NaVi looking hot, Last Dance still a dream – PGL Major Antwerp Update
Two teams already secured Playoffs at PGL Major Antwerp 2022. Natus Vincere and Team Spirit were the first two teams to reach a clean 3-0 in Legends and secure favorable Playoffs seeds. During the next 48-hours another six teams will join in, and a full EU lineup seems more then likely.
Let’s take a look at what is ahead of us and what to expect as the Legends stage comes to a close.
CIS and EU take the cake
Bar two exceptions, the entire lineup remaining in Antwerp is European/CIS teams. If Furia or Imperial fall in the next 48hours, we will be left with an all European lineup come Playoffs. North America, Asia and Oceania all lost representatives early in Challengers. Only Team Liquid remained holding the banner for NA until last night.
We are currently down to only two teams not from the Europe super region still fighting for Playoffs. Both are from South America.
Last Dance alive as Imperial still stands
Imperial is having a tough run at the Major, but manage to still stay alive in the competition. Their run is likely about to come to an end as they meet Cloud9 (ex-Gambit) in a do or die duel to advance into eliminations. Luck might be on their side at least, as Cloud9 is also under performing, having lost to FaZe and NiP in consecutive duels.
A potential win against C9 only guarantees an even harder elimination match tomorrow. I still belive in the Last Dance, and so should you.
Team Liquid bows out quickly
Team Liquid were the only standing team from North America at the Legends Stage, with Complexity Gaming eliminated in Challenger. The comeback kings of the Challenger Stage, did not manage to put any resistance forward into Legends, as they lose three consequtive matches to Heroic, Furia and Vitality.
Honestly, it was a bit of a suprise after their solid showing against Astralis (2-0), in the knockout of the Challenger Stage. Liquid winning and eliminating Astralis was a massive jolt in the CS:GO sphere, as NA’s resurgence seemed nigh.
However, what we witnessed in legends was utterly disappointing. All four maps TL played in Legends didn’t even reach the “tie” ballpark, let alone were in winning range. Narratives got shattered early on, and we are left with no North American teams in the Major. (Yes we are not counting C9 as an NA team just yet)
Playoffs looking stacked already
Natus Vincere are looking to defend their crown. Last year, they won the PGL Stockholm Major without dropping a single map, following a double-overtime come back on nuke against G2 esports as S1mple finally got his hands on the elusive major. They went a perfect 10-0 in the maps played between the Legends Stage and playoffs en route to the trophy, which was the first Major for all their players. That, however, was seven months ago.
This year has so far been a mixed bag, as pressure to win a tournament continues to grow with every single outing. At IEM Katowice 2022, they lost to G2. At ESL Pro League S15, they lost to FaZe Clan. In many ways, NaVi have become victims of their own lofty ambitions. Anything less than a title win or a finals run is considered a middling tournament or, even worse, a poor one.
Luckily they secured a clean Playoffs spot with a 3-0 in Legends. Surprisingly, Spirit did the same, and the first two teams to lock Playoffs are both from the CIS region.
All the teams that will make it to Playoffs at PGL Stockholm 2021 are in contention for another shot at glory. It seems, teams that look to constantly reinvent have proven to be more successful than the others. You can watch the resolution of the Legends stage today and tomorrow.
After that, either by accident or design, NaVi may familiar opponents from Katowice 2022 and ESL Pro League S15 or new ones altogether.