Esports Championship Series Season 8 Finals | Event Preview, Interesting Facts & Team Overviews


by in CS:GO | Nov, 27th 2019

The next big CS:GO event is just around the corner. The Esports Championship Series brings forth the eighth season finals. It’s bound to pack the prestigious Esports Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Our ECS S8 Finals Preview is your viewer’s guide for the spectacle with interesting facts about the event, team overviews and schedule.

Coming into this event, we have several exciting backstories that could affect the teams’ approaches to the opening matches. One thing’s for sure, the electric fans in Arlington will surely up the atmosphere, drumming up the hype for another spectacular Esports Championship Series event.

Best of all, the team sheet is packed with big names, which wasn’t the case last time out. Season 8 features the likes of Astralis, Evil Geniuses, and Team Liquid, nicely poised with several underdogs carrying decent upset potential.

But, let’s stick to the routine of our ECS S8 Finals Preview and start off with the most interesting facts!

ECS S8 Finals Preview | Interesting Facts

  • For starters, ECS S8 Finals features half a million USD in prize money, which has become the event’s standard since the last season. $225,000 goes straight to the winning team, and $100,000 to the grand finals’ losers, with all remaining teams picking up smaller shares of the prize pool cake.
  • The event kicks off tomorrow and ends on Sunday, December 1st. It features eight teams, four from NA and four from EU, continuing to fuel some of the biggest rivalries in CS:GO competitive scene.
  • Freya and Smix are in charge of hosting the show, with James Bardolph, ddk, HenryG, and Machine as the designated commentators. The biggest surprise here is GeT_RiGhT, who’ll be sitting behind the analysts’ table alongside [email protected]
  • ECS S8 Finals is set to feature the usual two phases, group stage, and The group stage features two groups with four teams each. Two best teams in each group advance to the semifinals. All matches are Bo3 except for the four opening rounds, which are scheduled for Bo1 contests.
  • ECS Season 8 Finals is announcing a rather busy December for the best CS:GO teams out there. With ESL Pro League and BLAST Pro Series Finals coming right up, CS:GO fans will have plenty of thrilling contests to spectate.

ECS S8 Finals Preview | Team Overviews

As mentioned earlier, several exciting storylines are leading into this event. Some of the participants have been going through a rough patch lately and will be looking for redemption in Arlington. Two teams looking to redeem themselves are Team Liquid and Evil Geniuses, both US-based teams looking to snatch a trophy on their home soil.

Of course, the European side of the table will have their say too. Astralis and Fnatic seem to be the most prominent competitors judging by recent form, but NiP and AVANGAR should not be taken for granted either.

The following four overviews depict the teams with the highest chances of reaching the playoffs. Evil Geniuses and Team Liquid from group A; Astralis and Fnatic from group B.

Let’s dive right on in!

Evil Geniuses

Evil Geniuses Logo

The team managed to conquer the CS:GO competitive scene and dethrone Astralis and Liquid, although for a short period. This NRG roster showed glimpses of brilliance before EG acquired them. It was the perfectly timed acquisition . EG got one of the best CS:GO rosters in the world together with spots on some of the most prestigious competitive events.

Since the acquisition, Evil Geniuses won two notable events, ESL One New York (destroyed Astralis in the grand finals) and StarSeries Season 8. Both events featured top-tier competition, but Brehze and the boys came out on top, deservingly stomping the HLTV.org world rankings.

Fast-forward to late November, EG’s form dropped down a bit. They qualified for the ECS Season 8 Finals, but their IEM XIV Beijing campaign one week afterward showed only a glimpse of their A-game. The same goes for their CS:GO Asia Championship run, which ended briefly after suffering tough losses against Mousesports and MIBR.

Coming into this event, reaching the playoffs must be an imperative for Evil Geniuses. They’re playing in front of their home crowd, which will be on their side for the whole duration of the event, except perhaps for their match against Team Liquid that ought to leave the fans heavily divided.

On the bright side, Brehze, CeRq and Ethan are still in fine form. They’ll have to present themselves in the best light in Arlington and lead their team to the playoffs. Anything less than that, and I’m sure the roster will be in trouble ahead of the final stretch of the season.

Team Liquid

Next up, we have Team Liquid. Formerly the best CS:GO team in the world, Intel Grand Slam winners, and the team that had the best summer of their lives. All that stands true for the boys in blue, but their current form is far from their summer heights.

At the moment, Team Liquid is the second-best NA team. The team is ready to make a statement in Arlington and take the flattering title back from Evil Geniuses. They’ll have to improve their gameplay if they want to succeed, as they’ve been lethargic lately. Awful presentation on BLAST Pro Series Copenhagen, even worse display on DreamHack Masters Malmo. Heck, TL’s last decent result was IEM XIV Chicago, the last of their seven-trophy spree this summer.

Surprisingly enough, Team Liquid didn’t succumb to all the pressure and managed to keep their roster intact. But, I wouldn’t be surprised if that changes in case Team Liquid fail to win a single notable event by the end of the year.

Luckily, ELiGE is still playing amazing. His average HLTV.org rating over the last three months is at 1.21, followed by NAF at 1.14. Pretty impressive stuff from the 22-year-old rifler. He’ll have to keep his form up if Liquid is to have a shot at reaching the playoffs in a pretty tightly packed group.

Nitr0 and Stewie2K have to start doing their job, too. Nitr0 can be forgiven for poor stats, seeing as he’s the IGL. The same can’t be said about Stewie2K who’s been in terrible form for the past few months. Team Liquid needs its newest star signing to show up and make them proud; otherwise, they might be without a spot in the playoffs.

Astralis

Astralis_logo.svg

Astralis, the greatest CS:GO team of all time. The quadruple CS:GO Major Championships winners, with three consecutive titles, waiting for the fourth one. The Great Danes are a force to be reckoned with. Even though they had a short period when they weren’t performing at their best, it didn’t take long to get back on a massive winning spree.

Astralis is hands down the toughest team to play against. They excel across all departments and can effectively counter everyone they play. Excellent dueling, check! Impeccable utility usage, check. Second to none teamwork, check! Individual brilliance, another check. When Device and the boys are having a good day, there’s no stopping them!

There will be those who’ll try to scalp Astralis, that’s for sure. One of the best Swedish teams, Fnatic, poses as the biggest contestant in group B. MIBR is there too, but without Coldzera in their ranks, I find it difficult to see them doing anything notable in Arlington.

I’ll go out on a limb and say Astralis will take the trophy home as long as they reach the grand finals. The semifinals match will be a hectic one. They’ll most likely face Team Liquid or Evil Geniuses. If they get that match done, no one will stop them in the finals.

Fnatic

Fnatic Logo

Fnatic, the greatest Swedish CS:GO team of all time, is the last team we are going to talk about. They are in group B with Astralis, MIBR and Sharks Esports. Even though Fnatic is long past their glory days, this up-and-coming roster led by the 17-year-old Swedish prodigy, Brollan, has potential. Can they create a proper show far away from home?

Brollan and the company snatched the last EU ticket to the ECS Season 8 Finals, winning the fifth series after defeating Virtus.pro in the grand finals. But that wasn’t an accidental boom. Just before their ECS qualifiers triumph, Fnatic had two great campaigns, one of which ended with a trophy in their hands.

Yep, Fnatic won DreamHack Masters Malmo, their first notable event victory since March 2018, when they won WESG and IEM XII World Championship. Additionally, Brollan and the boys also had a solid outing on StarSeries Season 8, where they lost against in-form EG in the grand finals.

Overall, Fnatic does look like the second-best team in group B, right after Astralis, of course. If they come into the event with their A-game on, I’m positive they’ll overcome MIBR and Sharks without too many issues. The Great Danes, however, ought to be too big of a bite for Brollan and the fellas.

ECS S8 Finals Preview | Team Overviews Wrap-Up

That’s about it as far as the team overviews section of our ECS S8 Finals Preview goes. As stated earlier, these are the teams I believe will go through to the playoffs. However, NiP and MIBR are promising contestants too. AVANGAR too. The only team I consider way out of their league is Sharks. They’ve been in terrific form lately, but playing against the likes of Astralis and Fnatic won’t be easy.

Overall, I hope you’ve liked our ECS S8 Finals Preview thus far. There’s just one more thing we need to get out of our way, and that would be the ECS Season 8 Finals event schedule.

ECS S8 Finals Preview | Schedule (CET)

The group stage seeding was announced a few days ago. Let’s take a closer look at the groups before moving onto the schedule for the four opening matches!

GROUP A GROUP B
Evil Geniuses Astralis
AVANGAR Fnatic
Ninjas in Pyjamas MIBR
Team Liquid Sharks Esports

Thursday, November 28th

  • Evil Geniuses vs. AVANGAR – 4 p.m.
  • Team Liquid vs. Ninjas in Pyjamas – 5.30 p.m.
  • Astralis vs. Sharks – 7 p.m.
  • Fnatic vs. MIBR – 8.30 p.m.

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