Nick J. December 22, 2019
Tomorrow in Moscow, Team Vitality and Heroic will go head to head. This is followed by mousesports taking on Evil Geniuses. Both matches will determine the contestants in the EPICENTER 2019 grand finals.
The matchups are intriguing on their own merits. Team Vitality hasn’t played in a tournament since November’s IEM Beijing, placing fourth. In theory, that sounds like a decent result. In reality, beating out TYLOO, ViCi Gaming, and ENCE for fourth puts things in perspective. That said, they also finished ahead of Evil Geniuses, who face off against mousesports on the other side of the bracket.
Heroic hasn’t been knocking over teams either, but they’ve posted a steady string of results just below the tier one tournament scene. Since November 1, Heroic has taken first at DreamHack Open Atlanta in addition to a second-place finish in WESG's northern European division.
The team also took a spot in the European qualifiers for the IEM Katowice 2020 event by defeating BIG. Under Casper “cadiaN” Møller’s leadership, Heroic has a real shot against a French team they went toe-to-toe with in one of EPICENTER’s opening group stage matches.
But make no mistake, odds are that Vitality rolls over Heroic. There was a +33 round differential between the two and this was followed by the Frenchmen crushing Natus Vincere 16-3 on both Nuke and Inferno to take this semifinals spot.
Mousesports favored against EG, Na`Vi and VP look shaky
Next up, mousesports takes on an Evil Geniuses team that has looked shaky both with and without one of their star players. Vincent “Brehze” Cayonte missed two group stage matches due to a visa issue, but things didn’t improve for the North Americans when he returned.
Even with Brehze back in the lineup, EG somehow managed to lose Mirage 16-1 against forZe. That’s a stunning result considering the Geniuses own a solid 77.8% win rate on the map over the past three months. Despite Brehze posting a team-leading 80% KAST and 1.02 rating, neither he nor EG have looked comfortable in Moscow.
Mousesports, on the other hand, has soared up the world rankings and looks poised to take EPICENTER if they take tomorrow’s match against EG. Mouz previously defeated EG in the group stage, including a 16-4 win on Inferno.
As Inferno often appears as a decider map and EG looks lost, it could be a blowout win for mousesports. Their run in Moscow comes just after a win at CS Summit 5 where the team looked incredibly strong.
Betway is leaning in mousesports' direction for this match, as they should. With mouz surging and EG looking shaky, it’s unlikely they’ll make an impact against Robin “ropz” Kool and company tomorrow unless EG coach Chet “ImAPet” Singh has come up with something incredible.
As for Natus Vincere and fellow eliminated team Virtus.pro, their results at EPICENTER are troubling. Na`Vi crumbled on home soil where they normally put up great results. With the caliber of players on that team, Na`Vi should have been a lock for the grand finals.
As for Virtus.pro, losing for forZe probably wasn’t what the organization’s top brass were expecting when they signed an AVANGAR roster that holds plenty of talent. Then again, their recent results signaled an incoming slump, so it's possible the transition will take some time.