The fourth season of WePlay Academy League Season 4 enters the second half of the group stage, and Michael Lee is back with his tournament coverage. Today, he looks at three matches on Tuesday, May 31, including BIG Academy vs Young Ninjas, Young Gods vs 00 Prospects, and Spirit Academy vs Fnatic Rising.
WePlay Academy League Season 4
We're halfway done with the WePlay Academy League Season 4 group stage, and BIG Academy have found themselves in a tight battle for the top seed in group B alongside FURIA Academy and Astralis Talent.
That isn't too shocking, knowing that BIG Academy have been competing at a reasonably high level throughout 2022 and have appeared in several second-tier tournaments. They did not win many titles, but the practice they've gotten helped with the development of the young German squad.
Likewise, Young Ninjas have appeared in a few C-Tier and B-Tier events over the last few months to get their practice in, but they have achieved even less than BIG Academy. Besides that, Young Ninjas have been struggling in the WePlay Academy League, which was expected.
Phzy, Sapec, and LNZ have all graduated from Young Ninjas at the end of April and got replaced with adamb, maxster, and 7EMPORARY, who are unknown players with little to no experience competing at a professional level. This explains why Young Ninjas have not been doing too well since the start of the month, but they have picked a few wins here and there.
But even though Youg Ninjas have shown at least something this month, they will have to deal with a huge handicap for this match, as the roster will play without the in-game leader Erik "ztr" Gustafsson, who got subbed into the main roster for IEM Dallas.
Young Ninjas are still working on forming a strong synergy, and they have yet to find any success with the main roster, which is enough to doubt their chances of defeating the WePlay Academy League Season 3 finalists. And without ztr, their chances to come out ahead are even slimmer.
WePlay Academy League Season 4
Young Gods and 00 Prospects have produced very similar results this tournament, so I have a hard time saying which of the two is in a better spot to come out ahead on Tuesday. However, Young Gods won against 00 Prospects on May 24 with 16-8, so you could argue that they're the better team and more deserving of being the favourites for this match.
But that's not the case. PickleBet has Young Gods as 2.30 underdogs and 00 Prospects priced as 1.55 favourites, and it's not hard to see why the online esports bookie decided to price the teams with those figures. Even though Young Gods won against 00 Prospects, they've since not looked too good.
They have lost against OG and barely defeated Eternal Fire Academy. Meanwhile, 00 Prospects picked up wins against OG Academy, and they even crushed Fnatic Rising (16-10) on May 28.
Beating Fnatic Rising isn't a cakewalk, and results like that deserve some respect. But that fixture was played on Ancient, which is one of 00 Prospects' favourite maps, so I would take their success with a grain of salt.
I must admit that 00 Prospect has looked better of late, but that doesn't mean I' ready to bet on them at 1.53. They can certainly win and look good doing it if they can keep the momentum going, but I don't expect to see a very one-sided performance from them.
At 1.85, a bet on 26.5 rounds is the most appealing to me as it's very rare that we see games end with one team not reaching at least 11 rounds.
WePlay Academy League Season 4
This might turn out to be one of the most one-sided matches we have seen in this tournament. Perhaps that's not entirely true, since Fnatic Rising crushed Young Gods 16-2 on Sunday, and I don't expect to see a match where one team wins just one map. But either way, this should be a very Fnatic Rising-favoured fixture.
The Fnatic academy roster are one of the strongest Academy CS:GO teams in the world now, slightly weaker than MOUZ NXT, but bust stronger than the rest. They had a slip-up earlier this tournament when they lost against 00 Prospects, but that was a complete fluke.
Fnatic Rising has three players in Peppzor, Banjo, and regali with experience (albeit limited) competing at the highest possible level, and they all played reasonably well against the world's best players. You wouldn't be able to tell how strong this team is looking at their results, as they've not won a single tournament in 2022, but this is still a very stacked roster.
You could say the same about Spirit Academy as a squad filled with highly skilled players. But their form this tournament has been atrocious. Their only victory came against Eternal Fire Academy (16-14), and even that is nothing to write home about since EF are very weak.
One of Spirit Academy's defeats came against Fnatic Rising on May 24, when they lost 7-16 on Nuke. That might not sound like a big problem, but Spirit dropped 11 rounds on CT side, which is a very concerning figure, and Spirit only won the four maps because Spirit picked up the pistol round.
Results like that make me very concerned about Spirit's chances to turn things around in the rematch. But come to think of it, they've not produced anything that would make me believe they can actually do it and defeat Fnatic Rising or even come close to it.
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