StarSeries & i-League Season 7, or the worst-named event in CSGO, has reached a crucial point, where we know who will progress to the next stages of the event, and who is going to be enjoying the Chinese airports soonest. The final day of the opening phase is upon us, and we are close to knowing who will be around for the weekend, so let’s run down all the action so far at StarSeries & iLeague Season 7.
Betting on esports is never simple, and Fnatic have given us all a great example of just how complex it can be. After a series of terrible results, the Swedish veterans stormed through the first phase of this event, beating NIP, NRG and Team Vitality, and dropping just a single map along the way. Admittedly those aren’t top tier teams, but it’s an impressive turnaround for a team that looked dead in the water weeks ago.
Joining them in the 3-0 club are Renegades, which isn’t that surprising if you remember their performance at the Major, with ENCE just a loss behind at 3-1. It’s great to see those teams double down on their impressive runs at the Major, but sadly they are joined by a dysfunctional Na’Vi, who also managed to go 3-1 and will use that success as proof their team doesn’t need change, even though it is patently broken at this point.
NIP and Vitality making it through is slightly more surprising, but results at Chinese events can often seem a bit backwards, and that includes North being in with a shout of qualification, going into the final day of the first phase at 2-2. Some things never change though, with BIG Clan unable to turn 2-2 into 3-2 and falling to an underwhelming NRG, who need to improve for the playoffs.
If you want a lesson in bad comedic timing, check out our article on MIBR’s Fer and his April Fools’ attempt on Twitter. While you have to admire his bravery, there are definitely questions to be asked about the decision to joke that you’re getting cut while you and your team mates are going 1-3 at a tier two event, losing to the likes of North and NRG. In fact, the last two teams MIBR beat are Team Panda, here in Shanghai, and Viva Algeria at WESG…
As you might expect, they were joined by the other "no-hopers" in Panda, who are so bad they lost to MIBR, and paiN Gaming, who struggled to compete at this level, despite taking 12 rounds off FaZe in the first map of their BO3. Tyloo and Vici disappointed the home fans too, but to be honest Chinese teams playing at home often underwhelm, and the former have been on a long run of poor form too.
The last two teams battling for a place in the next stage were, if you can believe it, two of the best funded and supported in all of esports, let alone CSGO. FaZe and North faced off in the final match of the first phase to see which of them qualified, but in reality both teams are an embarrassing stain on the name of their owners and desperately need change.
It was North who prevailed on this occasion, thanks in no small part to Valde, but the ten men on the server should be looking over their shoulders after the start to 2019 they've all had.
There you have it then, and it’s fair to say it’s been a very interesting event so far. How long the likes of MIBR, FaZe and North continue to pay out massive money for no success is a continuing mystery, and with this event being in China they all have an excuse for their losses. It will be fascinating to see who does well in the play-off bracket, and teams such as ENCE and Renegades should fancy their chances at this point, having proven themselves ahead of the majority.