CIS Counter-Strike is popping off right now with teams like Gambit, Natus Vincere and Virtus.pro all fighting for the top spots in the world rankings. Who will come out on top? We break it all down in our preview of StarLadder CIS RMR 2021.
We have an interesting event to look forward to this week as StarLadder CIS is about to begin. CIS Counter-Strike is popping off right now with teams like Gambit, Natus Vincere and Virtus.pro all fighting for the top spots in the world rankings. Newcomers AKUMA will look to replicate their recent upsets against Natus Vincere and Virtus.pro, but they will have plenty of pressure to deal with after cheating accusations by prominent names in the community.
StarLadder CIS RMR kicks off Jun 27th and will run through Jul 4th 2021. The event will be played entirely online, and it will be streamed on Twitch.
The group stage will feature five teams in each group and will be played in round-robin format, with each team playing each other once in a best-of-three. The top two teams will advance to the playoffs, with the third place team advancing to the fifth place match. The team finishing in fifth will receive 1500 RMR Points (Regional Major Ranking points) and the teams finishing outside of the Top 5 will go home empty-handed.
The playoff stage will include a double-elimination bracket with best-of-threes leading up the best-of-five grand final. The team making it through the upper-bracket will have a one-map advantage in the final.
With two highest ranked teams in the world (Gambit and Natus Vincere), it is hard to argue against this group being the stronger of the two. Gambit have had the upper hand against Natus Vincere in recent time, beating them twice at BLAST Premier just a little over a week ago. Interestingly, Natus Vincere have struggled with domestic competition in the past, which further adds to the uncertainty of the group. What makes things even more spicy is the addition of Akuma, a Ukrainian team of previously unknown players that have been accused of cheating after their recent upset wins against NaVi and Virtus.pro. The likes of Nemiga and forZe are no pushovers either, making this a very tough group to forecast.
Virtus.pro and Spirit are coming in as the favourites to win this group. Entropiq and K23 will probably be the ones that will contend for that last spot in the playoffs. The big underdogs are 100PG. The Kazakh side have a few good wins on their record, but they are not as experienced as the other teams in the group. Overall, this is a far weaker group and one that Spirit and Virtus.pro should advance from without too much of an issue.
Gambit are coming in as the favourite after a brilliant run which has included wins at the recent BLAST Premier Spring Final and IEM Summer 2021. Their group is quite tough and there are some potential landmines in this group with teams like Akuma, Nemiga and forZe having some upset potential. However, Gambit’s style is tough to beat and it would surprise to see them drop the ball against CIS competition. Even before their big international breakthrough, they were one of the more dominant teams in the region.
Natus Vincere are currently ranked №2 in the world after Gambit. They had to settle for second place at the recent BLAST Premier event, losing against Gambit in the final. We have seen this team struggle domestically before, losing against on paper weaker competition, but anything but advancement from this group would still be a big upset and a massive disappointment for s1mple’s team. They now have a couple of events under their belt with B1T in the main lineup, so there are no excuses as far as I am concerned.
Virtus.pro are currently №5 in HLTV’s world rankings. They won cs_summit 7 to start the year and a second place to Gambit at IEM Katowice has been their best result since then. I love watching this team, much because of the great impact the Latvian player YEKINDAR has with his aggressive playmaking ability. However, they are more susceptible to upsets than the likes of Gambit. We saw Virtus.pro at the CIS event EPIC League recently, where they again finished in second place to Gambit. In that league, we saw them drop the ball against forZe, Entropiq and Akuma, so we know they can be beaten by lesser competition in the region, which makes their group very interesting.
Spirit have been largely overshadowed by Gambit, Virtus.pro and Natus Vincere, but this team still has a lot of bite to them. They will be hungry to prove themselves, and degster is a talent that should not be underestimated. Their run at the recent Epic League was very respectable. They beat both Gambit and Natus Vincere 2–0 and they had no issues dealing with teams like K23 and Entropiq. They later fell to Gambit and Virtus.pro in the latter stages, but this does show that they are a very dangerous team that has the potential to beat even the best teams in the competition.
It is hard to argue against Gambit being a considerable favourite at this event. They are in excellent form at the moment, and unlike Natus Vincere and Virtus.pro, we rarely see them drop the ball against domestic competition. I think Spirit are an interesting outsider. We saw glimpses of them doing very well at the recent Epic League and they are more than capable of beating the big three (Gambit, NaVi and VP).