It seems like a long time ago, on a planet far, far away, when we could enjoy our regularly scheduled Major tournaments with the predictable qualifying procedure that Counter-Strike: GO esports’ showcase events deserve. Back in the day, incorrect seeding and automatic re-invites for all Legend teams resulted in a slew of undeserving teams stinking up the place, with the high-variance best-of-ones worsening the problem.
WE STILL HAVE NOT RETURNED TO NORMAL
It seems like a long time ago, on a planet far, far away, when we could enjoy our regularly scheduled Major tournaments with the predictable qualifying procedure that CS: GO esports’ showcase events deserve. Back in the day, incorrect seeding and automatic re-invites for all Legend teams resulted in a slew of undeserving teams stinking up the place, with the high-variance best-of-ones worsening the problem.
Somehow still, there was something tactile, a golden thread running across all Majors, a feeling of continuity that has now all but vanished owing to all of the disruptions we’ve experienced. The previous system had flaws, and the RMR concept appeared to be a good one on the surface; nevertheless, we have yet to really experience it. Ideally, a whole short season of tournaments would be held between Majors, comparable to the DPC in Dota esports, but less arbitrary and top-heavy owing to the healthy nature of the third-party circuit.
The results of the previous Major, as well as a few other top-tier third-party events designated as RMR tourneys, would be used to determine to qualify, a system that we have yet to see fully implemented. Instead, we had a unified set of RMR competitions throughout the various areas, which meant that a successful day at work would get you stickers on its own, but a poor performance would have a significant influence on your career.
It will be interesting to watch how everything plays out and how realistic this unusual method of seeding will be depending on the final outcomes. This Major should have more upset potential and spice than many of the past ones: the CS: GO matchups over the next few weeks should be entertaining to watch.
PREDICTIONS FOR THE PGL ANTWERP MAJOR CHALLENGER STAGE OPENING MATCHUP
Complexity vs. vitality
Neither club is in particularly good shape right now, with Vitality’s troubles particularly shocking given the amount of talent available to one of the scene’s greatest coaches to construct a game plan. The Danish-French hybrid squad is definitely experiencing communication challenges, but the power level at their disposal will propel them through the juggernaut’s leftovers. Prediction: vigor
Bad News Eagles vs. Eternal Fire
Both of the shock teams from the Europe RMR tournaments square up in a vital best-of-one: this is one of the finest opportunities for either side to win at this event. Based on their superior results against the tougher clubs they’ve faced, BNE appears to be better suited to win this one, though it will be tight. Eagles, expect bad news.
G2 vs. Liquid
Which elite team will be the first to trip over their shoelaces? Both sides have ideal meme potential, with extraordinarily low lows that allow for any outcome. Given the huge volatility, we’re going with the upset in this one. Forecast: Liquid
forZe vs. Renegades
Neither side is going to make a deep run in Antwerp, and the closer access to top-tier European action should be enough to win this one on lesser levels of play. forZe is my prediction.
Astralis vs. IHC
The Danes have been rapidly improving since their coach change (first temporary, then permanent, seeing the immediate results), and though they may not make a deep run, there’s little reason to expect the upset here. Prediction: Astralis
Imperial vs. Spirit
Lower-level CIS vs Brazil matches has not occurred since the pandemic’s breakout, making this an intriguing and unusual game even before considering the rest of it. Due to ESIC’s last-minute judgment, both sides will be forced to play without their coach, and you’d expect the more experienced Brazilians to handle better with this setback. Fallen could be ready to start his new Major journey with a victory. Imperial is my prediction.
MIBR vs. Outsiders
With several MIBR players reportedly spending little time practicing, there’s no reason to believe they can overcome Outsiders’ pedigree and European experience, especially when you include the intangible disruption of everything going on in the globe. Outsiders will win.
ENCE vs. 9z
As impressive as 9z’s comeback run to clinch a Major place in an unusual manner was, this ENCE team is just a good squad, and the skill disparity should be clear even in a best-of-one match. ENCE is the prediction.