Season 9 Play Day 8: Introducing the Caster Prediction Competition

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With the second half of Season 9 kicking off today let’s take a look at the must-watch games this week and get the views from some of the top R6 talents from around the world on who’s going to win.

We’ve gathered ten well-known R6 casters and analysts from all around the world to compete to see who knows the Pro League best. Every week they will predict the results of the upcoming matches, gaining points for every correct answer until the end of the season when we will total them up to find the most accurate of R6’s talent pool.

The first week’s predictions

Participants

  • Parker "Interro" Mackay - English language Pro League caster from Canada
  • Ghassan "Milosh" Finge  - English language Pro League caster from Lebanon
  • André "meligeni" Santos - Portuguese language Pro League caster from Brazil
  • Alex "z1ronic" Dalgaard-Hansen - Pro League/Major analyst from Denmark
  • James "Devmarta" Stewart - ANZ Pro League caster and Major analyst from Australia
  • John "BLU" Mullen - DreamHack, Major and USN caster from the United States
  • Sébastien "FuriouSG" Guérineau - French language Pro League caster from France
  • Stijn "Hap" Hapers - Benelux and Challenger League caster from the Netherlands
  • Marius “verdipwnz” Lauer - German language Pro League caster from Germany
  • James "Sternab" Parkinson - CCS and Challenger League caster from the United Kingdom
  • The SiegeGG Pre-Show Staff

While these are the current casters involved, this will likely be expanded for future seasons to include more names from both the Pro League and national leagues to form a much more comprehensive tournament. For now, though let’s take a look at these games in detail to see which are the must-watch games this week:

Playday #8

North America

  • DarkZero Esports vs Team Reciprocity
  • Spacestation Gaming vs Rise Nation

With the disbanding of OrgLess during the mid-season break, there will be only three matches in NA for the rest of the season which, this week, will include two standout matches.

Firstly we have DarkZero Esports vs Team Reciprocity as the second and third-placed teams in the league will face off in what could very well be a LAN deciding game. Not only will the winner push ahead into the second position but also, considering the 7-5 victory DarkZero had in the first half of the season, they will also likely gain the head-to-head round advantage giving themselves a huge advantage for the rest of the season. This first half result also means that a draw would favour the DarkZero lineup giving them a little extra breathing room compared to Reciprocity - room which may be needed in what will be their first game without Owen "Pojoman" Mitura since Season 2. The precariousness of the situation between the teams can be seen by the casters perfectly with there being an exact 5/5 split over who will come out victorious.

The second game, meanwhile, has much less impact on the LAN positions but will be very telling about the teams themselves as both rosters saw major changes over the mid-season break. Rise saw the two players of Giuliano "Krazy" Solon and Tomasz "Acid" Adamczyk join from the since-disbanded OrgLess lineup while SSG sees Bryan "Bryan" Agema rejoin the roster, also from OrgLess, to replace the famous Echo/Maestro player of Taylor "Redeemer" Mayeur. No matter the result this should be a fairly interesting game, however the 7-1 victory by Rise Nation in the first half of the season certainly puts into question the almost unanimous thought that Spacestation has this game in the bag, implying that they believe the decision to drop Redeemer will not have such adverse effects as predicted by many.

The current Pro League standings after seven play days.

Latin America

  • FaZe Clan vs Ninjas in Pyjamas
  • Immortals vs Team Liquid

While the NA shuffle may have not gone as planned, the LATAM shuffle certainly surprised many with major changes happening in Liquid, FaZe and Black Dragons which we’ll get to see in action for the first time this week as the “big-4” teams all face off.

Sitting at the top of the LATAM Pro League table at the moment is Team Liquid and Immortals, both with 15 points meaning their matchup this week will very likely determine who will end the season in the top position in the region. Immortals won their first matchup of the season 7-5 however the reintroduction of Paulo "psk1" Augusto onto the roster in replacement of Guilherme "gohaN" Alf has slightly swayed the experts in favour of Team Liquid taking this matchup six votes to five which, if true, would put them in an excellent position to make the Pro League finals exactly a year after they lifted the title back in Season 7.

The second highlighted game will be a rematch of the opening game of the 2019 Six Invitational - FaZe Clan vs Ninjas in Pyjamas. In that matchup, Faze Clan took the game 2-0 (7-3, 7-0) however has since brought on Ronaldo "ion" Osawa to replace the outgoing player of João "HSnamuringa" Deam which, with so little time to prepare with this new lineup and with NiP bringing on a new coach in Arthur "Ar7hur" Schubert, may lead this to be a closer matchup than previously. With FaZe Clan already sitting six points down from the top two teams they desperately need to start winning games such as this if they want to make it back to the Pro League Finals or risk being left behind in the lower half of the table for the rest of the season.

“Faze and liquid comes with changes in the Lineup. @paulopsk1 returns to Liquid after a time only as a streamer and has to recover the "lost" time since it stayed out of official matches for a few months, but nothing impossible for those who are already champions of the Pro League”

“Faze brought @ionosawa onto the team, a player who had a great time at BD and now comes to replace muringa on the team. At first, the team tends to be more aggressive with his entry and the loss of a support player - we will see how it works Faze”

Europe

  • LeStream Esports vs G2 Esports
  • Mousesports vs Team Secret

After a mixed performance at the Six Invitational which saw two European teams make it to the grand-final but three others fall pretty hard in the group stage, the remaining half of the Pro League season will be fascinating for the European region. The primary question Season 9 has brought up is what’s going on with G2? The three times Major and Pro League champions sitting in the bottom half of the Pro League table is frankly bizarre and after proving they still are as strong as ever at the most recent Six Invitational where they won 11/12 maps played, it’ll be interesting to see if they can climb into the top two from their current position.

The current Pro League standings in Europe after seven play days of Season 9

If the current top two teams in the European standings - LeStream Esports and Team Empire - were to repeat their first-half performance in the second half of the season, G2 would need 17 points out of a possible 21 to make LAN after a first-half performance of just nine points. If LeStream or Empire were to outmatch their first-half performance it’s very possible that it would be mathematically impossible for G2 to catch up to them hence why G2 beating LeStream this week is their most important game of the Pro League season. After their dominating Invitational  title run all but one of the casters believe they can do it but with a draw, in the first half of the season between these two rosters and with the fragging power we consistently see out of LeStream anything is possible.

The second game is one that may not impact the top portion of the Pro League table with the two teams sitting in fourth and eighth position but could be a good indicator for what the rest of the season holds for each team. Unwilling to be demoted from the Pro League after grinding through the Challenger League to get there, last-placed Team Secret made the move to drop Ryan "Lacky" Stapley from the roster in favour of the Finnish fragger of Aku "Fonkers" Seppä.

Meanwhile, the team previously known as ENCE eSports both were picked up by the new organisation of mousesports and gained a new coach in Michiel "oVie" van Dartel to replace their previous coach and G2’s new analyst of Kevin "Sua" Stahnke. These changes are big ones for the rosters and the EU scene as a whole as both the ENCE organisation and the Lacky/meepeY duos have been near the top of the scene since the beginning of Year 2. Seeing what improvements they have made with the new lineups will be key as Secret aim to avoid relegation and mouz aim to qualify for their first Pro League Finals since they won the title back in Season 6.

The new mousesports roster. From left to right: SlebbeN, Bounssi, Gomfi, Willkey, and Shatte

 

Asia-Pacific

  • 0RGL3SS vs Dark Sided
  • Sengoku Gaming Extasy vs FAV gaming

Unlike the other three regions, none of the APAC sub-regions has a mirrored schedule like NA, EU or LATAM do and instead, each team plays two best-of-ones against the same teams each week. This means that, while we are in the mid-season, the standings may be misleading as many teams still have their hardest games yet to play. This is precisely the case in these games above.

With disband of the wonderfully named Gentlemen in Underwear squad in the ANZ region, all their previous and future games have been forfeited meaning there are now just two points between 0RGL3SS and Dark Sided. This means that, with six points up for grabs in this matchup alone, the overall victor is likely to qualify for the APAC LAN next month and have a shot at making the eventual Pro League Finals in Milan in May.

Of course, the two-point lead means that 0RGL3SS, previously known as Athletico Esports, are in a much better position than Dark Sided as they have a degree of leeway, plus, with Ryan “Speca” Ausden suddenly leaving Dark Sided to be replaced by the ex-Mindfreak player of Connor "Kngz" Wickham earlier this week, it is very likely 0RGL3SS is very much more prepared than their rivals also. Despite this, this is one of the best opportunities DS has had to make the APAC LAN since Season 7 and they will be sure to fight for it making this a must-watch matchup for all APAC fans.

The second game is a similar situation between two of the top four teams in their sub-region. For those unaware of the Japanese sub-region outside of NORA-Rengo, both FAV gaming and Sengoku Gaming Extasy contain two members each of the only other Japanese team to make an international final back during Season 6 and the 2018 Six Invitational - eiNs. The two rosters now sit in second and fourth place in the sub-region and with the third-placed team - CYCLOPS athlete gaming - facing a daunting matchup against NORA-Rengo this week, this both team’s chances to leave their opponents behind and almost guarantee their spot at the upcoming Season 9 APAC LAN.

The full FAV gaming lineup via @amenboy_

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And so that’s our summary of the must-watch games this week! Keep an eye out here at SiegeGG for more updates of the caster prediction competition and for complete coverage of this week’s Pro League games.