I’ve decided to do an early prediction going into the StarLadder Major in Berlin by listing who I believe will make it into the New Challengers stage. This is just a general overview based on what I know about these teams from their matches, personnel, roster changes, etc.
**Without know the groups this is of course going on a whim as certain matchups could throw the “expected” out the window.**
There’s a combined 24 teams with 16 battling it out in the first stage (New Challengers stage) with 8 of those teams moving into the New Legends stage where they’ll meet the top teams from the IEM Katowice Major.
This list will be brief and simply state who I think moves on and basic information as to why.
Team Vitality: Currently ranked the second best in the world, Vitality has shown they’re a consistent force and while a couple teams in this stage certainly have the potential to upset, I think they’re a pretty safe bet to move forward with what they’ve been showing over recent months and would be the biggest surprise if they failed to.
mousesports: This new lineup didn’t take long before they started showing real promise and the potential we were all hoping for. mousesports still has a bit to prove and things certainly got shaky during the Minor, however, I think they outclass a majority of the teams in the New Challengers stage and shouldn’t struggle too hard to make top eight of 16.
G2 Esports: This one is hard to put just because of how up and down they can be, however, I think (and hope) IEM Chicago was a bit of a fluke. While I don’t expect G2 to win it all, a failure to get out of this stage would all but kill the roster for me as this is definitely an expectation.
NRG Esports: We haven’t seen too much out of this roster since the addition of Peter “stanislaw” Jarguz, but the core has the talent to come out near the top of this stage. Hopefully they’ve been putting in the time to iron out of the growing pains and can show some improvement after stalling out since Tarik “tarik” Celik joined.
CR4ZY: The firepower on this roster is insane and they’ve shown what it’s capable of before by taking down extremely talent lineups. Their issue is of course consistently providing that firepower and being able to pick up wins when they are lacking in that department. If they can show up for at least half their games, they should manage to grab a top eight spot in this stage but I’m not sure it’ll last into the next.
FURIA Esports: FURIA is both an easy and hard pick for me. We’ve seen them be monstrous and perform against the best of the best but something about the lineup still makes me wonder. Whether its their aggressive style or just having less experience against the variety of play styles they’ll be up against in this stage, I’m 65-35 on them.
North: Another tough one as we reach the bottom of my picks. North has the weaponry but have been struggling for so long it’s hard to say it’s a safe pick. Not to be a broken record, but the team is capable, they just have to show up. This is North’s chance to show this roster is worth pursuing.
HellRaisers/AVANGAR: Okay, I’m breaking the rules. I couldn’t decide between these two. Both have experience as well as fresh talent and both have raw firepower. I think I want to give the nod to AVANGAR but I can’t ever count out Tomáš “oskar” Šťastný from putting up a worlds best performance and carrying his team through it all.