Finally the Minors are underway and the long-awaited London Major is getting closer, much to the delight of eSports betting fans. Even though the Minors themselves are seldom great tournaments, they’re of utmost importance for any participating teams. NRG for example skipped ESL One Cologne, the most prestigious CS:GO tournament outside of the Majors themselves, to be present here. The Majors are the the most important aspect of every Counter-Strike players career.
We’ll start off with the Americas to see which two teams can earn their spot at the Challenger Stage in September. Despite not offering the strongest field of teams, there’s definitely a couple of them that could make a splash at the Major if they manage to qualify.
There’s one team present that stands head and shoulders above the rest and are heavy favourites to advance. They’re the only team with a reasonable shot at actually making the playoffs once they reach the Major. I’m of course talking about NRG, the team that came out of nowhere in ECS earlier this year and have proven since then that it was not just a one-time achievement.
The North American Counter-Strike scene is notorious for having a very shallow talent pool beyond the top three teams of the region. So what NRG has done this year is quite extraordinary. Many had completely written off FugLy’s and Daps’ careers when they entered this team of youngsters, but they managed the impossible and won the ECS league ahead of titans like Mibr, Liquid and Cloud9.
Even after ECS they had many doubters, but they have proved them wrong time and time again. They managed to reach the grand finals of StarSeries earlier in June by knocking out both Liquid and North in the play-off bracket, two teams that are considerably better than the competition they will face here at the Minor. The money men at Betway are generous here for offering 39/20 for NRG to win the event.
There are a couple of teams which might put a spanner in the works for NRG and we’ll do a quick review of them here. First out is Não Tem Como, the once so feared Brazilian team knows as Immortals. They’re unfortunately a shadow of their former selves but the line-up still boasts some big names and to take them lightly will be a big mistake.
Two time Major-winner Fnx alongside kiNg and felps completed by some up-and-coming Brazilian talent is a line-up that could scare any team. But they have been involved in numerous scandals which has led to a halt in their careers. No eSports-organisation wants their name associated with the Brazilians. Their talent is undeniable, but they lack the discipline to become one of the great teams.
Não Tem Como, or NTC for short, is in many ways the opposite of a team like NRG that has proven what hard work and dedication lead to. NTC lack the commitment and structure needed to take down a team like NRG many will argue. But they should be able to qualify if they can manage to pull things together this weekend. NTC to qualify 9/4 available at Bet365 is a solid bet.
CompLexity is the team that top esports bookmakers deem to be the second most likely to take home the Minor trophy and it’s hard to see why actually. CompLexity has had poor results this year, they ended the ECS season with a 0-18 record, that is horrid to say the least. In ESL Pro League they barely avoided relegation with a 7-15 record ending the season in 10th place.
Since they’re not a good enough team to regularly face European opposition in the bigger tournaments it’s hard to judge them outside of the North American online leagues. They did manage to upset Renegades recently during Dreamhack Summer, but Renegades bombed out 0-3 in that event and the result probably speaks more to how bad Renegades were than anything else.
The last team that might be a contender to advance to the Major is Rogue. You don’t hear much from them, but they have quite a few good players in Hiko, Rickeh and SicK and have managed to upset better teams from time to time. Hiko’s great LAN-experience might be the difference maker this weekend.
Rogue definitely has an outside shot of qualifying, but it depends what kind of NTC we’ll see this event. Não Tem Como should on paper beat Rogue, but as they’ve shown before a lot of things can go wrong for the Brazilians. If you fancy their chances though, Rogue are 10/3 at Bet365 to reach the finals.