Nick J. January 4, 2020
The list of teams and tournament format for the GG.Bet Ice Challenge 2020 have been revealed.
The eight competitors will travel to London in February to compete for their slice of the tournament's $250,000 prize pool. Both Natus Vincere and mousesports are the favorites to take home the $125,000 first-place prize.
While they are the strongest teams on paper, OG will attend their second tournament ever at the ICE Challenge, and will be joined by ENCE eSports, MAD Lions, Virtus.pro, Team Heroic, and GODSENT.
GG.Bet ICE Challenge format revealed
The ICE Challenge will feature a classic best-of-three group stage with the playoffs portion taking place at the ExCeL Convention Center in London, England.
The team in last place after the two days of group play will be eliminated while the remaining six will move on to the playoffs. The group stage will run from February 1 to 2, followed by the playoffs from February 4 to 6. GG.Bet has yet to announce the two groups for the tournament.
Mousesports and Na`Vi favorites at GG.Bet ICE Challenge
The ICE Challenge will be the first LAN of 2020 for many of the attending teams and should provide an early read of where they all stand coming into the new year.
Ranked second in the world, mousesports has been nearly unstoppable over the past three months. Finn “karrigan” Andersen’s squad is full of firepower and the veteran in-game leader uses each piece of his team to their full potential. Even with a loss at EPICENTER 2019, mouz can only get better with a roster that boasts this much talent.
- Chris "chrisJ"de Jong
- Robin "ropz" Kool
- David "frozen" Čerňanský
- Finn "karrigan" Andersen
- Özgür "woxic" Eker
On paper, Natus Vincere is the greatest challenge to mousesports by a considerable margin. Unfortunately, the return of Ladislav "GuardiaN" Kovács’ to the Na`Vi lineup has stifled the team’s star player, Oleksandr "s1mple" Kostyliev. Statistics show that GuardiaN's return has hurt Na`Vi more than it has helped.
Na`Vi is slumping and there's not much the team can do about it other than find a better dynamic between the its two biggest names.
The newly formed OG still needs time to gel before fans can be sure about the team's prospects. But if the squad can make progress in London, especially against teams like MAD Lions and GODSENT, fans can start to get excited about this lineup.
While they may not be ready to face an elite mousesports, the team has enough talent to dominate most of the CSGO world. OG’s new lineup is made up of the following players:
For teams like GODSENT and Heroic, the ICE Challenge is a perfect opportunity to show that their recent tournament wins weren’t just due to weak competition. Taking even a single map off of either mouz or Na`Vi will be enough to prove that they stand as real threats to upper-level teams.
Heroic's addition of Casper “cadiaN” Møller to the roster has paid off big. Heroic’s roster is full of talent:
VP, ENCE can bounce back at ICE Challenge
VP and ENCE both appeared in the grand finals of CSGO majors in 2019 but finished out the year in ugly fashion. ENCE is still dealing with the fallout of Aleksib’s departure to OG, and Virtus.pro's acquisition of the AVANGAR roster hasn't looked like a great move to this point.
If these two can’t find their form at the ICE Challenge, fans have cause for concern. There doesn’t seem to be one specific problem for either one of these teams, so fans will have to hope that both have worked hard to correct their issues over the last month.
Out of the two, Virtus.pro has the better odds for success at the GG.Bet ICE Challenge. Virtus.pro is bolstered by an aggressive playstyle and fearsome AWPer, Dzhami "Jame" Ali:
- Timur “buster” Tulepov
- Alexey “qikert” Golubev
- Sanjar “SANJI” Kuliev
- Dzhami “Jame” Ali
- Dauren “AdreN” Kystaubayev
MAD Lions underrated ahead of GG.Bet Challenge
Finally, underdogs MAD Lions are the odd team out at the ICE Challenge. The team was recently formed when Splyce parent company OAM acquired the Tricked Esport roster on December 17. With Luis “peacemaker” Tadeu as the Lions’ head coach, MAD Lions have much to prove as they face the stronger rosters in attendance.
On one hand, the team has the potential to upset almost any team at the Challenge on a good day with some strategic help from their coach. That said, the team lacks the firepower of the other rosters at the ICE Challenge. This team might be one to watch in 2020 and fans will quickly get a good sense of their standing. MAD Lions CSGO roster currently stands as follows:
The tournament will be streamed live in both Russian and English on the Maincast Twitch channels. Regardless of who takes home the top prize, the ICE Challenge is a perfect opportunity for those teams attending IEM Katowice 2020 to shake off the rust after CSGO’s annual December break.