By Pavo Jurkic
July 12, 2019
Yep, it’s already that time of the year! With roughly a month to go until the start of the Berlin Major, the Minors are due to kick off and pack the Challengers Stage teams. That said, StarLadder Berlin Major is already creeping up on the minds of all top-flight players, especially those who are yet to qualify. Needless to say, this is one of the grandest CS:GO events of 2019, sharing the top spot with the latest Major iteration held in the Polish capital of esports, Katowice. As is the case with all other Major events, you can rest assured StarLadder Berlin will be a proper spectacle of CS:GO.
However, today I won’t be talking about the Major. Instead, as the title suggests, I will be focusing on the upcoming set of Minors. Europe, the Americas, CIS, and Asia. They’re all starting pretty soon, so it’s my job to bring you up to speed with this StarLadder Berlin Minors Preview!
The first thing we’ll discuss in this StarLadder Berlin Minors Preview are the interesting facts. Since we’re talking about four events here, there’s bound to be some juicy details.
Next up, our StarLadder Berlin Minors Preview makes a stop at the tournament format section. Luckily, we don’t have to explain each of the Minors separately. They all feature the exact same tournament format, same number of teams, identical prize pools, and exact same rules.
The StarLadder Minors will feature two double-elimination groups of four teams each. The four initial matches will be played as Bo1 while all remaining rounds are set for Bo3 series. Lastly, the top two teams from each group advance to the playoffs.
We’re looking at another double-elimination system here. This time around, it’s labeled as a bracket even though it’s basically the same exact thing. The two best teams of each Minor advance to the StarLadder Berlin Major Challengers Stage, while all four third-place teams have to battle their way through the 3rd Place Play-In.
Lastly, the 3rd Place Play-In event will feature all four third-place teams from the Minors. It’s played as a double-elimination bracket with only the worst team being eliminated. All remaining ones will get the opportunity to compete on the StarLadder Berlin Major.
Both opening matches are Bo1 which means greater upset potential. The third-place team from the EU Minor will go up against Asian counterpart, with CIS Minor third-place team going up against their Americas counterpart. Yep, both teams from the second-tier region will have to prove themselves in their initial matches.
This is it, ladies and gentlemen! This is the main part of this StarLadder Berlin Minors Preview, the actual team overviews. As stated earlier, only eleven of these 32 teams will get the opportunity to compete at the upcoming Major. Eight straight via the Minors, and three through the 3rd Place Play-In. Either way, let’s check out the favorites that should easily book their tickets to Berlin!
Obviously, the biggest names of this Minor are Mousesports, North, and Fnatic. However, if the Katowice EU Minor taught us anything, it’s that there’s no such thing as clear winners here. Need I remind you – Mousesports was the biggest name back then, yet they failed to get out of the group stage. In fact, they were beaten by Valiance (now CR4ZY) in the initial match which set the tone for the remainder of the competition.
However, I doubt the same thing will happen again. After all, Mousesports’ new roster looks outright terrifying. With in-form woxic and ropz, mousesports should glide past the competition and head on to the Starladder Major Challengers Stage.
The biggest battle I see here is the one between North and Fnatic in Group B. BIG and Team Ancient ought to make a proper stance too, but the experience of North and Fnatic should be the difference in the end.
We shouldn’t count CR4ZY out either. Last time out, they were the unlucky fourth team and missed out on the opportunity to battle for the Challengers Stage ticket at the Katowice 3rd Place Play-In. All of their players seem to be in proper form so I can’t wait to see them square up against some of Europe’s most underrated teams. This time around, they might even be the first Balkan team to qualify for the Major.
Traditionally, the Americas Minor is the most tightly contested one. Especially with NRG, NA’s second-best team, already forming roots across the last few Minor Championship. Their last two campaigns were successful and I reckon we’ll see a similar story here as well. After three semifinals finishes on top-flight events (ESL Pro League Finals, ECS Finals, and StarSeries S7), they’re rightfully sitting at the fifth place of HLTV global ranking and should justify their position as the heavy favorite in group A.
Alongside NRG; FURIA should be the team that goes straight through to the Major. Great displays on ECS S7 Finals and DreamHack Masters Dallas mean these Brazilian youngsters will be a tough opponent to face in the Minor. If they manage to transition their form to Germany, I reckon we’ll get to see them at the Major once again!
Lastly, eUnited seems like the perfect fit for the 3rd Place Play-In. Their form isn’t exactly the greatest, but their recent roster alteration (three new players plus A2z as the coach) could make them a frightening opponent. I doubt they can do anything against NRG and FURIA, but they’re definitely the third-best team in the StarLadder America Minor Championship.
As far as Asia Minor is concerned, I reckon the three main favorites are pretty clear. Of course, I’m talking about Grayhound, MVP PK, and TYLOO. Grayhound and TYLOO both participated on the last Major in Katowice, so they won’t be lacking experience that’s for sure. Judging by their recent form, I expect them to qualify via the Minor. MVP PK, on the other hand, is most likely to go through via the 3rd Place Play-In.
The most notable CIS competitors are ForZe, Team Spirit and Nemiga. Out of these three teams, Team Spirit is by far the biggest and most experienced one. Even though their form hasn’t been that good in recent months, I still expect them to take the first place here. That said, the battle for the second ticket leading straight to the Major will be between ForZe and Nemiga. Obviously, xsepower and the boys ought to win this one.
The two main StarLadder Berlin Minors, Europe and the Americas, start and end on the same dates. 17th July and 21st July, to be precise. CIS and Asia, on the other hand, start a week later; July 24th to July 28th.
Unfortunately, at the time of writing, the CIS and Asia Minors’ schedules haven’t been officially announced. As far as Europe and Americas initial matches are concerned, here’s when they start:
All initial matches are scheduled for Wednesday, July 17th.
Stay tuned for more CS:GO news and updates on the Berlin Minor as the event draws closer.