The major may have just ended but the tournaments are coming in thick and fast: the Intel Grand Slam returns on the 26th of September with ESL One New York, an eight-team event with six invited participants itching for a shot at redemption for a multitude of different reasons, buoyed by the absence of the number one team in the world thus providing a great opportunity to bet on ESL One New York.
The high quartet
Strictly looking at things from the major’s perspective, the return of every single team that Astralis defeated in the playoffs on their way to the trophy is a pretty spicy affair. Team Liquid and FaZe Clan will likely meet in Group B even before the playoff stage begins and it will be fascinating to see how the latter will deal with their contentious IGL situation: if karrigan was really the victim of an internal coup, his days are guaranteed to be numbered as part of the side.
The open qualifiers saw NRG take down compLexity twice and defeat Renegades in close fashion sandwiched between their two matches against the major quarter-finalists. While their early elimination in Stockholm doesn’t look that embarrassing in retrospect – Na’Vi are really coming into form and NiP have clearly taken a step up since Lekr0 picking up the IGL mantle – they clearly need to show some improvement here. It won’t be easy to qualify from the group featuring FaZe and Liquid, though it would be really interesting to see how they stack up against G2: the French project has once again failed to deliver and they could very well fall out of the spotlight somewhat if the rumors of NBK’s return as part of the Vitality brand are to be believed.
Return for redemption
We’ve got Natus Vincere as the clear favorite in the other group, facing three other teams that made no mark whatsoever in London, and I’d go as far as to say that it would be an upset if they even dropped a single map prior to the knockout portion of the tournament. The other teams in Group A are mousesports, Fnatic and European qualifiers Gambit, neither of which are in a good shape right now. Perhaps the most interesting subplot here is flusha’s relegation to the bench, a clear sign that the Swedish organization is finally getting ready for some ruthless moves in order to shake things up. ScreaM is likely a temporary solution but the two parties should be a good fit for the short term as the Belgian is still looking for a team since the collapse of EnVyUs in June.
Meanwhile, it’s becoming quite clear that mousesports have made a massive mistake with Snax. The Polish player hasn’t yet managed to post a positive K/D on a LAN event as part of the side and their results have taken a turn for the worse since the roster move, culminating in a shocking 0-3 record at the FACEIT London major. They are one of the more likely candidates for yet another roster move and you can’t help but feel that they are turning away from their successful setup more and more as time goes on with no results to show for it.
The group is rounded out by Gambit who have not managed to achieve anything of not since Krakow and only won a single game in the New Challengers bracket of the London major, making them by far the greatest underdogs of the tournament.
And now for something completely different
Unlike the major, this tournament will feature best-of-three matches all the way until the final which could potentially go up to five maps, greatly reducing the upset potential – keep that in mind when you’re picking your favorites to bet on! Consequently, teams with big-match pedigree and a deeper map pool are even more likely to do well here, and the finals’ best-of-five nature will
As an amusing aside, ESL One New York will also see the return of Machine as a caster after a very long time with stunna acting as the desk host for the event. This spectacle alone could very well make up for Astralis’ absence, right?
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