By Pavo Jurkic
September 23, 2019
With the end of StarLadder Major Berlin and BLAST Pro Series Moscow, many teams focused on massive roster alterations to try and improve their win/loss ratio. Many teams want to take the next step to greatness, and finding that final piece of the roster puzzle is the only thing some of them need.
However, the next big CSGO event is just around the corner, and it’s on us to provide you with everything you need to know about it. That means the transfer period is all wrapped up, at least for the time being, with the first few matches coming in the next couple of days.
ESL One New York Preview to the rescue!
In the next few paragraphs, we’ll go through some of the most interesting facts regarding ESL’s upcoming spectacle, check out the format and schedule, and finish things off with concise overviews of the most notable teams.
ESL One Cologne, the last installment of ESL One, had sixteen competing teams and $300,000 in prize pool money. ESL One New York, on the other hand, has eight sides, $200,000 and a slightly altered format. It still has the same number of groups (two), with four teams in each.
Top two teams from each group advance to the semifinals. All ESL One New York matches except the grand finals will go down as a best of three series. The grand finals, however, is set to be a Bo5 spectacle with the entire CSGO community craving to see Astralis go up against Team Liquid.
In this part of our ESL One New York Preview, we are going to talk about the most prominent teams. You know, the big boys that have the highest chances of clinching the big W and taking that shiny trophy home. There are eight teams in total, so I reckon four in-depth overviews should be enough. Two from group A, and two from group B – let’s check out the four teams that should find their way through to the playoffs!
Let’s start the team overviews section of our ESL One New York preview with the best CSGO team in the world (at least for the time being), Team Liquid. Yes, I know, Team Liquids two latest campaigns leave much to be desired. First, a heartbreaking quarterfinal elimination by Astralis and then an even worse ECS shock against Sharks. As much as the few months before the Major were high for the boys in blue, this last month or so has been as low as the Mariana Trench.
On the bright side, Liquid is still ranked as the best team out there, but there are challengers across all fronts. Astralis is banging on the door driven by excellent, trophy-winning performance in Berlin. NRG, on the other hand, wants to establish superiority in their own domain. Team Liquid has found itself in the middle of two fires, and they’ll need a few great campaigns to extinguish them.
Our ESL One New York preview is as objective as possible, but I just have to say this – I really want to see Team Liquid dominate here.
Believe it or not, it’s because I think It would be great for the CSGO industry. I’m not that big of a Team Liquid fan (go CR4ZY!!!) as some of you know, but their win in New York would be yet another twist in CSGO 2019 season tale. Astralis would be back on square one, NRG would have more work to do for that flattering #1 NA team title, and Team Liquid would wash that sour taste in their mouth following the quarterfinals defeat.
What is there to say about G2 Esports? They had 2-1 score in the Legends Stage with AVANGAR as their next, and potentially final, Legends Stage opponent. Boom, Jame and the boys got the W and G2 had to find their way through to the Champions Stage against Renegades. Another seemingly effortless match in which they were the heavy favorites. Boom – jkaem and his Aussies took the Frenchmen down and sent them packing.
Shortly after the end of StarLadder Major, G2 benched shox and replaced him with the French CSGO legend, kioShiMa. The 25-year-old French rifler, former member of FaZe, Team Envy and Cloud9 (among others), will hope he can reach his old form and find a way to shine in his new team.
Why do I think G2 is going to advance over the likes of eUnited and ENCE, especially after their two final matches in Berlin? Well, G2 is class above eUnited, and so is everyone else in group A. That’s a straight-up fact – they’ll end the group stage with 0-2 for sure! ENCE, on the other hand, is going to be a much more onerous task. Still, I believe G2 should prevail because ENCE also has a new player in (suNny) and their BLAST Pro Series Moscow performance was absolutely disgusting.
I’m sure you already know Astralis came back from the dead and won their third consecutive Major. Their Berlin-bound campaign was thrilling from start to finish, portraying Astralis in the best of lights as if they were once again back in their prime days.
The question is – is Astralis really back in the game or was that Major win their very last budge? Well, it’s difficult to answer, and that’s coming from a massive CSGO fanatic. While I do believe Astralis’ third-consecutive Major trophy was a huge feat, one that will probably never be taken away by another team, I’m still not that confident device, and the boys will continue with such splendid displays.
ESL One New York will be their first real test, that’s for sure. They’re in a tricky group with FaZe, NRG, and OpTic. Even though this OpTic roster is more like a punching bag at the moment, NRG and FaZe will both give Astralis a proper run for their money.
If Astralis wins against OpTic, and I don’t see any way that match can go the other way, group B winners round is going to be quite the treat. From what we’ve seen from FaZe Clan thus far, I reckon we’ll see a replay of the Major’s semifinals, NRG vs. Astralis. While I do believe NRG is a strong side (all-around much stronger than FaZe Clan), their playstyle is no match for Astralis. If, on the other hand, FaZe Clan grabs a surprising win against NRG in the opening round, we could see all hell break loose in the winners’ round, with FaZe Clan’s aggressive and superstar-packed roster already having a habit of beating Astralis in recent months.
Last but not least, NRG. Brehze and the boys almost went all the way in Berlin, getting past both Challengers and Legends Stage, sweeping past NaVi in the quarterfinals, only to get stomped by Astralis. And that semifinals match against the Danish side wasn’t even a particularly bad performance by NRG. The Great Danes were, to put it simply, too much to handle for NRG.
However, that didn’t phase the second-best NA team. They started their ECS qualifications campaign with style, winning the first event. NRG is basically one foot in the ECS S8 Finals. Such terrific performances began an avalanche of questions surrounding their position on the NA scene. They’ve been the second-best team for quite awhile with the dominant Team Liquid winning everything but the Major in the last couple of months.
Team Liquid’s disastrous performances in Berlin are raising questions of their own, further boosted by their disheartening defeat against Sharks on ECS NA qualifiers. NRG, on the other hand, seems to be excelling across all departments and it’s only a matter of time before they surpass the boys in blue. Oh, what a story that would be…
There’s just one more thing we need to address before finishing off with our ESL One New York Preview – event schedule. Even though the event hasn’t even started yet, we already know the start date of all thirteen matches.
Let’s take a closer look and plan our schedules accordingly!
Thursday, September 26
Friday, September 27
Saturday, September 28
Sunday, September 29