Quick Scope is series of oftentimes short opinion pieces written by Steven Cropley.
We’re just days away from Intel Extreme Masters Beijing and it’s looking a lot more interesting after the conclusion of BLAST Pro Series Copenhagen.
With Evil Geniuses, Astralis, Vitality, ENCE, and 100 Thieves in attendance and now FaZe showing they may finally be here to contend for titles, it could be the event we didn’t know we needed.
With the rankings currently in flux and so many teams seemingly finding their form following changes or just after a slump, Beijing is looking to be quite competitive.
Astralis – never bet against them.
Astralis are never a team to count out and nobody will be surprised should they make a finals appearance of even take home the trophy given how talented this roster is and what they’ve done in the past.
They haven’t won an event since the StarLadder Major in Berlin, but they haven’t ever looked as if they’re not ready to contend at any moment and should always be considered a threat.
Evil Geniuses – can they repeat or will it be another massive drop off?
Evil Geniuses are coming off of a tournament win at StarSeries i-League Season 8 after picking up another first-place finish at ESL One New York 2019. The team has a solid record against Astralis and have shown they are here to play for the long haul.
After ESL One New York the team went out dead last in their next appearance across the globe. They got a break this time though so there’s no excuses on the table, it’s time to show up.
100 Thieves – on the upswing with a new look.
100 Thieves looked rejuvenated at their recent events and may have even a little more fire under them as they represent their new organization. A deep playoff run shouldn’t be out of the cards even with the talented list of teams.
Vitality – ZywOo is nuts, but the team needs more for a win.
Vitality is a pretty big question mark but a team that fields Mathieu “ZywOo” Herbaut alongside the potential pop-off of Richard “shox” Papillon always leaves the possibility of a big run. I’m still not completely sold though and a trophy in Beijing would be a shocker to me.
ENCE – things haven’t been looking good in the Finnish camp for awhile now.
ENCE has looked like a shell of the team we thought was thrusting Finnish Counter-Strike into the spotlight in recent months. The addition of Miikka “suNny” Kemppi seems to have done little to help that at this point. The team has had some time and now experience at big events under their belt with the lineup though and that may be what they needed but I won’t say I’d bet much on it.
FaZe – is the experiment finally turning out?
FaZe are coming off of a tournament win in Copenhagen, and while they looked much improved, dominant even, it was a majority best-of-one event. The team certainly gained some confidence and faith in their lineup, however, a bigger test is looming in Beijing.
The players are all capable and it seems they may finally be learning the best way to utilize the pieces they have which has been the problem all along alongside the players not know how to fit into the puzzle.