to conquer the French. One standout player from Starladder for the North American squad was support player FugLy. a 1.11 rating was the focal point for NRG, propelling them forward in their memorable run. A top 4 placing at ECS will fortify themselves further as another North American team hungry for trophies, and with Cloud9’s fall from grace the second best team in North America is not off the table.
Players to Watch.
1. rain – FaZe Clan -> The Norwegian has seen a dip from his stellar form we witnessed in 2017, although still bolstering a 1.15 consistent rating in recent events we were shown what a monster rain can be and FaZe need that spark again to propel them to challenge Astralis.
2. SmithZz – G2 Esports -> Its been over a year since the last time we saw the former G2 awper play, now in this new look G2 and without being the primary awper it is pivotal SmithZz does not continue the form that led to him stepping down last year.
3. FugLy – NRG -> The veteran support player for the hungry North American was marvelous in Kiev, however wonder not just for him but for this squad was this a one off and will their form dip in London.
4. FNS – Cloud9 -> One of the former IGL of the squad is now going into his last tournament with Cloud9, FNS will not under the helm but this is an opportunity for him to prove he can still frag with the best and be warranted by other top teams.
5. Golden – Fnatic -> No longer the captain, Fnatics new entry fragger is looking to silence all the critiques as he will look to further solidify Fnatic as a top 5 team with a run at Wembly.
- 1. Astralis
- 2. Team Liquid
- 3-4. FaZe Clan
- 3-4. G2 Esports
- 5-6. NRG
- 5-6. Fnatic
- 7-8. Cloud9
- 7-8. Luminosity Gaming
Who do you see taking the top prize in London? Comment your predictions below! Also join our Discord to talk all things CS:GO and talk with fellow fans during matches. https://discord.gg/a5k62AY
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