Very serious things will be able to begin in Rio de Janeiro. After the first two rounds of the competition, the eight teams qualified for the play-offs of the second Major of the year on counter strike will join the Youth Arena and its almost 20,000 seats from this Thursday. A much-awaited moment, even more since the announcement of a fan-zone around the enclosure to meet the impressive Brazilian demand. Several tens of thousands of people are expected on site for what should be the biggest physical meeting in esports as a whole.
Vitality, another missed appointment
On the sporting side, the main round ended on Tuesday evening with the surprise qualification of Team Spirit (World No. 13 before the Legends Stage) against Team Liquid (n°3), quite symbolic in reality of an unlikely competition in terms of results for the moment. The entire podium of the world ranking has already gone by the wayside: winner of the last Major and n°1, FaZe Clan took a slap. No victory, three defeats (including one against the Kosovars of Bad News Eagles, a huge surprise) and an express return to Europe for the favorite to succeed himself.
Almost similar price for the only French club in the running (one victory, three defeats), vitality, yet number 2. Admittedly, their average preliminary round had placed Mathieu “ZywOo” Herbaut and his teammates on the road to difficult-to-maneuver opponents and their fate was decided at a few poorly negotiated key moments. But this ambitious workforce did not meet expectations: irregular collectively, groping during certain rounds, Vitality could not count on its individualities to compensate either, far from their best level.
This new failure immediately raised questions about the choices and the international dimension of a structure to which not much smiles at the moment. But we shouldn’t forget the recent past: this young version of Vitality won the Pro League a month ago and things are going well inside the group. This false step is painful because the club does not succeed in Major (quarter-finalist, at best), objective announced several years ago. But should we, like exactly a year after the failure of Stockholm, call everything into question today?
Vitality showed technical and especially mental failures, as if the pressure was sweating from his five, to the point of failing prematurely. But, again, they were not the only ones to miss each other in Brazil. The in-depth analysis of the failure will come, but six months from the first French Major in ten years, this formation needs to adjust. Probably not to change everything.
NAVI narrowly passes and will challenge Furia in the furnace
The other big favorite of the tournament, NAVI (n°4), also very nearly joined the bad surprise club with a qualification in extremis Tuesday evening (three wins, two losses). The Ukrainian-Russian team will challenge the locals of Furia (n°10) in the quarter-finals in an atmosphere that promises to be dantesque since their fans have been even louder than expected since the start of the tournament. Impressive in front of their public (three wins, no losses), the Brazilians were not spoiled by the draw. But a success on Friday evening would place the proteges of Neymar, very vocal on the Major on his social networks, as a more than serious contender for the final victory.
In the other matches of the first round of the play-offs, Cloud9 (n°5), who is seriously climbing the scales after a difficult start to Major, will face MOUZ (n°9). Heroic (n°7) will play Team Spirit, the ghosts of Fnatic (n°19) will be opposed to Outsiders (n°8). A very undecided line-up, which leaves room for surprises.