After the breaking news of Tainted Minds (now known as ICON Esports) pulling out of the LPL PRO CS:GO Championship in Week 4 due to not being able to supply a roster, the scene has been visited once again by the notorious OCE player shuffle.
With a few key players moving to new teams, teams will have to adapt quickly to close out the tournament to secure a spot to the LAN finals at SkyCity Theatre on the 5th of April. With a trophy, a $5,000 cheque and the main stage in sight, will teams be able to wrap up the last two weeks of League play to have the chance to prove they are the best? Or, will teams fall victim to the brutal OCE shuffle?
These are eight thoughts going into Week 5.
1. Ground Zero – Grounded
Grounded is the hardest difficulty in The Last of Us, where players are given limited resources. It’s in constant debate whether they should expend their resources or continue investing in the future. It really does seem like teams play on this difficulty when they match up against Ground Zero.
Teams really struggled to close out their match against Ground Zero in the first few weeks of the tournament and they have really set their roots at the top of the leaderboard without dropping a game, showing their absolute tenacity.
With Moey leaving Chiefs and joining up with the Ground Zero squad, their decision-making and decisiveness seem to have been fortified with Moey’s spectacular shot calling abilities. They are bound to stand their ground against Avant Gaming this week, who are looking to dethrone Ground Zero in the number one spot on the leaderboard but that’s only if they can get through the new Commander-in-Chief in town.
2. Chiefs – The New Commander-in-Chief
Captain Marvel just came out (great movie by the way) and appears that she will join the Avengers in the Endgame; that’s what it feels like to have the newly acquired Tainted Minds veterans, Zewsy and Ofnu, join the Chiefs squad to form a super team.
This new roster is here to make a statement. With the fiery, high-risk high-reward playstyle of Texta, countered by the calm-and-collected playstyle of Tucks, topping it off with the shot-calling abilities of Bl1tz, it is certain Chiefs will find success with this new roster.
Though they have only been together for one week, they annihilated both Breakaway and Genuine Gaming last week going 16-4 and 16-3 respectively. Along with the humble and respected ex-Tainted Minds CS:GO coach Fergus “ferg” Stephenson, it is scary to imagine that this is only the beginning and they can only go up from here.
Once the new players feel more at home and they find their team dynamic, they will surely shake up not only the LPL PRO CS:GO scene but the whole ANZ CS:GO scene.
3. Avant Gaming – Consistency is Key
Avant Gaming sits underneath both Ground Zero and Chiefs at third place on the leaderboard. With a roster that has not been affected by the OCE player shuffle, they remain steadfast in this regard. But, with gameplay, they struggle to hold momentum throughout their games and are not able to close their games out fast enough before their opponents regain the momentum back.
There are moments with Avant Gaming where they play a round where they make minimal mistakes. There are also moments where they lose rounds due to punishable mistakes. So, to pull ahead of the two teams listed above on the leaderboard they must find consistency in their play. This week they have back to back matches against Ground Zero and Breakaway Esports, formidable opponents in LPL PRO CS:GO.
4. Breakaway Esports – Breaking Point
Breakaway Esports is smack bang in the middle of the leaderboard. They are at a breaking point where they have two options:
- Lose and fall too far away from making the Finals Stage
- Win and qualify for the Final Stage by winning the Tiebreaker via Point Difference
All games Breakaway Esports play are highly entertaining and definitely games you do not want to miss watching. They have the solid and unchanged roster of Avant Gaming, the talent of Chiefs and the tenacity of Ground Zero.
This CS:GO team often starts their game a couple rounds behind, almost as if they’re playing to understand and study their opponents rather than to win. They then use this knowledge to win three to six rounds in a row to propel forwards ahead and close out the game in a spectacular fashion. If they fall extremely far behind, they will bring the match to overtime. Watching Breakaway Esports play always reminds me of Tom Hanks from Castaway because at the end, they always deliver.
5. Paradox – The Enigmatic
Paradox is an interesting team. They lose 16-1 to Breakaway Esports in Week 1 with everyone brushing Paradox off as a one-hit wonder in the ANZ CS:GO scene, only finding success in the CyberGamer Premier League (placed #1). Then, they beat Chiefs 16-8 the next week, pulling one of the biggest upsets in the LPL PRO and proceed to beat Avant Gaming 16-10 the following week.
When asked, Matt “Valiance” Hartrick said, “For some reason, we play really good as a team against higher level opponents.” Paradox is such an enigma of a team even they don’t understand. The team has raw talent no doubt. If they can find the missing piece of their own puzzle it’s certain they will have the potential to go all the way. Perhaps they perform better under pressure? There is a saying, “the more pressure, the closer you are to becoming a diamond.”
6. Genuine Gaming – Genuinely Talented
Genuine Gaming is a talented team with a lot of potential. They have consistent playmakers like Thomson “apocdud” Henry and experienced players like Hugh “stat” Anderson. In Week 2, Genuine Gaming lost 13-16 to Ground Zero and even though they lost, they made Ground Zero sweat for the win proving they have what it takes to take it all the way.
Genuine Gaming may struggle against the teams sitting at the top of the leaderboard but if they can make the last sprint to the finish line, it’s guaranteed they’ll surprise everyone watching.
7. Athletico – Athletes in Training
The Athletico squad (ex-MadLikeWizards) has struggled ever since losing their star player last year but it is clear they have not given up. Similarly to Genuine Gaming, they have the talent and skill to contest against Chiefs, Ground Zero and Breakaway and make them sweat for a win. I think like Genuine Gaming above, they are still finding their synergy and coordination with each other as they are still a very young team in the scene and I look forward to seeing them identify their strengths and weaknesses and apply them to their gameplay moving forward.
Catch the LPL PRO CS:GO ANZ Championship Week 5 this Thursday 14th March 7PM NZDT at twitch.tv/cgtv_csgo or on SkyTV Popup 1 Channel 55.
This article is by guest contributor _. You can follow them on Twitter: @_.