Sixteen teams will battle it out in Kiev for the title of StarSeries champion starting on the 7th October and ending on the 14th October. The format will consist of a group-stage Swiss BO1, followed by a single-elimination BO3 bracket culminating in a BO5 final. The reigning champions NaVi are not in attendance and the entire scene is eager to find out who the new champions will be. With a number of top teams missing, this event will be a chance for smaller teams to shine. To start the preview, let’s look into the teams.
TYLOO | captainMo, DD, BnTeT, somebody, xcurrate
After passing through the Challengers Stage at the Major, TYLOO will have a lot to prove going into StarSeries i-League S6. They have gained plaudits from many across the scene, who claim players such as Hansel “BnTeT” Ferdinand are some of the most talented players in Counter-Strike at the moment. However, many people have pointed out basic mistakes in their game. For example:
I think it’s safe to say TYLOO is the team with the worst understanding of Counter-Strike that are playing on such a high level! – Jacob “Pimp” Winneche on Twitter.
Overall, TYLOO are a team that can be very explosive and upset specialists, but they make basic mistakes which hold them back. They can make a decent run at this tournament if a good TYLOO shows up, like the one that finished top 4 at IEM Sydney 2018.
CyberZen | Savage, tb, HZ, Monster, Viva
Being a relatively unknown team from China, CyberZen will be hoping that their first appearance at an international Counter-Strike LAN will end well. The team previously played under Fierce Tiger, where they faced lots of controversies. They will be trying to put that stained past behind them, but it would be stupid to suggest that they have any chance of achieving anything because of their inexperience.
Fragsters | Bubski, refrezh, stavn, torben, dragonfly
After a solid performance in the qualifiers, the youthful Danes qualified for the tournament. Despite their young age, Fragsters have managed to finish top 4 at DreamHack Open Austin and DreamHack Open Valencia 2018. These placements are excellent results and the team will be hoping to cement their status as a young roster to look out for. Fragsters will do fairly well at this event because of their desire to do well, and the fact that this is one of their best opportunities to impact the international scene.
Imperial | nexa, hAdji, pounh, EspiranTo, nukkye
A team initially built by a group of FPL players, Imperial will be making their first LAN appearance in almost a month. They won DreamHack Open Summer 2018 earlier in the year but made a double roster change since then, with Ali “hAdji” Hainouss and Eimantas “pounh” Lazickas joining the squad. They have since attended DreamHack Open Montreal 2018 with the current roster, and they achieved a top 4 finish. Therefore, Imperial will have a good tournament and do fairly well.
OpTic | Snappi, cajunb, JUGi, niko, k0nfig
OpTic are a team desperate for good results following a poor Major performance. They finished in the top 4 of the European qualifier, so StarSeries could be the place where they find their feet. They have a star-studded roster, and after adding Nikolas “niko” Kristensen in favour of Nicklas “gade” Gade their online results have improved. This tournament will be their first LAN with the current roster and OpTic will do really well because they have a lot to prove to a Counter-Strike world which heavily doubts them.
Sprout | PERCY, Spiidi, denis, NaToSaphiX, faveN
The Danish-German mix team that is Sprout will be looking to improve under new in-game leader Josef “faveN” Baumann. They prematurely exited the Games Clash Masters 2018 so it is looking bleak for Sprout at the moment. Despite their promising mix of youth and experience, Sprout probably will not do well at StarSeries because of their poor recent results and the fact that they are yet to adapt to a new in-game system brought by fresh, young in-game leader faveN.
BIG | gob b, tabseN, smooya, nex, tiziaN
After surprisingly regaining Legends status at the FACEIT Major, BIG will be striving for silverware. The team came painstakingly close at ESL One Cologne, finishing runners-up to NaVi, but this tournament is their best opportunity to achieve victory. Owen “smooya” Butterfield had a 1.24 HLTV rating at the Major and needs to continue his scintillating form if he wants him and his team to win tournaments. BIG will do very well at this tournament because they have a lot of individual quality playing under an excellent system oversaw by veteran in-game leader Fatih “gob b” Dayik.
ENCE | allu, xseveN, Aerial, sergej, Aleksib
Despite a positive early explosion into the scene, the Finnish powerhouse that is ENCE have been more than lacklustre recently. They crashed out of the ECS S6 EU qualifiers after a BO3 defeat to Royal Bandits, but most recently lost in the Mountain Dew League to LDLC, Tricked and Spirit. ENCE will be looking to bounce back from awful results, and a good LAN finish could be the catalyst which propels ENCE to the next level. I do not think ENCE will do well because they have seemed very poor recently, so they will be going into the LAN with a poor mental state.
Gambit | AdreN, Dosia, mir, mou, TBA
After a surprisingly good finish at ESL One New York, Gambit will be heading into StarSeries with renewed motivation. However, the departure of star player Abay “Hobbit” Khassenov will leave a gaping hole in the team and it is yet to be seen who will be filling his boots. The team has confirmed they are looking for an in-game leader, but with no replacement or stand-in organised and a match against HAVU in the ECS S6 Challenger Cup being forfeited begs the question of whether Gambit will participate. If they do, they’ll do poorly as Hobbit’s shoes are big ones to fill and any potential stand-in or new recruit will have a hard time making up for Gambit’s loss at such an early point in their tenure in the team.
HellRaisers | ANGE1, bondik, woxic, DeadFox, ISSAA
One of Counter-Strike’s most explosive teams will be looking to make a deep run at StarSeries after a great performance at the FACEIT Major, where they gained Legends status. HellRaisers are a team that can beat anybody on their day, and the flair on their roster is undeniable. This year, they have won the Bets.net Masters and finished runners-up at DreamHack Open Tours. HellRaisers will have a good tournament because they are on home soil, playing in the CIS region, and their players will be hungry to build on their success at the Major.
North | cadiaN, aizy, valde, Kjaerbye, gade
North will be looking to stabilise their new roster and prove that they have improved since changing leader Mathias “MSL” Lauridsen for Casper “cadiaN” Moller. They also recruited former Academy player Nicklas “gade” gade to fill the vacant spot on their roster. North will perform poorly at this tournament because they have a new leader in cadiaN so teams will find it easier to gain a strategic advantage over North, especially considering the simplicity of cadiaN’s style of play compared to MSL’s.
Renegades | jks, AZR, jkaem, Gratisfaction, liazz
Renegades are slowly returning to their Oceanic roots thanks to the additions of New Zealander Sean “Gratisfaction” Kawai and the Australian Jay “liazz” Tregillgas to their roster. This injection of Oceanic youth will revitalise Renegades after a ghastly performance at the Major. It’s hard to say how Renegades will perform, but it’s doubtful that they will do well because of the short time that the roster has been together.
Vega Squadron | chopper, tonyblack, hutji, jR, crush
The CIS squad that yet again surprised many at the Major by passing through the Challengers Stage will be desperate to prove that they can consistently perform well at international LANs. Their inconsistency on an international stage is something that has haunted all previous iterations of this roster, so veteran in-game leader Dmitriy “jR” Chervak should have figured out how to make his team consistently perform. Vega will not live up to any expectations because they have always failed to fulfill what is required of them and strategically superior teams will outclass their puggy style in matches.
mousesports | oskar, Snax, chrisJ, suNny, ropz
Fresh from a shock victory at ESL One New York, Mouz will be hungry to cement their regained reputation and will come to StarSeries with confidence in their game. One of the most standout features from their redemption story in New York was Snax’s excellent 1.04 HLTV rating, so with him looking revitalised once more Mouz are the firm favourites for StarSeries. They will do very well at this tournament because of their quality, but New York was their peak and they will not be able to continue that excellent form and translate it into a victory.
NRG | daps, Brehze, FugLy, CeRq, nahtE
Despite not making it to the Major, NRG achieved a top 4 placing at ESL One New York and impressed while doing so. They also made it to the finals of the last StarSeries tournament, so their prowess in Kiev is a known fact. NRG will do well based off of their quality and explosiveness, but their youth leads many to believe that they are currently unable of winning tournaments because their opposition is often superior.
compLexity | stanislaw, ShahZaM, yay, dephh, ANDROID
An eye-opening performance at the FACEIT Major has highlighted compLexity as a team to look out for. In-game leader Peter “stanislaw” Jarguz has installed a loose yet organised playing structure that has allowed many players to improve their individual play. Shahzeb “ShahZaM” Khan is arguably the best example of this, having only two negative LAN events under coL of which one was his first tournament. coL will make a decent run into this tournament, but the wealth of opposition will heavily limit their chances of a good run in the playoffs.
Opening Match Predictions
mousesports > Sprout
North < OpTic
Gambit < compLexity
BIG > Fragsters
Vega Squadron < NRG
ENCE < TYLOO
HellRaisers > Imperial
Renegades > CyberZen
It’s very difficult to pick an overall winner for this tournament, especially due to the recent form of mousesports, but BIG should win this event. This is because they will be eager to bounce back from their Major quarter-final exit and the decreased pressure that comes with playing on a smaller stage at StarSeries will lend itself beautifully to the youth that BIG possesses. They should put up an excellent performance, and should they win the tournament it will be exciting to see the young Brit smooya pick up his first trophy in BIG colours.
Thank you very much for reading. This post was brought to you in affiliation with PreGameGG, use code “PG3DAY” for a free three-day trial. If you like it, use code “ESNESPORTS” for 20% off at checkout. This article was written by Dom “d0m^” Phillips and edited by Thomas Sweggerty.