StarSeries & i-League Season 7: Which CSGO teams will shine in Shanghai?

Starladder's StarSeries & i-League Season 7 finals are almost upon us, and it’s fair to say this is a wide-open CSGO event. Part of that is down to the great quality of the teams on show, with the likes of Na’Vi, MIBR and FaZe in attendance, and part of that is down to the fact the best two sides in the world are absent, as Team Liquid and Astralis are having a week off. With that in mind, let’s have a look at the 16 teams travelling to Shanghai, and who might come home a quarter of a million dollars richer.

Starladder StarSeries & i-League Season 7 schedule, streams and results

Potential winners

Traditionally, Na’Vi do very well at StarSeries events, but then again these are normally held in CIS locations, rather than in China. How much that hurts the Natus Vincere cause we will have to wait and see, but their record at this level and the level of talent on the team cannot be ignored, even if Zeus and Edward can in most gunfights these days. S1mple will want to play well, and exact revenge on some of the teams they met in Poland at the Major no doubt, so watch Na’Vi closely.



It might not be as easy for ENCE this time with so many teams to prepare and such a long flight, but this is the dream they were chasing when they signed up for the Finnish project, and it’s time to deliver. The Major was the start of things and their performance at Blast Sao Paulo proved that was no fluke, so ENCE have to be considered a contender given they have outperformed all of these teams on the biggest stage very recently.


Aussie teams have a number of advantages when playing in Asia if you compare them to their European or American counterparts, and we can finally say they also have top-level players after RNG went HAM in Katowice. Nobody scares them, and very few teams were able to beat them at the Major either, so expect RNG to make a deep run, on skill rather than luck.


We’re going to give MIBR a pass for their failure at Blast Pro Series Sao Paulo, partly as there was a lot of pressure on them as the home team, and partly as best-of-ones are basically a coin toss even at the top level. This is a long way from home, and the scorn of failing so badly in front of their friends and family should push Brazil’s best to show their true level, which could be enough for the title if things fall their way.



I’d love to say the US team will bounce back and show their stuff after a tough recent loss to compLexity, but at the time of writing it looks as though they will be playing with a stand-in, or worse still their coach. Take your pet to work day is great most of the time, but when you’re losing the Bulgarian bully that is Cerq and replacing him with ImAPet, things are not going to plan, and you have no chance of winning the event.


On the back of no real expectations, NIP did quite well at the Blast Pro Series event in Brazil, outperforming both FaZe and MIBR, and there is still a lot about this team to fear. F0rest has become a divisive and somewhat unpopular figure in some eyes for some reason, and if he uses that as motivation to play his best here were could see some magic from the original gods of GO.


In some ways, FaZe should not be in this group, but the problem with that is where do they go? The team exists in a weird limbo of permanent potential but presently appears poised to piss those chances up the wall at the first opportunity, which is sad, but not surprising. They could win this event with ease, and equally go out without taking a single map, but we suspect they’ll finish relatively well without lifting any pots.


We’d really like to say Team Vitality are contenders for tier one or two events, but so far it seems like they live and die on the back of ZywOo’s form. Sure, the likes of NBK and apEX can bang from time to time, but if the young sniper is quiet Vitality just don’t have enough about them to bother a really good CSGO team, let alone an Astralis or Liquid. They could go well here, if ZywOo goes all jambon, but it’s a tall order.


Chinese teams in CSGO are a tough thing to predict, but we do know they can beat anyone on their day. Sadly for Tyloo, their recent performances at big events have been garbage despite a move to construct what looked like an Asian superteam, and they need to do better. At this event you can expect them to make top four at best, but upset a more established side along the way.

Vici Gaming

Similarly to Tyloo, Vici are the sort of team that can beat anyone on their day, but have issues maintaining their consistency. Their Major run was surprise after surprise, and in a good way, and the fact they replaced Rogue here is good news for the neutral. Not only does it give us more home interest, but Vici seem to have a higher ceiling that the NA team slated to play, until OpTic tore Rogue’s heart out like a deleted scene from the X-Men.

Why are you here?


It seems mean to put these teams in a category called ‘why are you here’, but that is what we were all thinking when Fnatic were laughing in the face of a 16-0 defeat by Astralis, which they celebrated avoiding. Equally, the team just offered Krimz and JW three-year deals, which they signed, meaning Fnatic are stuck with this core for some time.


The Xantares move looked good in isolation, but it’s clear Gob b made a mistake in getting rid of smooya, if indeed that is what happened. Without the young Englishman BIG lack a cutting edge, and this event needs to be exceptional for them to regain the faith of their fans.

Team Spirit

Spirit are not a team anyone really rates, to the extent that when they signed chopper from Vega Squadron the general reaction was sadness for the player, rather than excitement about his new team. He’s a good player, but their Major performance was what you’d expect, and anything more than a couple of wins here will be a bonus.


Panda Gaming

Panda are the remnants of the CyberZen team that is no more, but without making any big moves it is hard to see why we should believe in them more than we did under the CZ banner. Playing in China will be a great experience, but these aren’t really new players to the scene, and you shouldn’t expect as much from them as you would Tyloo or even Vici.

paiN Gaming

In Dota, paiN are a name that excites the fans with their innovative, aggressive play and dramatic off-server existence, and we must hope to see the same from their CSGO division. With a world ranking or 155 on HLTV and recent 0-2’s to the likes of TeamOne and DETONA, this is a learning experience at best for the other Brazilian side.


Maybe it’s cruel to put North right down here, but at this point something has to change for the Danish org. Run to similar standards as Astralis, and possessing some very talented players, the North org has nevertheless failed to deliver anything in the last year, save one tournament win that immediately saw their in-game leader replaced straight afterward. Why are you here, North, not just in Shanghai, but also CSGO?

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