The Antwerp Major is heating up! We have finally reached the Legend’s Stage, where sixteen teams will fight it out for a chance to play in front of a roaring crowd in Antwerps Sportpaleis.
The Antwerp Major is heating up! We have finally reached the Legend’s Stage, where sixteen teams will fight it out for a chance to play in front of a roaring crowd in Sportpaleis, Antwerp. A cool million dollars will be up for grabs at this major and with the world’s best teams gathered, you can expect CS:GO of the highest order.
Let’s have a look at the format.
Just like the Challengers Stage, there will be a Swiss System group stage which will determine who makes it to the next phase.
The swiss system is a variation of a round-robin group stage, but with a fixed number of matches. Three wins and you move on, three losses and you’re out. The opening matches will be BO1s, but the elimination and advancement matches will be BO3s in order to make sure that the best make it through. Once concluded, the top eight teams will advance to the playoffs, also known as The Legends Stage, which will be a single-elimination BO3 bracket.
Format (The Legends Stage) May 14th – May 17th, 2022
Format (The Champions Stage) May 19th – May 22nd, 2022
Natus Vincere are coming in as the defending champions after taking down PGL Stockholm in November of last year. This was s1mple’s first major trophy and if we know anything about s1mple, it is that he will not be happy with just one. After a few disappointing outings at IEM Katowice and ESL Pro League, NaVi have been overtaken by FaZe as HLTV’s No.1 team, but they will still be a force to be reckoned with at this tournament. Worth noting is that they take on G2 in the opener, the team that beat them at IEM Katowice earlier in the year.
FaZe have been in fantastic form recently, winning IEM Katowice and following it up with yet another trophy at ESL Pro League. Now, they have overtaken NaVi as the favourite for the major. FaZe have always been stacked to the rafters with talent and this team is no exception, with players like ropz and broky putting up big numbers for the team, and with a world-class in-game leader like karrigan pulling the strings, it is easy to see why they are the favourites at this point.
Since G2 brought in m0nesy and Aleksib, G2 have looked very promising. They grabbed 2nd place to FaZe at IEM Katowice and breezed through The Challengers Stage with an easy 3-0 in matches. The Ukrainian sharpshooter m0nesy has been quick to receive the nickname “The Flash” for his quick flicks, and if G2 are to make it all the way in Antwerp, it will probably be off the back of his superpowers.
Out of the top teams, G2 are clearly the most unpredictable one. We have seen them drop games against teams like Anonymo, fnatic and mouz in recent memory, but they have also been one of few teams to beat NaVi. A lot of things will have to go their way for them to win the trophy, but they certainly have the skill to do it. If they do, it would be NiKo’s first trophy after coming close in a loss to Cloud9 in Boston back in 2018.
It’s easy to forget that this is one of the youngest teams in the tournament, because this Cloud9 roster (formerly known as Gambit) is one of the most established teams in the game at this point. They still don’t have the LAN pedigree of some of the other teams at this event, but they now have their major debut out of the way after finishing 3rd-4th at PGL Stockholm. With more experience under their belt, it would be foolish to disregard the Russian side at this event.
They have an uncanny ability to come back from the biggest of deficits and they are true grinders in that regard. Ax1Le and Hobbit make up a very strong rifling duo and the aggressive playmaking ability of nafany perfectly complements the more passive nature of interz, who often partners sh1ro, one of the best AWPers (and closers) in the game.
After Astralis failed to make the major in incredibly disappointing fashion, Heroic remain as Denmark’s last hope. The hallmark of this side has been their incredible team play and synergy, which few teams in CS:GO can rival. They work well together as a unit, and while the names may appear lackluster compared to some superstars that other teams can field, they are more than capable individually. Something which bodes well for Heroic at this major is that stavn has really stepped up in a big way over the past six months, and he has finally blossomed into the star that we know he can be. If he can continue his fine form, Heroic will be a force to be reckoned with at this event.
Vitality is just a team that is impossible to leave out of a list like this. When this team was formed, it seemed like a bit of a Frankenstein-like monstrosity, with two Danes teaming up with a trio of Frenchmen. But they have made it work quite well so far. They had no issues breezing through the Challenger’s Stage after winning against Complexity, Astralis and forZe. Most importantly, they have a certain player called ZywOo. You may have heard of him. When you have a player of his caliber, you have a good shot against anyone.
The Ninjas have bolstered their lineup with Brollan, one of the biggest and brightest talents coming out of Sweden in years. They have now a rifling duo worthy of going up against anyone in the world, making them a dark horse at this event.
The big question mark remains their AWPing situation. With device still out for NiP and phzy leaving to make room for Brollan, es3tag has been trusted to wield the AWP. While the Dane has some experience AWPing, this is far from ideal. Since Brollan joined the team, he is also the lowest rated player on the team, something which just doesn’t cut it for a main AWPer.
However, NiP have shown ability to do well even without a deadly AWPer. So far this year, they have upset teams like Natus Vincere and Cloud9, so perhaps a fairy-tale run for the ninjas isn’t out of the question.
This has been a personal favourite of mine since the team was formed and one that has won me a lot of money this year. They have an incredibly aggressive and dangerous team of riflers with Spinx leading the line. The Israeli has been a revelation since joining ENCE and it would not be surprising to see him top some of the leaderboards at the end of the tournament. In a way, they are a bit of a budget version of FaZe or G2. Very strong individuals, but they have struggled to close out BO3s so far this year, which is why a playoff run could prove to be bumpy for ENCE if they were to get there.