Predictions for ELEAGUE Major: Boston 2018

The ELEAGUE Major: Boston 2018 is underway, and it’s already proving to be one of the most popular eSports events in recent years. With the preliminary rounds taking place in Atlanta, the New Champions Stage or what we would normally call the playoffs are penned in for the weekend of January 26-28 in Boston. But before we dive in with details, let’s look at what the event is all about.

Public Interest

Competitive eSports has grown into a multimillion-dollar industry over the last decade or so, and with so much money in the game, the public is starting to see RPG games in a whole new light. Well, to be more precise, they’re starting to see people that play these games in a different way. Thanks to major tournaments like the ELEAGUE Major in Boston and people’s growing obsession with all things digital, gaming is finally making its way out of the bedroom and living room and into the public eye.

Gaming captures the attention of the world – the crowd at TI4. | © Jakob Wells/Wikimedia

And it’s not just the gaming itself that is booming. While fantasy sports betting has been a growing industry for many years, eSports is finally getting its slice of the action. As more people adapt to a digital lifestyle, public interest in RPG games at an all-time high, and such interest has, of course, resulted in a betting niche (that’s us) specifically, aimed at eSports.

Clearly, gaming is more popular than ever before.

The Road to Boston
This year’s ELEAGUE Major sees 16 teams face off against each other for the title of champion. And with a prize pool of $1 million, it’s not all about bragging rights. The teams are split into two categories of qualifiers: legends (who qualified automatically) and challengers (who had to qualify).

The legends are made up of previous major winners and top finishers in the last major while the challenger group consists of eight teams that had to make it through a major qualifier tournament. These eight challengers include teams from the bottom eight places of last year’s major and teams that made it through a minor event held in their region.

The teams participating are:

Team Liquid
G2 Esports
Natus Vincere
Vega Squadron
Quantum Bellator Fire
Team North
Gambit Esports
SK Gaming
Space Soldiers

With the tournament now in full swing, both Team North and Virtus.Pro are out after suffering three defeats each in the group stage. There’s just no coming back from that and to be honest, and a lot more was expected from Danish legends North. It seems, though, that a player swap and a period of inconsistency has taken its toll.

The New Legends Stage (Formerly the Group Stage)
The big news from the group stage so far is, of course, the elimination of Team North. However, we’ve also been pleasantly surprised to see FaZe doing so well. Although if we’re honest, it’s hard to see any team that features both Olofmeister and Niko do anything but win.

Former Fnatic player Olofmeister joined the ranks last summer much to the delight of FaZe fans. It was something of a coup, and judging by their current form in the tournament (three wins from three), it’s a move that is paying off.

With FaZe and G2 Esports guaranteed their place in the final eight, the race for the other six berths is tight. There are six teams all on 2-1 so that last group stage match is all or nothing. The three matches that all eyes will be on pit those six teams on the 2-1 against each other. For the neutral spectator, you couldn’t have asked for a more ideal situation.

• Gambit vs. SK Gaming
• Fnatic vs. Natus Vincere
• Quantum Bellator Fire vs. Mousesports

With all six teams level in the current standings, the winner of each match will qualify. Could it be more exciting? Yes, it could because even the losers could still qualify. It all depends on how other results go, and a possible final pool of teams on 2-2.

The Top 8
So, who will we see in Boston?

Gambit vs. SK Gaming is a tough one to call with both teams playing well but still guilty of the odd mistake and bad judgment call. We reckon SK Gaming will have what it takes to see this one through. However, we also think that Gambit could be one of the teams that finish 2-2 and still qualifies.

We also predict that Fnatic will have the edge over Natus Vincere, which should see them book their place in the main event in Boston. Although Fnatic is obviously still feeling the loss of their superstar player to FaZe, they’ve got enough experience in the ranks to see it through.

Ranked number five, it’s hard to see Mousesports fall at the last hurdle against Quantum Bellator Fire, but then again, this is a live tournament, and anything can happen.

Our prediction for the final eight is as follows:
1. FaZe (obviously)
2. G2 Esports (same as above)
3. Fnatic
4. Mousesports
5. SK Gaming
6. Gambit
7. BIG
8. Quantum Bellator Fire

Although they’re 1-2 at this point, we predict BIG will get a big win (sorry, not sorry for the pun) against Space Soldiers and make it through the last pool of 2-2 teams to snag a place in Boston.

The New Champions Stage (the Playoffs)
Once we get to Boston, it’s a single-elimination bracket with every match a best-of-three series.

Obviously, we have no idea yet who is up against who, but if we take our predictions for the final eight, we can make an educated guess as to who we think will make it to the final. We’re expecting something of a surprise this year, and so we reckon that Mousesports will push the rest for a berth in the final if they don’t come up against FaZe. We’re also quite keen on G2 Esports, but again, it all depends on who they come up against before the final.

FaZe, on the other hand, we can’t see losing at all. These guys are in top form and regardless of who they come up against, we just can’t see them losing. Yes, on January 28th you can expect to see Niko and Olofmeister share the limelight as their team is crowned champions. Is that a bold prediction? Perhaps. Is it set in stone? Absolutely not.

Filip “NEO” Kubski of Virtus.Pro | © SteelSeries/Wikimedia

We’ve all seen what the pressure of an event like this can do to a team. Just look at last year’s finalists Virtus.Pro. They had the match won until Astralis produced a stunning comeback to claim the title. Astralis isn’t quite living up to expectations this year (1-2), but Virtus.Pro (0-3) would probably rather forget this tournament altogether.

While this year’s field is highly competitive with some incredible individual and team performances on display, FaZe just seem to have that winning mentality. And when it comes to high-pressure situations, they’ve got the experience to carry them through. We may yet be proven wrong, but for us, this year’s winners will be Olofmeister’s new team FaZe with G2 Esports with Mousesports in second place.

Author: Tyler Thompson