In this article, we will break down the matches and give you some tips for the second round of the playoffs
These are two teams that the masses did not have a ton of faith in leading up to the event, but they certainly proved their worth and have earned their spot in the playoffs.
They have interestingly never crossed paths in any official matches before, at least not in any competition of major significance, so we do not have any past match history to go by for this one. However, we do have a pretty good idea of the map pools of these respective teams at this point.
ENCE’s map choice
I would expect ENCE to pick Nuke against forZe most of the time and it is quite likely that we will see them do just that. forZe usually goes for the Vertigo ban and considering that this is a map that ENCE likes to play to a large degree, I just don’t see them leaving it open. I have not been impressed by forZe’s Nuke game recently and this has always been a bit of a signature map for Snappi’s teams, giving ENCE a pretty solid edge on their map choice. The worrying part is that they are coming off two losses on Nuke to Dignitas and HAVU. On paper, this looks pretty terrible when you consider the level of Dignitas, but if there is one map in the pool that they can play, it is Nuke, so I would not be particularly bothered if I was ENCE.
forZe’s map choice:
forZe have shown mind-boggling form on Mirage since the team was formed, and it is very likely that they go for the Mirage pick once more. They are currently on a 17 game win streak on this map overall, and they won all of their Mirage games in the group stage.
Most teams would benefit from banning Mirage outright against forZe. However, ENCE are actually a pretty solid team on Mirage themselves, having won seven out of nine matches on this map so far. In fact, they picked it against both Vitality and Heroic in the group stage, so they may not mind playing it against forZe. This could easily come back to bite them in a big way, but at least they have an outside shot at the upset with this being a solid map for them.
If ENCE were to ban Mirage, they would likely have to play Overpass or Inferno. forZe are certainly the favourites on these two maps as well, but they are not as good of an Inferno team as they used to be with their older roster, and considering ENCE’s past performances on Overpass, I would actually give ENCE a shot at these two maps as well if the veto were to play out that way.
All in all, I don’t mind ENCE at the longer number in this matchup. However, I definitely like their chances the most on their map choice. ENCE are no joke on Nuke and Vertigo, and forZe have looked very shoddy on these two maps. However, you’re paying a significant amount of juice on the Map exotics, so it may be worth taking ENCE on the handicap at 1.32 or simply gun for glory with the money line @ 2.00.
It is still a bit unclear what to make of this fnatic roster as they are in a bit of an experimental phase at the moment. Their results in the ESL Pro League were good all things considered, beating three solid teams in FaZe, BIG and EG. However, their recent showing at the Nordic Masters was poor, losing to both Copenhagen Flames and the Brazilians from 00Nation. Liquid on the other hand have looked quite good all things considered, with FalleN looking to be in solid form for the North American team.
fnatic’s map choice:
So far in the league, fnatic have picked Overpass, Mirage and Nuke, the latter being a map that we rarely saw them pick when they had a full Swedish roster. However, it is quite likely that Liquid bans it in the veto so I doubt we see it from them here. The problem is that Mirage and Overpass are both great maps for Liquid, so in an ideal world they would want to pick a map like Dust2 in this spot, but this was never a strong map for fnatic with their old roster.
Liquid’s map choice:
Liquid’s go-to maps have been Inferno and Overpass, but considering that these are generally solid maps for fnatic as well, we might see them go a different route. They picked Dust2 in their match against NiP, and we could see them do so against fnatic.
With fnatic being such a new team, it’s hard to know exactly how their map pool shapes up, but I don’t see any clear holes in Liquid’s map pool that they can take advantage of. Liquid are definitely the favourites in this series and this is definitely reflected in the odds as well. The question is if they win more than 70% of the time against this fnatic side to make it a viable bet. With such little information available on this new fnatic side, I would proceed with caution, but I definitely like Liquid to take this series.