Atlanta 2017 Major Pick’Em Challenge
The Major is Here once again and the pick’em challenge too! This time we have a really interesting one. Since the last major we saw a lot of changes in the top teams, the tournament winners are always changing, new teams rise and classic teams are in a slump. CSGO was never so unpredictable as now and that’s exciting.
In this guide I’m going to show you how to do the pick’em challenge and my predictions for the teams.
What is the pick’em challenge
The pick’em challenge is a challenge added to CSGO whenever there’s a major tournament of professional teams. Usually there’s only 2 or 3 majors per year, and every team dreams of winning one. The ELEAGUE Atlanta 2017 Major will be the 10th major in the history of CSGO, which were won already by 7 different organizations. You can win 3 types of rewards on the pick’em challenge: a bronze pick’em challenge medal, a silver one and the gold one. You need 25 points to obtain the bronze medal, 50 points to the silver medal and 75 points to he gold medal.
In order to do the pick’em challenge you have to buy the stickers of the teams that you think that will advance to the playoffs, the team that will win the 3 maps and the team that will lose all 3 maps. As we can see this is very different from the other major challenges in which you had to pick the teams and the players that would do best in the tournament, and the teams were divided into groups. In this major the format is very different.
Basically the teams are all in the same group and they will face random teams. If a team loses the first match they will face a team who has also lost the first match. The winning teams will also face each other in the second round, and so on. The 8 teams that will have a positive w/l ratio after 3 rounds will advance to the playoffs while the others will be out of the tournament. We don’t know yet what matches will be played on the second and third rounds the challenge so the challenge will be divided into two phases. In the first you will have to choose the teams that will advance to the playoffs and the one that will lose 0-3. In the second phase, after you know which teams will be playing the playoffs you will have to guess which teams will win the matches and who will win the tournament.
So, by now you only have to buy the stickers of the teams and place them in the challenge. Before you do that take a look at my predictions, especially if you don’t normally follow the professional csgo scene.
My predictions for the group stage
Well, as I already said in the beginning this is probably the most difficult major to predict in a long time. Majors always have a few surprises and this one will surely not be an exception, however I think that there are 3 teams that are above all the others, and 9-10 teams who really have hopes to go out of the group stage. Let’s start with the 3-0 team to choose on our pick’em challenge.
Who will 3-0 in maps
Like I said I think that the tournament winners will be either one of three teams: SK, Astralis and Virtus.Pro.
SK (formerly Luminosity) have won the last two majors and were dominating the scene in the first 6/7 months of 2016, winning a lot of other tournaments as well. In the later part of the year they dropped a bit in shape and even replaced Fnx with Fox. Fox will only be standing-in for the team in the major, and it’s known that he won’t be a part of the team after the tournament. This of course have it’s impact on the team practices and tactics, but even with Fox in the line-up they managed to get to the semi-finals of ECS Season 2 losing only to Astralis, which won the tournament. So despite having a stand-in the chemistry of the team is still there and their map pool is one of the strongest of all teams, so they can never be ruled out of winning a tournament.
Astralis as you can see are #1 in the HLTV Team-Rankings. Their form improved a lot since Gla1ve have joined the team. They recently won ECS Season 2, have placed 3rd at IEM Oakland and 2nd at ELEAGUE Season 2, all that in the last 3 months. They also are looking very confident and the core of the team as always played good in majors, at least until the semi-finals, where they usually choked. However it seems that these hard days are behind and their star player device is in great shape at the moment.
Virtus.Pro are a momentum based team. These 5 players are playing together for years now, and they are the oldest 5-man team ever in csgo. They obviously know each other as well as it gets and seem to play even better in the huge tournaments, always playing well in the majors, and already winning one back in 2014. Also they are in decent form placing 1st, 2nd and 3rd in a lot of tournaments since September.
Of these 3 teams I think that the one that will have the better chance of winning 3-0 in maps is Astralis. Judging by the matches that will occur in the first round Virtus.Pro will have the hardest task, facing Optic. Optic is really on-fire at the moment, and it is placed #2 in the HLTV rankings. However I think that the only factor of keeping the team out of winning this tournament is the inexperience of players in big stages. The team is relatively new and the experience tens to be a crucial factor in the majors. However they will be for sure a strong unit and I’m picking them to get out of the group stages. Maybe even reaching a semi-final spot if they don’t draw SK or Astralis on the way.
Between Astralis and SK I’m inclined to pick Astralis. They are in a better form at the moment and seem to have great communication. Astralis will face GODSENT in the first round, which is a new team made of very experienced players. The down side is that Godsent is capable of the best and the worse. I really think that GODSENT will have a bad time dealing against a tactical based team like Astralis. So in my opinion this match has low chances of an upset. SK is playing against Hellraisers which are one of my picks for the 0-3 spot. This team has never played a major, and their players are mostly inexperienced in large tournaments. In my opinion they will probably bust in the group stage.
My prediciton: Astralis.
Who will lose 0-3 in maps
Between the 16 teams that are playing in this major I have 4 that I think that are in a lower level compared to the rest. These teams are Gambit, Liquid, FlipSid3 and Hellraisers.
Historically some of these teams have had good results in the last major. Liquid has actually reached the final and Gambit and FlipSid3 had reached the play-offs. However, Liquid was playing and being carried by s1mple, which is now playing for Natus Vincere. Without s1mple they really are having a bad time being a reliable team, and are not playing a high level whatsoever.
Gambit and FlipSid3 usually can compete against better skilled teams, sometimes causing upsets. However they are not having great results prior to the major. That leaves me to choose between Liquid and Hellraisers. Like I said before I think that the inexperience factor will be crucial. So I’m picking Hellraisers to lose all 3 maps in the tournament. Also Hellraisers will face SK in the first round, while the other 3 teams have way more balanced matches.
My prediction: Hellraisers.
Who will advance to the playoffs
Only 8 teams will advance to the playoffs. Like I said I think that Astralis, SK and Virtus.Pro are the strong contenders for winning this tournament. Gambit, Liquid, Flipsid3 and Hellraisers are the weakest teams in my opinion. With this info we still have to choose between 5 of 9 teams to go further in the tournament. These teams are: Fnatic, Natus Vincere, North, G2, Optic, Mousesports, Envyus, Godsent and Faze.
Of all these teams there are two which I really don’t know their true potential: Fnatic and Godsent. Fnatic and Godsent switched players in the summer and since then they weren’t capable of playing at a high level. Fnatic has not being playing regularly in tournaments despite having players like Olofmeister, Krimz and Dennis. They also added Disco Doplan to the team recently and he didn’t played many official matches with them. Godsent is kind of in the same situation. It’s strange to see a team with experienced players like Flusha, Pronax and JW to not succeed. The fact is that they played very poorly in the Minor qualifier, almost not qualifying for the major. With this in mind I wouldn’t be capable of picking either one of these teams to go through the playoffs, especially with their competition.
Looking at the other teams I think that we have to pick Optic to go through without a doubt. Together with Astralis they were the better teams over the recent months. North (formerly Dignitas) were also in great form, having won tournaments in the summer. This also applies to Natus Vincere, which is a team with an incredible firepower.
So, between Mousesports, G2, Envyus and Faze we have to choose only two teams to go through. I think Mousesports are the weakest of these four, because Niko can’t carry them alone. Faze is the most reliable and in better form team of these at the moment. Between G2 and Envyus is hard to choose. Especially with the rumours of a big shuffle in these two teams after the major. While I tend to prefer G2 I think that Envyus are slightly in a better form at the moment, with KennyS and Apex growing in confidence in the last months. Envyus has also won the biggest tournament prize in csgo history a week ago. However the top teams didn’t attend the tournament in order to bootcamp for the major.
So my 8 picks to go through the group stage are:
SK, Virtus.Pro, Optic, North, Natus Vincere, Faze, EnvyUs, and Astralis to win 3-0 in maps.
You can follow updated info and results on HLTV
Stay tuned for the update of the second phase of this challenge. We will post our predictions after all the teams of the playoffs are known!
Second phase of the challenge (playoffs update)
So, like I said in the beginning of the post this major would be hard to predict and there were certainly a lot of upsets during the group stage. However we managed to get 6/8 teams right in our picks. Our Hellraisers pick for losing 0-3 was right too, and we only failed to predict the 3-0 team and the qualification of Fnatic and Gambit instead of Optic and Envyus. That’s not bad. So let’s look at the match-ups of the rest of the tournament!
Navi vs Astralis
In my opinion this is the most hard to predict game of this stage. Astralis were the serious contenders for the title before the start of the major but Navi’s form in the group stage impressed everyone. Navi didn’t lose a single game, beating SK, Envyus and Mousesports losing only 12 rounds in 3 matches. Everyone on Navi’s side is really showing up, especially Flamie and Edward.
Astralis had a much rougher path, having to earn their spot in the playoffs after 5 games. They have lost to Godsent and SK and have won against Optic, G2 and Team Liquid. Everyone had serious expectations about Astralis and many people have been disappointed in them. However I don’t think they have played that bad. Surely their first game against Godsent was a disappointment, but they have played Train which was Godsent’s favourite map and in a BO1 in Train if you start badly it’s very hard to recover. In the other four games I think Astralis played very well, especially dev1ce, gla1ve and Kjaerbye. They lost one more game against SK, but to be fair SK is still one of the contenders for the title, and it was a very close match. Against G2 and Liquid they were simply outstanding, and against Optic (a much better team than G2 and Liquid) they also put up a great performance.
So, I think this match will be very close and most likely will be won in 3 maps. I still think that Astralis have a better map pool. Navi have only played Cobblestone (two times) and Dust2 on this major so far, so I really don’t know if they will be at the same level of preparation in the other maps. However their form will be hard to stop and I really think that they will win against Astralis. All of Navi’s players are used to play at later stages of majors and the newer players of Astralis, gla1ve and Kjaerbye might be a little nervous, and if one of them don’t show up it will be very difficult to stop Navi.
My prediction: Navi
Fnatic vs Gambit
This is the most unexpected match-up of this stage and it’s a great chance for both teams to make the semi-finals. Both teams ended up winning 3-1 in the group stage, impressing us in very different ways. These two teams are very different in their play-style. Gambit is a very well organized team, especially since Zeus have come on board and is made of very experienced players. Fnatic is made of highly skilled players, some of the best in the game, but lack a lot on the tactical side of the game, as a team. Their play-style is very loose, similar to the old Fnatic line-up, but I think that they dont have the same chemistry.
We saw in the Gambit matches that Gambit communicates really well, they rarely do mistakes and they play great against teams that are supposed to be better than them in firepower. They only lost in the group stage against Virtus.Pro who finished 3-0 in the groups, and won against Faze, North and Godsent. All these games were against very good teams, of which only Godsent haven’t passed the group stage.
Fnatic have lost against G2, and managed to win against Envyus, North and Mousesports. We can see that the opposition is weaker than the opposition that Gambit had, and I think that Gambit can have a advantage here. Also, Zeus is a very tactical in-game leader and the Fnatic players tend to be very agressive, which I think that can cost them the game of patience that Gambit will try to play.
My prediction: Gambit
Virtus. Pro vs North
This will be a great game. Virtus.Pro have won 3-0 in the group stage while North have come up from 0-2 to get 3-2 and pass the group stage. Virtus.Pro is a very complete team, always very well balanced and organized, very similar to North in those aspects. The crucial difference between these two teams are the experience vs age.
The lineup of Virtus.Pro have been together for close to 3 years now and have a lot of experienced players like Neo, Pasha and Taz. Experience is always a virtue and that allied to the firepower of Snax and Byali make them a true force to be recognized. In the group stage they have beaten Optic, G2 and Gambit with Taz and Snax in great form. Their map pool is also very strong.
North have played 5 games to get to this stage, losing to Gambit and Fnatic and winning against Hellraisers, G2 and Godsent. Two of their victories were also in overtime which can tell us that the team is good under pressure but at the same time can’t decide their games in a easy fashion. Their map pool is not as strong as Virtus.Pro and I think that Virtus.Pro experience will prevail in this match.
My prediction: Virtus.Pro
Faze vs SK
This will also be an interesting match. Faze is playing a lot better since Karrigan has joined the team. They are no longer only a skill based team, they also have a lot of tactical aspects in their game now. SK is almost the same team they always were, but with a little less chemistry between the players since they are playing with a stand-in. Fox was been criticized a lot before the major for not being a good replacement for Fnx, but he has been stepping up in every game, delivering very stable performances and playing a lot within the team.
Faze and SK have already played in this major, with SK taking the best, winning in overtime. Actually Faze won both pistols in that game and still lost the map. I think this could be in head of Faze and could haunt them in this match-up, because if they won SK would had two losses and would be in danger of losing in the group stage. Faze managed to have 3-2 in the group stage after winning against Envyus, Liquid and Flipside, and losing to Gambit and SK. Despite losing only to teams that qualified to the play-offs they also have only won against teams who didn’t qualify.
SK have won against Faze, Hellraisers and Astralis and lost only to Navi, which actually is a step over Faze at the moment. Their competition was a lot stronger and I don’t see Faze winning this match, especially having lost against them in the group stage and with Coldzera’s form at the moment.
My prediction: SK
Semi-final and final matches
The first semi-final will be between Navi/Astralis and Gambit/Fnatic. I think in this one I have no doubts saying that whoever wins between Navi and Astralis will also win this game. Both this teams are a level ahead of Gambit and Fnatic and I don’t see them losing in a BO3.
My prediction: Navi
This game will be closer. I really think that Virtus.Pro and SK will win their games so this match-up should be very balanced. However I think despite Virtus.Pro having won 3-0 in the groups they will have a bad time facing SK. SK always manage to beat Virtus.Pro when they face each other and I think this time will be no exception.
My prediction: SK
So, this means that if our predictions are right the final match should be between Navi and SK. This will be a though match and sincerely is a hard one to call at this point. If Navi’s form continues and they win against Astralis I think they will win this match. My only reservations to Navi winning this game is that they seem to be playing a lot different, and we haven’t seen them playing many maps in this tournament. SK are strong right now but they lost heavily to Navi in the group stage (16-3). If Astralis happens to beat Navi then I would have to favor SK winning the final. Astralis tend to choke when it matters and SK are used to win the finals when they play it.
My prediction: Navi
This has been a great tournament so far and the swiss system is great. I just hope that the rest of the games will also be as close as the group stage games with a lot of overtimes on the way. Thanks for following our predictions and stay tuned for more articles.