The group stage is over. Now comes the playoff stage, where the tournament's eight strongest teams will compete for the title. Many of the top teams were beaten, but the two CIS teams are undefeated in the Legends stage and rushing to victory in the major. If you missed the previous games, you can check out our Legends Stage coverage.
A solid performance by the CIS clubs, leading 3-0, allowed Spirit and Natus Vincere to avoid a head-to-head game until the very final. So far, the grid looks tougher for the "dragons", with the strongest team on the planet and also the leader of the North American region together with NiP, who has already made some progress. But this PGL Major Antwerp has already shown that all predictions can collapse in one moment. This major is not as predictable as the previous one, so you should expect to see almost any team in the deciding encounter.
Ninjas in Pyjamas vs FaZe Clan
FaZe Clan looks like the main favorite of the tournament. It has once failed against ENCE, which is typical for the team in 2022. It was the Finnish organization that FaZe lost to in the ESL Pro League Season 15 in the group. The first opponent for karrigan and Co will be NiP. The Swedes and the Dane recovered from the loss of dev1ce, gave the role of sniper to es3tag, and purchased Brollan for a lot of money. After all these actions, Ninjas in Pyjamas are aiming for high results. They have already repeated their Stockholm result, now they intend to keep going further. If they can beat FaZe Clan, the other opponents will talk about the team as the main favorite. But so far, we can see a tendency for FaZe Clan to become the strongest in a persistent struggle. Could it be that the moment has come when veteran Finn karrigan Andersen will finally lift the main trophy over his head?
Team Spirit vs FURIA
After the great victories of the Dragons and upsets of the world ranking leaders, Team Spirit started to be viewed in a different light. We've praised the roster many times, but we have to admit that the playoffs will be a different story. This roster has no experience on big arenas. There is no telling how it will play out. In the absence of a coach, most of the mental challenges will fall on the shoulders of chopper, the experienced leader and captain. The younger teammates must not waver and let their leader down. There is no doubt that Team Spirit will resist the Brazilians vigorously, FURIA has already been defeated by the Russian team in the group. Will the tribunes have any influence? We'll find out today. We can only believe in the spirit of cyber athletes and their ambitions to go as high as possible. Players have exceeded their plan for the tournament. The Brazilians are back to the quarter-finals, but still look like the weak link of their grid.
ENCE vs Copenhagen Flames
Despite Copenhagen Flames' playing accomplishments, rumours of the roster leaving the organization and their dissatisfaction with the salary cap have been coming to light more and more often. No one wants to buy the roster right now, so players will most likely be sold one by one. Copenhagen Flames looks like the main "strider" of the playoffs despite the fact that it has already beaten ENCE in the tournament. FaZe Clan analyst Vyacheslav Innersh1ne Britvin in his telegram channel noted the vulnerability of the Danes in Bo3 format. ENCE, on the other hand, has a strong mappool, so don't expect CF to cause much trouble for the international roster. Spectators can witness a repeat of the IEM Katowice 2019 semi-final ENCE vs NaVi, where the Finnish organization turned out to be stronger. Do not discount ENCE, it is still the shadow favorite of the tournament.
Natus Vincere vs Heroic
It looked like in six months the level of the teams has grown, the competition has increased, and there is a new leader in the HLTV ranking, but bookmakers put NaVi as the main candidate to win in the major again. G2 and Cloud9 have been eliminated, Heroic looks weak against the current champion, even despite a face-to-face victory at the RMR tournament. Yesterday Alexander s1mple Kostylev promised to crush the Danes in the quarterfinals on his stream, his words are worth believing. It's hard to say that Heroic will win the PGL Major Antwerp. ENCE, FaZe Clan and Team Spirit show more impressive gameplay. As for the Born to Win, a possible semi-final against ENCE looks like a hard match. They haven't met the Finns in 2022 yet. FaZe Clan is eagerly waiting for a face-to-face meeting with Natus Vincere in the first grid. The audience should be happy that this time there is intrigue, and it holds true for every stage of the playoffs.