Play day six of the European League will take place tonight as the current top four teams aim to cement their spot in Major-qualification positions.
- 6:00PM CEST -- TT9 Esports vs Team BDS
- 7:15PM CEST -- Team Secret vs MNM Gaming
- 8:30PM CEST -- Heroic vs Wolves Esports
- 9:45PM CEST -- Rogue vs Outsiders
- 11:00PM CEST -- Natus Vincere vs G2 Esports
Today we will see what is, on paper, the most one-sided game left in Stage 3, as the win-less TT9 Esports roster plays a Team BDS lineup eager to make up for last week’s defeat to Rogue.
Rogue themselves have a spring in their step, having lost a mere four rounds in their last two games. They will now play Outsiders, who themselves lost by a frustrating 7-8 scoreline last week to keep them outside of the top four.
Also looking to push into the top positions are MNM, who will play ninth-placed Team Secret this week.
Should MNM win all three points, they could push ahead of the loser between Heroic and Wolves, who sit two points ahead of MNM in fourth and second place.
Finally, the last game of the day will be between Natus Vincere and G2 Esports, two rosters whose stage would be in deep jeopardy should they lose today's head-to-head.
The last five best-of-ones between G2 and NAVI have been on five different maps and none of the eight maps played in the last two years have gone to overtime.
- 2021 Stage 1 -- G2 wins 7-2 on Coastline
- 2021 Stage 2 -- NAVI wins 7-4 on Villa
- 2021 Stage 3 -- NAVI wins 7-2 on Bank
- 2021 Finals -- NAVI wins 3-7, 7-3, 7-2 on Chalet, Bank, and Clubhouse
- 2022 Stage 1 -- G2 wins 7-5 on Oregon
- 2022 Stage 2 -- G2 wins 7-4 on Clubhouse
While this is their head-to-head record over the last two years, it’s notable that NAVI have changed three players since Stage 1 and G2 changed three since the beginning of this year.
Since then, G2 have won both games, with Jack "Doki" Robertson and Ben "CTZN" McMillan having particularly good days against their ex-organization. In Stage 1, Doki and Alem4o hit a 1.50 SiegeGG Rating, while CTZN was on 1.20, and in Stage 2, CTZN hit a 1.43 Rating (including a 1v1) to win the map.
Kayak, meanwhile, ended with SiegeGG Ratings of 0.88 and 0.78 against the players that replaced him on G2.
While both teams will be looking for a win no matter who they face, this week is particularly important.
Both teams are currently tied on seven points in seventh and eighth place. Following this game, there will be only three play days remaining and fourth place could have potentially 12 points. That means whoever loses this game could be left with a five-point deficit, with three games to make it up.
Furthermore, G2’s final games come against the reigning EUL champions, second-placed BDS, MNM, who attended the last Six Major, and Outsiders, who just picked up the core of SI 2022 grand finalists.
Meanwhile, NAVI face BDS, Outsiders, and Wolves Esports -- no easy feat either, especially given all three teams’ current form. For all purposes, this is a must-win game for both them and G2.
Statistically, NAVI are a mess of a team.
Jamie "Skiddy" Diamond, the team’s primary fragger, currently has a 1.19 SiegeGG Rating, the third most entry kills in the league, and the joint-third highest kills-per-round figure.
His next highest performing teammate is Jordan "Kayak" Morley, the team’s primary planter. While playing Ace and planting seven out of the team’s 10 times, he has earned the second-best kill differential and is two kills behind being the second highest fragger. His teammates, who don’t have an additional hard breach and defuser roles are seemingly not doing their job on the fragging end.
This is an issue that NAVI certainly recognise, because they were in an identical position last stage.
On their way to an eventual seventh-place finish in Stage 2, NAVI also had Skiddy carrying the team in the fragging department, with Kayak with the defuser in second. The two worst performers, Pedro "Thuunder" Muniz and Byron "Blurr" Murray, then left the team at the end of the stage to be replaced by Jake "Leadr" Fortunato and Edoardo "T3b" Treglia, respectively. But, at least from the outside, it’s seems like all the same problems persist.
T3b has slotted into Blurr’s entry position and adopted his minus-four differential. Statistically, Leadr is a definite improvement on Thuunder, but hasn’t been able to come near to the power he showed in his debut game against Rogue.
While team chemistry and communication issues have likely changed within the team, from the outside, it seems like the problems that lead to a seventh-place finish during Stage 2 may see them slip down to eighth after today’s game in Stage 3.
G2’s comeback hopes
Last stage, G2 were in ninth place after three games and it looked as if yet another European super-team had died within a few months. Then, on play day four, a victory over Natus Vincere began their climb back up that eventually ended with a Six Berlin Major quarter-final appearance.
During Stage 3, G2 dropped to ninth place during play day two and four. Now back up to eighth, a win against NAVI could push G2 all the way up to fourth should other results go their way.
The position they’re in now is still very different to the one they were in back in July. Their Stage 2 comeback was largely a feature of a lucky schedule, while their upcoming games are much harder than before. Their comeback previously began on play day four, but it’s already play day six this time. And finally, the competition truly seems harder than ever in Europe to scrape the points off.
G2 made a lot of noise surrounding their Stage 2 comeback. Now that it’s stacked even more against them, can they do it once again?
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