Into the ELEAGUE Major: Boston 2018 - New Challengers [OPINION]

CS:GO Paulo “paulorbarros” Barros

This is a quick view on the teams that qualified from the minors and will be looking for a spot at the major final stage.

With the ELEAGUE Major: Boston 2018 set to start on January 12, here is a review of the teams that have qualified from the minors and will be joining what is now known as the "Challengers Stage" which is equivalent to the old qualifier and will include the bottom eight teams from last PGL Major Kraków 2017 as well. The teams will face each other in the swiss format and they need to reach a total of three wins to qualify or three losses to be eliminated. This first stage will define the eight teams that will have their chance to fight for the title:

America Minors - Team Liquid (1st) and Misfits (2nd)

Team Liquid

Nicholas "nitr0" Cannella
Jonathan "EliGE" Jablonowski
Joshua "jdm64" Marzano
Russel "Twistzz" Van Dulken
Wilton "zews" Prado

Team Liquid has qualified in first place on the minor when Peter "stanislaw" Jarguz was still part of their active roster, but the poor results right after made the team change and add the brazilian Lucas "steel" Lopes from Immortals to their lineup. The results didn't improve much but steel didn't have time to practice and train much with the team, but that doesn't really make a difference because he can't attend the major as he played for Immortals on the qualifiers and Liquid played with stanislaw, so the only option will be using their coach Wilton "zews" Prado as part of their team. This will have a big impact on Team Liquid performance but the team is still strong to make to a top eight if all other players step up.

First match against: FaZe

Opinion: Team Liquid will make it with a 3:2 win/loss score.

Last three tournament standings:
ECS Season 4 Finals - 7/8th
ESL Pro League Season 6 Finals - 11/12th place
IEM Oakland 2017 - 11/12th place


Sean "seangares" Gares
Hunter "SicK" Mims
Shahzeb "ShahZaM" Khan
François "AmaNEk" Delauney
David "devoduvek" Dobrosavljevic

This team is very solid and their latest results shows they have been increasing their game, with an amazing run at ESL Pro League Season 6 Finals, to only be eliminated on the semifinals by SK Gaming. The french duo devoduvek and AmaNEk are fun to watch and the rest of the team has been doing a great job. The lack of experience at big events could be the downside that will make the team struggle here, but if they can overcome that, they will be a very hard opponent against any team they face.

First match against: FlipSid3 

Opinion: Misfits will be eliminated with a 2:3 win/loss score.

Last three tournament standings:
ESL Pro League Season 6 Finals - 3/4th
iBUYPOWER Masters 2017 - 5/6th
Americas Minor - 2nd

Asia Minor - Renegades (1st) and Flash Gaming (3rd)


Aaron "AZR" Ward
Justin "jks" Savage
Karlo "USTILO" Pivac
Noah "Nifty" Francis
Keith "NAF" Markovic
Aleksandar "kassad" Trifunović - Coach
Renegades will come strong for the ELEAGUE Major: Boston 2018, they have failed to qualify for both ESL and ECS finals but that was an online tournament, they have been playing great CS on lan and their run at SL i-League Invitational Shanghai 2017 where they beat Virtus Pro and claimed the title is proof of that. This will not be an easy task for Renegades but they are a very experienced team and the australian trio has been giving all opportunities and space for both NAF and Nifty to make the different, if the team keep this up they are likely to make it to top eight and claim a spot in the final stage of the major. 
First match against: Vega Squadron
Opinion: Renegades will make it with a 3:2 win/loss score.
Last three tournament standings:
IEM Oakland 2017 - 7/8th
iBUYPOWER Masters 2017 - 2nd
SL i-League Invitational Shanghai 2017 - 1st
Flash Gaming
YuLun "Summer" Cai
YuanZhang "Attacker" Sheng
Andrew "kaze" Khong
QiFang "Karsa" Su
KunHua "LOVEYY" Bai
ZhengHui "z8z" Liu - Coach
Flash Gaming will the the team representing China in this major since TyLoo wont be able to attend, there is always a big hype when a Chinese team is around because we all know the potential they have and also because all the support the Chinese fans can deliver. Flash will have many problems to get things going, they will be playing with a roster that isn't their current active roster, so players that have been benched after the minor will be back to the team. The recent quickpoll where we have asked if Flash will be one of the top eight teams on this stage, only 18% of "Yes" against a massive 82% "No". If Karsa, Attacker and kaze are able to bring their previous majors experience to the table the team could make it along, only time will tell.
First match against: G2
Opinion: Flash will be eliminated with a 1:3 win/loss score.
Last three tournament standings:
Letou Invitational - 4th
Douyu CS:GO Asia Invitational #2 - 5/8th
CS:GO Super League 2017 Finals - 4th

CIS Minor - AVANGAR (1st) and Quantum Bellator Fire (2nd)


Timur "Buster" Tulepov
Aidyn "KrizzeN" Turlybekov
Alexey "Qikert" Golubev
Dmitry "dimasick" Matvienko
Ali "Jame" Djami
Dastan "dastan" Akbaev - Coach
This will be AVANGAR debut at a major and the team should struggle a lot. Their opponents have a lot more experience and AVANGAR will have to compensate that with a lot of good CS to make it pass this first stage. The lastest results from AVANGAR shows the team still has a lot to learn and this major will be a great opportunity to gain experience in the international scene. The only option is to wait to see if AVANGAR has been training to prepare a surprise for us and deliver some great CS.
First match against: mousesports
Opinion: AVANGAR will be eliminated with a 0:3 win/loss score.
Last three tournament standings:
LOOT.BET Cup 2 - cs summit 2 Qualifier - 9/16th
LOOT.BET Holiday Cup - IEM Katowice 2018 pre-qualifier - 3/4th
MakeMy.Bet Cup #1 - 1st


Quantum Bellator Fire
Gregory "balblna" Oleinick
Aurimas "Kvik" Kvakšys
Saveliy "jmqa" Bragin
Nikita "waterfaLLZ" Matveyev
Kirill "Boombl4" Mikhailov
Dmitriy "iksou" Mihailichenko - Coach
Quantum Bellator Fire is a team with similar problems as AVANGAR, the lack of experience in big tournaments will be a deciding factor for the team performance, their latest results are not impressive and they will need to compensate all by making a great collective game to increase their chances to make it to top eight. If the team has been training and preparing properly we could see them pass to the next stage.
First match against: Natus Vincere
Opinion: Quantum Bellator Fire will be eliminated with a 1:3 win/loss score.
Last three tournament standings:
LOOT.BET Cup 2 - cs summit 2 Qualifier - 19/22th
MakeMy.Bet Cup #2 - 3/4th place
MakeMy.Bet Cup #1 - 5/8th place

Europe Minor: Space Soldiers (1st) and EnVyUs (2nd)

Space Soldiers

Can "XANTARES" Dörtkardeş

Engin "ngiN" Kor
Ahmet "paz" Karahoca
Engin "MAJ3R" Kupeli
Buğra "Calyx" Arkın
Canpolat "hardstyle" Yildiran - Coach
This is one of the hardest team to predict, Space Soldiers are a really strong team and if they are on point they could easily come out of this stage with a 3:0, but we have to take into considerations that they will be facing very strong opposition and their lack of experience in big events can be a big factor to determine if they will make it to the next stage. If XANTARES plays what he knows and if they can work the map vetoes to go in their favor and play their matches in Mirage they could be unstoppable, but we know other teams will play on their weak points and that could make things very complicated for them.
First match against: Sprout
Opinion: Space Soldiers will be eliminated with 2:3 win/loss score.
Last three tournament standings:
ESEA Season 26 MDL Global Challenge - 2nd
WESG 2017 Europe & CIS Regional Finals - 3rd
WCA 2017 Europe Main Qualifier - 5/8th
Vincent "Happy" Cervoni
Christophe "SIXER" Xia
Cédric "RpK" Guipouy
Alexandre "xms" Forté
Adil "ScreaM" Benrlitom
Damien "maLeK" Marcel - Coach
EnVyUs is a very strong and feared opponent for every other team in this tournament, we all know what players like Happy and ScreaM can deliver if they are on point and we have also seen RpK showing an amazing form lately. If we take into consideration EnVyUs latest tournaments we can see they have ups and downs along the way, which make it hard to predict which team we will be seeing on this major. Even if EnVyUs are not on their best days we can still expect them to deliver some great games and to be a very entertaining team to watch on any of their matches.
First match against: Cloud9
Opinion: EnVyUs to be eliminated with 2:3 win/loss score.
Last three tournament standings:
DreamHack Open Winter 2017 - 3/4th
WESG 2017 Europe & CIS Regional Finals - 5/8th
EIM Oakland 2017 - 9/10th

Do you think it was a good idea to make the Challengers Stage as part of the major or should they have kept the old qualifier style?

Challengers Stage
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Old Qualifier
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