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The exhaustive league phase of the EU Masters Spring 2022 is over. Teams from across Europe have fought tooth and nail at both the play-ins and the group stage. Eight teams – two from each group – have made it this far, and that will further be pruned down to four and finally two.
It promises to be a highly competitive seven matches that could create new rivalries, establish existing rivalries and also intensify the battle for the title of Europe’s best outfit. There are three representatives from France (LFL), two from Northern Europe (NLC), one apiece from Spain (LVP), Germany (GPL) and Ultraliga (Poland)
X7 were joint-toppers of Group B with Karmine Corp, and it needed a playoff to decide who finished first and second. X7 went down fighting to Karmine Corp, thereby occupying the second spot. This now pits them against LDLC OL, who topped Group D with an all-win 6-0 sweep.
On paper, this promises to be the most explosive match-up, with LDLC, the LFL champs, taking on NLC Giants X7. Fans would’ve ideally wanted these two heavyweights to clash probably in the semi-final or final, but the reality of the draw is such one of them will sadly have to exit the tournament on Wednesday.
LDLC OL seem to be continuing from where they left off in the LFL. And in eliminating Spanish League finalists Bisons EClub, they’ve sounded out a firm warning going into the knockouts.
Eika has been their most proficient player so far, boasting of the highest kill rate in the team. He averages 5.67 kills, along with 1.5 deaths and 7.67 assists, along with a KDA of 8.89 and creep score of close to 239. Doss has complimented Eika by donning the support player’s hat to perfection.
His assist rate of 10.13 is among the best in the competition thus far; Ragner is not far off, with an assist rate of 10. Between these three players, LDLC have most bases covered both in terms of offence and defence. Do you need any more reason to believe why LDLC are favourites?
For X7, the best they’ve got in terms of offensive proficiency is Tempt, who lands 5.17 kills, 2.71 deaths and 7.43 assists, along with a KDA of 4.84 and creep score of 272.14. In Haru, Kasing and Nata, they’ve got support players who have breached the average of 10 assists per game each.
This points to some fabulous fusion between the team across lanes, yet there is a sense that they’re missing the experience of one more solid bot laner. Only time will tell if this is a massive loss, but whatever it is, X7 ain’t going to turn up for the heck of it. They promise to fight the good fight, and with a bit of luck, also harbour hopes of victory.
Bifrost are toppers of Group C, having finished the league stages with a 5-1 win-loss record.
A tough opening loss that exposed a bit of their vulnerabilities were papered over in style as the team bounced back to record five wins in a row to set up a clash with AGO Rogue, who was second to Team Vitality in Group A. Rogue finished with four wins and two losses.
This clash will be a powerful contest as Bifrost have exceeded all expectations in getting here. The surprise package of the tournament will have it tough against Ultra Liga champs Rogue.
What works for Bifrost is the exhaustive process they have had to go through to get here. First they had to make it out of the play-in stage before coming into the Group stages which they topped, so they are all battle hardened and can be the dark horses for the competition.
Because they made a wholesome changes to their roster at short notice last November, it appeared as if they would have to make the best of their current situation over the summer. But role clarity and seamless integration into the setup has helped their new players carve an identity for themselves.
Top laner Shikari has brought with him the experience of playing for sides like Fnatic Rising and Misfits Academy. He came into the setup after a stint with Izi Dream.Jungler Choi came here on the back of a winning run at Italy’s PG Nationals back-to-back with Macko Esports.
Head coach D2K was also part of that Macko setup that enjoyed tremendous success. Then mid laner Duruy came in from another NLC squad. So they’ve had players coming in and over the past five months, they’ve seamlessly adjusted to the setup to deliver key results.
AGO’s struggles could come about due to lack of offensive proficiency. Sure, Nite is good, but a best of 4.83 kills on an average per map is far from good enough to be able to challenge top teams.
So they will have to punch above their weight to cause a stir here. Luckner’s asset rate of 11.33 makes him a standout, but assists alone building towards no kills, either due to a flawed strategy or plans opponents have found out, will not be of much value. So while they have the personnel who are competent, it could be a gap too big to bridge, which makes Bifrost the favourites.
Germany’s Unicorns of Love Sexy Edition will have it tough against favourites Karmine Corp. The star-studded French outfit are favourites by a long way, but there have been some vulnerabilities opponents would have done well to notice.
It’s for them to now pounce on this to make it an interesting quarterfinal. iBo faces quite a challenge, especially because he will be up against Rekkles and company, who enter the contest in such great form.
In the play-ins stage, the German UoL academy outfit were the favourites to advance and they met those expectations. They then remained undefeated in their group before opening up a 2-0 advantage over Entropiq in the knockouts. Karmine has for long now revolved around Rekkles.
It’s for them to now try and reduce their dependence on their most prolific player. Do they have a plan B? What if he has an off day? Is someone ready to put their hand up? Forming a pool of players who can be instantly summoned to deliver under pressure without Rekkles could be the next part of their development curve going forward.
UOL have shown good form in the Strauss Premier League but the real test is often when you’re up against bigger and better sides in a far more competitive structure. So in that sense, UOL needs a proper reboot if they’re to stand up and compete.
As such, they have been the pathbreaker for a lot of sides in the Ultra Liga and Prime League. They have held out hope in the region for a lot of sides, along with AGO Rogue. Their improvement over time isn’t to be scoffed at but the real test lies ahead.
In their most recent outing, Unicorns were shown the door by LDLC OL. It was in many ways a taste of what they could expect in this contest. They were no match to the French giants, overwhelmed in every single parameter. By the end of it all, the inevitability stuck out like a sore thumb.
You simply knew they had no chance of even remaining in the contest. Unicorns managed to rack up all of 49k gold, much of it after LDLC had opened up a massive lead they knew they’d comfortably defend. LDLC landed 19 kills to UOLs 7, and captured 11 towers to UOL’s solitary one.
Reptile, their most prolific bot laner, underachieved, and this put tremendous pressure on the rest of their pack. He managed 3 kills, 4 deaths and 3 assists. DreamerAce and Lurox built up assists but it didn’t translate to a high kill participation rate, and they fell flat in the end.
Like most teams, there is one player that can instantly catch fire in CS:GO, and prove to be the difference late in rounds. While Elige has historically not been that player, it has all turned around in the last few months. In fact, he has averaged quite a stunning 0.83 kills with just 0.59 deaths per round in the last three months of CS:GO action. Very impressive by any standard of measure.
There are two other players that have been in exceptional form in the last few months, which includes oSee and Naf. Both players have been excellent at their offensive game. oSee has averaged 0.73 kills and Naf has managed the same kill rate in this period.
Shox has taken his time to get used to the system but his colleagues have given him the luxury to take that time because they have won their last six matches, including wins against Complexity and Evil Geniuses.
|European Masters 2022 Spring Split Information
|Karmine Corp, UoL, Fnatic TQ, Vitality Bee, LDLC OL, X7
|Friday, April 29 at 11.15 AM EST onwards
|How to watch
|Official 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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