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PGL Major Kraków 2017 – Legends

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PGL Major Kraków 2017 – Legends

Welcome to part two of our two piece feature series, where we take a look at the eight ‘Legend’ teams to participate at the PGL Major Kraków 2017.

Legends

DenmarkAstralis

Danish Super team Astralis come into this event with high hopes, but their recent performance at ECS Season 3, their final LAN event prior to the PGL Major Kraków 2017, saw them finish in 3rd-4th place after being knocked out by FaZe Clan. Some time ago the team announced that they would be skipping ESL One Cologne 2017 to ensure a proper preparation for the major, and the tactical element they bring is second to none as a result of such thorough work. In an exclusive interview to GosuGamers Team Captain, Lukas ‘gla1ve’ Rossander mentioned time spent studying demos of their opponents to absorb  strategies and outline specific tendencies going into the $1,000,000 event in Krakow, which will be well spent if the take home their second major title of the season. With time on their side, Astralis are looking at securing a back-to-back major championship titles, a feat very few teams in CS:GO can boast.

Roster:
Denmark Lukas “gla1ve” Rossander
Denmark Peter “dupreeh” Rasmussen
Denmark Nicolai “device” Reedtz
Denmark Markus “Kjaerbye” Kjærbye 
Denmark Andreas “Xyp9x” Højsleth

Coach – Denmark Danny “zonic” Sørensen

Stats:
Chances of winning: 9/10
Average player age: 21
Average player rating: 1.1 (device highest with 1.14)
Ranking: 3rd

Recent results:
3rd-4th @ Esports Championship Series Season 3 LAN finals
Winner of the ELEAGUE Clash for Cash: The Rematch
3rd-4th @ Intel Extreme Masters XII – Sydney
2nd @ StarLadder i-League StarSeries Season 3 LAN finals
1st @ Intel Extreme Masters XI – World Championship
3rd-4th @ DreamHack Masters – Las Vegas 2017
1st @ ELEAGUE Major 2017

PolandVirtus.pro

It is no secret that the “Golden Five” has been experiencing tremendous performance issues, an unfortunate reality for a team that boasts the longest standing roster in CS:GO history. Their most recent result was a group stage exit at ESL One Cologne 2017, where the team sustained a 0-3 win/loss record, packing their bags way earlier than anyone would have guessed. Immortals, SK Gaming and Heroic were behind their swift demise, and whilst a loss to SK Gaming is acceptable considering their current form, many a question remains regarding the other two losses to teams that would widely be considered underdogs in a match-up against V.P. The team is plagued with inconsistency, and the interior seems to be slowly crumbling, with an ominous statement given by Jarosław “pashaBiceps” Jarząbkowski to HLTV.org recently: “If we survive this and do not split up it will be another miracle”. Whether we will see a Polish shuffle post-major is currently unknown, however one thing is for sure – Virtus.pro’s result in Kraków will make or break the decision-making behind it.

Roster:
Poland Janusz “Snax” Pogorzelski
Poland Jarosław “pashaBiceps” Jarząbkowski
Poland Viktor “TaZ” Wojtas
Poland Filip “NEO” Kubski
Poland Paweł  “byali” Bieliński

Coach – Poland Jakub “kuben” Gurczyński

Stats:
Chances of winning: 5/10
Average player age: 27
Average player rating: 0.93 (Snax & byali highest at 1.01)
Ranking: 14th

Recent results:
15th-16th @ ESL One Cologne 2017
1st @ Adrenaline Cyber League 2017
12th-14th @ StarLadder i-League StarSeries Season 3 LAN finals
7th-8th @ Intel Extreme Masters XI – World Championship
1st @ DreamHack Masters – Las Vegas 2017
2nd @ ELEAGUE Major 2017
3rd @ World Electronic Sports Games 2016

SwedenFnatic

The once legendary roster of Fnatic has now fallen out of the top ten according to HLTV.org’s rankings. The team saw improvement following the introduction of their coach, Jimmy ‘Jumpy’ Berndtsson, but the honeymoon period seems to have passed, as they failed to achieve a spot in the play-offs of their two most recent LAN events. Whilst the Swedes are definitely capable of spectacular results, there seems to be a disconnect within the roster. A multitude of factors can impact the performance and Fnatic must address these if they are to justify their ‘Legend’ status. Fnatic’s beam of hope in recent times has been Jesper ‘JW’ Wecksell, who has demonstrated AWPing comparable to the glory days of the team. Having seemingly regained his confidence the Swede is back to aggressive sniping, a move that often ensures an early-game advantage for his team. Provided the remaining four members of the roster reach step up to their former levels of play, fnatic should experience very little difficulty securing a top eight placement.

Roster:
Sweden Robin “flusha” Rönnquist 
Sweden Olof “olofmeister” Kajbjer
Sweden Jesper “JW” Wecksell
Sweden Dennis “dennis” Edmann
Sweden Freddy “KRiMZ” Johansson

Coach – Sweden Jimmy “Jumpy” Berndtsson

Stats:
Chances of winning: 6/10
Average player age: 24
Average player rating: 1.05 (JW highest at 1.1)
Ranking: 11th

Recent results:
9th-11th @ @ ESL One Cologne 2017
7th-8th @ Esports Championship Series Season 3 LAN finals
2nd @ DreamHack Summer 2017
7th-8th @ ESL Pro League Season 5 LAN finals
5th-8th @ StarLadder i-League StarSeries Season 3 LAN finals
7th-8th @ Intel Extreme Masters XI – World Championship
9th-12th @ DreamHack Masters – Las Vegas 2017
3rd-4th @ ELEAGUE Major 2017

BrazilSK Gaming

Currently #1 in the world, SK Gaming are the firm favourites for their second major champions’ title in their time as employees of the German organisation. Three first place LAN finishes in a row suggest fantastic form and focus, with all five members stepping up and demonstrating outrageous skill at points, none more so than Marcelo ‘Coldzera’ David, the world’s best player. SK’s start at ESL One Cologne was a fair bit wobbly, but the team was able to utilise their insurmountable experience and individual skill to bring it back and subsequently secure the tournament title. It would be safe to say that the Brazilians are gunning for first place in Kraków, and anything less would be considered failure. 

Roster:
Brazil Gabriel “FalleN” Toledo
Brazil Marcelo “coldzera” David
Brazil Epitacio “TACO” de Melo
Brazil Fernando “fer” Alvarenga
Brazil Joao “felps” Vasconcellos 

Stats:
Chances of winning: 10/10
Average player age: 23
Average player rating: 1.06 (coldzera highest at 1.27)
Ranking: 1st

Recent results:
1st @ ESL One Cologne 2017
1st @ Esports Championship Series Season 3 LAN finals
1st @ DreamHack Summer 2017
3rd-4th @ ESL Pro League Season 5 LAN finals
2nd @ Subaru Invitational 2017
1st @ Intel Extreme Masters XII – Sydney
1st @ cs_summit
9th-11th @ StarLadder i-League StarSeries Season 3 LAN finals
11th-12th @ Intel Extreme Masters XI – World Championship
2nd @ DreamHack Masters – Las Vegas 2017
3rd-4th @ ELEAGUE Major 2017

CISNatus Vincere

Natus Vincere was one of the teams hit hardest by Valve’s coaching restrictions, and since then the organisation has parted with two legends of CIS Counter-Strike in Sergey ‘starix’ Ischuk and Daniil ‘Zeus’ Teslenko. The former was replaced by current coach, Andrey ‘Andi’ Prokhorov, whilst the latter’s shoes were filled by Denis “seized” Kostin. With the introduction of Andi the team’s aim was to tighten schedules, increase efficiency of practice and eventually ascend to the top of European CS:GO, but it remains a question as to whether the methods of the coach/analyst have been entirely accepted and implemented. What is unquestionable is their recent result in Cologne, where the team finally got themselves a break by securing a top four placement at a tournament filled with top tier talent. If the Eastern European mix maintains their performance, there is no reason why the roster cannot retain the ‘Legend’ status next week. 

Roster:
Russia Denis “seized” Kostin
Ukraine Oleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev
Russia Egor “flamie” Vasilyev
Slovakia Ladislav “GuardiaN” Kovács
Ukraine Ioann “Edward” Sukhariev

Coach – Ukraine Andrey “Andi” Prokhorov

Stats:
Chances of winning: 6/10
Average player age: 23
Average player rating: 1.03 (s1mple highest at 1.2)
Ranking: 6th

Recent results:
3rd-4th @ ESL One Cologne 2017
9th-10th @ ESL Pro League Season 5 LAN finals
5th-6th @ DreamHack Tours 2017
3rd-4th @ StarLadder i-League StarSeries Season 3 LAN finals
5th-6th @ Intel Extreme Masters XI – World Championship
5th-8th @ DreamHack Masters – Las Vegas 2017
5th-8th @ ELEAGUE Major 2017

Kazakhstan Gambit Esports

Gambit Esports are quite an interesting prospect when assessing their potential performance. In recent times the roster has not attended LAN events, with their last being DreamHack Summer 2017 in mid-June. In lieu of LAN pratice, the team has been bootcamping for a while now, boasting some of the highest in-game time played stats amongst their peers. Whilst time spent playing the game isn’t necessarily the best indicator of improvement or performance, it is without question beneficial to team bonding and communicational improvement. With a mix of seasoned veterans and promising youth, the majority Kazakh roster is looking to impress at the major, and projections of their performance are at the very least a top eight finish. 

Roster:
Ukraine Daniil “Zeus” Teslenko
Russia Mikhail “Dosia” Stolyarov
Kazakhstan Dauren “AdreN” Kystaubayev
Kazakhstan Rustem “mou” Telepov
Kazakhstan Abay “HObbitt” Khasenov

Coach – Ukraine Mykhailo “kane” Blagin

Stats:
Chances of winning: 6/10
Average player age: 27
Average player rating: 1.06 (HObbit highest at 1.1)
Ranking: 15th

Recent results:
5th-6th @ DreamHack Summer 2017
1st @ DreamHack Austin 2017
2nd @ cs_summit
12th-14th @ StarLadder i-League StarSeries Season 3 LAN finals
5th-8th @ DreamHack Masters – Las Vegas 2017
5th-8th @ ELEAGUE Major 2017

DenmarkNorth

North are peculiar team in that their performances are sporadic. Due to this nature, one cannot with conviction assert whether the Danes will perform oustandingly or on the contrary bomb out early. Firepower-wise the team is spectacular, composed of some of Denmark’s finest fraggers. A particular case is to be made for Kristian “k0nfig” Wienecke, the team’s superstar player who is capable of single-handedly dispatching some of the best CS:GO offers. The brains of the roster, Mathias “MSL” Lauridsen has a strong grasp on what criteria his team needs to meet in order to achieve victory. The issue, on occasion, is whether or not the team can click and effectively utilise the consituents of the roster to reach their end goal, especially given the level of remuneration they receive for what have been fairly average results to date. If North come into Kraków prepared and mentally focused they should be able to retain their Legend status, however it is uncertain if more than just that can be achieved by the Danes.

Roster:
Denmark Mathias “MSL” Lauridsen
Denmark Kristian “k0nfig” Wienecke
Denmark René “cajunb” Borg
Denmark Emil “magisk” Reif
Denmark Philip “aizy” Aistrup

Coach – Denmark Casper “ruggah” Due

Stats:
Chances of winning: 5/10
Average player age: 22
Average player rating: 1.1 (k0nfig highest at 1.21)
Ranking: 7th

Recent results:
9th-11th @ ESL One Cologne 2017
2nd @ ESL Pro League Season 5 LAN finals
6th-7th @ Intel Extreme Masters XII – Sydney
5th-8th @ StarLadder i-League StarSeries Season 3 LAN finals
5th-6th @ Intel Extreme Masters XI – World Championship
3rd-5th @ DreamHack Masters – Las Vegas 2017
5th-8th @ ELEAGUE Major 2017

EuropeFaZe Clan

The third favourite for the tournament title, FaZe are a truly international team composed of offcasts who proved to the world that they were worthy, in fact, better than their prior teammates ever imagined (and one God). The story of FaZe reeks of hardship and hard-earned victory, and despite professionals and fans have questioning the communicational ability of an international roster they have performed at the highest level. A victory at StarLadder i-League StarSeries Season 3 over then world #1 Astralis put the team on the map as one of the fiercest contestants in CS:GO and they team didn’t drop off in the following months, keeping up the pace throughout the year. The team operates in spectacular fashion, with leader Finn ‘karrigan’ Andersen somehow capable of taming and directing the immense raw skill of his teammates. Whether it’s NiKo, rain, kioShima or allu, the Danish in-game leader has the uncanny ability to orchestrate the four in sufficiently loose a way as to allow the four individuals to shine, without ever devolving to chaos. There is little doubt as to whether or not FaZe will retain their Legend title, the question is simply how far they can go, and the sky is the limit.

Roster:
Denmark Finn “karrigan” Andersen
Bosnia and Herzegovina Nikola “NiKo” Kovač
France Fabien “kioShiMa” Fiey
Finland Aleksi “allu” Jalli
Norway Håvard “rain” Nygaard

Coach – Sweden Robbert “RobbaN” Dahlström

Stats:
Chances of winning: 9/10
Average player age: 23
Average player rating: 1.09 (NiKo highest at 1.23)
Ranking: 2nd

Recent results:
3rd-4th @ ESL One Cologne 2017
2nd @ Esports Championship Series Season 3 LAN finals
2nd @ Intel Extreme Masters XII – Sydney
1st @ StarLadder i-League StarSeries Season 3 LAN finals
2nd @ Intel Extreme Masters XI – World Championship
9th-12th @ DreamHack Masters – Las Vegas 2017
5th-8th @ ELEAGUE Major 2017

In the event that you missed our ‘Challengers’ article feel free to click the following link to catch up.

Images courtesy of Astralis, Virtus.pro, Fnatic, SK Gaming, Natus Vincere, Gambit Esports, North, FaZe Clan.
Rankings, statistics and results courtesy of HLTV.org and Counter-Strike Liquidpedia

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