The Starladder & i-league Berlin Major is set to begin in just a few days and as teams competing in the New Challenger’s Stage of the major look to continue their journey through the major, the Asia Minor teams have very little expectations moving forward.
However, while certainly underdogs to qualify through to the Legends stage, the two Asia Minor Representatives have an opportunity to really make an impact in the New Challenger’s Stage. In this piece, I dive through exactly what both Tyloo and Grayhound need to do in order to make it through to the top 16 stage of Starladder & i-league Berlin Major.
Tyloo: Asia Minor 2nd Seed
First round Opponent: G2 Esports
Last year was heartbreaking for Tyloo at the IEM Katowice Major. After going 2-0 in the group stages of the tournament, the Chinese team simply felt unmatched by other opponents in a best of five setting before ultimately dropping down. This team consistently proves that they are not to be taken lightly and are an underrated problem to many teams that match up against them in previous majors and often are the deciding component of making it to Legends Stage or dropping out in New Challenger’s Stage.
When teams misjudge Tyloo, that is when the Asian team has performed the best and that is the spur that can carry Tyloo through this tournament.
Keep an eye out for the team’s IGL Bntet at the Valve Major to really save the team and also becoming reliant on a very good group draw to really escape some of these heavily favored teams.
Tyloo’s first opponents in G2 Esports are profusely known for dropping games to lower ranked teams and would not be surprising to see the French Squad ultimately drop the first map to Tyloo if they do not do proper preparation.
While G2 Esports is a rising team as of late, there is a good opportunity for Tyloo be favorites in their 2nd match and possibly catapult a crazy run from there.
First round opponent: Cr4zy
Grayhound will be up against Cr4zy in the first round. With the recent announcement that Erkast will be leaving after, Starladder & i-league Berlin Major, the players of Grayhound will look to extend that final hoorah and possibly look to meet Renegades in the Top 16 stage. However, while Grayhound are the best Oceanic team aside from the Renegades, I fear that the pool of very strong teams in the New Challengers Stage may be too much for them to compete with this upcoming major. Compounding recent news surrounding Erkast, I cannot imagine that the players will be in the best of spirits throughout the Starladder & i-league Berlin Major.
That being said, the team is currently in Berlin, having spent the previous month situating to the European country’s environment. This team is currently acclimated in Europe and are now dedicating all of their time to CS when comparing most of their year where many of these players are students and use CSGO as a part-time passion project unlike players in Europe and North America, where playing CSGO is a livelihood. I have faith that this team has the ability to really shock the community with an overperformance in their stronger maps like Dust2 and Mirage.
The Starladder Major Berlin has a lot of changes that make the format very exciting for many of these teams. On top of a perfectly balanced meta for guns, there is a lot of opportunity for both teams to really be creative with which maps they choose to prioritize in preparation for their upcoming opponents.
The Asian minor teams have zero expectations to meet from analysts and fans alike. If these two teams can make their way into the next stage of the Starladder & i-league Berlin Major, that will be a sight to see. However, Asian Minor teams are now performing better in these bigger tournaments and Valve Majors. During the Faceit Major London, Tyloo made it through the New Challenger’s Stage and take game’s off of teams like MIBR to solidify their position in the next major. Renegades have the ability to progress even further in Valve tournaments, following their amazing Champions Stage finish. Even Grayhound are showing consistency as a team that does not even play CSGO full time. The Asian Minor Region is improving and many of these teams are more than capable of making deeper runs in the future. Whether that is at the Starladder & i-league Berlin Major or a future tournament is left unknown. However, each Asian Minor team is capable of striving towards benchmarks they would like to achieve at the upcoming Valve Major.
Starladder Major Berlin 2019 will officially begin on August 23rd with the New Challenger’s Stage. The Valve Major has been cut in overall length from three weeks to two due to easier viewership and looks to be the way the tournament will be played out moving forward with future tournaments.