(For preview and predictions for group A, follow this link)
Group B consists of more European and international formations. This group kicks off on Sunday with Natus Vincere vs. fnatic, followed by FaZe vs. mousesports.
FaZe is one of those teams that has a high chance of winning wherever they show up. The roster is composed of players of immense superstar quality, each capable of stepping up whenever the team needs them most.
When it comes to achievements, FaZe has found success twice this year, winning IEM Sydney 2018 against Astralis, and more recently ESL One Belo Horizonte 2018 by beating mousesports. The team was also the runner-up of ELEAGUE Major 2018 and IEM Katowice 2018. To add to this hefty list, FaZe has also finished third on four occasions, one being the recent ESL One Cologne 2018. It’s an impressive list of achievements to fit into one year.
The team, however, has been for the last couple of months playing without Olof “olofmeister” Kajbjer due to his personal health issues. FaZe had two different stand-ins replacing olofmeister. The first was Richard “Xizt” Landström, with whom the team won IEM Sydney. The next was Jorgen “cromen” Robertsen, with whom FaZe also found success at ESL Belo Horizonte. This just shows how effective and adaptable the remaining players are, even when one of their teammates is missing.
For the first time in months, we are finally going to see FaZe in their full original roster with olofmeister. Hopes are high for the super team to advance onto the playoffs. However, how olofmeister’s long absence will affect his personal play is a big question mark.
fnatic is a legendary team. There is absolutely no debate to that claim. It is the only team to win three Major tournaments since 2013. Moreover, three of its players, namely Robin “flusha” Rönnquist, Jesper “JW” Wecksell and Freddy “KRIMZ” Johansson, are among a few players that have attended every Major tournament in the history of CS:GO. Having such players on your roster amounts to an unimaginable amount of experience.
The fnatic organization is having a good year when it comes to trophy count. The team has won two tournaments this year, IEM Katowice 2018 and WESG 2017 World Finals, beating FaZe and Space Soldiers respectively. They also grabbed third place at DreamHack Masters Marseille 2018 where Astralis was too much for them in the semi-final.
This year fnatic snatched Richard “Xizt” Landström after he was a stand-in for olofmeister at FaZe. More recently though, fnatic has brought the talented William “draken” Sundin on board from NiP. That was a shocking move as draken was performing well at NiP. His AWP-ing skills will definitely be a great asset to the experienced fnatic squad. How the team will perform with Xizt and draken is hard to judge. Having little time to adjust draken to the team may prove problematic.
Mousesports is having a very good year. Ever since the start of the year, the mixed European formation has been climbing the ladder in rankings, mostly floating around the second to fifth placement.
The organization found success at V4 Future Sports Festival and StarSeries i-League Season 4 this year. Mousesports was also crowned the runner-up of ESL One Belo Horizonte 2018, and they reached the semi-finals of StarSeries i-League Season 5 and IEM Sydney 2018. A respectable list of achievements.
Probably one of the most interesting transfer moves this year thus far has been the transfer of Janusz “Snax” Pogorzelski over from Virtus.pro. Snax has replaced Martin “Styko” Styk, who is now a stand-in for Cloud9. This is a shocking move as Styko was performing well in the mousesports line-up, stepping up in the right moments.
Mousesports’s performance hinges on whether enough time has been given to acclimate the talented Polish player. He has not shown much flair in the degrading Virtus.pro organization. However, given his historical performances, Snax has shown on more than one occasion that he is an extremely capable player.
Natus Vincere (Na’Vi) is in possession of probably the best player at this very moment–Aleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev. With an unbelievable rating of 1.35 according to HLTV’s Rating 2.0, the Ukrainian has not held back this year.
The team as a whole is finally coming together nicely this year. With s1mple leading the way, other players are also stepping up, being very consistent in their particular roles.
Natus Vincere has had an immense list of achievements this year. Na’Vi has found success at StarSeries i-League Season 5, CS:GO Asia Championships 2018, and the recent ESL One Cologne 2018. Moreover, the Russian organization was runner-up of StarSeries i-League Season 4 and DreamHack Masters Marseille 2018. Finishing 3rd in this year’s ELEAGUE Major also deserves an honorable mention.
Na’Vi has been a very consistent formation this year, finding much success on various LANs. If s1mple has still retained his magnificent form, and if his teammates are going to step up as they have up till now, Natus Vincere should be one of the two teams advancing to the playoffs.
First team to advance: Natus Vincere
Given the year that Na’Vi is having, it’s tough to say that they won’t advance further. Everything is clicking for them. S1mple is at his best, and electronic is stepping up with flamie when it comes to rifling. Zeus is doing a phenomenal job as the in-game leader, and Edward has his particular moments. Additionally, they are the only team in the group to have played without any roster changes this year.
Second team to advance: FaZe
The very thought of saying that FaZe will not advance to the playoffs is mind-boggling. The star power on the FaZe roster is out of this world. The only problem may be olofmeister who has been on a hiatus. However, given his immense experience, he should be able to show up for his team.
Teams eliminated: mousesports & fnatic
Given the very recent roster changes for both of these teams, they are the obvious candidates for elimination. Both teams have had their share of achievements this year nevertheless.
I like to give out free AK-47 headshots in CS: GO, spend some quality time in the kitchen marinating a tender chicken breast and approximately 3 times a week I lift some relatively heavy metal stuff at the gym. Oh, and I also like to write about e-sports and everything related to gaming. Who knew one could have such contrasting interests?