Well well well. The Starladder Berlin Minors have come and gone. Thirty-two teams came and made their best case for the right of being a New Challenger come the end of August. Eight succeeded, 20 went home empty-handed, and four more still have a glimmer of hope via the third-place play-ins. Here's Waldo's predictions for the third-place play-ins and his thoughts after the StarLadder Berlin Minors.
Third-place play-In predictions
So we actually have a bit of a unique situation for this play-in. Due to Cloud9 completely scrapping their old core, they could not maintain the three players needed to maintain their slot. We haven't actually seen this since it happened to the slot belonging to Immortals from the PGL Krakow Major. So there are actually three spots up for grabs from this play-in instead of two. Each of these teams has a 75% chance of getting their names on stickers and going to Berlin. Here's my thoughts on what we have to look forward to today (HLTV ranking in parentheses, opening round are BO1s, losers final is a BO3).
INTZ (32) vs DreamEaters (72)
Prediction: 16-7 INTZ
Map to watch for: Train, Dust II
Waldo's thoughts: INTZ should take care of this CISderella story handily. I was not convinced that this DreamEaters team would be successful against non-CIS opposition and I'm still not after catching their match against Syman. Having Mirage as a perma ban is tough for the CIS side's map pool depth, and I could see this going to an open map where dealing with a strong AWPer like kNgV- could prove to be too much to handle for this Russian side.
North (12) vs. MVP PK (36)
Prediction: 16-9 North
Maps to watch for: Inferno, Dust II
Waldo's Thoughts: I think that these could be the two stronger teams in the play-in, they just so happen to be facing one another. Luckily, there's a chance for redemption for the loser, who I believe will be the Korean side, in the losers match. I truly believe that Valdemar "valde" Bjorn will have his side whipped into shape for what will be a huge chance at redemption for the Danish side.
Possible Losers Matches (and Waldo's predictions)
- INTZ vs. North (2-0 North)
- INTZ vs. MVP PK (2-1 INTZ)
- DreamEaters vs North (2-0 North)
- DreamEaters vs MVP PK (Most likely to happen, 2-1 MVP PK)
I still think that Russians are the weakest team in this play-in but they're scrappy. Wouldn't be surprised to see them make the MVP PK side sweat it out for that last major spot!
So that's it! Get ready for the last bit of high stakes CSGO before the player break, I know I can't wait to see how this shakes out! Before we know it, we'll have our teams for Berlin all sorted out!
StarLadder Berlin Major - who's there?
Who's through (1st and 2nd): mousesports, CR4ZY
Who's alive (3rd): North
Who went home (4th-8th): Fnatic, NoChance, BIG, Sprout, Team Ancient
Waldo's Thoughts: The shock in the EU minor is the glaringly obvious lack of Fnatic at a major for the first time in the history of CSGO. I've had my eye on CR4ZY since Espiranto and nexa were plying their craft for The Imperial not long ago, and getting convincing 2-0 victories against both Fnatic and North is a huge step for this roster, one that might have big suitors in the near future! It'll be interesting to see what they do in Berlin. Mouse made it through as expected, but many of their matches were much closer than I think they would have liked. Finally, North will enter the 3rd place play-in as a heavy favorite (again), hopefully history will not repeat itself and see them implode under the pressure.
Who's through (1st and 2nd): NRG Esports, Furia Esports
Who's alive (3rd): INTZ eSports (Sorry Redeye. Their fault, not mine.)
Who went home (4th-8th): Sharks Esports, Team Singularity, Luminosity Gaming, Team One, EUnited
Waldo's Thoughts: This minor was probably the most standard when it came to things going as expected. I was a bit surprised that NRG was able to 2-0 Furia, hopefully the Brazilian side will find themselves more prepared for the big show. I was less surprised that Furia bounced back from that defeat to run the guantlet in the lower bracket to secure their spot. All eyes are on INTZ to see if the roster can put aside the Vito "kNgV-" Giuseppe to MiBR rumors and qualify from the 3rd place play-in.
Who's through (1st and 2nd): forZe, Syman Gaming
Who's alive (3rd): DreamEaters
Who went home (4th-8th): Team Spirit, Gambit Youngsters, Warthox Esport, Unique Team, Nemiga Gaming
Waldo's Thoughts: The CIS Minor is notorious for being a free for all where anything can happen. forZe winning the whole thing was no surprise. Without the traveling for IEM Chicago in recent weeks, I'm sure that their time was incredibly well spent to make up for missing out on a big event due to visa issues. Based purely on name recognition, most would've expected Syman, Team Spirit, and Nemiga to be in the conversation for those other two spots. Nemiga fell extremely flat, as did Team Spirit by their standards. The big surprise is DreamEaters, a team that has been pugging in ESEA Main and is still yet to break through to ESEA Advanced like Unique, Warthox, Nemiga, and Gambit. They'll have their work cut out for them in the 3rd place play-in, but could end up being the best story of this Major.
Who's through (1st and 2nd): Greyhound Gaming, TYLOO
Who's alive (3rd): MVP PK
Who went home (4th-8th): Avant Gaming, 5Power Gaming, ALPHA Red, Energy Esports, FFAMix
Waldo's Thoughts: I was really pulling for Avant, I won't lie. I think it's amazing to see an Australian organization with so much esports history make their first appearance at an international event like this and I wanted their historic run to continue. It wasn't to be, but there will be DICK stickers available again for all of you Aussie fans. Greyhound rocked the floral print jerseys all the way to victory lane, conceding just one map to TYLOO throughout the entire minor. Immediately after, the Chinese side would defeat MVP PK convincingly in the lower bracket final to punch their ticket to Berlin. The Koreans will enter the fray in the 3rd place play-in.