Astralis are the obvious pick here, especially considering that Ecstatic have struggled to make an impact. Now that device is back, Astralis will aim for a return to their glory years.
Astralis have been invited into the playoffs as the high seed. They’re just coming off the North Europe series, where they finished as 5th-8th seed after getting knocked out 0-2 by HEET. In November they participated in the Elisa Masters Espoo, but crashed out in the semifinals after dropping the series 0-2 to Fnatic.
Over the course of the last month, they’ve held a 7-7 record, with a 0.97 K/D ratio. All eyes have been on device since the superstar’s return to his former team, and he has not disappointed - in the four maps he’s played so far, he’s averaged a 1.43 overall rating and 1.52 impact rating, along with 90.8 damage and 0.95 kills per round.
Ecstatic finished sixth on the Group Stage Standings with a 3-2 record. They didn’t have the best start to the tournament, losing both their opening matches, first a 0-2 sweep to Into The Breach and then 1-2 to eSuba. Things looked pretty grim at that point, but luck went their way in the Round 4 Low when AVANGAR had to forfeit their series against them, earning them points.
They followed that up with a 2-0 victory over K23 that helped them break into the top eight. They’ve held a 1.02 team rating and a 0.96 K/D ratio in the tournament so far, not ideal especially considering they’ve only won one series - but at any rate, they’ll hope that the momentum from the K23 series carries them forward.
9ine and Apeks have had contrasting records of late, and Apeks have a clear advantage heading into this contest on a 5-map streak.
Since 9ine’s return to competitive CS:GO action in August, they’ve shown glimpses of form, most notably winning Season 42 of the ESL Challenger League in October. Since then, however, they’ve floundered, recently crashing out of the CCT North Europe series in their very first series in the round of 16 against GamerLegion.
They have maintained a 1.06 K/D ratio since mid-November, and hold a 16-12 record, but are just coming off a disappointing loss to forZe that ended their campaign in the Challenger League. Kamil 'KEi' Pietkun has been their best player of late, rated at 1.21 while dealing an average damage of 87.5 and 0.78 kills per round.
Aside from a single dropped series to Eclot in the Round 2 High, Apeks have been in prime form finishing third in the standings. They’re playing simultaneously in the ESEA Advanced series, and are now on a five-map overall streak. Apeks have maintained a 75% win rate over the past three months, with an impressive 100% record on the Overpass and Dust II maps.
Since the start of December, they’ve held a 19-8 record and a 1.13 K/D ratio. MICHU has replaced shox, whose short run of 15 maps saw him rated at 0.96 with a 0.90 K/D ratio. Since coming into the side, MICHU has fared a bit better with a rating of 1.04 across 34 maps. No one has been able to touch nawwk, however, who has averaged 0.77 kills per round and rated at 1.21 since September.
GamerLegion enter the playoffs with a slight advantage over MASONIC, with a slightly higher K/D ratio.
GamerLegion enter CCT Central Europe Series #4 with a direct invite into the playoffs stage. Coming off a 1-2 loss to ENC, GamerLegion saw some mixed form in the last three months. Since their four-match unbeaten run in October, GamerLegion have seen lopsided results.
Winning two of their last three games, GamerLegion will be heading into the playoffs against Masonic, hoping to find some consistent winning form. With a record of 19 wins and 19 losses and K/D ratio of 0.98 over the last 38 maps played, Gamer Legion would do well to invest in aggressive strategies to secure their position against Masonic.
MASONIC finished the Group Stage in 6th position with an overall record of 3.2. In round 1, they were gifted a victory by K23, who forfeit their Round 1 game. Capitalizing on their direct advance into Round 2, MASONIC put in a strong performance against HNR to finish on top with a 2-1 score and go through to round 3.
MASONIC caught some wind with their win in the last Round and took Round 3 with a 2-0 sweep against ECSTATIC. They continued their winning form in rounds 4 and 5, with 2-1 finishes in both, giving them a team rating of 1.05 so far. MASONIC heads into the playoffs with a K/D of 0.99 in the last 83 maps played, with a tally of 41 against 42 losses.
1win enter the playoffs against an in-form HONORIS and are tipped to come out on top of an even contest, thanks to a consistent series of winning performances.
Like GamerLegion, 1win enter the playoffs of this tournament as invitees. They go into their game against Honoris off a three-game losing streak, one of which was a 0-2 sweep against Sprout. Despite this setback, 1win have had some strong finishes in the last three months, with three 2-0 sweeps topping off a slew of victories against high-level competition.
1win would do well to try something new to turn their fortunes around against their opponents, who are picked to be the favorites for this round. In their last 83 maps played, 1win have won 41 and lost 42 with a K/D ratio of 0.99 over a total of 2253 rounds.
HONORIS had some of the strongest performances we have seen in CCT Europe so far, and despite this, faces stiff odds against 1Win in the playoffs stage. They topped the group stage with a brilliant 3-0 performance and advanced straight to the playoffs.
Despite some mixed form in the long term, HONORIS have made some adjustments that seem to be working well for the Eastern European team. In their last 91 outings, HONORIS have won 51 and lost just 40, staying true to the form they discovered early in the calendar. Despite the significant difference in wins and losses, HONORIS have to get through stiffer competition in 1Win in order to advance to the next round.
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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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