Photo: By Helena Kristiansson for ESL
‘Chiu on This’ is a short and regular opinion blast
The round 4 high matches have concluded with Vitality, AVANGAR, and ENCE making it to the Major. All three teams had to fight and scramble to make it past the stage. There are my takeaways from this group of games.
Vitality: ZywOo looked off on the first day of the Major Challengers Stage. He went completely missing against TyLoo in the first map and made some bad mistakes he usually doesn’t against Greyhound. Since then, he’s become the star that I’m used to seeing and continues to prove why he is France’s beacon of hope.
After that, the biggest talking point to me is NBK as a player and in-game leader. NBK has been killing it this Major and has been the second consistent player that this team has needed. His in-game leading seems to have taken a step up since the last time I saw him as he’s doing better in mid-round calls (most notably against TyLoo in overtime) and in the variety of tactics he’s shown on nuke.
ViCi: Even though they lost in triple overtime, they’ve finally convinced me that they can legitimately qualify for the Major. As individual players, they are willing to fight and scrape for every round and moment. Players with wills like that are especially dangerous in round 5 matches of the Swiss Stage.
TyLoo: They were outplayed as a team by AVANGAR, but overall prospects seem fairly good for the team. They have a similar mindset and will to ViCi. They seem completely unphased by the pressure as they are willing to do their signature risky pushes and duels regardless of the situation. In the AVANGAR match, they consistently lost the opening duels, but found ways to pull it back. If they can go 50/50 in those duels (which seems likely given their skill), I favor them to make it out anyway.
AVANGAR: Their entire team had a good day against TyLoo. Their style of play is a bit passive for my tastes, but it’s shown its effectiveness. The biggest detraction I have for the team is that they looked afraid when TyLoo started to mount a comeback on inferno. The biggest surprise to me was fitch winning so many opening duels. That’s a factor that I don’t think will continue to the next stage, but fair play to him for showing up here.
ENCE: ENCE are a solid team that have a great balance of skill, tactics, and teamplay. Their biggest problem is experience. We saw it yesterday against Renegades and again today against Winstrike. That pressure reared its ugly head on Mirage T-side where they were largely static and easy to read. On the T-side of Train, they were far more versatile with their tactics, but the players weren’t showing up. For ENCE, pressure is their main enemy here, especially as four of their players are rookies to the Majors.
Winstrike: This team continually surprises me. While I respect their CT-side aggression and their ability to befuddle T-sides, their own T-side is lacking. While this team still has a chance to qualify, it will probably rely on getting a good draw in the fifth round.