Why do we love CS:GO majors? We love them for bright highlights, fierce fights, intrigues, underdogs' victories, and dramatic relegation of CS:GO top players. The audience witnessed all these events during the PGL Major Antwerp Legends Stage. While the last tournament in Stockholm was mostly predictable, there were several upsets in Belgium. Let's analyze why Natus Vincere once again has very few opponents on its way to the title.
Legends Stage: Overall Standings
If one had shown these results to the viewers six months ago, they would have called them a fake. Four participants of the PGL Major Stockholm playoff, two of which were relegated during the quarterfinals. It's nice to see two CIS teams at the top of the list. Unfortunately, only they will represent the region in the playoff. Let's look at all teams that got 3 victories and speak about those who broke their fans' hearts.
3 — 0
Valerii "b1t" Vakhovskyi still hasn't been defeated at the main tournament. His terrific winning streak is 13 maps. The comeback of NIP on Mirage interrupted the young rifler's achievement. Right now, b1t is the best tournament player. NaVi's main star, Oleksandr "s1mple" Kostyliev, demonstrates a decent performance. When asked why he should play at his best, he says there is no point in doing that when Valerii Vakhovskyi is nearby. If Natus Vincere wins the second consecutive major, b1t will become the tournament MVP. His rating is currently 1.43. The matches against G2, BIG, and Ninjas in Pyjamas were hard, but the results were incredible. We should mention support Ilya "Perfecto " Zalutskiy, who is among the best tournament players with a rating of 1.22. NaVi will fight against Heroic, which upset Natus Vincere at the RMR tournament for the first time in a couple of years. It will be a fierce bout.
Team Spirit is the main discovery of the tournament, now we are sure. Most of the viewers, even s1mple, predicted that the team would have 0-3, but it surprised everyone. The Dragons beat Heroic, FURIA, Copenhagen Flames, Astralis, and Imperial even without their coach. Their gameplay on Nuke and Dust II is mind-boggling. Spirit managed to interrupt Heroic's winning streak on Nuke. Even the brilliant strategist Casper "cadiaN" Møller didn't manage to cope with its teamwork. Everyone plays at their best. Patsy is fourth in the rankings, degster has become the best player of the previous stage, chopper has much experience, and magixx and s1ren are as reliable as a Swiss watch. The team's first opponent will be FURIA which has already been smashed in the starting match in the opening game, so they can repeat the result. Next are the formidable guys from FaZe Clan, but who can stop Team Spirit now? Only G2 has done it, but it no longer takes part in the major.
3 — 1
After a thrilling game against their rival, ENCE, FaZe Clan easily moved further. We can see they have plenty of ideas and potential. The team showed as much as they needed to pass on in the group stage. There is no doubt that the picture will be very different in the playoff. FaZe defeated Bad News Eagles, Cloud9, and Copenhagen Flames. We should say that the team intends to win and doesn't make concessions to its opponents. Again, there is no player at the top, which demonstrates the team's success, not individual performers. Rain has the highest rating among his teammates. It will be funny if he becomes an MVP after so many years. FaZe is inclined to bring a major trophy to the organization finally. The playoff bracket and the misfires of its competitors make it possible.
A surprising story happened to a Swedish organization. After several months of performance, the viewers kept scolding Patrick "es3tag" Hansen for his play. As soon as he took AWP, the Swedish audience found a new hero. Of course, Patrick is not a sniper, but it's silly to deny his progress and impact on the team's play in his new role. The NIP fans are so happy with the roster's actions that they need no Nicolai Reedtz. It is worth saying that the Swedes and Danes practiced the tactic of five riflers successfully. NIP defeated Cloud9, Vitality, and FURIA, but its match against FaZe Clan will test its skills. Despite all the changes in its roster, the team has met its goal and can try to go even further.
As for ENCE, the Finnish organization is still a favorite. It beat FaZe Clan, Heroic, and Outsiders. It got the luckiest lot: Copenhagen Flames, so we are waiting for it to meet NaVi, like three years ago in KatowiceBet on CS:GO with 1xBet
3 — 2
Casper "cadiaN" Møller creates an image of bad guys for his team. He provokes and insults other players, gets into a fight against Lukas "gla1ve" Rossander, and bullies his opponents on Twitter, but as soon as Heroic fails in terms of its game plan, all these actions become meaningless. For example, the accident during the match against ENCE, when the Finnish organization left no chance to the Danes in the deciding match. Montenegrin Pavle "maden" Bošković shouted to Casper: "Cadian, why did you shut up?" The rifler for ENCE explained his untypical behavior: he defended his Yugoslavian brothers NiKo and huNter- whom Møller had tried to offend with his shouting the day before. We are telling you that to show that Heroic only talks but doesn't act. During the Legends Stage, the Danes lost to Spirit and ENCE and defeated G2, Vitality, and Liquid. Natus Vincere should go further and teach the leader of Heroic a lesson. While Vitality captain, Dan "apEX" Madesclaire uses trash talk to raise the viewers' interest, the Danish sniper uses it to sass. As usual, we should note that stavn and TeSes show a good play.
FURIA has confirmed its status as the strongest team in its region. The Brazilians had several spectacular matches where they caught G2m Liquid and BIG off guard with their +W style. The games with Team Spirit and Ninjas in Pyjamas were not so easy. FURIA will play against the CIS team in the quarterfinals, just like in Stockholm. We suspect that the results will be the same, as Spirit knows how to defeat the Brazilian roster.
Copenhagen Flames started with 2-0 again, but then Team Spirit ended its winning streak in Belgium. FaZe Clan has made it to 2-2, but the Danes sent Gabriel "FalleN" Toledo and co to the airport in the decisive match. CF will face ENCE in the quarter-finals, who have already been beaten in Antwerp in bo1, but the game may have a different scenario in the bo3 meeting. The matchwinner will fight against a lucky Heroic vs. Natus Vincere confrontation.Bet on CS:GO with 1xBet
Which leaders didn't get to the playoff?
Three participants of the PGL Major Stockholm playoff were called the favorites to win in Belgium (Cloud9, G2 Esports, and Outsiders). Unfortunately, all the teams went home on different stages. Cloud9 suffered the stupidest defeat on its permaban (Nuke) in its fight against FaZe Clan). We shouldn't blame Vladislav "nafany" Gorshkov for slipping up and not banning the map that the team was not playing. But people don't forgive such mistakes at the major, especially karrigan, who strives for his first victory in the main tournament. Investigation of Abai "HObbit" Hasenov's fixed matches may have played a role in the match against Imperial. The main thing is that the team needs to correct its mistakes and come back stronger under the umbrella of the new organization.
G2 CEO Carlos Rodriguez Santiago has blasted his players after their unexpected exit from the tournament, not wanting to hear excuses about the draw. But in fact, everything is because of it. G2 got the strongest opponents in each round (except Imperial). Nobody is to blame, maybe only Nikola "NiKo" Kovač, who didn't play at his best. Leaving Ancient on the decisive map against FURIA looked suicidal. G2 should practice more. It has incredible potential. Ilya "m0NESY" Osipov was the best on his team. That's who has everything ahead of him!
We will probably say goodbye to Outsiders and thank the roster for the emotions and good performances. The main thing is that each player can find a new team and not disappear from the tier-1 scene. The team's performance in Belgium was quite decent in the current circumstances.
The playoff will start on May 19. We are looking forward to continuing the holiday of the CS:GO industry.