Jan 11 2017 - 4:44 pm

The Liquid Dark Horse: ELEAGUE Major Preview

Team Liquid has tapered off since their top-four finish at ESL One New York. Can this be the tournament where they return to glory?
Journalist for GAMURS

For a team with one of the largeset fanbases across all esports, Team Liquid has not given their fans a lot to celebrate on the Counter-Strike: Global Offensive side of things in the last two months of 2016.

This side took home the silver medal at ESL One: Cologne, and became the first ever North American team to finish in a Major Grand Final. Even with Oleksandr "S1mple" Kostyliev subbing in for Jacob "Pimp" Winneche, it was this side's largest achievement in the past year and it directly qualified them for the ELEAGUE Major.

Liquid was galloping home with a lot of promise for 2017, but in the middle of a coaching swap in October, the team lost a lot of ground in the homestretch.

Over the past three months, Liquid has slipped out of the top-10 in the global rankings and they are currently sitting at 15th in the World on HLTV.com. In terms of all teams heading to Atlanta, they are ranked in the bottom four, and it is all due to their shaky performance at previous LANs.

Past Performances

The past three months have been rough for Team Liquid, exiting as the last team out of the group stage in both Oakland and Montreal, and finishing 2016 with a map record under .500.

This was mostly due to their play on Train, where they teetered on a 4-6 map record in total over the past three months. Fans of the side would like to forget their team's 16-1 loss to Astralis at IEM Oakland, and in total on LAN, the side has not won a game on this map in the fourth quarter of 2016.

The other tough map to crack for this side is Cobblestone, where Liquid has not won a map since their 16-6 win over Splyce in Season 4 of the ESL Pro League. Since then, the side has lost to Luminosity and only picked up two rounds on Immortals online, and lost to Heroic on LAN 16-7.

Bear in mind, top sides that enter this major, like SK and Astralis, love both Cobblestone and Train, and would happily face Team Liquid on these maps.

In total, Liquid has seen 15 matches on LAN, and only won six of them, two of which came against the unranked side of compLexity. It could be argued that the team's strong map is Cache, where they took down G2 Esports at IEM Oakland and kept it close against Immortals, but the side has just not caught a break in recent months. Their current match rating is just above the worst five teams in the world, and with Pimp, Spencer "Hiko" Martin, and Josh "jdm" Marzano all having sub .9 K/D's, their play needs to step up if they want to survive in Atlanta.

Here's what the side accomplished in total over the past three months:

  • Top-four at ESL One: New York 2016
  • Top-eight at ESL Pro League Season 4 Finals
  • Top-six at Northern Arena Montreal
  • Top-eight at IEM Oakland
  • Seventh in ECS Season 2 NA (Online)

Can Liquid Run With the Thoroughbreds?

The Swiss format definitely throws a wrench in any team's chances at the ELEAGUE Major, given that it could give a team some potentially horrible matchups after the first round, and could lead to extra matches played that can wear down a side before the playoff.

The first match for Liquid is against Team EnVyUs, and their chances do not look promising. Only seeing the boys in blue once over the past three months on a LAN, a 16-4 loss on Dust2, this does not bode well for Liquid. As for other potential matches, Liquid has faced potential ELEAGUE opponents seven times in the past three months on LAN, and only beat Natus Vincere and G2 once each.

On the FlipSid3 (and speaking of them), the current Liquid lineup has not faced six of their potential opponents over the past three months on LAN, and defeated Fnatic twice at ESL One New York. This leaves a lot of leeway with predictions after the first round, as the Swiss format could give them the treat of a new opponent. Especially if it is FlipSid3, HellRaisers or Gambit, all of which have had a tougher time finishing out 2016, Liquid could receive help from the system and potentially avoid snares in Astralis or OpTic Gaming until the playoffs.

All Team Liquid needs is three wins in order to advance to the quarterfinals, and secure a Legend spot in ELEAGUE, but can they achieve this?

Quite frankly, I would not get your hopes that high.

With how the past LANs went for Liquid, it does not seem like this side recovered ever since s1mple went over to Natus Vincere. Qualifying for the ELEAGUE Major all the way back in Cologne could be this side's biggest downfall, as they are simply not the same North American team without s1mple's phenomenal play.

Yes, the Swiss format could give this side a few favorable looks at teams, but with nV being the first round matchup, Liquid has a lot to prove before it soldiers on in Atlanta. And even then, a date with a top-10 side in the world could make it a rough time for fans of Liquid to watch the entire tournament.

If this team is able to pull off a few upsets and have done more in preperation for this event than other sides, then yes, Liquid could make it out of the Swiss stage and potentially earn themselves a Legend spot in ELEAGUE.

However, there are a lot of "if's" to that equation, and the more likely scenario is Team Liquid evaporating under the pressure of the best sides in Europe and Brazil, and will leave Atlanta with only a win or two under its belt.


For all your CS:GO and other esports updates, make sure you are following us on Twitter, @GAMURScom.

James Mattone is a journalist for GAMURS and can be contacted on Twitter -@TheJamesMattone.

Feb 21 2017 - 5:39 pm

ScreaM officially joins Team EnVyUs

The former G2 superstar has confirmed his new home for 2017.
Image via ELEAGUE
Managing Editor

Adil "ScreaM" Benrlitom has officially joined Team EnVyUs, the organization announced moments ago.

The 22-year-old Belgian spent the past year playing for G2 Esports, but his former organization decided to go in a different direction by creating what several Counter-Strike: Global Offensive expert claim to be a super-team.

ScreaM was expected to join the boys in blue, but it was not official until just now. He joins a talented lineup under the prestigious EnVyUs organization, consisting of Vincent "Happy" Cervoni Schopenhauer, Christophe "SIXER" Xia, Cédric "RpK" Guipouy and Alexandre "xms" Forté.


What are your thoughts on the new EnVyUs roster? Let us know by tweeting us @GAMURScom.

Justin Binkowski is the Managing Editor for GAMURS and he can be contacted by email at justin.b@gamurs.com or on Twitter @JBinkk.

Feb 21 2017 - 2:27 am

GODSENT stays undefeated: ESEA Premier Week 3 Recap

The third week of ESEA Premier has concluded, as six teams remain with unblemished records.
Photo via ELEAGUE
GAMURS Writer

Although the ESL Pro League took the week off, ESEA Premier is still in the swing of things as the three regions completed their third week of play.

The matches from this past week are as follows. The bolded team is the winning squad, with the scores being listed on the right.

Australia

Feb. 14

  • Team Exile5 vs. Alpha Sydney: 16-5
  • Tainted Minds vs. SYF Gaming: 16-5

Feb. 15

  • JAM Gaming vs. Team NOXIDE: 16-12
  • Chiefs Esports Club vs. Corvidae: 16-13
  • Athletico Academy vs. The Trash Pandas: 16-4
  • Dark Sided vs. SYF Gaming: Forfeit
  • Athletico Esports vs. Trident Esports: 16-14
  • JAM Gaming vs. The Trash Pandas: 16-7

Feb. 16

  • Dark Sided vs. Avant Garde: 16-9
  • Team NOXIDE vs. Trident Esports: 16-11
  • Avant Garde vs. Athletico Esports: 16-3
  • Chiefs Esports Club vs. Legacy Esports: 16-5
  • Team Immunity vs. Corvidae: 16-3
  • Tainted Minds vs. Avant Garde: 16-6
  • Legacy Esports vs. Team Immunity: 22-20
  • Team CypheR vs. Alpha Sydney: 16-8
  • Athletico Academy vs. Athletico Esports: 16-10

The current standings for the Australian ESEA Premier league are as follows. The bolded text on the right represents the change in ranking from last week.

  1. Chiefs Esports Club (6-0) || No Change
  2. Tainted Minds (5-1) || +1
  3. Legacy Esports (5-1) || -1
  4. Team Exile5 (4-1) || No Change
  5. Team Immunity (4-2) || No Change
  6. Dark Sided (4-2) || +2
  7. Athletico Academy (3-2) || +4
  8. Team CypheR (3-2) || +1
  9. Avant Garde (3-3) || -2
  10. Corvidae (2-3) || -4
  11. Athletico Esports (2-4) || +1
  12. JAM Gaming (2-4) || +5
  13. Alpha Sydney (2-4) || -3
  14. SYF Gaming (1-4) || -1
  15. Trident Esports (1-5) || -1
  16. Team NOXIDE (1-5) || No Change
  17. The Trash Pandas (0-5) || -2

The GAMURS ESEA Premier Australian player of the week is Tyler "Tucks" Reilly of Chiefs Esports Club. In addition to helping his team stay unbeaten, Tucks played phenomenally as an individual. He finished the week as one of the best players in ADR, FPR, and kills while topping three-kill rounds with eight, and winning three 0ne-on-one situations. His teammate, Liam "malta" Schembri was our POTW in the first week of the season.


Europe

Now that the Europeans are back on schedule following a mostly off-week for the opening matches, the matches were evened out with teams given more time to prepare for their opponents.

EnVision Esports cut ties with both of their teams, with the EU team renaming itself VeritasAequitas and the NA team now being called French Canadians until the two teams can find new organizations.

Feb. 14

  • ALTERNATE aTTaX vs. Playing Ducks: 16-6
  • GODSENT vs. Vexed Gaming: 16-5

Feb. 15

  • iGame.com vs. PENTA Sports: 16-11
  • Team Spirit vs. Vexed Gaming: 19-15
  • Playing Ducks vs. BIG Clan: 16-11
  • PENTA Sports vs. Findictus: 16-9
  • Team Spirit vs. Team Endpoint: 16-7
  • Space Soldiers vs. Dreamchasers: 16-3
  • ALTERNATE aTTaX vs. BPro Gaming: 19-15

Feb. 16

  • PENTA Sports vs. Space Soldiers: 16-7
  • Space Soldiers vs. Fnatic Academy: 16-13
  • iGame.com vs. Royals UK: 16-2
  • PENTA Sports vs. Ex-Dark Passage: 16-3
  • Team123 vs. ALTERNATE aTTaX: 16-8
  • Fnatic Academy vs. Royals UK: 16-4
  • Epsilon Esports vs. ALTERNATE aTTaX: 16-11
  • Crowns Esports Club vs. Royals UK: 16-4
  • iGame.com vs. Team123: 16-14

Feb. 19

  • Vexed Gaming vs. Crowns Esports Club: 16-12

Feb. 20

  • Space Soldiers vs. Team Vexilla: 16-4
  • Epsilon Esports vs. BPro Gaming: 16-8
  • FlipSid3 Tactics vs. Team Spirit: 19-15
  • GODSENT vs. Team Endpoint: 16-4

Europe's ESEA Premier league standings are as follows. The bolded text on the right represents the change in ranking from last week.

  1. GODSENT (5-0) || +1
  2. iGame.com (5-0) || +5
  3. ALTERNATE aTTaX (5-3) || +3
  4. Gambit Esports (4-1) || -3
  5. Epsilon Esports (4-1) || +4
  6. Playing Ducks (4-2) || -1
  7. Rogue (3-0) || -3
  8. Team Spirit (3-1) || +4
  9. PENTA Sports (3-1) || +9
  10. BIG Clan (3-1) || -7
  11. Team123 (3-2) || -3
  12. FlipSid3 Tactics (3-2) || -1
  13. Space Soldiers (3-3) || +7
  14. Ex-Findictus (2-2) || -4
  15. Fnatic Academy (2-4) || +2
  16. VeritasAequitas (1-2) || -2
  17. Team Endpoint (1-3) || -4
  18. Vexed Gaming (1-4) || +3
  19. Dreamchasers (1-4) || -4
  20. BPro Gaming (1-5) || -4
  21. Crowns Esports Club (1-5) || +3
  22. Ex-Dark Passage (0-3) || -3
  23. Team Vexilla (0-3) || -1
  24. Royals UK (0-6) || -1

The GAMURS ESEA Premier European player of the week is ALTERNATE aTTaX's Florian "syrsoN" Rische. This is the second time we have chosen syrsoN's as the player of the week for the region, as he was picked for the short week two weeks ago. Finishing in first for total kills, three-kill rounds, and as one of the top players ADR and FPR, syrsoN's play helped his team climb up three spots into third place.


North America

Some organizations have stopped backing teams as SetToDestroyX and EnVision Esports have stepped out of ESEA Premier and left their respective teams without organizations. SetToDestroyX's former roster was not re-signed by the organization when their contracts expired, while EnVision apparently stopped all communication with their NA team, at least after the players told them they would like to be contracted.

We also mentioned in last week's recap that the Insomnia Esports team had been released from the organization and would be looking for a new home. GAMURS reached out to Insomnia and were given this statement regarding the CS:GO team's release:

"The decision to part ways was a difficult decision for us as an organization. Some of the members of this roster have been with us since Insomnia began in late 2015. Throughout most of our existence counter-strike, and this roster in particular had been the face of the franchise. Throughout the past two seasons the roster suffered from roster instability which hampered their ability to perform. Both management and the players themselves had higher expectations for last season and we held the same high expectations for this season. With a disappointing finish to last season and a less than ideal start to this season the decision was strictly a business one. We continue to be supportive of the players in their future endeavors and wish them the best of luck. We are in the process of ensuring the players are compensated for any outstanding dues and will then proceed to terminate the contracts. This will allow the players the freedom to speak to other organizations if they so choose. As far as another team, we are still going to be represented in ESEA Main with our roster currently called Insomnia Mindplay who we are confident will be in premier next season. We feel as though we parted ways on good terms and hope that fans of the organization continue to support us in counter-strike as well as our former players."

With these organizations backing out, former STDx changed its name to ProspectsGG, while Insomnia changed to Premier Rejects.

Feb. 14

  • Muffin Lightning vs. The Foundation: 19-15
  • Blight Gaming vs. Splyce: 16-12
  • ProspectsGG vs. Mostly Harmless: 16-10
  • Blight Gaming vs. Dethrone Gaming: 16-14
  • Denial Esports vs. Team Quetzal: 16-5

Feb. 15

  • Eclipse Lunar vs. Ben's Anime Team: 16-7
  • Bee's Money Crew vs. Muffin Lightning: 16-10
  • Premier Rejects vs. Ajax Esports: 16-11
  • RONIN vs. Bee's Money Crew: 16-12
  • subtLe vs. vitrioL: 16-6
  • French Canadians vs. EANIX: 16-3
  • Ajax Esports vs. Looking For Organization: 16-14
  • Ex-Insomnia Esports vs. Strictly Business: 19-15
  • Eclipse Lunar vs. Denial Esports: 16-14

Feb. 16

  • French Canadians vs. ProspectsGG: 16-14
  • Enigma6 vs. eUnited: 16-9
  • RONIN vs. The Foundation: 16-12
  • SMAZING vs. vitrioL: 22-19
  • Splyce vs. Mostly Harmless: 16-9
  • Strictly Business vs. subtLe: 19-16
  • Looking For Organization vs. EANIX: 22-18

The current standings for the American division are as follows. The bolded text on the right represents the change in ranking from last week.

  1. Eclipse Lunar (6-0) || +4
  2. Denial Esports (5-1) || +2
  3. RONIN (5-1) || +3
  4. Muffin Lightning (5-0) || -2
  5. Bee's Money Crew (5-1) || -2
  6. eUnited (4-1) || -5
  7. Enigma6 (4-1) || +1
  8. Splyce (4-2) || -1
  9. French Canadians (4-2) || +2
  10. Premier Rejects (4-3) || +11
  11. SMAZING (3-3) || +5
  12. Looking For Organization (3-3) || -2
  13. subtLe (3-3) || No Change
  14. Blight Gaming (3-3) || +5
  15. Team Quetzal (3-3) || -6
  16. Ben's Anime Team (2-3) || -4
  17. Strictly Business (2-4) || +1
  18. ProspectsGG (2-4) || +3
  19. The Foundation (1-5) || -4
  20. Mostly Harmless (1-5) || -6
  21. EANIX (1-5) || +1
  22. Ajax Esports (1-5) || +2
  23. Dethrone Gaming (1-7) || -6
  24. vitrioL (0-6) || -1

The GAMURS ESEA Premier North American player of the week is Chad "Oderus" Oderus of former-VeloX, now simply known as Looking For Organization. Oderus dominated the stats this week with an astounding 67 kills. He also topped the region in defuses, multi-kill rounds, one-on-one and one-on-two situations, in addition to finishing top ten in bomb plants. His team currently sits in the middle of the pack in 12th place at 3-3.

Make sure to check back here next week for another ESEA Premier recap.


Preston Byers is a contracted writer for GAMURS. For any inquiries, please contact him via Twitter (@Enblitz).