Nick J. March 13, 2020
With just two days to spare, Flashpoint secured its final two member teams ahead of the league's opening games on Friday as we break down Counter-Strike: Global Offensive's first week of franchised play.
Flashpoint got in under the wire, with organizations coming seemingly out of nowhere to take the two finals spots as FunPlus Phoenix picked up the entire Heroic roster.
MAD Lions favorites to take Flashpoint's Group A thanks to Dignitas
Group A contains two of FLASHPOINT's founding member teams in MAD Lions and an ex-cr4zy roster that now competes under the c0ntact Gaming banner. Both of European qualifier teams in HAVU and Copenhagen Flames are also in the group.
MAD Lions should send Dignitas a fruit basket. Richard "Xizt" Landström used Dignitas' swap to switch Orgless for HAVU, a move that makes sense if your preparation included merely looking at the rankings. Orgless has the potential to be a dangerous opponent for the unprepared, able to compete with a top-20 team under the right circumstances.
With HAVU, DIG could've had a known entity. As the old saying goes, better the devil you know than the devil you don't, but the Swedes haven't heard that one, apparently.
MAD Lions is currently the top-ranked organization in Flashpoint positioned at number 12 in the world. They should be considered tournament favorites until proved otherwise.
Unless something goes seriously wrong, HAVU's chances to win its opening matchup against ML are slim.
Its only chance is to take advantage of MAD Lion's decision to bench in-game leader Nicolai “HUNDEN” Petersen only three days before the group draw. The team added Asger “AcilioN” Larsen in his place, leaving a slim margin of hope for a roster that is outclassed by MAD Lions on paper.
Group A's second matchup between Copenhagen Flames and c0ntact Gaming all depends on which c0ntact roster comes out to play. Fans haven't seen c0ntact's roster in a match since it lost to forZe 0-2 at DreamHack Open Anaheim 2020 European qualifiers. If cr4zy can instead continue their play from the winter season, the Flames are in trouble.
Group B up for grabs after Dignitas' surprise swap
When Xizt swapped Dignitas' first-round opponent from HAVU to Orgless, many thought the decision was a good one. On paper, HAVU is a more difficult opponent.
The problem lies in DIG's current form. Yes, the team holds an 83% win rate since they reunited. But they've also given up a map in a best-of-three to Nordavind and had GamersLegion take them to overtime. There's a world where a matchup against Orgless favors the North Americans.
While DIG eventually won both of those matches, its communication and teamplay doesn't remind us of the roster's halcyon days of 2013. Despite all the excitement surrounding the Ninjas in Pyjamas reunion at Dignitas, there hasn't yet been much to say about the roster in action.
With only one match against a top-tier team, its tough to know DIG for sure just yet. And given Christopher "GeT_RiGhT" Alesund's reaction to his third FPL loss in a row last night, he might be wondering what he's gotten himself into.
Orgless has a chance here if they can focus their potential firepower enough to frustrate Dignitas. An emotional GeT_RiGhT is a perfect target for Orgless. Stymie his play, and the rest of NiP will follow.
FunPlus Phoenix acquired their roster just four days before its debut in a total buyout of Team Heroic and will face Cloud9 in its opening matchup of Group B. Heroic has been just like every other Danish team that isn't Astralis: mediocre. There are flashes of potential, but the loss of Valde stunts them greatly.
Group C features Flashpoint's dark horse in Chaos EC
Chaos Esports Club will take on MIBR tomorrow afternoon, and it's got upset alert written all over it. During DreamHack Anaheim, FalleN seemed moody and disinterested, and that's a bad combination.
The rumored internal dysfunction within MIBR is showing in their tournament placements. MIBR didn't even look like the best Brazilian team at DreamHack Anaheim, with FURIA having made the grand finals before falling to Gen.G. FalleN's frustration and the team's continuing struggles increase with every tournament, and we don't see it stopping here at Flashpoint.
To that end, if you're looking for a potential match bet for Flashpoint's opening groups, taking Chaos EC against MIBR is one with great odds, with Chaos EC at 2.36 to MIBR's 1.35.
Gen.G is coming off a win at DreamHack Open Anaheim, but the team is still struggling with communication issues between the rest of the squad and former TYLOO star Hansel "BnTeT" Ferdinand. We'll have to see how it all comes together against a Team Envy led by Noah "Nifty" Francis and its three newcomers in Michał "MICHU" Müller, Buğra "Calyx" Arkın, and Kaleb "moose" Jayne.
Envy's coach, Nikola "LEGIJA" Ninić, will stand in for moose for the first part of the Flashpoint LAN. If Gen.G's comms with BnTeT are even marginally better than at Anaheim, Gen.G could be solid favorites for Season 1 of Flashpoints.
How to watch Flashpoint Season 1, Flashpoint schedule
Flashpoint is streaming all of its matches on its official Twitch channel starting at 1:00 p.m. on Friday, March 13.
Friday, March 13
- MAD Lions versus HAVU: 1:00 p.m. EST
- Copenhagen Flames versus c0ntact: 4:00 p.m. EST
Saturday, Match 14
- Gen.G versus Envy: 1:00 p.m. EST
- Chaos EC versus MIBR: 4:00 p.m. EST
Sunday, March 15 p.m. EST
- Orgless versus Dignitas: 1:00 p.m. EST
- FunPlus Phoenix versus Cloud9 : 4:00 p.m. EST