And here we go. It’s time for the ESL One Birmingham EU/CIS playoffs. After the group stage, we have the best 8 teams that will face off in the double elimination bracket. Day 1 of the playoffs will start with the 2 lower bracket matches.
FlyToMoon @ 1.50
A good Vikin.gg group stage performance was expected, as well as their top 4 group placement. Basically they’ve won almost all matches they should’ve won. Well except their match vs Unique, which they surprisingly lost with 1-2. They have ended their group stage run in 3rd place of group A with 4 wins and 3 losses. Their losses vs Nigma and Secret were expected, but their loss against Unique really surprised us, even if it was in the last round which didn’t matter too much for them. Vikin.gg are playing really well but from the last 5 matches played they have only 2 wins.
On the other hand FlyToMoon is one of my favourites teams in the competition for sure. Sometimes they are playing so well, and they are impressing us all, but sometimes they’ve got lost in their drafts and mid to late game. However, they are showing results, and that is all that matters for them. They’ve ended their group B run on 4th place with 4 wins and 3 losses, same as Vikin.gg. They had some nice wins vs NiP and OG, and they took a map off VP.Prodigy which is really a hard thing to do lately. Overall their performance was decent, and they are performing well in all tournaments they are playing. However, they still need that 1 step to improve and to be able to fight the best teams.
Overall in this match I do think FlyToMoon are slight favourites, and this match will be much closer than the odds are suggesting. However, my brain and heart is telling me to go with FlyToMoon. I think they have a 60% chance to take a win from Vikin.gg and knock them out. It will be a high pressure match for sure as the loser is going home and is knocked out of the tournament.
Team Liquid @ 1.30
I’m not even sure how HellRaisers ended up in the top 4 in the first place. For example, NiP has a much better map win-loss ratio, and they have a positive 2-0 result vs HellRaisers themselves. And if you ask me, NiP should be in the playoffs now instead of HellRaisers, as they deserved it more. I don’t know who created those ESL rules, but they have no sense at all.
This match is the battle of 3rd place group B team HellRaisers vs 4th place group A Team Liquid. Both teams ended up their group stage run with 4 wins and 3 losses. The only CIS team that’s managed to take a map off Team Liquid in the group stage was Natus Vincere, but in the end NaVi lost 1-2. Liquid lost to Nigma, Secret and Vikin.gg, which means they can be beaten for sure, but I’m not sure if HellRaisers can beat them. Most probably not. The most impressive results for HellRaisers were a 2-0 win vs FlyToMoon and a 2-1 win vs OG (which ended OG’s group stage with disappointing 1-6 win-loss ratio).
I think that from the HellRaisers match vs NiP we can learn a lot. HR lost 0-2, and Team Liquid reminds me of NiP sometimes. Liquid are big big favourites here, and if all drafts and early game goes by their plan, they will take this series 2-0. Team Liquid ML win bet is the safest way to go if you can find the good odds. No way HellRaisers can win that match, maybe they can surprise us with a map, but that’s the maximum we will see from them.