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The champions of two last majors are the main favorites of the tournament. These guys have been keeping the first place in the ranking for about half a year (they took it after MLG Columbus Major), and I hardly believe they'd want to let someone take the title of the world champions away from them.
SK has lost momentum recently, though, but Fer returned only a month ago (everyone knows the story about his operation), and only now they're getting into shape again, and this will be the first high level tournament after his comeback.
During this period the guys have won the qualifiers for ECS and E-LEAGUE in North America, and also qualified for the ESL Pro League Season 4 finals. The last LAN tournament of the team was ESL One New York where SK Gaming took the third place, having lost to Virtus.pro in the semi-final.
In general, I don't think SK are in their best shape now. This will be only the second LAN of Fer since he returned. Considering the fact that this tournament has all top teams in, there is a chance that someone will be able to take SK's first place in the ranking.
What should we expect from a meeting with HellRaisers? SK is an unquestioning favorite, and we haven't met them a single time before. I would personally really want out guys to go up against SK and try out themselves.
The best maps of SK are Overpass, Mirage, Cobblestone and Train. This is not a very good map pool for us and this may be the most uncomfortable team for HellRaisers. I think it will be very difficult to earn points on these maps. Nevertheless, it's noteworthy that if it is Cache or Nuke, then our guys will make it. And, of course, the main thing is that HR have never met SK gaming before.
The legendary Polish five, or as people like to call them the Golden Five (although there are only three of them left). The second team in the world ranking and the first by shape (in my opinion). VP may be the most questionable and inconsistent team for bookmakers.
I think they are the only team able to displace SK from the first place, although the last results at LANs do not please the team's fans. After the victory at DreamHack Bucharest, the Poles didn't get out from the group at SL i-League Invitational in Kiev, but about a week later they took the second place at ESL One New York, after which they returned to Kiev for the European WESG finals, where got the third place, though it wasn't an easy one. Indeed, the Poles didn't make it into the ESL Pro League LAN finals in Brazil.
It reminds me of Taz's blog about players getting tired and a huge amount of flights. The guys are already in Moscow and are getting ready for the main autumn tournament in the esports CS:GO world.
To be honest, I expect that explosive play everyone's used to see from VP at major tournaments.
What can be said about our statistics with them? It's a very tough rival, but we can play with the Poles, indeed, we do quite well.
21/09/16 — HellRaisers vs. Virtus.pro — ESL Pro League Season 4 — Mirage — 7:16
21/09/16 — HellRaisers vs. Virtus.pro — ESL Pro League Season 4 — Cobblestone — 16:14
20/05/16 — HellRaisers vs. Virtus.pro— SL i-League Invitational — Mirage — 6:16
20/05/16 — HellRaisers vs. Virtus.pro — SL i-League Invitational — Cache — 12:16
29/04/16 — HellRaisers vs. Virtus.pro — CEVO Gfinity Professional — Mirage — 16:14
29/04/16 — HellRaisers vs. Virtus.pro — CEVO Gfinity Professional — Cobblestone — 16:11
Considering the last games, I think that HR have chances to take the points away from the Polish grand. HellRaisers can look to the points on such maps as Cache, Cobblestone and Nuke.
And here they are, the legendary Fnatic team, the best in CS:GO history, but with another roster now consisting of only two players from the former one, they are olofmeister and dennis. The team has lost their slot in the major, and also invites to some other tournaments.
Having added the guys from GODSENT (twist, lekro и wenton) to their team, they have started to gain momentum in the world ranking. It took Fnatic only a month to become the fifteenth team in the world (and it's only a beginning).
Talking about their achivements, we can mark the 5-6 place at ESL New York, and, of course, the qualifier for the ESL Pro League LAN final in Brazil, which, in my opinion, is a success for a new roster.
The best maps of Fnatic are Dust 2, Сache, Cobblestone and Train. HellRaisers in their turn can look to a success on Cobblestone, Cache, Nuke and Mirage.
Last time we met Fnatic at ESL Pro League, and the match ended in a draw:
30/08/16 — HellRaisers vs. fnatic — ESL Pro League Season 4 — Cache — 19:15
30/08/16 — HellRaisers vs. fnatic — ESL Pro League Season 4 — Cobblestone — 17:19
So, the group is difficult, but at the same time it is possible to get through. We're able to play with every team and win them. The most important is to believe in yourself and your team.
Cheer for HellRaisers!