After the weekend we’ve just had with DreamHack in Dallas, you’d think it would be a great time for the world of CSGO to take a little break and chill out for just a minute, but you couldn’t be more wrong as the ECS Season 7 Finals are on the horizon. After a long fallow period with nothing more than the occasional Blast Pro Series to break the silence, it’s back-to-back events, and this time we get to see the other half of the top four equation with Astralis and, er, MIBR on show.
In fairness to the Brazilian team, they have shown a degree of improvement since getting shot of YNk, Tarik and Stewie and bringing back zews, but there is a long way to go until they are the main headline again. For now, and to be honest for the past few months that has been all about Astralis, as the Danish side have created more headlines in their absence than seemed to be the case when they were winning everything in sight. Esports is a funny old world.
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Kings coming for their crowns
The narrative in recent months has been that Astralis only go to Blast events, and while that isn’t entirely true it is fair to say they have taken a break after winning the Major in Katowice. That should come as no surprise, given that Dupreeh lost his father during that event, and the team has generally always prioritised long-term planning over short-term gains, but it has made them a target for certain pundits nonetheless, and created a lot of debate too.
This event can be viewed in a couple of ways for the Danes, depending on whether your jug of mead is half full, or half quaffed already. It’s either a great opportunity to get back on track against good, but not great opponents after losing their Nuke streak and the subsequent event at Blast Madrid, or it’s a no-win tournament where they will gain nothing for beating an inferior field, and prove their decline if they slip up in any way.
Knowing the way that Astralis operate, what will most likely be going on in their camp is a sensible discussion about the best way to prepare for the events that matter, that being ESL One Cologne and the Major in Berlin, along with winning this competition to prove the reports of their death premature. They look like strong favourites against the field, and should be the main focus once the tournament starts due to the recent ranking changes.
An Astralis star in waiting?
There is another tale of Danes that could unfold at this event, and even end up overlapping down the line if Astralis aren’t able to regain the ground they lost with this five-man unit. North, who are a well-funded and talented group, have failed to deliver for some time now, and come into this competition with Valde as their leader in an attempt to get back to their pre-Cadian levels at least.
The reason this story has a larger imprint, at least potentially, than just that of North’s immediate fate is the fact that Valde is the only Danish player that would get into the Astralis team on ability, and seems tailor made for their culture too. If this does turn out to be a slump that gla1ve, dev1ce, xyp9x, dupreeh and magisk are unable to correct as a group, Valde would be the obvious man to bring in.
That is all down the line of course, and for now it’s just a case of seeing how far, if any distance at all, Astralis have to climb to get back to the top of the tree. With Liquid claiming the number one spot in the rankings the assumption is that Astralis will want to get their top spot back ASAP, but that could be erroneous. Most fans will remember who wins the Majors, and maybe a couple of other big events in 2019, while HLTV’s rankings are more likely to be forgotten relatively quickly.
Furia overshadowing MIBR
There is one more big ECS Season 7 Finals to discuss. It’s a Brazilian team, but not the one Immortals paid such huge money to sign last year. Instead, it’s Furia that have made headlines in recent weeks, and are likely to attract a lot of attention here as a result. They man have lot to Liquid in Dallas, but other results suggest they are a threat at this event.
Recently, Brazil’s best team has been Furia, as evidenced by their wins over the likes of Vitality, Fnatic, NRG and Complexity. Admittedly there are losses to sides like Bad News Bears and Lazarus in the not-too-distant past, but online is a crapshoot, and this team has already proven themselves on LAN. With many of the ‘big’ names looking shaky, it could be a great weekend for the Brazilians, so watch out for them as the competition unfolds.
CSGO podcast ECS Season 7 Finals preview
The latest espisode of The Week In CSGO looks ahead to ECS Season 7 Finals and back at DreamHack Masters Dallas, as well as discussing oBo stepping in for Complexity.
Pictures: ESL/Adela Sznajder and Blast Pro Series