New Challengers Stage In London Yields Eight Qualifiers

The 13th Valve-sponsored Counter Strike: Global Offensive Major Championship got underway last week in London. Twenty-four teams are battling it out across three phases to win half of the $1,000,000 prize pool.

The tournament started on the Sept. 5 with the New Challengers Stage. This is followed by the New Legends Stage from Sept. 12-16. Then, the final stage, the New Champions Stage, will be contested from Sept. 20-23.

That first stage was completed over the weekend. We now know which eight of the 16 teams competing at that stage will progress to the New Legends Stage.

New Challengers roundup

The opening stage’s Swiss Format was essentially a race to win three games.

The qualifiers for this tournament included the eight Boston’s Fallen teams, who qualified from their performance at the Boston Major. That included some big-name teams, including Team Liquid, Vega Squadron, Gambit Esports, Astralis, North, and Virtus.pro.

Facing off against them in competition were The Minor’s Champions, eight teams that qualified from a number of minor tournaments held in Europe, the Americas, CIS, and Asia. Ninjas in Pyjamas, compLexity Gaming, OpTic Gaming, TyLoo, and HellRaisers hailed from this crop.

The teams played a series of best-of-one games across five rounds of action. Qualifying as the top seeds, Team Liquid and Ninjas in Pyjamas won all of their opening three matches.

At 3-1, Astralis, compLexity Gaming, and HellRaisers followed behind. That left the final three spots up for grabs to be contested between six teams with 2-2 records after four rounds. In the end, BIG, Vega Squadron, and TyLoo emerged victorious in these games to claim places in the next round.

The New Legends Stage

Starting on Wednesday this week, the New Legends Stage will see the eight qualifiers from the Challengers Stage listed above, plus the eight Legend teams who pre-qualified for this part of the tournament.

They are Cloud9, FaZE Clan, Natus Vincere, MiBR, mousesports, Winstrike Team, G2 Esports, and Fnatic.

The New Legends Stage will follow the same schedule as the Challengers Stage with potentially five rounds of matches and teams racing to win three matches to advance.

The draw for the first round of new games is as follows:

  • Cloud9 vs. Vega Squadron
  • FaZe Clan vs. BIG
  • Natus Vincere vs. Astralis
  • MiBR vs. TyLoo
  • Mousesports vs. Ninjas in Pyjamas
  • Winstrike Team vs. Team Liquid
  • G2 Esports vs. HellRaisers
  • Fnatic vs. compLexity Gaming

FACEIT Major Outright Winner

Betway has everything punters need in multiple markets, but let’s take a look at the odds for the tourney’s winner.

  • Astralis – 6/4 favourite
  • FaZe Clan – 5/1
  • Team Liquid, MiBR – 6/1
  • Natus Vincere – 8/1
  • Mousesports – 10/1
  • Fnatic, Ninjas in Pyjamas – 12/1
  • BIG, Cloud9, G2 Esports – 20/1
  • HellRaiders – 30/1
  • compLexity Gaming, TyLoo – 66/1
  • Vega Squadron, Winstrike Team – 150/1

Of the teams qualifying from the New Challengers Stage, Team Liquid look to be by far the most accomplished. The bookies have them rated as a 6/1 shot. I think they are a solid bet. They’ve had the benefit of three big warm-up games the current Legends haven’t had.

That said, I think Astralis and FaZe Clan’s odds are a little short given their recent performances. I also think Natus Vincere at 8/1 would be a very solid Each Way option.

Team Kinguin win at DreamHack Montreal 2018

A short while back, Team Kinguin landed one of its biggest ever cash prize at a tournament when finishing second to MiBR at the ZOTAC Cup Masters 2018. They earned themselves a $60,000 cheque in the process.

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That win was the second largest cheque the team had ever received. It was dwarfed only by the $400,000 prize the team landed when finishing second at the World Electronic Sports Games in January 2017.

Since then though, Team Kinguin have had relatively little success. They’ve played mostly in qualifier and Minor events. Now, the team has improved its financial status a great deal by taking a $50,000 top prize for winning the latest DreamHack Open tournament in Montreal.

Admittedly, it may be something of a hollow win, with almost all the top teams competing at FACEIT London. But the eight invited teams — AGO Esports, ENCE eSports, eUnited, Heroic, The Imperial, Luminosity Gaming and Red Reserve — would all have hoped to land the prize that the Hong Kong-based team, comprised entirely of Polish players,  eventually won.

Group Stage and Playoffs recap

Team Kinguin didn’t look that impressive in the Group Stage of the tournament. They finished second in Group A to ENCE eSports. And of the four teams that made the Playoffs, they put up the worst record in terms of rounds won compared to rounds lost (85-75).

However, in the Playoff semifinals, Team Kinguin made a mockery of their second seed status in dispatching the top seed from Group B, AGO Esports. It’s even more impressive when you learn the margin of victory in both games (16-4 and 16-8).

That put Team Kinguin into a final against ENCE eSports, the team that had defeated them in the Group Stage. This was a closer contest that hinged on the result of a close opening game, which Team Kinguin took 16-14. Having won that, Kinguin then pushed home that advantage impressively in the second game, taking it 16-9 to win the final 2-0 and claim the $50,000 top prize.

Ian John

About

A lifelong poker fan, Ian is also well-versed in the world of sports betting, casino gaming, and has written extensively on the online gambling industry. Based in the UK, Ian brings fresh insight into all facets of gaming.

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