Image: Ubisoft/Kirill B.
The Berlin Major playoffs will start tomorrow with Elevate vs w7m esports. Not only are Elevate Asia Pacific's lone remaining hope, this is just the second event for both teams and one is about to reach the Major's semi-final.
w7m esports -- HerdsZ, GdNN1, Kheyze, Jv92, volpz, Abreu, and igoorctg (two coaches)
Elevate -- Onigiri, DCH, Sapper, MrPuncH, markshortboyz, and DrBestsiaer (Coach)
W7m were LATAM's second-seeded team, only behind FaZe and broke the all-time record for the most points earned during a Major group stage. The only points they lost were in a 7-8 loss to Wolves in a match that didn't mean much.
Elevate may be the top team in APAC South, but they finished their group in second place behind fourth-seeded FURIA, lost to MNM Gaming, and were taken to overtime against Astralis.
Elevate have been a very impressive roster, but they are the underdogs here.
It is very unlikely that Elevate have been hiding maps specifically for the playoffs, considering how close APAC is and that they were in a tight group.
Looking at the figures so far, it is likely that Elevate will ban Chalet or Clubhouse, as it is their go-to ban and they haven’t won either map all year. W7m also have a good record on both.
Meanwhile, w7m will want to remove Theme Park for the same reasons. 21 bans and zero plays from w7m, compared to a flawless record from Elevate, means that this would be a very risky map to let through.
W7m will then probably pick whichever map Elevate didn’t ban, while Elevate will likely go for Oregon. While both teams are good here, this is Elevate’s favourite map and one w7m have avoided so far. W7m were notably taken to overtime against G2 Esports here and lost it against Liquid on the final map of the Stage 1 Copa Elite Six winner’s final.
As for the decider, this is hard to predict, but a map such as Villa would be a nice neutral ground. Both teams have played it once at this event, each beating their NA group stage opponents.
Onigiri has had a very bad event so far as he currently has the worst KOST, and second worst entry differential of all playoffs-qualified players, despite playing on Zofia.
This is not something that can continue if they hope to make a deeper run into the event, but Onigiri has proven he can compete with the best. He tied the all-time single map kill record at his only prior event, getting 27 kills against Rogue at the Six Invitational 2022.
Meanwhile, Twitch-Jaeger main DCH has had a mixed tournament. On the attack, he's been filling in any gaps on entry, but he's only hit 13 kills in six maps on the defense -- the second least of all players ahead of just supr.
On a wider scale, Elevate previously had one of the best defensive win rates coming into the tournament at 66.4%. This is now completely gone.
In Berlin, they have a defensive win rate of 58.6% and an attack win rate of 42.9%, which is only a few per cent off of the tournament average -- a 55.6% defensive win rate.
In almost the exact opposite case of DCH, GdNN1 managed only 13 kills of his own on the attack, -- but this still beat out six other players. This is still a notable issue, as the team's most experienced player has not been able to frag or plant while on the hard breach role. Most interestingly, Jv92 on Nomad got more plants than GdNN1.
This certainly was not the case earlier this stage; during both Stage 2's CES and BR6, GdNN1 was the tournament's second highest planter.
While its notable that the team isn't reliant on GdNN1 for this role, it's more concerning that GdNN1 has been unable to get the bomb down himself despite w7m's almost complete dominance of their group.
On the defence, all eyes are on volpz. He has earned 43 kills to 18 deaths so far, which is the best differential and kill rate so far at the Berlin Major.
These fragging numbers have meant that w7m's defensive win rate is at a massive 74.3%, compared to a 50% on the attack. No team during the groups won more than two attacks against w7m during regulation time, even when they lost.
Step one to beating w7m is killing the Jager early -- a very hard task. If you can do this, teams such as FaZe Clan have shown in the CES finals that the rest of the round is easy enough to get through.
Unless volpz can be stopped on the defence, w7m will almost certainly win this game.
W7m’s attacks are defined by their speed and can be overcome by those expecting it and countering it. In fact, you need to go back to July to find the last time w7m has won an attacking half. This side of the coin is not too much of a concern, except that Elevate have admitted that they struggle with handling such quick attacks.
The real issue for Elevate is that even if they take a 4-2 lead on their defences, w7m are more than capable of winning five defences of their own as they did against Wolves on Wednesday.
Elevate being able to overcome these defences on two maps in the space of three would rely on consistently stopping volpz. The only player from APAC who’s played under an Elevate badge who’s shown the skill to do this is the Onigiri who hit 27 kills against Rogue in their opening Six Invitational playoffs game.
Another factor may be that neither of these teams have ever played in front of an international crowd before. While neither will have home advantage, I imagine Elevate will have the fan support as the APAC underdogs.
On the other hand, when it comes to nerves, w7m have experience in their regional league playing under high-pressure LAN environments next to their teammates. This is not true for Elevate's rookie players and if Elevate lose the coinflip and start on the attack, the venue may get to them if they go 1-5 down at the end of their first half.