Avangar and Forze will play the qualifier to the group stage, before action kicks off in earnest on Friday at the BLAST Pro Series in Moscow. We take a look at some of the teams to back from these games.
The winner of this game qualifies for BLAST Pro Series Moscow 2019. So, there’s plenty at stake. Avangar are coming off a splendid performance in the Berlin Major, in which they were beaten by Astralis in the final. That is also their only loss in their last five matches, a period in which they toppled Liquid, the best CS:GO team in the world. In 17 maps against each other, Avangar have won 11 of those against Forze.
Natus Vincere (1.23)
Na Vi’s first group-stage match in the BLAST Pro Series is against the world No. 12 MIBR. Na Vi cruised past MIBR in the Berlin Major, beating them in Inferno (16-4) and Mirage (16-11). And Mirage is one of MIBR’s most efficient maps, with a 56% win rate over nine attempts. S1mple is in astounding form, having accumulated 0.83 kills and 0.57 deaths per round on average in the last three months. Also, Na Vi have never been beaten in Inferno, a map MIBR will certainly want to avoid.
ENCE Esports (1.93)
On paper, not much can separate either of these two teams. Based on form from the Berlin Major, however, ENCE might just hold a slight edge. Ence beat Vitality in both maps: Dust 2 (16-7) and Nuke (16-10). Ence were surprisingly beaten by Renegades in the Berlin Major, but they had a solid run right through that tournament. Allu and Sergej are both in good form for Ence, and they’ll want to show why they’re ranked No. 3 in the world.
Natus Vincere (1.88)
Ninety minutes after Na Vi’s first game, against MIBR they face ENCE to round off the first day of group-stage action. Let’s look at the map match-ups. In Mirage, Na Vi have won just 40% of their matches, while ENCE haven’t even won. In Inferno, Na Vi are unbeaten, while ENCE have won two of four. Na Vi have won two of three Nuke maps, while ENCE have lost two of five. In Overpass, Na Vi have come out on top in three of five attempts, while ENCE have a 50% win rate. In all maps, Na Vi are stronger. In a best-of-one match, it becomes harder for ENCE to topple Na Vi.