Skip navigation (Press enter)

XSET vs Wolves Esports preview: The worst attacking team in the playoffs against the best all-round attacker

NA’s last hopes must run a European gauntlet, starting with Wolves.

Image: Ubisoft/Kirill B.

The Berlin Major playoffs begin tomorrow with XSET vs Wolves Esports. XSET has a lot of weight behind them as NA fans look to them for success while LATAM fans will root for them due to their Brazilian players. 

Wolves, on the other hand, have already improved upon their all-time highest finish and will like their chances of reaching a grand-final should they win this game. 

XSET -- Kyno, DiasLucasBr, GMZ, Spiritz, Yoggah, Vivas (coach), and PFernandes (analyst)
Wolves Esports -- BiBooAF, Mowwwgli, P4, risze, Shiinka, Lyloun, and Helbee (two coaches)

Who's the favourite?

While North America did have a weak event, and Wolves are the top-seeded team from the European League, XSET’s performance in their group likely makes them the game’s favourites. 

After losing their opening game against Rogue, XSET then won five games running, all in regulation time. Wolves meanwhile was notably the only team to beat w7m who are probably one of the tournament favourites currently but needed four overtimes to make it to the playoffs as all their opponents gave them trouble.

Maps

These two teams do have somewhat similar map pools; they avoid Theme Park, Skyscraper, Kafe, and Border likes the plague and would both thrive on Bank or Oregon. On paper this should make it an interesting game as even on their individual map picks it should be close.

Wolves Esports

The most notable thing about Wolves during this tournament has been their inability to attack with a 38.1% success rate. This is the lowest seen across all the playoff teams and has clearly affected their results.

Four of their six group stage games have gone to overtime due to this struggle. Against better teams than Gaimin Gladiators, this will only get worse.

What's interesting is that this comes despite an entry kill differential of plus nine, the highest of all teams on attack. This is the second highest of all teams behind just Oxygen who clearly also struggled in this regard.

This struggle to perform on attack specifically was also present in Charlotte, and the fact it hasn't been fixed since does not bode well for Wolves.

On the defence the team is much more even performance wise and this has helped them make the comeback after their weak attacks. They are less dominant on entry, however, which may be an issue considering XSET is particularly good here.

XSET 

While it seems amazing to call this an "issue", but Kyno has been playing too well.

He's the top fragger, the joint top entry man, the main planter, and the main hard breach player. He has a specifically good record at entrying on attack which is unusual for a player usually on support roles.

This is odd as in the NAL he had the lowest kill statistics in the team. Now he he's getting the kills rather than GMZ and Yoggah as the team's two alternating Finka players are falling behind.

On the defence Yoggah more than makes up for it as he has the ninth highest kill rate in the tournament. This is a massive increase from his 0.84 rating in Charlotte when XSET really struggled on their defenses. 

Even last event when Kyno wasn't such a lynchpin to the team, the one common factor with all the defeats is a fall in performance from Kyno. 

From third on his team he dropped to last in their semi final loss to Astralis and in their surprise loss to CYCLOPS in the groups. Most recently in the line game they've lost in Berlin while Kyno still got his numbers up, Rogue were able to consistently kill him as he hit a nine percent survival rate. 

Obviously, the team is a lot more than just Kyno’s contributions, but Wolves are going to struggle getting on the board during their crucial defenses with him around. However, if they can keep him quiet, they will have given themselves a huge leg up.

So who will win?

Ultimately, we have the worst attacking team in the playoffs versus a team with the best all-round attacker in the playoffs. 

It seems most likely that Wolves will go behind on the attack as always but then as teams switch sides Wolves will be unable to mount the defensive comeback they have been known for at this event due to Kyno's dominance.

As the tournament goes we'll see how well XSET can perform when Kyno is specifically targeted as so far on LAN it looks like he is the key. The issue for Wolves is if even with Kyno neutralised they will still probably go well behind defending and they can't rely on their record number of clutches to make up the difference against a team as good as XSET.

Wolves best chance likely comes down to BiBooAF as his consistent underperformance at global events is the big outlier in Wolves when considering he was the EUL's fourth best player this stage. 

BiBooAF does infact specialise on the defence as he rose to the highest rating here in Europe; a 1.36 rating compared to Doki on 1.28. If he can wake up then a BiBooAF vs Kyno battle could help their defensive comebacks become a reality.