MOUZ NXT or BIG Academy – Who’s the favorite in WePlay Academy S4?

Two teams are once again fighting for absolute dominance at the WePlay Academy League.

MOUZ NXT and BIG Academy topped Groups A and B respectively. They’ve made Playoffs in every edition thus far, and right on cue, they both qualify as top seeds of their respective groups in the fourth edition of the tournament.  MOUZ NXT has an impressive 10-2 record, while BIG have gone 9-1.

MOUZ have gone on to win on each of the three occasions they have made the Playoffs earlier.

WePlay Academy League S4

WePlay Esports

MOUZ NXT and BIG Academy forever favored

MOUZ has carefully nurtured players over the years. Ensuring players are given the push at the right time, has been essential. Both Adam “Torzsi” Torzsas and Jon “JDC” de Castro have been handed opportunities with the main squad after time in the academy setup. Known to promote talent, they are a team that believes in handing opportunities to X factor players irrespective of how young or old they are. This philosophy led them to signing 15-year old Jimi “Jimpphat” Salo last month. The Finnish rifler is the youngest CS: GO player ever signed by the organization. He was previously with Conquer Gaming, SJ, NYYRIKKI Esports and IQUE.gg.

Meanwhile, BIG Academy haven’t had the same kind of results MOUZ have experienced; they finished fourth in each of the first two editions. Last year, they finished second and will be hoping the magic of arithmetic progressions take them to the top spot this time around. Like MOUZ NXT, BIG have also carefully handed players opportunities to jump from an academy set up to the main squad. This time around, they have promoted Karim “Krimbo” Moussa to the main roster.

As such, they both stay true to the essence of the competition in showcasing young and upcoming talent. The tournament has helped many CS: GO outfits develop academy setups to compete under their main roster. This structure has helped develop an excellent stream of players, like MOUZ NXT and BIG have.

Can MOUZ NXT claim a fourth trophy?

The tournament offers an impressive USD 100,000 prize purse. Teams have faced off in a robust format that features two groups fighting it out in a BO1 double round-robin group stage, a single elimination play-in for spots 2-6 in each group and a double elimination BO3 playoff bracket. The BO1 format gives a completely different dynamic to proceedings, while BO3 is an ultimate test of skill and strategy, because it gives teams a chance to bounce back. A circular system where everyone plays against all other sides provides an opportunity to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the participants.

MOUZ are by far the most successful team without doubt, but with each season, new teams throw their hat into the ring. This season saw the debut of 00Prospects – the academy team of 00Nation – and they have exceeded expectations by finishing third in the Group A standings, behind MOUZ NXT and Fnatic Rising, with a competent 7-5 record so far.

Of course there are also debutantes like Apeks Rebels – the academy team of Apeks, OG Academy and GODSENT Academy all had rough initiations. At the play-in, Young Ninjas and Fnatic Rising squared off against each other. It’s a game the Young Ninjas lost despite going 1-0 up. Leading their takedown was Iulian “regali” Harjău and company. In the second play-in bracket, FURIA Academy fought tooth and nail to beat Young Gods and PROSPECTS to set up a knockout shootout against Astralis Talent for an opportunity at the playoffs. FURIA sustained their good run of form to march into the finals series.

Everyone except MOUZ NXT and BIG Academy looked shaky at some point in the tournament. However, if there was ever an opportunity to make MOUZ NXT bleed, it’s right now. I fully expect BIG to be to the team that does it. The CSGO odds still favor MOUZ NXT.

What’s your call?