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Photo: Beyond the Summit

This is the Buy and Sell Edition post IEM Katowice Major Edition. Imagine for a moment that each team was a stock. I am the stock broker trying to make money so I have to buy low and sell high. In other words I need to buy teams whose stocks I think are lower than expected value and will give me a better return when they put in better results at future tournaments. Likewise I will need to sell stocks of teams that have hit their maximum potential and that I think will drop off. These are the three teams I think you should buy into and the three teams I think you should sell off.

Buy:

MIBR:

Roster:

  • Gabriel “FalleN” Toledo
  • Fernando “fer” Alvarenga
  • Marcelo “coldzera” David
  • Epitacio “TACO” de Melo
  • Joao “felps” Vasconcellos

Coach:

Wilton “zews” Prado

Recent Results:

Top 4 – IEM Katowice 2019

The Brazilian reunion has shown potential at the IEM Katowice 2019 Major. Some questioned whether their old synergy could return as it never did with the old Fnatic. Those fears have been mostly dissuaded as MIBR showed positive signs throughout this Major. In terms of map pool, they’ve shown strength on Train. Inferno is playable for them, though I think it’s a weakness against top inferno teams. Their Dust2 and Overpass seem solid. Nuke is still a permaban, while mirage and cache still remain a mystery. Given what we know of the old SK lineup with this five man lineup, they should probably still be good both of those maps.

So in terms of the potential map pool, they should have Mirage, Cache, Train, Dust2, and Overpass with the first three being their specialties. If they can shore up their weakness on inferno to a point where they can be competitive with Astralis, they have one of the better potential map pools to match up against Astralis.

In terms of team chemistry, we saw glimpses of the old SK. They are already a level above the old MIBR lineup with Tarik “tarik” Celik and Jake “Stewie2K” Yip. As for individual players, the biggest positive that MIBR has is that Coldzera looked to be in prime form at the Major. His consistency and impact was fantastic. On top of that fer seems to be back in shape as well. The only worrying sign I have is that felps was regulated back to his old role. When the team reunited, I thought the best move possible was to have felps and fer swap roles as fer had been slumping through 2018. While I’m critical of the move, I have to tip my hat to fer and MIBR as fer looked to be a renewed man at Katowice. We’ll have to see the role balance and form of these two players develops in the future. For now though, I think MIBR will grow to be among the best teams in the world. Likely either 2nd or 3rd best.

Renegades:

Roster:

  • Aaron “AZR” Ward
  • Justin “jks” Savage
  • Joakim “jkaem” Myrbostad
  • Jay “liazz” Tregillgas
  • Sean “Gratisfaction” Kaiwai

Coach:

Aleksandar “kassad” Trifunovic

Recent Results:

  • IEM Katowice 2019 – Top 8
  • ESL Proleague Finals – Top 5-6

IEM Katowice 2019 was a breakout performance for the boy as they made it to the playoffs. What impressed me the most about this particular squad is that they don’t rely on firepower. Teams like G2, Vitality, and HellRaisers live or die off of their star players having a huge game. In the case of Renegades, they rely far more on their teamplay, tactics, and structure to win Counter-Strike games.

While all of their players had good games at the Major, none of them performed far above their perceived average level of skill. Actually, if you consider the quarterfinals against MIBR I’d say they actually underperformed. What makes this team exciting to me is that they have built up a six map pool (the only map they can’t play is Overpass) which allows them a wide array of tools to beat better opponents.

This team is currently five months into this roster’s lifespan and I suspect that the next four months will be the peak of this lineup’s form. Overall, I have this team becoming a top 8 team in the world. An easy buy.

TyLoo

Roster:

  • HaoWen “somebody” Xu
  • Hansel “BnTeT” Ferdinand
  • Kevin “xccurate” Susanto
  • YuLun “Summer” Cai
  • YuanZhang “Attacker” Sheng

Coach:

Ivan “Johnta” Shevtsov

Results:

IEM Katowice Major – 17th-19th

Despite being eliminated in the Challengers Stage of the Major, I still think this roster has a lot of room to grow. The biggest positive for this team is that every player in this roster has a lot of individual skill. As for the Major run, I think everybody except Summer performed about where you’d expect. Outside of pressure situations, Summer has been a good player so TyLoo hasn’t yet reached their maximum potential in terms of individual skill.

As for team style and identity, I think one of two things happens. Either Johnta is able to teach proper European Counter-Strike to the squad and they’ll naturally improve things like their utility usage, teamplay, and comms or they will double down on the old TyLoo style except with even more firepower. In either case TyLoo should grow to be a stronger team. I think they will top out as a top 10-15 team in the world.

Sell:

Na`Vi:

Roster:

  • Ioann “Edward” Sukhariev
  • Egor “flamie” Vasilyev
  • Oleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev
  • Danylo “Zeus” Teslenko
  • Denis “electronic” Sharipov

Coach:

Mykhailo “kane” Blagin

Recent Results:

  • IEM Katowice Major – Top 4
  • GG.Bet Ice Challenge – 2nd
  • BLAST Lisbon – 2nd
  • ESL Proleague Season 8 Finals – 5-6th

I’ve seen this team play for over an year now and I’ve gotten a good handle on what to expect from this team. Na`Vi is an inconsistent team tournament to tournament. Their most consistent point is that s1mple is the best player in the world and his impact in the game is unreal. Outside of that, everything else is variable. Electronic was consistent for most of 2018, but dropped towards the end. While still good, he is no longer someone who could legitimately challenge s1mple as the best player on Na`Vi on any single day. Flamie has a star performance about one out of every three tournaments. In the other two, he does his role fairly well.

As for Zeus and Edward, they are the biggest glaring weaknesses individually. Like Flamie, both are good for one of every three tournaments. In Edward’s case, his best performances generally seem to come under high pressure playoff situations, but his floor has been horrendous. Zeus is a similar story. Zeus has some pretty good clutch moments, but they’re offset by the number of times he gives away a free kill that results in the opponent getting easy rounds.

In terms of teamplay and tactics, they’ve largely remained the same. They can be good at times and other times you can see them shouting at each other on screen. Tactically, they still run the Zeus style which is effective, but arguably not enough in a world where Astralis exists.

Considering all of those facts, there is nowhere else left to grow for Na`Vi. This lineup has hit it’s ceiling and from this point on Na`Vi will either continue to be the same or decline. This is the best point to sell on Na`Vi.

Fnatic:

Roster:

  • Freddy “KRIMZ” Johansson
  • Jesper “JW” Wecksell
  • Richard “Xizt” Landstrom
  • Simon “twist” Eliasson
  • Ludvig “Brollan” Brolin

Coach:

Jimmy “Jumpy” Berndtsson

Recent Results:

  • IEM Katowice 2019 – 20-22nd
  • IBP Masters – Top 4
  • PLG Grand Slam – 1st

This roster has been together for about four months. We saw their highs at IEM Chicago where they almost beat Astralis. We saw their lows at the Katowice Major. Overall, I think their average level of skill is somewhere between those two extremes. At Chicago, everything went right for the squad. Everyone was on point, the team work was great, and their aggressive risky style worked.

At Katowice, we saw everything break down for this squad. Their map vetos were terrible, their teamwork was shoddy, and the only players that showed up for them was KRIMZ and Brollan to a lesser extent. When I look at this team, there is almost nothing here that makes me think they will somehow jump up multiple levels of skill. The only thing I can point to is Brollan growing better as a player.

Outside of that, all of the other factors are fairly static. KRIMZ will continue to be one of the best players in the world, but it’s unrealistic to expect him to become even better than s1mple. JW is still playing the same style of Counter-Strike regardless if he’s on the rifle or AWP. Twist hasn’t shown me that he can be a star player on this team. Xizt’s tactics, structure, and map vetos haven’t changed. Overall, they haven’t showed any signs of improvement or staying near the level they showed at IEM Chicago. Unless you think Brollan will somehow become a top 10 player in the next three months, sell on Fnatic.

NiP

Roster:

  • Patrik “f0rest” Lindberg
  • Christopher “GeT_RiGhT” Alesund
  • Fredrik “REZ” Sterner
  • Dennis “dennis” Edman
  • Jonas “Lekr0” Olofsson

Coach:

Faruk “pita” Pita

Recent Results:

  • IEM Katowice Major – Top 8
  • BLAST Lisbon – 6th

NiP have hit their ceiling. The IEM Katowice Major was a great achievement for the team, but they didn’t show anything there that makes me think this team will continue to grow. They struggled to get out of the Challengers Stage and needed f0rest to carry them out. They then struggled through the Legends Stage. When they finally got to the playoffs, they were beaten by Astralis 2-0.

In terms of individual skill, there have plenty of talent, but none of it seems to be enabled to their maximum potential outside of f0rest. Even in the case of f0rest, he isn’t the superstar player that people imagine him as. He’s a good player who can do exceptionally well against weaker opposition and is flaky when faced against the elite teams of the world. While that’s an amazing feat considering his age and length of time playing the game, that also tells me that he likely won’t take a step up and return as a top five player this year. GeT_RiGhT continues to struggle individually, though he does play more sacrificial roles. Dennis has completely lost his way as a player in this squad and doesn’t fit the system that NiP runs. Lekr0 has lost his consistency as a star player after he took up the in-game leading role. The saving grace of this team is REZ who seems to be slowly growing into his own as a star player, especially considering some of the roles he has to play.

Overall, I don’t see any place where this team can grow in terms of individual skill. In terms of teamplay, tactics, and map pool, they’ve gone as far as they could go. At this juncture, NiP will continue to be a top 8-10 team in the world that can be upset by lower teams or upset some of the better teams (but only in bo1). This particular lineup has gone on for nine months and at this point, they’ve explored all of the potential that this team can reach. In order to get to the next level, either one of two things has to happen for NiP. They need to get a superstar player or an in-game leader that can revitalize the entire team. No such in-game leader exists in Sweden and the only superstar player that can elevate them is KRIMZ and he just signed a three year contract with Fnatic.

I don’t see anyway up for NiP, so sell now.

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