In a surprise grand finals, Team Spirit and Winstrike will face off for first place in the ESL Road to Rio CIS event tomorrow. The tournament itself was full of surprises, with favorites Natus Vincere dropping out early in 7-8th place and Virtus.pro left fighting over a 3-4th place finish.
Both Spirit and Winstrike are decidedly tier-two teams, with most international appearances stemming from bigger organizations underperforming or a hot streak coincidentally coming in qualifiers. Both teams are very similar, meaning this grand final is going to come down to individual performances and map pools.
That said, both teams deserve to be here. Out of the 12 teams in attendance at the CIS Road to Rio, Spirit and Winstrike were two of four teams that had a positive round differential higher than four. That’s a telling statistic of the quality of the CIS teams in attendance. Spirit was by far the stronger team throughout the group stage, going 5-0 with a +64 round differential, blowing their competitors out of the water match after match. Winstrike struggled at times, going 3-2 with a +17 differential. Spirit and Winstrike did face off against one another in a best of three, where Spirit took the match 2-0. That said, while the team struggled on Nuke, Winstrike kept the match competitive on Mirage, losing by only two rounds.
Spirit’s Best Maps
- Train: 7-2, 77.8%
- Overpass: 6-2, 75%
- Dust 2: 12-4, 75%
Spirit excels on maps where it can create a solid tactical package and play off it once it has been established. The team won’t throw any crazy executes, but instead prefers to establish a framework before running strats that play with one individual aspect. Usually, this is enough to catch defenders offguard, as they fail to expect anything deep from Spirit. Against opposition at its own skill level, these variations are more than enough to grab a win.
Winstrike, on the other hand, prefers firepower over advanced tactics even with veterans Vladyslav “bondik” Nechyporchuk and Abay “Hobbit” Khasenov in the lineup. Their main source of frags comes from Aleksey “El1an” Gusev, who’s averaging a 1.23 rating over the past three months. Unfortunately for Winstrike, they share two of their best maps with Spirit, making any upset here reliant on Winstrike’s players having a fantastic day in concert, something that is much more difficult in practice.
Winstrike’s Best Maps
- Vertigo: 6-2, 75%
- Train: 3-1, 75%
- Dust 2: 5-2, 71.4%
Spirit should take the win here, given their dominance over the length of the CIS Road to Rio and their previous win over Winstrike earlier in the week. Overall, taking Spirit to win in two is the smartest play, as it’s unlikely that Winstrike will be able to bridge that established gap in the next 24 hours.
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