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Rogue vs MNM preview: EUL giants face the proven giant killers

MNM are in a great position to pull off an upset to put Rogue on the back foot in their title defence.

Week three is here with five more games that will put the EUL a third of the way through the stage, as both Anne "FastAnne" Janssen and Ollie "XRTROIKA" Hatton will be joining the desk, while Derry “Dezachu” Holt will be out for the week.

  • 6PM CEST -- TT9 Esports vs Heroic
  • 7:15PM CEST -- Team BDS vs Outsiders
  • 8:30PM CEST -- MNM Gaming vs Rogue
  • 9:45PM CEST -- G2 Esports vs Wolves Esports
  • 11PM CEST -- Natus Vincere vs Team Secret

Week three will start with the most one-sided game of the stage, at least on paper, as first-placed Heroic faces last-placed TT9. The ex-Empire side will hope to get their opening point, while Heroic will look to steamroll their opponent and make up for a Berlin Major miss.

Heroic are tied on points at the top of the table with BDS, who also will face Russian opposition. Outsiders’ win over MNM has put them in a much better position, but playing BDS will be a different beast as the Frenchmen will also be eager to make up for a disappointing Stage 2.

Also hoping to prove themselves are Secret -- who have beaten G2, BDS, Wolves, Heroic, and TT9 in their last seven games -- and NAVI, who have had two overtime results so far this stage. 

Perhaps the biggest surprise of this stage has been G2’s poor performance, similar to the start of Stage 2. One point against Heroic and Secret combined has been a weak start with their new player and legendary player-turned-coach. Next up, they play Wolves, who will be hoping to bounce back from a choked defeat to BDS last week.

Finally, the game of the week in Europe will be MNM Gaming vs Rogue. Both these teams attended the Berlin Major, and both have had a mixed start to Stage 3, currently sitting in fourth and sixth place.

Here’s a rundown on what to expect in this matchup:

MNM’s historical advantage

MNM Gaming hold the distinction of being the only tier-one team to have a perfect record against the core of this Rogue team.

  • Stage 1 -- 7-4 to MNM on Kafe Dostoyevsky
  • Stage 2 -- 8-6 to MNM on Chalet

The only time Rogue has beaten the MNM organization was during the 2020 relegation game. This however included just two players in common; Josh "Yuzus" Pritchard on MNM and Leon "LeonGids" Giddens on Rogue.

During their most recent meeting, both Cryn and Yuzus ended with 20 kills in what was one of the most entertaining games of the year. The match included two Kantoraketti clutches, three quadruple kills, and an ace which SiegeGG crowned the play of the EUL stage.

That was the second game of play day one in Stage 2 of the EUL, meaning it was both Spoit’s debut professional game and the start of Rogue’s Major-winning run. 

With MNM exiting the Six Major third in their group, it is undeniable that Rogue at their peak should walk through this matchup. But, they also haven’t been playing anywhere near their peak, as their loss to NAVI two weeks ago showed. 

Rogue’s Stage 3

New champions having a rough following stage is to be expected. DarkZero Esports missed Berlin after winning in Charlotte, while both FaZe Clan and TSM FTX missed out on the Charlotte Major after winning the prior two events.

This is usually because after winning titles, teams have an extended break as a reward, affecting their first few games back. Rogue’s hit came in the form of a 6-8 loss to NAVI in week one, which included three clutches from their new pickup, Leadr. 

NAVI then went on to lose against Heroic last week, indicating that this was likely a weaker-than-expected performance from Rogue. 

Last week, Rogue seemingly bounced back with a Deapek-led win over TT9. The TT9 roster has finished last for the last two stages running, though, and has five wins in 20 games. That means MNM will be their first real challenge. 

If Rogue loses to MNM, while still very early in the stage, it becomes more likely they’ll go the way of DZ, TSM, and FaZe and miss the following Major. 

MNM’s giant-killer alter-ego

With just two games remaining in Stage 2, MNM were six points clear of fifth-placed G2 and had just ninth and 10th-placed Outsiders and PWNZ to play. They were a lock-in for Berlin. They then lost their final two games and only qualified for the Major by the skin of their teeth thanks to a four-second triple-kill from Yuzus.

But this very same team was in this position in that first place because they beat BDS, G2, Rogue, and NAVI, some of the biggest teams in Europe during Stage 2. 

Similarly, in Stage 1, they beat BDS, Wolves, Rogue, and NAVI… but lost to PWNZ and Secret.

MNM didn’t make any changes in August, so despite (or perhaps even because of) Rogue’s Six Major victory, MNM might even be considered the historical favorites coming into this game. They are proven giant killers, and there hasn’t been a giant as big as Rogue in Europe since MNM’s neLo won the ESL Pro League title three years ago.

More aggressive role for neLo?

MNM’s big change from Stage 2 has seemingly come from neLo. While he’s still playing on a hard breach role, it is Neo who has managed to secure all of MNM’s defuser plants so far. Meanwhile, neLo’s been involved in the second-most opening engagements on MNM while he had the joint-fewest last stage.

This isn’t a new situation, however, as the same was true at the Berlin Major. There, neLo had the team’s best entry differential -- the eighth-best in the tournament ahead of all of the G2 or w7m players -- while Neo got five of the team’s eight plants down. 

MNM did surprise many at the Major by simply not coming last in their very difficult group, but how much this uptick in neLo’s performance has been because of this change is hard to judge.

Rogue’s advantage

So if MNM’s got history on their side, what’s Rogue got?

Well other than a shining Jager bust to prove their immense skill, it’s got to be Deapek’s performance. While primarily playing Ace on the attack, he currently has the sixth-best performance in the EUL and already has two clutches to his name. 

Alongside Cryn, he’s made Rogue the only other team alongside BDS to have multiple players in the top-10 by SiegeGG Rating, while Deapek, Cryn, and Spoit are in the top-10 by kill differential. 

Yuzus, meanwhile, is the only one involved in any of these statistics for MNM. It’s very early to be judging teams like this, but Deapek is a monster that seems to be continuing in his stride after he clutched up against FaZe Clan multiple times.


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