Although this StarSeries features a less competitive field than the last one with the likes of FaZe, Astralis and Fnatic opting to forgo the trip to Kiev, for the 16 teams present it is about making a statement for themselves and finally capturing a trophy that would otherwise elude them. We will feature three teams to keep an eye out for and players to watch in Kiev.
The CIS come up
Avangar have been on the rise as of late. Since the Eleague Major Boston this January past, many of us were given a first hance to witness the primarily Kazakhstan squad displayed the deep talent pool from the CIS region. Avangar most recently played at the ACL 2018 this past week in Moscow and turned heads as they upset a woeful Virtus.pro squad who looks more troubled each day. With, a fellow Kazakhstan team in Gambit in an identity crisis as of late this is a golden opportunity for Avangar to make a statement for themselves. They players to watch on this team are the core trio of: buster, jame and qikert, the mentioned all contributed to their performance this week and will take over games, with jame’s aggressive awping style to buster’s deadly deagle they are for sure a trio to look out for. Avangar open StarSeries against none other than Gambit, and this match up has more context than most fans may think.
With Gambit as mentioned above in an identity crisis and with players like seized and AdreN being inconsistent as of late a potential CIS shuffle may be in the works should Gambit flop here. Avangar have a lot more than a few potential upsets at stake in Kiev, this may be the last time this five-man core play together as a few standout performances may lead to a one or two members leaving the others behind.
Can mousesports reclaim their throne?
Mousesports are coming into StarSeries as the defending champions from Season 4, and they have asserted themselves as one of the top teams in the world. However, things have not gone to plan for mouz, after a victory at the V4 Future Sports Festival left mouz seemingly directionless and complacent. Securing zero finals appearances in the following tournaments and most recently being battered by Team Liquid in the quarterfinals of EPL leave many questions surrounding the International team. Coming into the StarSeries Season 5 mouse have a lot to prove, with a much weaker field than the last one, mouz should be aiming for a trophy.
With potential players such as k1o and NBK possibly available after the looming French Shuffle, mouz may look to them to replace STYKO if things do not go as planned here. Mouz open against North, a worrisome team most of the time but can showcase some of their world class talent from time to time. With an ever-changing scene that has seen Astralis change the meta, Mouz are on borrowed time to keep the international experiment going.
Redemption for Liquid.
Team Liquid have been on the rise over the course of 2018 as the best North American team and have seen their results steadily improve since the addition of NAF-FLY. At the beginning of the year the team most recently added TACO to the mix which has given them a truly world class support player. For Elige and nitr0, this is their best chance at their first $250K+ win in their careers. The pair have constantly come up just short in grand finals as best shown last weekend past versus Astralis in a close 3-1 defeat. The core trio of Elige, Twistzz and NAF are one of the best in the world and with NAF firing on all cylinders as of late it may be hard to stop them in Kiev. Liquid are a peculiar team as they do not have a dedicated awper in the team and mostly rely on nitr0 to pick up the weapon but he has not shown the ability to hold a bomb site with minimal assitance.
The North American squad does however have one of the best coaches in all of CS:GO in zews. He has shown an ability to keep the team calm under pressure and has developed a strong relationship with the team IGL nitr0. Starladder will hopefully be a resurgence for Liquid, because besides Astralis the top of the scene is a complete puzzle at the moment as teams are fighting against each other to claw their way to Astralis’s throne. Team Liquid seem to be the most promising team as of late and look no further than them to make a finals appearance in Kiev and potentially claim their first premier title of the year.
Players to Watch
1. twist – GODSENT -> The once hot prospect AWPer has been looking inspired as of late, and with GODSENT on a rise as of late this may twist’s opportunity to warrant an offer from a top team again despite the previous rumors.
2. FalleN – SK Gaming -> With a dip in form over the recent events, FalleN is looking to rediscover his game and bring SK back to the top.
3. valde – North -> Probably the most underrated player in world Counter Strike, we have seen valde come into his own as North have fallen as of late. The Dane has looked spectacular and will look to carry his team to a solid performance here in Kiev.
4. ISSAA – Hellraisers -> The MVP at Dreamhack Tours was dominate in a finals loss to North, and will need to continue his stellar form should Hellraisers continue their climb to establish themselves as a tier 1 team.
5. byali – Virtus.Pro -> VP have been dreadful again in recent months, but byali has impressed both online and on LAN as of late. The squad is in disarray and the 24-year-old will need to step up if they can warrant any results here.
Predictions (Top 8)
- 1. Team Liquid
- 2. mousesports
- 3-4. Na’Vi
- 3-4. Hellraisers
- 5-8. GODSENT
- 5-8. North
- 5-8. NiP
- 5-8. SK Gaming
What team do you see taking the top prize in Kiev? Comment your predictions below!
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