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Faze Clan will look to recover their form when they come up against OG
iEM Rio Major finalists Heroic are at their peak right now, and Ninjas in Pyjamas will have a hard time stopping them
World number four Natus Vincere should easily be able to take down Fluxo
Team Liquid and G2 are quite well-matched, but Liquid are more confident after the Rio Major and have the edge
Pick: Faze Clan
Faze are still reeling after crashing out of the Rio Majors as their historic year seems to be reaching an anticlimactic end. Slump or not, on paper they have nothing to fear against OG and will be backing themselves in this contest.
Faze’s an underwhelming performance at the IEM Rio Major last month has seen their world ranking plummet from number one all the way down to eight. They crashed out of the tournament in 15th-16th place with a 0-3 record in the Legends stage, unable to even get near the playoffs.
Four losses in five maps ensued for faze, first losing the best-of-ones to Cloud9 and Vitality before they were undone by the Bad News Eagles 2-1 in arguably the biggest upset of the tournament. Håvard 'rain' Nygaard in particular had a difficult time in Rio, rated at 0.98 while managing only 0.59 kills per round. Faze held a team-wide rating of 1.09 at the Rio Majors, along with a sub-par kill-death ratio of 0.99.
OG’s performance in Rio was worse than Faze’s, albeit less of a surprise. They couldn’t get beyond the Challengers stage and had to close up shop in the early stages of the tournament and head home with the 17th-19th seed. Winning their opening game against Grayhound Gaming did little to help their cause as they slumped to 1-2 defeats against Fnatic and Furia in the following days.
Their 2-3 record saw them finish the stage in tenth place, two spots below the cutoff for qualification. OG’s 1.08 team rating was the eighth best in the Challengers stage, and so was their 1.17 kill-death ratio. degster was the best of the lot with a 1.28 HLTV and impact rating, and 0.81 kills per round throughout the tournament.
Heroic are coming off an extremely impressive run, and are ranked world number two behind IEM Rio Major winners Outsiders. They finished as finalists in the Majors, losing 0-2 in the Grand Final after what can be described as a near-perfect tournament.
Since the start of October they have maintained an astonishing 22-9 record, finishing as third seed at the Road to Rio: Europe RMRs before winning the BLAST Premier: Fall European Showdown, and then their ruppers-up at the Rio Majors. Aside from the brilliance of IGL Casper 'cadiaN' Møller, new recruit Jakob 'Jabbi' Nygaard is starting to find his feet as well and ended the Rio Majors with a 1.16 rating.
Like Faze, NiP too crashed out of the IEM Rio Majors in the Legends stage at the 15th-16th place. Back-to-back losses at hands of Fnatic and the Outsiders preceded a humiliating 0-2 defeat against Sprout, and that was the end of the tournament. Nip’s 4th-6th place at the BLAST Fall Groups a couple of months ago saw them qualify for the Final now, and a lot has happened since that time.
They finally parted ways with dev1ce after a controversial year, and Plopski was benched too. The acquisition of Aleksib from G2 Esports in September was a questionable decision, but Brollan has been a complete change-changer - over the last three months, he has been rated at 1.35, and averages 87.5 damage and 0.77 kills per round.
Pick: Natus Vincere
a 5th-8th place finish at the Rio Majors saw Na Vi slip down to number four on the world rankings, their lowest position all year. It’s a testament to the powerhouse they’ve been in 2022, and the most remarkable of all is that they’ve never finished below eighth seed even once this year - that’s a 100% playoff attendance rate.
In Rio, they were knocked out of the quarterfinals 1-2 by Furia Esports, and while it wasn’t a great tournament by their own standards, they'll be keen to put those mistakes behind them. s1mple stood out for Na Vi, as he nearly always does, rated at 1.18 with 0.76 kills per round.
Fluxo have qualified for the Fall Finals after winning the BLAST Premier: Fall American Showdown 2022, and while they might have performed admirably to get here, they might be a little out of their depth. They’re competing against seven of the world’s best teams, and it’s going to be one tough ride.
Given that Fluxo has only been in existence since August, it’s quite impressive that they’re already making their first appearance in a major. There isn’t a lot of international experience between felps, v$m, and Lucaozy in their roster, but now’s as good a time as any to repair that.
Pick: Team Liquid
Liquid finished in 9th-11th place at the IEM Rio, ending with a 2-3 record as tenth seed in the Challengers stage. Their two wins came against Sprout and Natus Vincere - underperforming or not, this was a major highlight in Liquid’s tournament, but heavy defeats to MOUZ, Team Spirit and Heroic kept them out of the top eight.
They slipped six spots down to number nine on the HLTV rankings after the Rio Majors. Signing Mareks 'YEKINDAR' Gaļinskis around mid-October was undoubtedly a masterstroke, but he’s still trying to find his groove. He’s rated at 1.00 since joining up with Liquid, and averaged 0.71 deaths and 0.68 kills per round.
G2 did well at the BLAST Fall groups, seeding at 4th-6th to secure their spot in the Fall finals. An excellent showing at the ESL Pro League season 16 saw them finish as semifinalists, losing 0-2 to Team Vitality who would eventually go on to win the title.
After that, however, it’s been pretty rough going. At the European RMRs, they struggled to make an impact, finally failing to qualify for the Rio Major. Their 1-3 record kept them down at 13th seed, and it saw their ranking slide from number six to twelve. m0NESY and NiKo have kept them afloat, rated at 1.28 and 1.22 over the last three months, but G2 desperately need Hooxi and jks to step up their game.
Teams: FaZe Clan vs OG, Heroic vs Ninjas in Pyjamas, Natus Vincere vs Fluxo, FURIA vs G2 Esports
Time: Friday, November 23 at 1 am ET onwards
How to watch: Official ESL CS: GO Twitch Channel
With an interest in strategy and mathematics, applying that to sports writing was the natural progression. A writer at night and the founder of a gaming company, Nikhil’s previous experience includes working with ESPN for five years. His specialization includes soccer, basketball, tennis, and esports betting. Email: [email protected]More info on Nikhil Kalro
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