Another weekend and another extremely tight group full of fan-favorites. This weekend will see Splyce, eUnited, Rise Nation and Red Reserve battle for spots in the playoffs. With only two spots available, the action is expected to be fierce. Oh and it just so happens to be the debut of former FaZe Clan leader, James "Clayster" Eubanks on his new home, eUnited.
Though Clayster only recently joined eUnited, he still carries grudges with other players from his time on FaZe Clan. In particular, Red Reserve's Rhys "Rated" Price. The two players have, somewhat infamously, never gotten along, as both players have more or less developed into the faces of their region's scene. Combine this with Rated's outspoken nature and controversial statements, and you get a rivalry that's still boiling. On top of that, Red Reserve have consistently placed in Europe's top-three but struggled to place in the global top-16. It's not a question of whether or not Red Reserve is talented -- it's whether or not they can truly compete with North America's elite.
On the other coin, both Splyce and eUnited have looked very strong this season. Splyce, in particular, have been consistently placing in the top two of every tournament they participated in in the last three months. Much like Luminosity Gaming, they seem to be unbeatable. But they aren't untouchable. Both their performances at CWL Anaheim and in Stage 1 left something to be desired. Though the European kings dominated the weekend, they would occasionally have some very sloppy games, usually after a long day. The team that takes a game off of Splyce will have a strong advantage over the others.
Sadly, while Red Reserve are hungrier than others in this pool, they seem unlikely to take that game and place in the top two of Group Yellow. The likelier candidate is, however, eUnited. Clayster has been streaming eUnited's practices and they look very solid up against other pro teams. While they haven't faced the likes of Splyce, they seem to have the best chance. This doesn't mean Red Reserve doesn't have a chance to break top seeds. While they are unlikely to beat Splyce, they may be likely to take a game off of eUnited. This is largely because of Clayster's infamously slow starts and slow third days. If Red Reserve can take a game from eUnited on those days, they will have a fighting chance.
Meanwhile, Rise Nation looks slightly out of their league. Despite being a team full of strong players, they have yet to really gel as a cohesive team. Ever since February, Rise Nation has truly struggled to pull together. Combine this with Rise Nation's previous heartbreaking loss in Stage 1 both to eUnited and Clayster, and their chances don't look great. If anything, the team looks tired. Their dramatic fall from the top team at the beginning of the season to not even qualifying for Stage 1 playoffs seems to have drained the team of their morale.
So expect this weekend to see Splyce place first, then eUnited, Red Reserve and Rise Nation in that order. However, Red Reserve does have a good chance to break into that top seeding if they take games off of either eUnited or Splyce. After all, the team that has the most to prove often starts out the fastest.
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