Photo: By Adam Lakomy for ESL
‘Chiu on This’ is a short and regular opinion blast
When the EU Minor started, I believed that Mouz were the big favorites to make it out of the groups. Out of all the teams here, they had the pedigree, players, and results to back up their place as the best team in the EU Minors. As far as I know, no competent expert had Mouz not making the Major.
That is why it was all the more surprising that they fell down here. They faced off twice against Valiance in the group stage. In the first game, Valiance squeaked out a victory on Mirage 16-14. Nexa, in an HLTV interview explained that the their analyst, emi, had antistratted every team in the group phase. This was fairly clear to see on Mirage in the first day as the individual players put themselves in positions to counter the typical tactics, positions, and tendencies of the Mouz players.
What was surprising was that this antistratting continued when the two teams met again in the second bo3 in the elimination stage. On the first map, the Valiance team abused Mouz’s tendency to take B halls by using a double or triple stack to win out the trades in that area. This was critical as while Mouz still had a good T-side half ending in 7-8, those few rounds they won because of this maneuver put Valiance in position to take Mouz’s map. On the T-side, they had some idea of the basic setups of Mouz.
For instance, in round 19, Ropz threw a smoke up into B halls at the beginning of the round. This usually signifies an upper B peak from oskar with the AWP. Ottond was clearly ready for that and got the first kill. Valiance then pop flashed Espiranto through the smoke to kill ropz and take the site. This game could have still gone the way of Mouz after they got their double AWP setup running, but nexa and Ottond came through for Valiance. Nexa in round 20 got the two critical entry kills on B to win the round. Ottond on the AWP got multikills for Valiance to clear the map.
Once they got onto the second map, Valiance then went to their own map pick of Cache. On the CT-side, huNter was the standout player for Valiance as he got multiple opening kills through their CT-side. On the T-side, they easily steamrolled over Mouz to close out the series.
That was the biggest upset of the day, though OpTic and North are worth talking about here. OpTic continue to disappoint me. Their talent is incredible and I think they need a change in leadership. I’ll explain why in a different blog. As for North, they looked fairly solid against Windigo up until the last moments of Dust2 where it looked like the nerves were getting to them. They were still able to close it out though, and I still have them as one of my picks to make it out of the EU Minor.