“I still believe in heroes” – Nick Fury
Six of them come to the stage, but they play as one. As a hero. With that in mind, I decided to match my top 10 IEM Sydney 2019 participants with Marvel Universe heroes and to highlight how I expect them to perform. So let’s get to it! Here’s my IEM Sydney 2019 preview.
FaZe Clan – Rocket (The Guardians of the Galaxy)
Intelligence, confidence, and heavy firepower – that’s what these two have in common.
Winning the ELEAGUE Invitational was followed by a period of turbulence. Then, they beat Astralis, Na’Vi, Team Liquid and MIBR (sure we know, they tied) in Miami. Some would say it was all about the tournament format, which suited FaZe well. But it seems that YNk finally has a handle on the untamed animal that is the FaZe roster.
For the record, NiKo is a beast. Despite his willingness to drop his IGL duties as soon as possible (by his own admission), he’s there for his team and is doing an amazing job. The way he manages to combine IGLing and a top fragging is incredible.
Rocket always has a plan and aims for the stars, just as FaZe do. I don’t think they will be satisfied with top-six finishes – winning is the only option.
Fnatic – Vision
The Mind Stone is at the top of their logo. There are great performers on the roster, and they are able to lift the trophy when least expected (hello, Thor’s Mjolnir).
Fnatic’s results during 2019 have been inconsistent.
IEM Katowice 2019 was a failure, period.
WESG 2018. Losing their own map pick in the semifinals by a score of 0:16 (and an eventual 1:2 loss vs. AGO) definitely wasn’t something the team had anticipated.
StarSeries & i-League Season 7 was a B+ performance. It’s a shame that Fnatic ran out of fuel in the Grand Final vs. Na’Vi, being swept in three in the best-of-five series.
They are, overall, on an upward trajectory, and this must have been what JW and KRIMZ saw when they signed three-year contract extensions with the organization in February. A top-six finish Sydney is more than manageable.
Team Liquid – Star-Lord
They’ve got confidence, they’ve got style, and they’ve got gumption. Nitr0 is doing an excellent job leading the strong performers – Stewie2k, EliGe, NAF, and Twistzz – on his team; adreN seems to bring calmness and consistency to the cooperation between players. However, something is always missing.
The team’s confidence disappears when they’re close to first place, just like Star-Lord’s is gone when he is close to Gamora.
In Katowice, Team Liquid unexpectedly fell flat against ENCE in the quarterfinals.
They had opportunities to finally win a tournament were still there at BPS Sao Paulo and Miami, but lost both grand finals to Astralis and FaZe Clan, respectively. Another chance is coming up, and the team simply can’t afford to blow it.
MIBR – Doctor Strange
Firstly, they finished last out of the six teams at BLAST Pro Series Sao Paulo, losing every single map. They also lost every duel in the stand-off match. A disastrous performance at StarSeries & i-League Season 7 followed. Then MIBR went to Miami and demolished Astralis 16:2 on Overpass.
Was it strange to see? Definitely!
The team would definitely prefer to have Doctor Strange’s ability to turn back time and return to the days when their Brazilian squad struck fear in their opponents’ hearts. But it’s hard to say whether MIBR will be able to turn back the clock or not.
Mousesports – Hawkeye
The team has become a lot better at hitting its mark since the arrival of the talented AWPer from HellRaisers, w0xic. The main thing is to shoot in the right direction, and karrigan will sort that all out.
The uncertainty of the team due to significant roster changes ended only a month and a half ago, but the team is already doing quite well. Losing to Team Vitality in the ECS Season 7 Europe Week 2 semi-final may have been a hiccup, but three straight wins in group A at ESL Pro League Season 9 Europe provided mouz with their ticket to the Final Stage of the tournament.
A top-six result in Sydney is clearly conceivable. As for placing higher – it will heavily depend on whether the bowstring is pulled taut enough.
NIP – Iron Man
Modern technology running battle-hardened heavy artillery — this is how I envision Lekr0 with his sharp mind full of ideas leading the wise and experienced f0rest, GeT_RiGhT, and dennis, with REZ being the high-end bow on top of this package.
Reaching the top eight in Katowice was a decent result, but the team has been unable to make any significant strides since. Dennis announced his departure due to personal issues shortly after the tournament, which disrupted things for NiP. Draken was a serviceable replacement, but it was simply impossible for the team to shine at BPS Sao Paulo and StarSeries & i-League Season 7 with a stand-in. After a month, dennis returned, which is both good and bad news for NiP: they aren’t using substitutes anymore, but they can’t get back the time that was wasted.
Hopefully, NiP’s cannons and armor are strong enough to fight their way to the top six.
NRG – Thor
When Brehze, CeRq, Ethan, and tarik are on the same page, they seem unstoppable, like Thor with all his tools. Daps will need to calibrate the direction for the four-man hammer precisely. If he succeeds, his team will do likewise.
The team was atrocious at the IEM Katowice Major (15th-16th), did pretty well at StarSeries & i-League Season 7 (3rd-4th), and has just booked its entry to the final stage of the ESL Pro League Season 9.
Hammering through their opponents to a top-six finish is doable, and even a top-four result wouldn’t be shocking.
Renegades – Ant-Man
Renegades have grown and evolved from regular participants of tier 2 tournaments into the seventh-ranked team in the world. Now, they regularly cause problems for any team in the top ten. It’s obvious that their goal is to push into the top 5.of tier
Last time in Sydney, with a slightly different roster, they finished 6th. They are stronger today, perhaps stronger than ever. But to place higher, they must get to a new level, and go from simply being a headache to their high-ranked opponents to beating them.
Heroic – Captain America
I had originally put Team Liquid in this spot.
But the “Captain America” → “Superhero” → “Heroic” chain seemed legit to me.
They’ve made their way to the tournament through the GG.Bet Sydney Invitational with a perfect record without dropping a single map. And “perfection” is Cap’s middle name. But the main event won’t be a walk in the park. They’ve got a reasonable chance to finish in the middle of the tournament table, and I have strong doubts about them reaching the top 6 – the competition will be much stiffer than in the qualifiers.
BIG – Hulk
This team has knowledge, ideas, and power. They’re one of several teams which bring something new to the game at every tournament. But when their plan isn’t working, their flexibility disappears, and BIG turn into something massive and clumsy.
Gob b is a great leader, but he’s still looking for the secret ingredient that will unleash the team’s full potential. The team doesn’t have any recent, noteworthy results at big tournaments. They only had a 3rd-4th place finish at WePlay! Lock and Load and a 3rd place finish (out of four teams) at the ELEAGUE Invitational.
Though BIG’s path to IEM Sydney was quite ̶s̶m̶o̶o̶y̶a̶ smooth – they won all their matches in the European Qualifiers vs. Valiance, HellRaisers, 3DMAX, and G2 – the main event is not a mere qualifier, and I can’t see them reaching the playoffs.
All that’s left now is to follow the tournament, cheer for your favorites, and see what happens. The absence of Astralis and Na’Vi will take away from IEM Sydney’s star power, but I’m still looking forward to watching some high-level action from the competitors. Join me, and stay tuned to dreamteam.gg for more interesting, useful, and up-to-date content dedicated to our beloved CS:GO. GLHF!