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Charleroi Esports 2019 Preview

Eight teams will travel to Belgium to compete in the country’s first major CS:GO tournament. €100,000 in prizes will be up for grabs and France’s best teams will be in attendance.

Valentin Gustafsson
Freelance Esports Writer
19th Feb, 2019·☕️ 6 min read
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Eight teams will travel to Belgium to compete in the country’s first major CS:GO tournament. €100,000 in prizes will be up for grabs and France’s best teams will be in attendance. Read on as we break down all you need to know about the tournament.

Competition Information

Charleroi Esports is a new tournament set to take place in Charleroi, Belgium. The event will be put together by tournament organizer Louvard Game in collaboration with the sports teams RCSC Charleroi and Spirou Charleroi. This will be the first big CS:GO tournament to take place in Belgium and eight teams will be competing for their part of the €100,000 prize pool. The format used will be the same as the ones we have seen for a lot of smaller tournaments on the circuit, such as the Dreamhack Open events. The eight teams will be put in groups of four with the opening and winners matches being best-of-one, whilst the elimination and decider matches will be best-of-three. Lastly, the playoffs will be all best-of-threes — including the final.

As this tournament will take place in the French-speaking city of Charleroi, it is only natural that there will be quite a few French teams attending. G2, Vitality and LDLC have all been invited and will be making the trip across the border to compete at the event. Joining them will be the Polish side Virtus.Pro, who will be making their first LAN appearance with their new roster. Sprout, Epsilon and Frostfire made it through the qualifiers and GamerLegion were invited due to the cancellation of the North American qualifier.

The Current Season

The French scene was at one point one of the strongest in CS:GO, with teams such as LDLC and EnVyUs winning major championships. But despite having a plethora of talent at their disposal, they have struggled in recent years — similar to the likes of Sweden and Poland who were also powerhouses in the early stages of CS:GO. Throughout the last few years, EnVyUs and G2 have gone through many different rosters without being able to return to winning ways — which ultimately led to G2 splitting up and EnVyUs letting go of their French roster last summer. This sparked the creation of a new team, Team Vitality.

vitality ZywOo was brilliant for Team Vitality when they won their first trophy in Atlanta.

The roster was formed in October of last year under the name of Waterboys and they were eventually picked up by the French organization Team Vitality, perhaps most known for their League of Legends team. The team includes the likes of Nathan ‘NBK-’ Schmitt and Dan ‘apEX’ Madesclaire (formerly of G2) as well as Cédric ‘RpK’ Guipouy (formerly of EnVyUs). Most importantly, the team features one of the game’s biggest talents in Mathieu ‘ZywOo’ Herbaut. The young Frenchman is already putting up excellent numbers against solid competition, and fans are hoping that he could be the one to return France to their former glory. Team Vitality already has a title under their belt after winning Dreamhack Open Atlanta back in November of last year, a tournament with a similar level of competition as the one we will see in Belgium. As long as ZywOo shows up, Team Vitality should have a chance at adding a second trophy to their cabinet. But as we’ve seen in the past, domestic matchups can be tricky as all of these players know each other well.

The other big French team is G2. After a short stint with Kévin ‘Ex6tenZ’ Droolans and Edouard ‘SmithZz’ Dubourdeaux, the team opted to make some changes to their roster by adding Audric ‘JaCkz’ Jug and Lucas ‘Lucky’ Chastang, both of whom used to ply their trade with 3DMAX. The team has looked shaky since formed, bombing out of groups at Dreamhack Open Winter and narrowly making it to the legend’s stage of the Katowice major. However, the team still includes Richard ‘shox’ Papillon and Kenny ‘kennyS’ Schrub — two players who on their day can go up against anyone.

A few weeks ago it was announced that the French side would be making additional changes to their roster, as they let go of Alexandre ‘bodyy’ Pianaro in favor of François ‘AmaNEk’ Delaunay — one of the better players in the French scene. The new recruits; JaCkz and Lucky, have already brought more firepower to the team and with the addition of AmaNEk they should be the odds on favorite to win the entire tournament alongside Vitality.

Finally, the Polish side of Virtus.Pro will make their first offline appearance with their new roster. Much like the French, the Poles have struggled for the last few years and Virtus.Pro has had to say goodbye to legends such as Filip ‘NEO’ Kubski, Wiktor ‘TaZ’ Wojtas and Jarosław ‘pashaBiceps’ Jarząbkowski. Instead, they have decided to build around Michał ‘MICHU’ Müller and Michał ‘snatchie’ Rudzki, two players who have shown promise in Kinguin and AGO respectively before joining up with Virtus.Pro last year. The two remaining players from the old lineup are Janusz ‘Snax’ Pogorzelski and Paweł ‘byali’ Bieliński. The former was at one point regarded as one of the best players in the world but has not shown signs of his former self for a while now. Regardless, this team definitely boasts more firepower than the previous rosters and considering the level of competition, it would not be out of the realm of possibility to see them have success at this tournament.

The final additions to the tournament are GamerLegion, Epsilon and LDLC. Epsilon made it through the European qualifiers and they are looking solid online as they won the European division of Mountain Dew League. The two newly formed teams GamerLegion and LDLC were the two last invitees. The former boasts some impressive firepower with players such as Tim ‘nawwk’ Jonasson and Adil ‘ScreaM’ Benrlitom, but it would be unreasonable to expect too much from them this early on.

One of the big talking points during the major was the impact of the price changes that were made to the AUG and SG-553. It is now commonplace to see four to five AUGs on ct-side. Interestingly, NBK who will be competing at Charleroi 2019 was one of the few players to dabble with the scoped rifles even before the changes. Although the AUG has been utilized frequently so far, the same is not true for the SG-553. However, expect NBK to pick it up at times, especially since Valve increased the price of the AUG but kept the prize of the SG-553 at $2,750.

Betting Tips

There are two clear favorites for this one, Vitality and G2. My money would be on one of those two win it and I would lean Vitality due to having the far easier group of the two. Vitality will only truly have to worry about Sprout as LDLC have put their roster together last minute and FrostFire really shouldn’t pose too much of a threat as they came in as a replacement for B.O.O.T-dreamScape. They aren’t even the strongest team in their country, let alone Asia. As for G2, they should have what it takes to make it through their group but I wouldn’t be surprised to see them lose a game. Epsilon, Virtus.Pro and GamerLegion certainly have enough skill to upset a team like G2 in a best-of-one which would put G2 in a spot where they will have to win at least one best-of-three to make it out of groups. As such, it wouldn’t be too surprising to see G2 face off against Vitality as early as in the semi-finals, since the winner of Group A will be playing the runner-up from Group B. Due to this I think it’s not at all bad to bet on a team like Sprout to make the final at a longer number since there is a real chance that they will be able to avoid G2 in the semis.