ESG Tour Mykonos 2017 Preview

Mykonos is an island in the Cyclades island group in Greece. It is predominantly known for the summer party atmosphere. The island consists of a wide variety of beautiful beaches, with a wide selection of bars to choose from, as well as dance clubs that stay open well past dawn. Aside from the party aspect of the island, Mykonos also has landmarks dating from the 16th century which sit above Mykonos Town.

Whilst people may be aware of Mykonos’ reputation as a party island, they may not be aware of the Counter Strike tournament that will be hosted at the Destiny Villas. The ESG Tour, which kicks off in Mykonos, will be hosted at the Destiny Villas. This marks the first time that all of the competing players will reside under the same roof.

BIG, Gambit, Heroic, Team Liquid, mousesports, SK Gaming, Virtus.Pro and Team EnVyUs will all head to Greece to fight for their share of €200,000.

The format of the tournament is as follows:

  • GSL –> two groups with four teams in a double elimination bracket –
  • Upper bracket matches are played as best of ones, lower bracket matches are played as best of threes
  • Playoffs –> single elimination four team bracket, best of five grand final

The groups are as follows:

Group A:

  • SK Gaming
  • Gambit Gaming
  • Heroic
  • mousesports

Group B:

  • Virtus.pro
  • Team Liquid
  • BIG
  • Team EnVyUs

 

Without further ado, let’s take a look at Group A:

SK Gaming – The Brazilians head to Greece off of the back of what could be deemed as a slightly disappointing finish at Dreamhack Malmo. SK Gaming were able to qualify from the group stage with a 2-1 record, beating Singaporean side B.O.O.T-dream[S]cape 16-2 on Mirage. The Brazilians then faced off against the Danish side North in a winner’s best of three. After sweeping the Danes aside 16-5 on Cobblestone, they fell short on Train and Inferno, losing 16-8 and 16-11. North qualified from the group stages with a 2-0 record, and SK Gaming was left with a 1-1 record, and would face North American side Cloud9 in a best of three that would determine the second team to qualify from their group. SK Gaming were able to triumph over Cloud9, recording a 16-13 win on Train and a 16-9 victory on Cobblestone.

The Brazilians would then meet G2 in the quarterfinals of the tournament. SK got off to a solid start as they managed to edge out G2 on Cobblestone with a scoreline of 16-11. The sides then did battle on Inferno in a match that was hotly contested. SK were set to take the match with a 16-10 scoreline, but, due to poor decision making by SK, the Brazilians elected to push banana on match point. G2 were able to capitalise on the push by taking two of SK’s players out, and leaving G2 in a 3v5 situation. G2 were then able to push the match into overtime, and eventually took it out with a 19-17 scoreline. The bout then went on to the deciding map, Mirage, and G2 were able to take this map from SK with a 16-11 scoreline.

SK are one of the strongest teams present in this tournament. Dreamhack Malmo was the first international tournament since the player break, and was for most teams, a chance to get back into the swing of things or test the waters with their new roster. A good performance from the Brazilians in Mykonos is certain.

Their opening group match is against mousesports. Mousesports made two roster changes in the early stages of August, as lowel stepped down from the active lineup and denis was removed from the active lineup to add sunNy and STYKO from PENTA and HellRaisers respectively. mousesports had about a month to experiment with their new roster before Dreamhack Malmo, but unfortunately were unable to do much after suffering a heavy loss to Gambit, 16-6 on Train, and 16-9 to FaZe Clan on Mirage. Considering the mix of nationalities of the mousesports roster, they may need a bit more time to gel together, but SK are the better team without a doubt, and it should be an easy opening group stage match up for SK Gaming.

Next up is Gambit Esports. Gambit, like many of the teams, have undergone a roster change. The departure of Zeus and Kane, who were the in game leader and coach respectively raised the eyebrows of many, as it was shortly after Gambit’s surprise victory over at the PGL Major in Krakow. Zeus’ replacement is fitch, a player that hails from the Kazakh team called Tengri. On paper, this may have been seen as a misstep by Gambit, as they brought in a player with little to no tier one international experience. However, this roster move brought back memories of HObbit’s first steps as a Gambit player at tier one events, and Gambit went on an unexpected run at Dreamhack Malmo, placing second in their group with a 2-1 record. The predominantly Kazakh team then went on to face the Danish side Astralis, in what would be a rematch of the major fixture. Gambit triumphed the Danes once again, and then crumbled to North in the semifinals.

Gambit’s opening group stage match up is against Heroic. Heroic performed well before the player break, placing in the top four of Dreamhack Valencia, and then placed 2nd at Dreamhack Atlanta. This match up has the potential to be close, but considering Gambit’s confidence with their new signing, it may be slightly favoured towards Gambit.

Group B:

Virtus.pro have had questionable form in the recent tournaments. Prior to the player break, the veteran Polish side competed at ESL One: Cologne, where they lost all three of their group stage games to Immortals, SK and Heroic respectively. They then went on to play in front of their home crowd in Krakow at the PGL Major. They managed to escape the group stage there with a 3-2 record, losing to Gambit on Train and North on Mirage. The Polish side secured wins against Vega Squadron on Nuke, Fnatic on Cache and Cloud9 on Train to head through to the playoffs.

They then faced North in the quarterfinals of the major and ousted them in a convincing fashion, beating them 16-9 on Cobblestone and 16-10 on Nuke. The Polish side’s dream of winning a major on home turf was put to an abrupt end after Immortals ran them over with quick and convincing victories on Inferno and Mirage.

After the player break, Virtus.pro headed to Sweden to play at Dreamhack Malmo. During their run in the tournament, Virtus.pro picked up eleven total rounds. They were eliminated in the group stages after suffering a heavy loss to Na’Vi on Inferno and being swept aside by the underdogs of the group, Renegades. The Polish side were dispatched of swiftly, to the dismay of many fans.

Their opening match is against Team EnVyUs. Team EnVyUs are a side that suffered the same fate as Virtus.pro – an early ticket home. Team EnVyUs did find form at the Dreamhack Valencia and Atlanta tournaments, where they placed in the top four and first respectively. Whilst their run at Malmo was short lived, EnVyUs might head into this tournament knowing that their form has not been as woeful or as inconsistent as Virtus.pro’s, and should be able to triumph over the Polish side.

Next up is Team Liquid. The North American side have not played in an offline tournament since ESL One: Cologne. At ESL One: Cologne, their group stage run was impressive, as they went 3-0 in their group stage matches, claiming victories over Na’Vi on Inferno, Immortals on Train and OpTic on Cobblestone. The North American side met FaZe Clan in the quarterfinals of the tournament, and were quickly dispatched on by the European world beaters 16-9 on Overpass and 16-5 on Train.

Team Liquid certainly possess the talent to do damage, yet have failed to do so. Their opening match up is against the German side BIG, lead by gob b. BIG were able to qualify for the major with a 3-1 record, dropping a map to Cloud9, which was Cobblestone. The predominantly German side then went on to win three consecutive matches, beating Tengri in a closely contested affair on Cobblestone, Immortals on Cache and finally Liquid on Train.

The next big question was, could BIG cut it at the major? This was BIG’s first taste of top tier international Counter Strike as a team together, and whilst they were able to qualify for the bigger leagues, the question then shifted to:

Can they hang in the big leagues?

The answer is yes. BIG and Gambit were the only two teams to secure perfect 3-0 records in the major’s Swiss system. After recording a 16-8 victory against FaZe on Inferno, a 16-11 victory vs. Cloud9 on Inferno and 16-14 victory over SK on Inferno, BIG secured a perfect run in the groups, but most importantly, secured their legends status for the next major. Unfortunately for the Germans, their run was ended by Immortals in a best of three that should have gone their way.

BIG and Team Liquid have not competed in an offline setting for a while. This has given both teams time to prepare adequately, theory craft and come up with new strategies and ways to tackle certain maps. This match will definitely be an interesting one, but, BIG should be able to edge them out in what should be a closely contested affair.

 

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