With the iBUYPOWER Masters IV event just days away, our Counter-Strike experts here at VPEsports give you their thoughts on what to expect and why.
Scheduled to run from January 19 to 20 in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California at the Avalon Theater, eight teams will be battling it out for the lion’s share of the $200,000 prize pool.
The team list is an eye pleaser, showcasing many of the best teams in the world, a true treat for fans of the game.
“Landing Astralis was a coup and really puts the competition on another tier,” said Kevin Hitt, EIC of VPEsports. “It is going to be a great event and the fact it’s at Avalon Hollywood makes it even better. I think this could be a litmus test of whether or not CSGO is a draw there.”
Jarek “DeKay” Lewis:
“iBUYPOWER is a unique event in that it has some of the world’s best teams in attendance. I would warn against taking too much from the results here. It is very close to the upcoming Major, so teams like Liquid and FaZe will still be fine-tuning. adreN will make his coaching debut, while the other AdreN will make his FaZe debut. The new look of these teams will be the storyline, not how they finish.
I think it is reasonable to expect an Astralis victory here. Should they not win, I don’t think that’s a big deal either. This is a perfect event to shake the holiday rust off. Not everyone will play sharp but Liquid have a great chance to take a victory with hardly having to travel.”
“The iBUYPOWER event is strictly stratified in both groups. The two best teams in Group A are Astralis and Fnatic. The two best teams in Group B are Liquid and FaZe. In the case of Group A, I think everyone should pick Astralis to win the group and for Fnatic to get out second. After that, I’d say whoever makes it first out of Group B will make it to the finals over Fnatic as I don’t think Fnatic’s normal skill level will be at what they were at IEM Chicago.
In terms of the most interesting things to look out for, I’d say it’s the new roster changes. FaZe have added AdreN, the Major winning one, and ynk as their coach. Liquid have lost zews and TACO and have gotten adreN and Stewie2K to replace them. These changes could radically change the identity and styles of the teams depending on how the teams decide to play it out. I’d say Ghost is interesting to look at as Steel has proven himself to be a good in-game leader and Wardell looks to be the next great AWPer out of NA”
“Echoing some of DeKay and Chiu’s thoughts, while the event is ripe with talent with the likes of Astralis, Liquid, FaZe and more in attendance, it is ultimately not as important as the Major to these teams and with several roster changes, it is more about finding what works.
I would expect to see a reserved playbook and a larger focus on looking for flaws in their own gameplay, making sure the team works as a unit, and keeping their mechanics on point in a live match environment.
With that said, I do think Astralis and Liquid are still your favorites to walk away with the event as they have the skill and cohesion to leave some in the bank and still deliver even with Liquid’s new additions. FaZe’s new roster with AdreN is an interesting one and I expect if anyone is to provide an upset against the two aforementioned teams, it’s them as their firepower is insane.
I expect Luminosity, compLexity, and Ghost to be simply outmatched by the rest while fnatic is up in the air.”