Considering that roster changes are already under way, it’s widely expected that some of these teams won’t be around in their current form next season. This will be the swansong for a few of them and whilst those particular sides will be looking to go out on a high, we expect them to struggle.
The competition’s format sees the top five teams from Europe, three from North America and one from Australia (the surprise package Legacy, who managed to qualify in a tiebreaker over some more renowned teams). We’ve found the best odds for you on each to win the competition (Australian readers should check out Sportsbet, CrownBet and of course bet365):
EnVyUs – 3/1 – Paddy Power, Betway
Team SoloMid – 7/2 – bet365
Fnatic – 7/2 – bet365
Virtus Pro – 4/1 – bet365, Paddy Power, Betway
Ninjas In Pyjamas – 7/1 – Paddy Power, Betway
Team Liquid – 12/1 – Paddy Power
Luminosity – 20/1 – bet365
Legacy – 25/1 – bet365, Paddy Power
I’m automatically going to be discounting a bunch of these teams because they’d need a drastic change of fortune to win this event. In the case of Ninjas in Pyjamas, Luminosity and Liquid, they’d need to have suddenly improved, in an incredibly short space of time since the Major, to have any impact on this tournament. That just isn’t going to happen. Of those outsiders, bet365 offer a standout 20/1 about Luminosity, so if you want to take a chance on them being able to convert their Major group-stage form into knockout success we’ve seen worse wagers.
Now, let’s focus on who will be the tournament winners: Team EnVyUs.
Individually incredibly talented, collectively they’ve really found their feet in the last few months. After a few top two and top four placings at several CSGO Majors and a victory at the Gfinity Champions of Champions (with its $100k first place prize), EnVy turned up to the Dreamhack Cluj major and walked it. You could tell by the quarter finals that they’d go on and win. They duly pushed aside Na’Vi as if they were amateurs. This is a side that recently attended IEM San Jose and beat the consistent Team SoloMid with ease.
On paper, EnVyUs have the more difficult of the two groups. They’ll meet Fnatic, Luminosity and NiP in Group B. We expect they’ll top this anyway.
Fnatic recently changed a player after they relinquished the CSGO crown to EnVy, bringing in dennis for pronax. Luminosity are the best American team and do have a decent record against the top teams in a BO1 group format, but EnVy’s map pool is so large that they’ll have no issue with whatever map they play. NiP have organizational issues (such as the alleged delays in salaries being paid and withheld prize money), which never helps motivation, and they’re just seeing out their days until their contracts run out and won’t pose much of a fight.
Who are the immediate dangers to EnVyUs? Quite obviously, it’s the three other favoured sides, Team SoloMid, Fnatic and Virtus.Pro.
Turn the clocks back three months and TSM were one of the hottest properties around. They were tipped for the very top and they were everyone’s idea of Dreamhack Cluj winners. They bombed in the major. Weeks before they were beaten by EnVyUs at Dreamhack London and only last weekend got dominated by a team that wasn’t consistent enough online to even make this FACEIT event, Na’Vi. They’re currently trying to shrug off their consistency issues. One day they can play majestic CS, but the next they go out of a tournament far earlier than you’d expect.
If you get the chance to watch highlights of TSM vs Na’Vi at IEM San Jose you’ll see, despite $125,000 being on the line, that TSM completely bottled it and essentially gave up quite early on. If they turn up and put in three days of top draw CounterStrike, they can get to the final. EnVyUs have been there, done that and have the t-shirts from a whole host of tournaments.
After flopping at Dreamhack Cluj Fnatic have made a significant roster change. We’ve not seen them, aside from a few online matches, since making this change. EnVyUs have recent high profile wins against Fnatic and you have to allow their new player (dennis) to settle in. Despite the increase of fragging power, it does take time for a team to integrate a new player and 2016 will have been their main consideration when making the change.
Virtus Pro are a solid side, no doubt. But, like TSM, they haven’t quite had the level of consistency to establish themselves as a dominant force. They have won events in recent months, such as the CEVO Pro Season 8 finals (although the calibre of teams attending wasn’t anything to write home about – when Mousesports finish second and Team Conquest finish third, does it really count for anything?), and the ESL ESEA Pro League, which is more impressive. There they did beat TSM, Fnatic and EnVy, but they will need a repeat of that performance and not last week’s IEM San Jose. They did have a stand-in as one of their star players couldn’t attend, but losing to Team Liquid is not the preparation that they would have hoped for.
I’d back EnVyUs against these three teams any day of the week as it stands. We tipped up EnVyUs to win the major and we’ll be doing that again.
3/1 on EnVyUs to win the FACEIT Stage 3 Finals with Paddy Power is a big price. They’ll top the group and then take out Team SoloMid or Virtus Pro in the semi-finals. Simple as that. If you don’t have an account, you’ll ever get a £30 free bet on them when you sign up and bet £10. Bet £10 on EnVyUs, then use your free bet on them. If they win, you’ll make a £120 profit – if they lose, you’ll lose just £10. That’s the same as getting odds of 11/1 – too good to turn down!