Who Will Advance from the CIS Minor?
On July 10th the second of four minors will be taking place, this time with CIS teams in attendance. However this time around we will be seeing just seven teams competing for the two Major spots available due to nemiga's visa issues. In group A we have HellRaisers, PLINK, and pro100. While in group B we have AVANGAR, forZe, Monolith, and Spirit. On top of a team missing from the event, both PLINK and Monolith will be playing with stand-ins. If the games are as interesting as the events leading up to the Minor, then I expect that we are in for a interesting week of Counterstrike. This will be my second installment of my Minor series where I will discuss which teams will be advancing to the major.
This is a team that has been slowly on the rise for several months now, beating bigger names like VP and bringing games to the very last possible round against others like BIG. Their last few months of competing has made them the 30th best team in the world as well as the best team in Russia. Spirits young set of players don't have a lot of LAN experience under their belt, something that could impact their performance in London. However when it comes to beating AVANGAR and ForZe, the two hardest opponents in their group, Spirit makes it look like a walk in the park. The young team has placed top five at all five of the offline events attended in the past six months. With a majority of the competition being against Tier 2 opponents.Their only bad result being at the EPL Season 7 EU Relegation where they placed last.
A lot of the players on Spirit have been playing out of their minds the past few months, most notably in Viktor 'somedieyoung' Orudjev. He is the newest player on the team, and by new I mean he's only played 196 maps vs the 500+ his teammates have. Him and Pavel 'COLDYY1' Veklenko have been two of the more consistent members on the team however in the past month or so somedieyoung has stuck out a fair bit more than his fellow teammate. During the first 6 months of 2018, he has averaged a 1.18 rating over the course of 159 maps. He has also managed to have a positive rating at every offline event the team has been to. The young Ukrainian has definitely made a name for himself on the team as a stand out rifler, especially in the recent months.
Spirits first game will be against Monolith, one of the worst teams attending the tournament. It is a Bo1 which makes the chances of an upset more likely, however seeing as this lineup has yet to even beat ForZe this should be one of the easiest games Spirit will have at the tournament. As for AVANGAR, they have played the team on 8 maps, 6 of those being wins. Most recently Spirit beat them at the CIS Minor Qualifier 2-0. Despite the dominance the Kazakhstan team has shown in the past year, Spirit is the one enemy they can't quite beat which makes me even more confident in their capabilities of at least grabbing a 2nd place spot here in London. The path to victory is a straight shot with just a few minor bumps in the way for Spirit and I believe we will be seeing them attending their first Major in September.
HellRaisers are yet another team attending a Minor as the clear favorites to advance to the Major. Their group consists of PLINK and pro100 since FACEIT couldn't find a fourth team to fill in for nemiga (couldn't attend due to visa issues). So far this year HR have really struggled to compete with the higher tiers of CS, consistently losing to teams like Gambit and North. However when it comes to the competition attending the minor they have been quite dominant, consistently beating almost all the tier 2/3 teams they have faced. Besides StarSeries S5 they have also been performing well on LAN. Placing top 3 at Moche XL, DreamHack Open Tours, Masters, and V4 Future Sports Festival.
With rising stars like Özgür 'woxic' Eker and Issa 'ISSAA' Murad on the team it is no surprise that HR has been able to win some of these smaller events. At one of their most recent events, DreamHack Open Tours, ISSAA managed to take home the MVP award despite losing in the final against North. The young player had a 1.42 rating over the course of 9 maps, Woxic followed closely behind as the second best player at the event with a 1.33 rating overall. Due to their outstanding performance HellRaisers went 2-0 against GODSENT, EnVyUs, and Imperial. Only losing their opening match and the grand final, they ended the event in a not so glamours way but their overall performance has shown us what they are really capable of. It also a convincing factor as to why they should have no problem in London this week.
Besides being in the easiest group of the CIS Minor, they also get to skip straight to the Group A Winners' Match due to the absence of a fourth team in the group. Meaning they only have to win one game to make it out of groups. No matter who they face, PLINK or pro100, this should be a swift and easy Bo1 for the more experienced and even more talented players on HellRaisers. The closest opponents that either team has faced being AVANGAR and Sprout, games that have gone terribly for both. As long as HellRaisers takes both teams seriously and doesn't make the fatal mistake of assuming a win is guaranteed without a bit of preparation, we should see ISSAA and Woxic carrying the way to victory. The playoffs should be no different seeing as HellRaisers have already proven they can beat even the most challenging team from Group B as well.