ELEAGUE Premier 2018 Preview: Astralis and FaZe Among Favourites

Tomorrow in Atlanta begins ELEAGUE Premier 2018¬ – a Counter-Strike: Global Offensive tournament, where some of the world best teams will compete for their share of a $1,000,000 prize pool. In this article we’ll take a look the tournament’s format and schedule as well as discuss the participants: their recent performances and their chances to win the event.

ELEAGUE Premier 2018 will begin on July 21 with the group stage, which will continue until July 25. For the group stage, which will follow the GSL system with best-of-three series, the teams were distributed into two groups. Top two teams from each group will advance to the single-elimination playoffs, which will take place between July 28 and July 29. The groups look as follows:

Group A Group B
Astralis Natus Vincere
Team Liquid FaZe Clan
MiBR mousesports
Cloud9 Fnatic

Let’s start with Group A. In the opening matches Astralis will play with Cloud9, while Team Liquid will compete against MiBR. Taking into account recent results of Astralis (since IEM Katowice 2018 the Danish team always managed to place at least top-3 at any event they attended, and it’s fitting that they are currently sitting at the top of all CS:GO rankings), it’s safe to say that Astralis are the obvious favourites in their first series. Also Cloud9 will perform at this event with two standings, which significantly reduces their chances of success. As for the second pair, both Team Liquid and MiBR are in a similar position. After signing TACO in April, the North American team managed to place second at ESL Pro League Season 7 Finals and Esports Championship Series Season 5 Finals, but at the latest event – ESL One Cologne 2018 – they lost their first two matches against BIG and North and placed last. Also Team Liquid will attend the event without their coach zews, who decided to skip the tournament due to health problems. As for MiBR, they only a week ago replaced boltz with Tarik from Cloud9 and presumably did not have enough time to prepare for the event. Their results without Tarik also were not particularly impressive – recently they placed 7-8th at ESL One Cologne and 3rd-4th at ESL One Belo Horizonte, and overall their performance was mediocre at premier events.

In the opening matches of Group B Natus Vincere will play against Fnatic, while FaZe Clan will face mousesports. We don’t expect any surprises in the first match, since Na`Vi has been consistently showing great performance at events they attended – moreover, they won three LAN-events in a row: StarSeries Season 5, CS:GO Asia Championship and ESL Cologne. Sitting at the second place of the CS:GO rankings, Na`Vi have everything to be a successful team: two young and incredibly high-skilled players S1mple and electronic, a great versatile rifler flamie, and two experienced veterans Zeus and Edward. As for Fnatic, the former best team of the world is currently in a shaky shape – a month ago they benched Golden, their former in-game leader, and signed draken. With the updated roster the Swedes participated only in ESL One Cologne, where placed 5-6th after losing to Na`Vi (0-2) in the quarterfinals. The second match will be played between FaZe and mouz. Even though olofmeister returned to the main roster only a week ago after a 3-months vacation, FaZe are still the favourites of the match, as mousesports not only changed their roster this month by replacing Styko with Snax, but also they also haven’t been showing decent results throughout the season, and at the latest event in Cologne placed 9-12th after losing to ONCE with the 0-2 score.

Overall we believe that Astralis will place first in Group A, while both Liquid and MiBR can qualify for playoffs from the second place. As for Group B, the most obvious result is that this group will be represented in playoffs by Na`Vi and FaZe. It resembles well with our odds, which suggest that Astralis has the highest chance to win the entire event, they are followed by FaZe Clan and Natus Vincere.

Tournament Schedule (UK Time):

July 21
  • 19:00 – Astralis vs Cloud9 (Group A; Opening Match)
  • 19:00 – Natus Vincere vs Fnatic (Group B; Opening Match)
  • 22:00 – Team Liquid vs MiBR (Group A; Opening Match)
  • 22:00 – FaZe Clan vs mousesports (Group B; Opening Match)
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