Two spots at BLAST Spring Showdown will be up for grabs as Elisa Invitational is about to get underway. We break it down.
Two spots at the BLAST Spring Showdown will be up for grabs as Elisa Invitational is set to get underway. We break down the format and re-cap the form of the teams.
Elisa Invitational is centered around Nordic teams, and will, of course, be played entirely online due to the current coronavirus pandemic.
Eight teams have been invited to partake in the tournament, and they have been split into two round-robin groups. The winners will advance straight to the semi-finals, while the second and third place teams will advance to the quarter-finals. Since this tournament is set-up as a qualifier with no prize pool, no grand final will be played, and the winner of each semi-final will qualify for the upcoming BLAST Spring Showdown.
The point allocation during the group stage looks as follows:
The groups, which features teams like Dignitas and North, look as follows:
Elisa Invitational kicks off April 30 and will run through May 3.
Dignitas failed to make it to the playoffs at FLASHPOINT with GuardiaN as a stand-in, but with hallzerk back on the team, they have started to look a bit better. GeT_RiGhT has had a few decent games for Dignitas recently which is a good sign, and f0rest is still a consistent force on this team. Dignitas have had a few decent upsets against tougher competition, with their win against fnatic being the highlight of the year so far, so the old dogs might just have a decent chance at competing for a Top 2 spot considering the competition.
GODSENT have had a decent start to ESL One: Road to Rio, beating out the likes of North and Copenhagen Flames. This team has been together for quite some time now, and they are hungry to win another title after taking down WePlay! Forge of Masters last year. Maden is one of many great talents to emerge from the Balkan region, and his aggressive style of play makes him one of the players to watch.
ENCE have acquired one of the game’s rising talents in the form of Jamppi, who will be making his debut for the team at this tournament. Jamppi is ineligible to play at Valve sanctioned events due to his VAC ban, but ENCE have solved this by establishing a six-man roster, with xseveN likely to fill-in when Jammpi is unable to play. This is definitely the most individually skilled iteration of ENCE that we have seen, but the lack of a true in-game leader is the ever present issue on this team.
APEKS will be attending this tournament with the former fnatic and NiP player dennis as a stand-in, which is quite frankly an upgrade to Polly who was initially supposed to stand-in for the team. However, they will have a difficult time competing in a group that includes Dignitas, GODSENT and a Jamppi-powered ENCE. There are a few decent players on this roster, such as Marcelious and truth, but it would be incredibly surprising to see them make it out of this group.
The news just dropped that HUNDEN, one of the most renowned in-game leaders in the region, has retired as a player and will coach Heroic moving forward. This is a great addition to a team that was already fundamentally sound. We have yet to see Heroic play without es3tag and Snappi, but they should be one of the better teams at this competition. Their latest addition, TeSeS, has looked great this year for Copenhagen Flames, and niko is an experienced player despite his tender age.
The big underdog of this competition will be the Finnish team KOVA, who are currently ranked no. 132 in HLTV’s world rankings. It would be very surprising to see KOVA get anything done in a group with fundamentally sound teams like Heroic and North, but it will be interesting to get a glimpse of a player like darkeps who has shown signs of brilliance at times against teams like Endpoint and APEKS.
With RUBINO out with an injury, H4RR3 has been standing in for Nordavind for most of the year, and he is expected to do so once more in this tournament. Nordavind have had mixed results so far this year, but they did look decent at times during 2019, beating out the likes of Tricked and forZe to win Smack My Beach Cup. It would be surprising to see Nordavind go far, especially without RUBINO, but they have enough skill to take maps against stronger competition.
North have started looking a bit better since MSL joined the team, but they are still very inconsistent. They have beaten some giants of the game, such as Natus Vincere and mousesports, but they have also lost out to teams far weaker on paper. They should have a great chance at making playoffs here alongside Heroic, but there are a few potential landmines in the playoffs, with GODSENT being one of the teams that have gotten the better of them recently.
Group A Winner:
GODSENT might not be the flashiest name, but they have proven with wins against North and ENCE that they should not be underestimated in a tournament like this. ENCE might just have the most stacked roster in the tournament in terms of individual skill, and the addition of Jamppi might prove to be enough to get the better GODSENT this time around, but it is questionable if they should be the favorite here.
Group B Winner:
With the group stage being BO1, I don’t mind taking a chance on Heroic here at the longer number. They have played zero officials together with the new lineup, so there is a bit of a surprise factor. While North have been playing ESL Pro League and ESL One: Road to Rio, HUNDEN’s Heroic have been sitting on the sidelines, and they will have had plenty of both time and data to prepare properly for their local rivals.