The ELEAGUE Major Boston is now upon us as 16 teams battled it out in Atlanta last weekend to determine the nine teams moving into the The New legends stage. Those that earned their rightful spot as The Legends will now have to go head-to-head against The New Challengers. The remaining 16 teams will duke it out at the ELEAGUE Arena where only eight teams will advance to The New Champions stage at the Agganis Arena in Boston.
One of the key factors to look out during this weekend are the map pools for these teams. During The New Challengers stage, Mirage was played the most, coming in at 11 appearance, while Inferno was next at eight. No team played Nuke.
Advancing to The New Champions stage:
Cloud9, Astralis, SK Gaming, FaZe Clan, Virtus.pro, Natus Vincere, Vega Squadron, North
Cloud9: The North Americans of Cloud9 have been rather consistent through the end of the 2017 year and a smooth performance across The New Challenger stage. Although Cloud9 has been dominant on their defensive side, the team has yet to provide what their offense is capable of since eliminating their opponents majority on the defense halves. Cloud9 will continue through The New Legends stage and squeeze through to Boston.
Astralis: The Danish team struggled at the end of the 2017 year as Nicolai “dev1ce” Reedtz suffered a nagging illness that forced him to sit out the remainder of ESL Pro League and ECS Finals. However, now dev1ce will return to the active lineup just in time for the major, which is big news for Astralis but bad news for everyone else in the circuit. Expect the defending ELEAGUE Major Atlanta Champions to continue their success come Boston.
SK Gaming: One of the many headlines leading up to the Major was the starting lineup for the Brazilians. In October, Joao “felps” Vasconcellos was on his way out of the lineup as former Immortals star Ricardo “Boltz” Prass filled in the void. Since Boltz played for Immortals at the Americas Minor, however, SK was forced to use a stand-in once again. Though the team has fielded great success last year under felps, SK should have no problem advancing to The New Champions stage.
FaZe Clan: One of the biggest no-brainers to advance to Boston is the dangerous mixed Europeans of FaZe Clan, led by Finn “karrigan” Andersen. However, FaZe did have a slow weekend in Atlanta through The New Challengers stage as Vega Squadron stunned FaZe for a loss. Team Liquid also put up a good fight sending the opening match to 30 rounds. Despite the slow start to The New Challengers stage, FaZe Clan should best their opponents, as Nikola “NiKo” Kovac looks to win his first Major.
Virtus.pro: VP had one of the most disappointing campaigns last year since the team formed in 2014, resulting in just two first place finishes throughout the year. Now, Virtus.pro will leave 2017 behind them and move on to the Major, where the Poles have found success in the past. Given the team has shown great adversity at ELEAGUE, whatever issues have troubled the team in the past should be forgotten when the team lands in Boston, having edged into The New Champions stage.
Natus Vincere: Natus Vincere had a rollercoaster year as their in-game leader Daniil “Zeus” Teslenko returned to the lineup, followed by the addition of Denis “electronic” Sharipov for Denis “Seized” Kostin. However, since the return of Zeus, Na’Vi have still shown weak spots in their gameplay, something that has prevented the team to reach new heights. Although The New Challengers stage deemed to be a worthy fight, the CIS team made it out in the end. In order for Na’Vi to really crank it up, they will need Oleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev to play lights out, much like he did against Liquid to advance.
Vega Squadron: One of the biggest teams to come into Atlanta and make some noise was a poised and hungry CIS team. Taking down one of the deadliest lineups in Counter-Strike, Vega made it look easy in a win against FaZe Clan, but also remaining composed in a comeback over Liquid. Vega only suffered one loss to G2 in overtime as the remainder of their opponents felt the wrath of the playstyle the CIS regions brought to Atlanta. With strong individual performances from their players, Vega will continue their story in Boston.
North: North’s struggles came to a close in a rather disappointing run at the finals of the ESL Pro League. Throughout 2017, the team made it to several grand finals but only made it out on top once in at DreamHack Montreal, where the biggest story wasn’t the team’s win but the boiling pot of drama with Immortals. However, the Danish team shouldn’t be counted out as Mathias “MSL” Lauridsen could turn his team around at any moment. Given the experience with North, expect a clash of the Danes going to Boston.
Below is the full list of Day 1 matches:
- North vs. Vega Squadron
- Virtus Pro vs. Quantum Bellator Fire
- BIG vs. Team Liquid
- Fnatic vs. FaZe Clan
- Astralis vs. mousesports
- Cloud9 vs. G2 Esports
- Gambit Esports vs. Natus Vincere
- SK Gaming vs. Space Soldiers