ECS Season 1 Finals: Preview
Posted 2016-06-24 Dare_Dev1L
Our players have packed their bags and are traveling to London's 12,500-seater SSE Arena this weekend to attend the Esports Championship Series (ECS) Season 1 Finals. Fresh from a group stage victory at ELEAGUE, the team will be looking to maintain its strong form. The prize pool distribution for the event has not been revealed yet but ECS previously announced it would give out $3.5 million across two seasons, including travel support.
The ECS Season 1 Finals will begin with eight teams competing in a double-elimination group stage, where the elimination and decider matches will be played in a best-of-three format. The top two teams from each group will move on to the single-elimination, best-of-three playoffs. The top four qualifying teams from North America and Europe will be placed into two groups, with the two regions each having two teams per group. Now that Fnatic has been placed back on the pedestal, how will the team fare in Group B? Let’s take a look.
Group Stage Preview
Perhaps the biggest question of this event is how well the boys will fare against other top teams now that the full lineup has been reunited. Fnatic has only lost two events since Dennis "dennis" Edman joined. The first was MLG Columbus, after which Olof "olofmeister" Kajbjer announced he had an injury. The second was the EPL S3 Finals, where the team played with a stand-in. Last week, Olof made a surprise showing at ELEAGUE where he put in an MVP display, topping the charts in Group D and proving once again how much he means to the team.
We’ve been placed in Group B with Astralis, Cloud9, and TSM. Group B at ECS is similar to our group at ELEAGUE, which included FaZe, dignitas, and TSM. In this case, Astralis is the Danish team, Cloud9 is the wild card, and TSM is back with the same team. On paper, we should expect the same results, but matches against Astralis are wildly unpredictable in group stages. Historically, Fnatic has had the upper hand against the Danes, especially during Fnatic’s dominant 6 event run. However, Astralis did defeat Fnatic right before Olof’s hiatus at MLG Columbus, which was the team’s last match against Astralis with the full lineup.
Cloud9 has been on a downward spiral this past year, leaving Fnatic the heavy favorite in the match against them. They are not slouches, though. With a well-rounded work ethic and countering ability, they are more than capable of pulling off big numbers against us. Their biggest disadvantages are their lineup changes and inconsistency against higher tiered teams. Although it’s unlikely they will top the group, they are strong contenders for second place.
TSM was at the bottom of the group at ELEAGUE, so them topping the group at ECS is unlikely. They do, however, have the talent for upsets. If they can catch Fnatic off guard, like they have on Mirage, they could prove to be a challenge. They seem to struggle against Fnatic on other maps, though. If the boys veto out Mirage, then TSM could be in trouble.
Lately, there’s been a lot of discussion about whether Fnatic is still the best team in the world. The team challenging our title will be playing in Group A. Luminosity has been internationally successful in the past few months and has the consistency of a winning team. Now that Fnatic has the full lineup back, the match against Luminosity will be its biggest challenge. Fnatic is coming back with a vengeance and the confrontation with Luminosity is the most anticipated match-up of the event.
Coincidentally, the player fresh off a recovery was also the MVP of the first tournament after his comeback. Olof "olofmeister" Kajbjer was not just the man of the hour at ELEAGUE. He had a 70+ K/D ratio at the event and was chosen as Player of the Match against FaZe. If his form stays as consistent as it was at ELEAGUE, he could dominate again at ECS.
Robin "flusha" Rönnquist has also been showing great form recently. He was undoubtedly the best performing player in Olof’s absence. The clutch king will be the second player to look out for at this event. Who knows what will happen when they’re both at their best?
ECS will start at 11:15 CET. Fnatic’s game against Cloud9 will start at 16:15 CET. If Fnatic wins the match against Cloud9, we will be playing in the Group B winners’ match at 17:30 CET. If we win both matches, we will be taking Saturday off, as it is dedicated to the elimination and decider matches which, for Group B, begin at 13:15 CET. The event will continue on Sunday, where the playoffs begin at 11:00 CET. The best-of-three Grand Final will be at 19:00 CET.