Eight left in the battle for 500,000$ at StarLadder Major Berlin
The ongoing StarLadder Berlin Major has reached its Champions Stage, which is set to kick off today with two of the four quarterfinal matches. With matches running until late this upcoming Sunday, the second Major champion of 2019 is soon to be crowned.
24 teams set up to compete in the StarLadder Berlin Major and 16 have already met their demise over the past two weeks. Faze Clan, mousesports, mibr and G2 among many, will have to seek their Legend status at the 2020 Spring Major. The 8 that remain are the “new” Legends and set to keep the status until the end of the year. ENCE, Liquid, Astralis, Natus Vincere, Renegades have all retained their Legends status acquired at IEM Katowice 2019 with AVANGAR, NRG and Vitality being the newest additions after the Major.
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The StarLadder Major Quaterfinals
Looking at the quarterfinals bracket and having the pre-tournament seeding in mind, we can clearly notice the bracket is heavily weighted towards the bottom. Current #1 seed Team Liquid is meeting IEM Katowice Champions Astralis in quarters. In the semis they have to through NRG/NaVi before ultimately reaching the final. In the upper portion Vitality and ENCE must be thanking their lucky stars ending up against the #15 AVANGAR and #16 Renegades seeds.
Although the bracket means we won’t see a Liquid vs Astralis final in Berlin, we can at least enjoy an exciting best-of series in the quarters. Both teams are not looking amazing at this Major with mistakes and misplays plaguing both rosters during the entire tournament. Both of them dropped their matches against NRG during the New Legends stage, but only one will have a chance to seek revenge in the semis. In the end this duel will be determined by the mistakes each team doesn’t make.
The winner of the previous match will face either Natus Vincere or NRG in the semifinals. NRG are a breath of fresh air at this summer Major. The squad came in locked at loaded at the New Challengers stage and stayed on form during the entire event. In stark contrast Na’Vi has struggled during their entire Berlin run. Only days ago they had to fight a grueling best-of series against CR4ZY and barely scraped by with the win. What is interesting is that NaVi has won 6 of the last 7 times they met NRG over the past year making this a very hard matchup to predict.
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Onto today’s Berlin Major matches
First up, ENCE is seeking to repeat and one-up their IEM Katowice performance and finally lift a trophy at a Major. To do so, they would have to go through the Aussies from Renegades who have had their number 4 out of 7 times since February. Things get even messier if we look ahead at a possible semifinal versus Vitality/AVANGAR as ENCE constantly loses to Vitality and barely edges past AVANGAR, Renegades on the other hand has performed well against both of the potential semifinal opponents. This makes the likely finalist from the upper part of the bracket very hard to predict.
Before we close things out we have to look at AVANGAR vs Vitality in the 2nd match of the day. In all honesty, my general and pre-tournament opinion was that both squads are 2nd tier teams at best when compared to the competition. Their performance in Berlin proves otherwise making this a challenging analysis to break down. With AVANGAR dominating Liquid, G2 and Renegades this past week and Vitality plowing through FaZe, North and mousesports, both teams are playing remarkable CS:GO this summer making the resolution of the bracket a joy to watch.
In the end, the most likely outcome in my opinion is a semifinal between ENCE/Vitality and Astralis/NRG before we see a repeat of the IEM final between ENCE and Astralis. The ultimate champion in Berlin is irrelevant as long as we witness both trophy contestants from Katowice butt heads once again.
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