The PLG Grand Slam 2018 will be interesting with the teams in all four groups, however, not all the top teams accepted the invitation from PLG.
The PLG Grand Slam 2018 will kick-off tomorrow in Abu Dhabi in a venue called du Forum. Sixteen teams will take part in one of the last two majors. They will fight for $50.000 USD winner prize. This is going to be the first PGL Major tournament in CS:GO. PGL used to organize some premier events in past years. However, this is the first time they decided to organize a major. Half of the teams are invited, and another half of teams came to this event through qualification tournaments. PGL invited a bunch of elite teams to the tournament, but some decided they will compete in Lisbon for much more money; hence the line-up you see below split between four pools.
Teams are distributed in four different groups which apply standard four double-elimination formats. Opening & Winners’ matches are best of 1 and elimination & decider matches are best of 3. top two teams go further in the Knock-Out stage. Matches in a Knock-Out stage are best of 3, as well. We already know the groups, so we can try to predict potential winners and losers.
Group A: Fnatic, 5Power Gaming, Shark Esports, Energy Esports
Fnatic is the third invited team in this tournament. One of the most popular eSport brands decided to send their CS:GO team in Abu Dhabi to try to improve the overall impression, considering they didn’t show the best performance recently. After they had won two consecutive Premiers (WESG 2017, IEM XII World Championship), they struggled to record good results. Fnatic didn’t win a single event since March this year, and the best achievements they had were 3rd-4th place in DreamHack Masters Marseille and IEM XIII Chicago; both times they lost to Astralis. Therefore, this is a good chance for them to get back on the road and finish the season in good fashion. They are indeed the favorites to win the group and perhaps even the tournament.
We cannot expect so much from other competitors in this group. Shark Esports didn’t do a good job in the ESL Pro League Finals recently. They upset North but convincingly lost to MiBR and Natus Vincere. Energy Esports usually doesn’t play so many events outside Africa. In 2018, they took a part in only six events. However, after Bravado left South Africa, Energy became predominant team there. Energy Esports is a fifth invited team in PLG Grand Slam. 5Power is presumably the weakest member of Group A. Winning Qualifier for this Major is already a great accomplishment for them, so they should enjoy their time in Abu Dhabi and try to scalp some big name.
Group B: TYLOO, Grayhound Gaming, NASR eSports, GUCCIGANGxD
This is most likely the weakest group in the tournament if we look at the teams there. TYLOO is definitely the biggest favorite for winning the first spot here. The Chinese-Indonesian team is “oldest” one in this group. They have the richest history as well. However, they don’t have much to show in the current season. Their biggest achievement was winning a Major in Chongqing. Besides that, they won a couple of Minors. TYLOO is the sixth invited team in PLG Grand Slam.
Another team that was invited from Group B is the domestic team NASR eSports. They are a very young team, founded in 2017. They did not take part in any premier tournaments this year. However, NASR has home ground advantage which can be sufficient enough for them to advance to Play-off as they will have the home fans cheering them on. It’s not going to be an easy task for the home team, considering there is Grayhound Gaming who won the 3rd-4th place in ESEA Global Challenge lately. Of course, we cannot forget about GUCCIGANGxD who came to this tournament through qualifications, but they are anonymous for a majority of CS:GO audience. It is very unlikely that they make an upset in Group B.
Group C: AVANGAR, G2 Esports, forZe, ShotCallers
G2 and AVANGAR are invited from this group. In Game Life’s opinion, Group C is probably the toughest Group. AVANGAR is not known for winning big tournaments, but they mastered Minors. Also, they won the 3rd-4th place in EPICENTER 2018. So they are definitely one of two picks to reach Knock-Out Stage. However, it seems like G2 is a bit stronger. The Frenchmen had a way worse results in this year, but they faced much stronger opponents.
In addition, G2 is motivated to finish a season in the best possible way, considering their poor form in the biggest part of the year. On other hand, forZe comes to this tournament full of self-confidence. Firstly, they won the PLG Grand Slam Europian Qualifier and then won the title in Kalashnikov cup. So we can expect a good fight from them. ShotCallers is an outsider in this group and they don’t have a big chance to do something significant here, but surely they mustn’t throw in the towel.
Group D: HellRaisers, INTZ eSports, B.O.O.T-dream[S]kape, Chosen5
Two out four teams in Group B were part of ESL Pro League Finals three days ago. HellRaisers and INTZ didn’t achieve anything notable. Both teams dropped into the lower bracket, and both of them lost to G2. So, they are in the same group once again. For sure, HellRaisers is favorite for winning first place in the group, but anything can happen. Chosen5 is invited team alongside HR. They have never won a single tournament so everything they do here will be a bonus for them. If they manage to reach Knock-Out Stage, it will be a huge surprise. B.O.O.T-dream[S]kape came to this tournament through qualifications. Their best result in the past few months is 3rd-4th place won in one Major. So it is very unlikely that they are going to do something special here.