This week brings us EPICENTER 2018. Live from the biggest country in the world, eight of the best teams in the world will fight it out in Russia’s capital for their share of 19,649,220… rubles ($300,000). In our preview, we’re taking a look at which individual players are hot right now and which ones are as cold as the chicken in your freezer.
Our second “Fire or Fowl” tournament preview is here for your reading pleasure.
The Canadian is playing so well right now that at ESL One New York, he was able to walk away with the MVP award even though Liquid fell short in the final, losing to mousesports in five maps. He’s averaging an impressive .78 kills per round at the moment. The world is taking notice of the team with them having moved into the number 2 spot in HLTV’s world rankings. Liquid should be disappointed if Twistzz and company do anything less than make it to the final in Russia.
ENCE walked away with the StarSeries i-League Season 6 title just over a week ago, and sergej was the Most Valuable Player. They took down the likes of mouseports, BIG, and OpTic on their way to the final where they beat Vega Squadron in a 5-map marathon. In Russian, Jere Salo, sergej’s real name, sounds like “to devour salo” (a snack made from pig fat, popular in the CIS region). Let’s see if he’s able to devour the competition this week in Moscow.
S1mple hasn’t really done anything out of the ordinary recently. He’s just played his normal game but is getting significantly more help out of his teammates. In the past three months, he is averaging 1.39 kills per death on LAN. And most of us don’t even recognize it as him performing great. That’s scary. The guy is a freak of nature, so we can expect him to keep on burning up the competition at EPICENTER. If he decides he wants to completely take over, he will, and no one will be able to stop him.
It’s been tough for the IGL of FaZe over the past few months. With stand-ins for olofmeister happening regularly over the summer, the entire team has found consistently good performances hard to come by. With a great mind like Karrigan’s, he’s not expected to frag like a maniac, but it’s the disjointed efforts of the team that have had them losing 20 out of 28 maps since the FACEIT Major.
As one of the greatest players in the world, no one is questioning Niko’s talent. But, with the team struggling, there are indications that he’s stepped into the IGL role of the team. Very few players are actually able to keep up their firepower while having to worry about strats and executions for the other members of the team. For Niko’s standards, he’s not playing great, but then again, neither is anyone else on FaZe. He always has the potential to single-handedly take over a map, but we haven’t seen it in a while.
EPICENTER 2018 is looking like it’s going to be extremely competitive, and with the way these players have been performing, expect Na’Vi and Liquid to make the finals. If FaZe can’t figure out their leadership issues and get the maximum out of their star-studded lineup, they will go crashing out of this tournament early. With home-field advantage, the Ukrainian-Russian team should be the favorites to win it all.