ESL One: Road to Rio (CIS) Preview

Will s1mple's NaVi come out on top or can a team like Spirit cause an upset? We break it down in our ESL: One Road to Rio (CIS) Preview.

Valentin Gustafsson
Freelance Esports Writer
30th Apr, 20·☕️ 5 min read

Will s1mple’s NaVi come out on top or can a team like Spirit or forZe cause an upset? We break it down in our preview of ESL: One Road to Rio CIS.

Competition Information

With the European and North American portion of ESL One: Road to Rio already in full swing, the time has come for the likes of Natus Vincere and to duke it out in the CIS region.

Twelve of the best teams in the region have been divided into two best-of-three, round-robin groups. The winner of each group will be advancing straight to the semi-finals, while the teams finishing in second and third will get to start their playoff journey in the quarter-finals. 

The playoffs will feature a single-elimination bracket, and all matches are best-of-three. 

The groups look as follows:

Group A

  • 🇷🇺 forZe
  • 🇷🇺 Gambit Youngsters
  • 🇧🇾 Nemiga
  • 🇷🇺 Spirit
  • 🇷🇺 Unique
  • 🇰🇿 Winstrike

Group B:

  • 🇺🇦 Natus Vincere
  • 🇰🇿
  • 🇷🇺 Espada
  • 🇷🇺 Hard Legion
  • 🇷🇺 pro100
  • 🇰🇿 Syman

ESL One: Road to Rio kicks off April 30 and runs through May 17.

The Current Season

Note: All stats are from 2020

Teams to Watch



Record: 46 / 1 / 24
Most Played Map: Inferno (75.0%)
Best Map: Inferno (75.0%)
Worst Map: Vertigo (0.0%)

forZe had a disappointing start to the year, bombing out of DreamHack Open Anaheim with losses to North and Endpoint, and regional rivals Sprit has gotten the better of them on three separate occasions. However, this is one of the longest standing rosters in CS:GO, and they are definitely capable of coming back strong.

Gambit Youngsters

Gambit Youngsters
Record: 58 / 0 / 37
Most Played Map: Dust (56.0%)
Best Map: Vertigo (88.9%)
Worst Map: Train (50.0%)

This an exciting team of young, upcoming players from Russia (and Estonia) who have made a name for themselves in recent times. sh1ro has been fantastic for this team, and he is one of many exciting AWPers in the CIS region. They have come awfully close to beating teams like Spirit and, and perhaps this will be the tournament where they finally get over that hurdle.


Record: 72 / 0 / 34
Most Played Map: Inferno (66.7%)
Best Map: Train (75.0%)
Worst Map: Vertigo (40.0%)

Spirit’s greatest achievement to date is winning SECTOR: Mostbet, where they defeated the likes of HAVU and GODSENT. This is a seriously talented roster and it feels like it is just a matter of time before they add to their trophy cabinet. They are undefeated against domestic competition thus far in 2020, beating out the likes of forZe, and Gambit Youngsters in BO3s.

Natus Vincere


Natus Vincere
Record: 39 / 0 / 24
Most Played Map: Dust2 (61.1%)
Best Map: Overpass (100.0%)
Worst Map: Inferno (36.4%)

The big favorite to win this tournament is, of course, the IEM Katowice 2020 champions, Natus Vincere. Not only are they the strongest team in this competition, but their group draw is also very favorable. We rarely get to see NaVi play against domestic competition, and it will definitely be interesting to see how the likes of Spirit and forZe stack up against them in the playoffs.
Record: 18 / 0 / 26
Most Played Map: Overpass (30.0%)
Best Map: Inferno (80.0%)
Worst Map: Mirage (20.0%) have been on a clear downtrend ever since their win at BLAST Pro Series Moscow, but they still have enough quality to potentially challenge for a top placing here. They did not look too sharp in the recent DreamHack qualifiers, losing to both Spirit and forZe, but these were both fairly close games and it would definitely be a mistake to underestimate them. 


Record: 22 / 0 / 9
Most Played Map: Train (75.0%)
Best Map: Overpass (100.0%)
Worst Map: Mirage (40.0%)

This is an interesting team that has a good mix of experience with players like HObbit and bondik, combined with some serious talent in the form of El1an. They are undefeated so far in LOOT.BET Season 6, and they swept both HellRaisers and forZe in the Minor Qualifiers, making them one of the dark horses of the tournament.

Betting Tips:

Natus Vincere will definitely be the big favorite to win this one, and it is hard to see anyone challenging them. Spirit has looked fantastic, and they are my favorites alongside NaVi. There are a few teams that have the potential to cause some upsets in group play, such as Espada and Winstrike, and there will likely be a few opportunities to take advantage of the odds on these teams.


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