EPICENTER 2018 will take place in Moscow on October 23-28. In this material, we will remind about the features of the championship and tell about the chances to win.
The general information
EPICENTER will be hosted in the capital of Russia, Moscow. VTB Ice Palace - the Park of Legends will be a venue for the tournament and the prize pool will amount $300,000. The championship will be run by the classic scheme. Teams will play in two groups by the GSL system, after which the top teams will advance to the playoffs. The difference from the regular format is that not 2 but 3 teams will advance to the playoffs. Teams that place first will go to the semi-final, while the 2nd and 3rd places will get to the quarterfinal. A part of teams received an invitation to the LAN final and a part received an invite to the Wild Card tournament, where teams will fight for an invite to EPICENTER 2018.
The analysis of the teams
Natus Vincere (a place in the rate by HLTV — #3)
Natus Vincere has placed second at the last Major tournament, which reflects a high level of their play. At the following ESL One New York 2018, they held the 5th-6th place and disappointed their fans. StarSeries Season 6 got past Na’Vi. If the team didn’t lose its time and practiced regularly, Natus Vincere will have the biggest chances to win. If there is an interesting final in the form of Na’Vi vs Team Liquid, the yellow-black team will probably achieve victory. S1mple told about a high motivation to win the match against Liquid.
The roster of Natus Vincere and the players’ rate:
Ioann “Edward” Sukhariev — 0.99
Egor “flamie” Vasilyev — 1.06
Oleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev — 1.29
Danylo “Zeus” Teslenko — 0.94
Denis “electronic” Sharipov — 1.18
Mykhailo “kane” Blagin — a coach
Team Liquid (a place in the rate by HLTV — #2)
Team Liquid, like the majority of the Tier-1 teams, missed StarSeries 6 and it’s difficult to say in which shape they are now. At ESL One New York 2018, they placed second, having lost to the team mousesports. If the Americans prepared well for the participation in EPICENTER 2018, they can be expected to be in the final for sure.
The roster of Team Liquid and the players’ rate:
Nicholas “nitr0” Cannella — 1.14
Jonathan “EliGE” Jablonowski — 1.15
Russel “Twistzz” Van Dulken — 1.29
Keith “NAF” Markovic — 1.17
Epitacio “TACO” de Melo — 0.98
Wilton “zews” Prado — a coach
The teams that have a chance to win
ENCE eSports (a place in the rate by HLTV — #11)
The Finnish team has recently become a champion at StarSeries Season 6 and earned a money prize in the sum of $125,000. Due to a good performance and the first place in the standings, ENCE placed 11th on the list of the best CS:GO teams by HLTV. The majority of teams relaxes after a victory at a large championship and can’t show good results at the next event. If ENCE manages not to relax, like Astralis, they will certainly enter the top four. A few strong opponents will take part in EPICENTER 2018 but ENCE is on the level when they are able to compete with the world-class teams.
The roster of ENCE eSports and the players’ rate:
Aleksi “allu” Jalli — 1.15
Aleksi “Aleksib” Virolainen — 1.02
Jere “sergej” Salo — 1.17
Jani “Aerial” Jussila — 1.19
Sami “xseveN” Laasanen — 1.03
Slaava “Twista” Rasanen — a coach
FaZe Clan (a place in the rate by HLTV — #6)
FaZe placed only 5th-8th or 7th-8th at the last four tournaments. This reflects that the team is in a state of stagnation and they need to change something to achieve new heights. FaZe Clan can’t be called an underdog of the tournament as this team enters the top ten and holds the 6th place and there are many teams at EPICENTER 2018, which are weaker than the European mix in the terms of play. At the same time, FaZe is not a favorite as its gaming shape is worse than many teams, which will compete in the Moscow championship. We think that FaZe is likely to place 3rd-4th or 5th-6th.
The roster of FaZe Clan and the players’ rate:
Havard “rain” Nygaard — 1.06
Finn “karrigan” Andersen — 0.92
Nikola “NiKo” Kovac — 1.22
Ladislav “GuardiaN” Kovacs — 1.06
Olof “olofmeister” Kajbjer — 1.12
Robert “RobbaN” Dahlstrom — a coach
Ninjas in Pyjamas (a place in the rate by HLTV — #8)
Blast Pro Series Istanbul 2018 was the last tournament, in which Ninjas in Pyjamas took part. There, the Swedes performed both not good and not bad. They were not able to advance to the playoffs but, in turn, placed third and won Pro Standoffs. Since the end of the Istanbul tournament, three weeks have passed. If Ninjas in Pyjamas were preparing for EPICENTER 2018 all the time, they will able to reach the top four. NiP has been playing with such a roster for an enough long time. The players managed to create a team play in four months but the results might be better.
The roster of Ninjas in Pyjamas and the players’ rate:
Patrik “f0rest” Lindberg — 1.09
Christopher “GeT_RiGhT” Alesund — 1.00
Fredrik “REZ” Sterner — 1.07
Dennis “dennis” Edman — 1.00
Jonas “Lekr0” Olofsson — 1.02
Faruk “pita” Pita — a coach
AVANGAR (a place in the rate by HLTV — #27)
Like Gambit eSports, AVANGAR is a contender on the title of the best CS:GO team in Kazakhstan. Over the last three weeks, the players showed that they were in a great gaming shape. During this period, the team competed in nine official matches, which were played at MSI Gaming Arena 2018 and Hellcase Cup #7. All matches were won and as the result, Hellcase Cup and MSI Gaming Arena were finished with a success for AVANGAR and the team placed first places at the events. The Kazakhs earned money prizes in the sum of $22,800 and $30,000 for their efforts. Of course, all teams at EPICENTER 2018 will be much stronger than the opponents that AVANGAR has faced at the above-mentioned tournaments, however, the Kazakh roster has great chances to advance to the playoffs and maybe to enter the top four.
The roster of AVANGAR and the players’ rate:
Timur “Buster” Tulepov — 1.20
Aidyn “KrizzeN” Turlybekov — 1.08
Alexey “Qikert” Golubev — 1.17
Ali “Jame” Djami — 1.34
Bektiyar “fitch” Bahytov — 1.13
Dastan “dastan” Akbaev — a coach
HellRaisers (a place in the rate by HLTV — #27)
HellRaisers showed a great performance at the recently finished Major tournament, having made it to the top eight players. In such a way, they pleased their fans but HR’s results started getting worse after that. At the European qualification to ECS 6 and EPICENTER 2018 Wild Card, they held the 7th-8th and 5th-8th places, respectively, and they placed 9th-11 at StarSeries Season 6 and earned a consolation prize in the sum of $6,000. It’s worth to notice that the teams at StarSeries Season 6 were not as strong as the majority of participants of EPICENTER 2018. Due to this, we think that the team will be probably one of the first to finish the participation in EPICENTER.
The roster of HellRaisers and the players’ rate:
Kirill “ANGE1” Karasov — 0.93
Vladyslav “bondik” Nеchуроrchuk — 0.95
Bence “DeadFox” Böröcz — 0.87
Özgür “woxic” Eker — 1.16
Issa “ISSAA” Murad — 1.10
Ivan “Johnta” Shevtsov — a coach
Swole Patrol (a place in the rate by HLTV — #42)
The fact, that the last team to divide the prize pool of EPICENTER 2018 has become Swole Patrol but not Virtus.pro, is a surprise for many viewers. It’s worth to notice the fact that the Americans had a series of four victories at the ESEA league before participating in the Wild Card qualification. It’s possible that they were preparing for EPICENTER 2018 hard and will be able to show an interesting performance and even to advance to the playoffs. Swole Patrol is one of the contenders to be eliminated from the tournament in the groups stage together with AVANGAR. They are unlikely to beat Liquid and NiP but they will be able to struggle well in the match against the Kazakh team.
The roster of Swole Patrol and the players’ rate:
Ryan “freakazoid” Abadir — 1.22
Austin “Cooper-” Abadir — 1.16
Jordan “Zellsis” Montemurro — 1.12
Braxton “swag” Pierce — 1.18
Omar “MarKE” Jimenez — 1.08