Who Will be Advancing From the Americas Minor?
The Americas Minor will be the first of four played in London, each one holding a $50k prize pool as well as a chance to qualify for the Major. Over the course of the next month, 32 teams will be battling it out for a spot at the FACEIT Major taking place at the end of September. Dignitas, Rogue, NRG, Swole Patrol, compLexity, eUnited, Não Tem Como, and FURIA will all be battling it out this weekend to take one of the two spots available at the America Minor. In the first segment of this series, I will be discussing which of the 8 America teams I believe we will be seeing at the Major this September.
It goes without question that NRG is by far the favorite team to take one of the two spots up for grabs at the Minor. These young players have been on a rampage since the beginning of the year, most notably known for their 1st place finish during ECS Season 5 and their 2nd place finish during EPL Season 7. Although a majority of their success has come from online play, they have been improving with every LAN event that has comes their way. NRG's first few showings were well below what people expected, but since replacing their old coach with Chet 'ImAPet' Singh things have been going uphill.
NRG has been dominating the NA scene since well before the EPL and ECS Seasons took place, most impressively qualifying for IEM Sydney and StarSeries S5. Beating the likes of Liquid, compLexity, and even Major champions Cloud9 during their reign of online dominance. Recently they have also been bringing this level of play to the big stage. During StarSeries S5 they managed to place 2nd after a very shaky start, over the course of 19 maps they only lost 8. This was NRG’s best result yet, playing as many games as they did in an offline environment is no easy task for even the most experienced of teams. They then followed this up with a 4th place finish at the ECS Season 5 finals, taking down FaZe and G2 in a very dominating fashion before falling to Liquid.
The American team's recent performances have rightfully earned them the #7 spot in the world as well as making them the #1 team in NA right now. Looking at their competition, they are miles ahead of everyone else and it is going to take a miracle for them to somehow go out before taking at least 2nd place. Especially with the group they have been put into, all three of their opponents have not lived up to expectations as of late. The only real worry being if the Brazilian stars on NTC play out of their minds, however after their performance at ESL Belo Horizonte that seems unlikely. If everything goes according to plan, I see very many NRG stickers in our future.
Choosing the second team to advance from the Minor was quite hard seeing as several of the top contenders for a spot are in relatively the same position right now. besides NRG of course, the rest of the big name teams attending like NTC and Rogue have been going through a rebuilding period. A majority of them being very inconsistent in terms of performance. However Besides their recent Stockholm Qualifier results, compLexity has been improving a lot in the recent weeks and have also had the most time to adjust to their now not so recent additions. They are also in the easier group of this qualifier, Rogue being the only real opponent standing in between them and a spot at the FACEIT Major.
Both Shahzeb 'ShahZaM' Khan and Peter 'stanislaw' Jarguz have helped the team out a lot. Stanislaw's style of IGLing has fit in quite nicely with their other three teammates so far and ShahZaM’s fragging abilities have added a new level of firepower and confidence to the team. Over the past three months ShahZam specifically has grown tremendously, so far he has scored a 1.24 rating over 64 maps with coL. A huge increase from the 1.06 (49 maps) he managed to grab while on OpTic. The team as a whole has also managed to place top five at 10 of the 11 events they have attended (both on and offline). A majority of these have been qualifiers, but my main point is that they have been consistently beating a lot of the teams they are going to be forced to face at this minor.
FURIA is the only team in this group that coL has yet to prove they can beat, losing to the Brazilians at the ZOTAC Cup Regional Finals. The loss looked more like a case of unpreparedness rather than FURIA being a more skilled team, something we see happen quite often when a higher tier opponent faces a lower. They will be forced to face FURIA again for the first match of the tournament, however this time it will be a Bo1. Making it to the Major would be a huge accomplishment for the Americans and I have no doubt they will of done their homework for every opponent attending the minor. Especially on FURIA, the stakes are much higher this time around and they can not afford to make any mistakes. Seeing as coL has been on the down low for the most part since picking up their two newest editions, this will be the biggest event they have a chance of qualifying for. Playing at the Major will be the perfect opportunity for them to show us what they are made of. As well as prove that they aren't just another big name NA team that will die off after a few months of play.