StarSeries & i-League Season 5 Preview; Latest Dota 2 News

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The top teams in CS:GO esports are gearing up to compete in the big ECS Season 5 Finals. It gets underway June 8 in London at the SSE Arena in Wembley. Prior to that $660,000 event, there are two additional events scheduled.

The DreamHack Open Austin 2018 starts next week on June 1. But before that, the StarSeries & i-League Season 5 finals kicks off May 28.

The fifth season sees teams qualifying from Europe, North America, CIS, and Asia to reach Kiev, alongside five teams that have earned direct invitations, plus the team that qualified from the recent Bets.net Masters.

Participating teams

  • Direct Invites – Team Liquid, Mousesports, Natus Vincere, Ninjas in Pyjamas, SK Gaming
  • European Qualifiers – GODSENT, AGO Esports, North, Virtus.pro
  • North American Qualifiers – NRG Esports, Renegades
  • CIS Qualifiers – AVANGAR, Gambit Esports
  • Asian Qualifier – TyLoo, VG Flash Gaming
  • net Masters Qualifier – HellRaisers

It’s worth noting four teams, Cloud9, FaZe Clan, Fnatic, and G2 Esports, declined their invitations to the event.

The tournament comprises a 16-team Swiss System format with all matches played over a best-of-three format. The eight top teams earn playoff spots. A cool $300,000 is up for grabs across the tournament with the winners taking home $125,000 and the second-place finisher $50,000.

Draw for the first round

  • Team Liquid vs. NRG Esports
  • SK Gaming vs. VG Flash Gaming
  • Natus Vincere vs. TyLoo
  • AGO Esports vs. Virtus.pro
  • Mousesports vs. North
  • AVANGAR vs. Gambit Esports
  • Ninjas in Pyjamas vs. HellRaisers
  • GODSENT vs. Renegades

Latest betting

Betway is offering odds on the winner of the Starseries i-League Season 5, along with betting on each of the first round matches.

Betway has priced the 16 teams as follows:

  • Natis Vincere – 13/4 favourites
  • SK Gaming – 4/1
  • Team Liquid – 9/2
  • Mousesports – 19/4
  • Ninjas in Pyjamas 10/1
  • North -12/1
  • HellRaisers – 16/1
  • TyLoo – 18/1
  • Gambit Esports, Virtus.pro – 20/1
  • GODSENT – 22/1
  • AVANGAR – 24/1
  • NRG Esports, Renegades – 25/1
  • AGO Esports – 28/1
  • VG Flash – 80/1

Natus Vincere have earned the top place. They’re the home team with a predominantly Ukrainian squad, some of whom have been with the team for many years. However, they have not won a Premier Level event since October 2016 (ESL One – New York 2016), and their sole win in the last 12 months came in the DreamHack Open Winter 2017 event in December in Jonkoping, Sweden.

I can’t talk up SK Gaming’s chances either after they put in a distinctly ordinary performance in the ESL Pro League Season 7 Finals last time out. Indeed, since their win at the ESL Pro League Season 6 Finals last December, they have won just one Major event — the WESG 2017 North American Finals. They have finished no better than 5th/6th in their last eight tournaments.

For me, the sensible bet here is Team Liquid. They won cs_summit 2 back in February, clinched a 3rd/4th finish at the Intel Extreme Masters XII in March, and were second in the ESL Pro League Season 7 Finals last weekend.

ESL One Birmingham 2018 begins

While CS:GO fans may be counting down the days to the next big tournament, Dota 2 fans are already excited too. ESL One Birmingham, the penultimate event of the Dota Pro Circuit season, has started in the UK.

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Twelve teams are competing for 1,500 Dota Pro Circuit points, plus a prize fund of $1 million. For some of the teams competing, this event offers a chance to cement their place inside the crucial top eight teams in the DPC rankings. For others, it is a chance to break into that elite company ahead of the China Supermajor, which starts June 2.

The competing teams are:

  • Direct Invites – Virtus.pro, Newbee, Evil Geniuses, Team Liquid, Vici Gaming, Mineski
  • Qualifiers – OG, LGD Forever Young, Fnatic, OpTic Gaming, paiN Gaming, Team Spirit

The 12 teams are divided into three groups for the opening phase. Teams play their opening matches, with the two winners then playing off in a winner’s match, the winner of which wins the group. The two losing teams from the first game play an elimination match. The team that loses both these opening two games takes bottom spot in the group.

The two teams with 1-1 records face off in the “decider” match with a playoff spot on the line.

Unusually, the three top seeds then play off against each other to decide which one drops into the playoff quarterfinals, with the top two sides from that playoff seeded into the semifinals.

Who do we think will emerge?

There is a clear favourite here in Virtus.pro, the team that currently tops the DPC rankings. They don’t need the points to secure their qualification for The International 2018 but would like to assert their dominance with a win here.

Then, Team Liquid moved back into third space in the rankings following PSG.LGD’s stunning second win in two tournaments over the weekend. Mineski, Vici Gaming, and Newbee will all be desperate for points to try and avoid dropping out of the top eight.

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.