IEM Fall 2021 NA Playoffs - Preview
general
IEM Fall 2021 NA Playoffs - Preview

Liquid and FURIA have both made it through to the playoffs after a flawless group stage performance. We break down their matches against the Brazilians from GODSENT and paiN, respectively.

Valle
Freelance Esports Writer
8th Oct, 21·☕️ 6 min read
Share

Format

The IEM Fall 2021 NA playoffs will feature a single-elimination bracket with best-of-threes leading up to the best-of-five grand final. Liquid and FURIA have both made it through to the playoffs after a flawless group stage performance and they will take on GODSENT and paiN, respectively.

The semi-final matches will start Sunday at 08:45 AM AEST with the grand final scheduled for Monday, 07:45 AM AEST.

Liquid (1.39) vs. GODSENT (3.02)

Team Liquid are coming in as the favourite in this matchup against GODSENT and this will be the first time that they face the Brazilian team.

Liquid have been in fine form, having blitzed through the group stage with zero losses on record. They also had a respectable showing at ESL Pro League after the player break before BLAST Premier where they were eliminated after losses to Vitality and Astralis. However, there isn’t much shame in losing against those teams. Vitality are up there with the likes of Natus Vincere and Gambit among the world’s elite, and Astralis have been in solid form despite fielding a roster which is clearly under construction so to speak.

GODSENT opened up with a loss to FURIA in their group at IEM Fall, but went flawless after that with wins against 00Nation, TeamOne, Evil Geniuses and Triumph to qualify for the playoffs. The Brazilian side looked good in their wins too, with 16-11 against Triumph and EG being the closest scorelines.

Maps

GODSENT have been around for a while, so we have enough data to get a decent idea of how their map pool shapes up. They are a team that likes to play Dust2 and Vertigo primarily. Liquid having been in excellent form on Vertigo, having won six straight, including wins against Vitality and Astralis, so it is safe to assume that GODSENT won’t pick it here.

So far with FalleN, Dust2 has been the weakest map for Liquid in terms of overall win rate, closely followed by Nuke. Both maps are solid options for GODSENT.

Personally, I think they should go for the Nuke pick in this one. They have recorded an impressive 73.7% win rate on this map, and a lot of these games have been against pretty respectable competition in North America. Liquid haven’t looked all too comfortable on Nuke either, having lost four of their last five on this map.

Liquid will probably look towards either Inferno or Vertigo. As mentioned previously, they have been in excellent form on Vertigo and have started picking this map more frequently.

GODSENT were absolutely annihilated 16-1 by FURIA at this event on Vertigo, so perhaps Liquid will look to do the same here. Inferno has been a better map for GODSENT, with their only loss this month coming against Extra Salt, and that was a close one (16-14) which makes me think that Liquid will probably opt for Vertigo over Inferno, which is otherwise a more common map pick for the North American side.

I suspect we land on Mirage as a potential decider, and while this is probably GODSENT’s best chance at the upset, I think you still have to say that they will be a pretty significant underdog on this map. Even if we were to end up on a map like Inferno instead, I am pretty confident that the North American side gets things done on a decider.

Conclusion

The Brazilians from GODSENT are clearly underdogs against a Liquid side that has looked quite convincing over the past month. However, I could definitely see them winning their map choice often enough to consider the handicap.

While stronger teams like FURIA often get the better of them, they have been able to take maps against them in both of the BO3s that they have played recently, which shows that they have enough quality to win a map against a top side. Liquid’s Nuke and Dust2 game isn’t really strong enough for me to say that they comfortably take this series 2-0. However, I would still expect them to take this series over three and they should take their map choice comfortably if they go for Vertigo.

If you want to go for the safest play, I’d grab Liquid to win Map 2 at 1.5. They have been so dominant on Vertigo and considering what FURIA did to GODSENT on Vertigo, I think there is value to be had at 1.5 or better. If you want to grab the underdog, I would probably eat the juice and take either GODSENT to win their map choice at 2.75 or better. The round handicap isn’t a bad shout either, as things can easily get close on maps like Nuke and Dust2 if the underdog strings a streak of rounds together on the more dominant sides.

FURIA (1.40) vs. paiN (3.00)

FURIA take on paiN Gaming in the last semi-final matchup. FURIA tend to be dominant against Brazilian opposition, and their history against paiN does nothing but prove the fact.

FURIA and paiN have faced off twice before, with FURIA coming out on top both times with 2-0 victories. The first series back in April was reasonably close, but they made some adjustments in their matchup earlier this month by picking Inferno and they absolutely destroyed paiN on this map 16-1.

Maps

paiN’s best chance at an upset against FURIA will probably be on a map like Ancient which has proven to be a unpredictable map over its short time in the map rotation. The last series they played against FURIA on this map was quite close, ending 16-13 in FURIA’s favour, a scoreline that would have been enough to cover the spread on the handicap for paiN.

However, I think FURIA are just far too good to lose this series in a BO3 and they just seem to have a severe mental edge against other Brazilian teams. Their only loss to a Brazilian team in recent memory was to GODSENT, which is a better team.

Conclusion

I think FURIA take this series enough to consider a bet on the ML at 1.40 or better, which implies that FURIA have to win over 72% of the time to make it a profitable bet. If you want to have a look at a longer number, you could take FURIA to sweep the series, or even take a look at the round exotics. paiN were able to take 13 rounds against FURIA on Ancient in their last meeting, so we could see something similar again.