Counter-Strike: Global Offensive fans all around the globe are crossing out the dates on their calendars in anticipation of StarLadder Berlin Major, one of the biggest and most prestigious events of the year. However, before the event can take place, there are still 12 more spots that need to be filled with CS:GO teams via Minors, where only a handful will walk away victorious and gain a chance to compete at the Major in hope of walking with $500,000 in prize money, title of the champions and a direct promotion into CS:GO Major Championship Spring 2020.
Out of 12 spots which are still open for grabs, 2 will be awarded to two best performing teams of Europe Minor Championship, which is set to take place between July 17th and 21st and will feature 8 teams, who will look to come out on top and earn themselves a ticket to the Major.
The format of Europe Minor Championship and group draw has been announced earlier this month. The 8 participating teams have been divided into two groups of 4. Inside the groups they will compete in a double-elimination GSL format, with all the opening matches played as Bo1, whereas all the sequential matches set to be played in a more balanced Bo3 format. The group stages will conclude on July 18th, with only the top 2 teams proceeding into the playoffs.
Playoffs, on the other hand, will be played from July 19th-July 21st. The final 4 teams will compete in double-elimination brackets, however, unlike the group stage, all matches will be played in Bo3. We also won’t get to see the “grand finals”, but instead get to watch winners finals and losers finals. The first one will feature two teams who will advance through the playoffs, whereas the latter will feature the winner of the lower bracket versus the loser of winner’s finals.
Both finals will award the winners with a direct invitation to the Berlin Major, whereas the loser of the “loser finals” i.e. the 3rd placed team, will get another shot at qualifying for the Major via Minors 3rd Place Play-In, set to begin on July 29th.
Teams and groups for Europe Minor are as follows:
Group A: mousesports, CR4ZY, Sprout, NoChance
Group B: BIG, fnatic, North, Ancient
With everything set for Europe Minor Championship to begin, let’s jump right into our thoughts on the teams and our prediction on who do we believe will join the elite 24 teams at StarLadder Berlin Major 2019.
Mousesports are priced around $2.50 as the favourites to win the Minor and probably one of the teams that will target the New Legends stage at the upcoming Major. The team is led by one of the best IGLs this scene has ever seen, Finn “karrigan” Andersen, with whom, I believe mousesports will have a bright future. Looking back at their recent results, they are quite good and include 5th at IEM XIV Sydney, 1st at Dreamhack Open Tours, 3rd at ESL ProLeague S9 Finals and 7th at ESL One Cologne. Overall, mouz are the new team on the rise and should they improve in some areas, they could become one of the best.
Fnatic and North will probably battle it out for the second place at this tournament, which is still enough to qualify for the upcoming major. They are both in group B, which means that their playoffs opponents will probably be either mousesports or CR4ZY. While both decent teams, neither are in great shape, mostly due to the problems with their IGLs. North have recently tasked their star player Valdemar “valde” Bjørn Vangså with an IGL role, while Fnatic`s Richard “Xizt” Landström was never a good IGL for me. If we were to put the two teams head-to-head with CR4ZY, I am confident when I say they would struggle to win in a Bo3 if CR4ZY's star players Nemanja “huNter” Kovač and Rokas “EspiranTo” Milasauskas have a good day.
BIG Clan do have some quality in their ranks, but their current form is downright awful. Recent news suggests that their star player Johannes “tabseN” Wodarz is training to be their new IGL, which makes no sense for Fatih “gob b” Dayik to be in this team, meaning he will probably be benched and reinstated as their new coach. Quite frankly, I don't expect anything out of them this Minor. They do have the firepower and we could say some "hidden potential", but as of now, BIG are only a shadow of their former self, when they were known as a more tactical team.
Ancient, Sprout and NoChance are the worst teams here and without any real chance to get to the major. Do not waste your money betting on them.
As for our prediction, we will go with the mousesports. They are in great form and I am sure Finn “karrigan” Andersen will not let this opportunity slide. Their only worthy opponent in Group A is probably CR4ZY, but even they should not be too hard for mousesports to overcome. Their opponents in Playoffs could be either fnatic or North, but as mentioned neither are in great shape nor do they look solid enough to compete with mousesports. All in all, the road to the first place should be fairly easy for mousesports.
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