It is time for the eighth season of StarSeries i-League to get underway in Berek, Turkey
It is time for the eighth season of StarSeries i-League to get underway in Berek, Turkey. Read on as we break down all you need to know about th tournament.
StarSeries i-League is an event organized by StarLadder and ImbaTV. This season, the tournament will be held in the Turkish city of Berek by the Mediterranean coast.
Astralis and Liquid will be absent in Turkey, but other than that we’ve got ourselves a strong lineup of teams which includes sixteen of the world’s best. As we have become accustomed to with StarLadder events, the format is excellent with best-of-threes from start to finish. The format will be the commonly used GSL system (Double-Elimination). There will be eight teams in each group, four of whom will advance to the playoffs. The group winners will be advancing to the upper bracket, whereas the runner ups will advance to the lower bracket.
This tournament was last played back in March and featured a similar set of teams like the one we will see in Turkey. That time, we saw NaVi come up trumps against fnatic in the best-of-five final. This has been a very good tournament for NaVi historically, and with the acquisition of GuardiaN it would not be a surprise to see them make another run for the title. The groups are as follows:
The tournament kicks off October 21 and will run all throughout the week with the winner being crowned October 27.
NaVi have acquired GuardiaN from FaZe after letting go of CS veteran Zeus last month. Since GuardiaN is now the main AWPer for the team, s1mple has gone back to rifling — something which he hasn’t done a lot of since his days on Liquid. Their first event together was DreamHack Masters Malmö earlier this month and they definitely looked promising. Interestingly, both flamie and Boombl4 had a good tournament after the changes and it will be interesting to see how they perform moving forward. The StarSeries events have always been good to NaVi and the proof is in the pudding. They have finished in the top 3 at five out of the six StarSeries events that they have attended, two of which they won. With no Liquid or Astralis, I see no reason why they shouldn’t be able to make yet another deep run here.
Evil Geniuses are coming in as the tournament favorites after winning ESL One New York in dominant fashion. Their performance that followed was less convincing as they bombed out of DreamHack Masters Malmö after shocking losses to Grayhound and mousesports. However, it needs to be said that they flew over to Sweden from the US just a day before the event started. We alluded to potential upsets due to the crazy scheduling in our preview from DreamHack Masters Malmö and it proved more than true as both Liquid and EG were at the end of big upsets in Sweden. I expect EG to get back to winning ways in Turkey, as this is a tournament that they tend to do well at. Evil Geniuses are the epitome of grinders and tournaments with a format such as this one is right up their alley.
fnatic have chosen to reunite with flusha and Golden who last played on the team back in 2018. The move was an immediate success, as fnatic were able to overcome all the odds to win a rather stacked DreamHack Masters Malmö earlier this month. KRIMZ was stellar as usual, but it was the likes of JW and Brollan that proved to be the difference makers as few were able to stand up to their aggressive plays. If those two can continue to show this type of form then fnatic will be a very strong team moving forward. There is, of course, a caveat to their win in Malmö — and that is the fact that many of the teams had been in the US for ESL One New York just a day before the event. However, another good showing here and they should most definitely be taken seriously. The Swedes will have a good chance of doing so as they have gotten a fairly favorable group draw, going up against Brazilian team Imperial in the first round.
Like most teams, Vitality decided to make a roster change following the major. In comes shox in favor of NBK- who had been with the team since they formed under the name of Waterboys. ZywOo is still the man on Vitality, so nothing appears to really have changed on that front. However, shox is known for his clutching ability and he was excellent as a closer for Vitality in Malmö, leading all players with eight clutches won in total for the entirety of the event. This is something that Vitality have sorely missed. Players like apEX and ZywOo are excellent at opening up rounds for their team, but they haven’t really had someone who could consistently close out the rounds. With shox on the team, they now have someone that they can rely on more often in those situations.
Team Name: mousesports https://static.hltv.org/images/team/logo/4494 Record: 87 / 0 / 39 Most Played Map: Inferno (67.9%) Best Map: Train (81.8%) Worst Map: Overpass (62.5%)
This mousesports roster was formed back in March of this year under the leadership of karrigan, acquiring young talents like woxic and frozen. They already have a title under their belt after winning DreamHack Open Austin back in May. However, at the bigger events, they have been unable to achieve that type of success thus far. I expect the likes of woxic to come in all guns blazing here and they should definitely be highly motivated which makes them somewhat interesting in terms of the betting angle. They have a doable group, but they might need to fend off a team like MIBR or Renegades in a potential lower bracket matchup. If mousesports are unable to have any sort of success at this event, then a roster move could be on the cards since the lineup might just have run its course.
In the preview for last season’s event, I tipped NaVi to win and NRG to make the final. As things turned out, NaVi did win the event and NRG fell just short of the final after losing to fnatic in the semis. Now, these two teams come in as the favorites for the event at odds of 4.50 and 3.50 respectively. I like them both this week and it really is a tossup between the two if you want to bet an outright. I definitely like EG’s side of the bracket a bit more, as there are some potential landmines for NaVi. If you want to fire a single bullet and have the best possible chance of seeing your team in the playoffs, EG would be my pick. With that said, the track record is excellent for NaVi at this event and I expect them to challenge for the title yet again. In terms of underdogs, the team that I like the most is probably mousesports at odds of 12.0 (6.50 to make finals) simply due to their upside. However, the most interesting betting opportunity at this event will come in the group stage matches with teams such as G2 and Heroic who both have some upset potential in my opinion.