ECS Season 6 Finals preview: See the stars in Arlington
After a brief hiatus, we’re back in the swing of all things CSGO with the ECS Season 6 Finals rapidly approaching.
The world’s best team will be in attendance, along with a field that is frankly going to need to buck their ideas up if they want to make the coming weekend more interesting than the latter stages of the FACEIT Major were, an event run by the same folk as Season 6 finals. As a fun aside, this is also the first event ever held at the esports venue in Arlington, which adds an extra layer to what is already a stacked cake.
ECS Season 6 schedule and format
There is $660,000 on the line at the Arlington Esports Stadium, with a fairly standard format. Group stages, which run from November 22nd to 23rd, are composed of two double-elimination (GSL) format groups of four team, with all the initial matches set to be best of one, and following/decider matches Bo3.
The top two teams from each group will advance to the single-elimination, Bo3 playoffs, held on November 24th and 25th. And so, sans further waffle, let’s have a look at who might finish third at ECS Season 6 Finals.
- NRG Esports
- Team Liquid
- Ninjas in Pyjamas
Just kidding, of course, as it makes most sense to start by looking at how the event might be won, rather than anything else. The problem really is that however you chose to spin the situation, this appears to be another tournament where Astralis are perfectly poised to take the title with little resistance from the field, just as the Major in London was.
The best sides here that aren’t Danish are, obviously, Team Liquid, who look strong favourites for second due to their inability to beat Astralis, and mousesports, who took an expensive few months this year to find themselves with Snax, only to realise they already had found themselves with STYKO.
That hasn’t really proved to be a setback per se, as they look good now, but outside of those two it’s hard to make a credible argument anyone else could challenge the world number one side.
Of course, an MSL-led North managed to beat Astralis recently, as did Ninjas in Pyjamas, so there is nothing certain about the result, but it’s rare Gla1ve and co make the same mistake twice.
Their fans will also want me to pick out MiBR as possible winners, but there are just too many teams that have their number, or at least most of it, for the Brazilian/American mix to be taken seriously these days.
If not Astralis…
So Liquid are the second-best team here and there is always a chance they’ll finally get their win over Astralis, but not a great one.
Their recent meeting at IEM Chicago came when the Danes had already lost to NiP and FaZe and were showing real signs of weakness, and yet Liquid could not even beat their own mental block long enough to give themselves a chance.
You can probably write off the chances of Cloud 9 or North winning the event, and while NRG are coming here on the back of taking the CS Summit title, that tournament probably didn’t prepare them for what they’ll face here.
There is no reason to think this event will be predictable or boring
Beating OpTic Gaming in Grand Finals is a good result, but it’s a step up from there to beating even MIBR, let alone Liquid or the Danish immortals currently ruling the scene.
Probably because of their mental issues, it would not be Liquid we’d pick as winners if Astralis don’t get the job done, but mousesports. That could also lead to some of the best CSGO we could potentially get, after so many limp American efforts at dethroning Denmark’s best have provided as much entertainment as an evening spent watching paint dry, with a sprinkle of heartbreak for any fan of the Liquid boys.
What to expect
As you have probably gathered by now, we have a favourite, but there is no reason to think this event will be predictable or boring. The talent is top-tier, and it’s pretty obvious Astralis did the intelligent thing and peaked for the Major in London, rather than trying to reach their best level once all the powerful beans had been handed out.
As a result, the shakiness that plagued their run in Chicago could well return to make Astralis sweat again. Team Liquid should probably be written off until they prove otherwise, but another side taking Astralis out in semis, or Liquid too, could make for a fun final, and we know that Mous or MIBR have no fear when it comes to big matches.
Whoever lifts the trophy will be delighted, and as fans of CSGO who just had to take an entire WEEKEND off watching the best game in esports we’re pretty stoked, too.
As the scene winds down before Christmas, this might be one of your last chances in 2018 to see top level CS, so be sure to tune in, and look out for more content on the event over the course and early next week.