Getting this far is an achievement in and of itself. Breaking through the open qualifiers to get a spot in the closed ones and, subsequently, having the chance to become one of the eight Minor participants is an arduous journey. That’s the road for many teams in the four eligible regions, Europe, America, CIS, and Asia, and only the strongest survive.
The start of the first Minor marks the countdown to the start of the Major.
Lately, Minors have been hosted by the same city which is hosting the Major. Teams arrive there and get comfortable. You need to be one of the two best teams in your region (or place in the top 2 in the play-in tournament for the 3rd place finishers) to earn your place. Only ten out of the thirty-two teams we now have will compete with those already waiting for the challengers.
This is where we are now.
European and Americas Minors kick off tomorrow, on June 17. At this point, we need to take a look at the participants, choose our favorites, and make some predictions.
*An important point to note is that the teams we call “pretenders” are not “bad” teams. These are just the teams that we don’t foresee being able to overcome the stronger teams in the tournament.
To me, it’s obvious, that FURIA and NRG are the most reasonable candidates for the top 2 spots.
FURIA are doing great this year. Everyone is mesmerized by their aggressive playstyle, which propelled them to a top 3-4 placing at DreamHack Masters Dallas and then onto ECS Season 7 where they crushed Astralis and North on their way to the Final, where they lost.
stanislaw and NRG are just warming up, but the improvements are already showing: top 5-6 at ESL One: Cologne and a top 4 finish at BLAST Pro Series Los Angeles. Considering the fact he joined the team slightly more than a month ago, they’ve been doing great.
And these are the types of results FURIA and NRG have had against tier 1 teams. There simply shouldn’t be any problems for them handling the tier 2 rosters at the Americas Minor.
eUnited. Team One. Team Singularity. Sharks. INTZ. Luminosity.
We don’t see many performances vs. tier 1 opponents at the big events from these teams, so it’s hard to put any faith in them beating FURIA or NRG. The only question is who will place third and get the play-in tournament entry.
To me, the competition for 3rd is wildly unpredictable. I’ll do my best Sherlock-ing and get to the answer through deduction.
Team Singularity is out. I haven’t seen them at any S-tier tournaments, except for the ECS S7 regular season, where they managed to win only two maps in three series, and WESG 2018 (if that even counts).
Sharks, INTZ, and Team One haven’t done anything special since we last saw them at the IEM Katowice Americas Minor. They keep playing in the local qualifiers and struggling to reach the offline stage.
As for Luminosity, they have the most experienced roster of all, and it would seem reasonable for them to place third. We’ll have to see how felps does after recently replacing LUCAS1.
eUnited. This is the team with the best form at the moment, having a consistent run of results in June. They made it to the IEM Chicago Closed Qualifier, won a spot at ESL One: New York, and Mythic Cup #3 (a local B-Tier tournament). Nothing special, you say, but the results definitely prove that they could be a dangerous opponent for the “pretenders” and maybe even for the “contenders”.
When it comes to regional rivalries, it’s always hard to predict the results. But on paper, Luminosity and eUnited seem the strongest among six pretenders to compete for third place.
You can find our predictions for the European Minor here.