StuChiu’s “Buy or Sell” after ELEAGUE Major group stage

This is the second edition of “Buy and Sell.” You can read the previous iteration here.

With a day between the group stages and playoffs of the ELEAGUE Major, it seems like an appropriate time to reignite this feature. The idea is simple. The “buy” list contains teams that still have more potential to fulfill whereas “sell” teams are ones I believe have hit their ceiling with the current lineup. To make it interesting, I’ve considered only top 20 ranked teams and their LAN results. In addition to that, I’ll avoid picking the same picks I had on the list last time. I’ll also evaluate my Buy and Sells from the last edition.

Buy

Natus Vincere

Oleksandr s1mple Kostyliev

Egor flamie Vasilyev

Denis seized Kostin

Ladislav GuardiaN Kovács

Ioann “Edward” Sukhariev

Recent Results:

ELEAGUE Major: Top 8

IEM Oakland: Eliminated in Groups

ELEAGUE Season 2: Eliminated in Groups

Na’Vi was a dominant force of nature in the group stages. The team destroyed opponents and only lost 13 rounds in three maps. Everyone seems to be firing off, especially flamie and s1mple. What has been most impressive about them is Na’Vi has done this while showing very few cards. They only played Cobblestone and dust2, with every victory coming off large CT halves. We still don’t have a clear picture of what kind of leader seized is on T-side or how deep the team’s map pool goes, but Na’Vi was so clean and destructive that it’s worth betting on them to be championship contenders despite the lack of information. I picked Astralis to get to the finals of the Major and I still believe that will happen. Still, invest in Na’Vi stock.

Gambit

Mikhail DosiaStolyarov

Rustem mouTlepov

Dauren “AdreN” Kystaubayev

Danylo ZeusTeslenko

Abay HObbitKhasenov

Recent Results

ELEAGUE Major: Top 8

DreamHack Winter: First

Gambit was an intriguing underdog going into the Major. HObbit won the MVP at DreamHack Winter, AdreN was a consistent star player and mou had shown strong AWP skills. This was all backed by Zeus’ in-game leadership. But unlike FaZe/Astralis, it didn’t click instantly. In addition to that, none of the players except Dosia (in the past) was considered superstars.

The team has shown a strong performance at the Major. Zeus has made Gambit a cohesive tactical team that has shown proficiency on Cobble, Nuke and Overpass with the slow map control style of old Na’Vi. AdreN has also become a monster now that he has the proper players and system placed around him. This team could possibly go a higher level if HObbit can consistently tap into the level of performance he showed at DreamHack Winter. I think Gambit can top the Tier 2 hierarchy and possibly break into Tier 1.

SK Gaming

Gabriel “FalleN” Toledo

Fernando fer Alvarenga

Marcelo “coldzera” David

Epitácio TACO de Melo

Ricardo “fox” Pacheco (temporary)

Recent Results:

ELEAGUE Major: Top 8

ECS Season 2: Top 4

There are obvious problems on this team. Fox doesn’t fit in on a team where you already have two of the best AWPers in FalleN and Coldzera. Fox isn’t a great player (his performance on dust2 against Astralis was good, but Coldzera and Fer were the stars of that game), and his integration into the lineup seems to have changed FalleN’s performance for the worse. So why am I putting this team on the buy list?

Strangely, SK plays like a unit despite these issues. They are incredibly disciplined and play great teamwork-based Counter-Strike. Even though there’s less firepower with fox and the resulting role redundancy, the team’s blueprint still shines. As a result, SK looks more synchronized as a team than most competition at the Major despite the others having been together for much longer. Most importantly, SK never gives up. Right now its run has this incredible sort of VP-esque grit to it; they have a real shot of making it to the finals as Na’Vi and Astralis are on the other side of the bracket.

Sell

HellRaisers

Kiril “ANGE1” Karasiow

Martin “STYKO” Styk

Patrik “Zero” Žúdel

Vlаdуslаv “bondik” Nеchуроrchuk

Bence “DeadFox” Böröcz

Recent Results:

ELEAGUE Major: Eliminated from Groups

As a team, HellRaisers remains similar to past incarnations: a looser skill based lineup that has the ability to upset better teams, but is unable to beat them in Bo3s. From what I saw at the Major, I doubt they’ll get past that stage with this lineup. Their stock seems to have maxed out.

EnVyUs/G2

Do I need to justify this? All of the rumors point to a potential French roster shuffle coming in the future. Sell now before these teams cease to exist.

Team Liquid

Jacob “Pimp” Winneche

Nicholas nitr0 Cannella

Jonathan EliGE Jablonowski

Spencer Hiko Martin

Josh jdm64 Marzano

Recent Results:

ELEAGUE Major: Eliminated in Groups

IEM Oakland: Eliminated in Groups

Northern Arena Montreal: Eliminated in Groups

On paper, the Liquid lineup looks good. The sheer talent makes it one of the best NA teams by default. But the lack of leadership has been the perennial downfall. Liquid tried adding Wilton zews Prado to alleviate those problems, but there is only so much he can do with four timeouts in a game. The other problem is role confusion. Except for EliGE, the impact and consistency of all the other players is a complete unknown from game to game. This is barely tolerable in the cases of Hiko and Pimp, but supposed star nitr0 seems lost. JDM64 actually seems to work well from what I saw in the Major.

This roster has gone as far as it can ever go. There needs to be some kind of change, whether that’s a fundamental restructuring of roles or a new in-game leader. Otherwise, this team will never escape the quagmire.

Evaluation

The last time I did Buy and Sell I put my money on Astralis, Dignitas (now North), and FaZe. Conversely I selected Cloud 9, G2, and Mousesports as past expiration date. Looking back on it, I would’ve bought more stock into Astralis and North. Both seems to be paying off. FaZe is a bit shakier as they show an inability to close very tight games, but they remain a reasonable buy. As for the sell, Cloud 9 hasn’t done anything, and I was right on the money with G2 and Mouz. The rumored French shuffle seems imminent and Mouz was unimpressive in the group stage of ELEAGUE.

Cover photo courtesy of Turner Sports/ELEAGUE

Slingshot senior columnist. StarCraft and CS:GO expert who pushes narratives over numbers.

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