PGL Stockholm Major Playoffs Preview
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November 4, 2021

PGL Stockholm Major Playoffs Preview

The PGL Stockholm CS:GO Major is down to eight teams and with a $2 million prize pool, this event is the game’s biggest esports tournament yet.

PGL Stockholm Major

It’s not just the prize money that is endearing to the teams and players. This is the first Major in nearly two years and every team out there wants the prestige that comes with lifting the trophy. Here’s a quick preview of the eight teams competing to win PGL Stockholm CS:GO Major at the Avicii arena.

Natus Vincere

Natus Vincere currently looks like the best team to beat at the PGL Stockholm Major. Currently ranked #1 and the winner of the prestigious Intel Grand Slam, Navi is one of the most consistent teams in CS:GO esports history. The team participated in every Major to date and even reached the grand finals of three. Coming into 2021, it is clear that Navi players are playing their best. With s1mple, the world’s best player on the roster, this trophy is Navi’s to lose.

“I think NAVI is just one step ahead of everyone, while the other teams, no one has really been consistent ever since the season started.” G2 NiKo to HLTV.

Navi holds a deep map pool instrumental to their success. The map pool allows them to have a huge advantage when it comes to the veto stage. In terms of firepower, s1mple and “electronic” are already two of the best in the world. But the promotion for “B1t” from the junior team has been a gamechanger. The youngster leads Navi in terms of kills and impact frags on a regular basis. His transition to the main team has been fluent but there might be one obstacle for the team.

The PGL Stockholm Major playoffs take place on LAN in front of a live audience. Whether this will impact the performance of the youngster could have a huge impact on Navi’s chances at the Major.

Ninjas in Pyjamas

Much like Navi, NiP also has a star player. Dev1ce transferred from Astralis to NiP and has helped the team reach new heights. Currently, World #2 after almost six years, NiP’s success relies on how well he performs. But it’s not overly reliant on Dev1ce. His star power steals the show, but the rest of the young squad proved themselves repeatedly before his arrival.

Rez is one of the most talented players on Ninjas in Pyjamas and in CS:GO esports. He can reach new heights, but his performance at this Major has been somewhat underwhelming.

Vitality – The Zyw0o Show

From the third corner is Vitality’s Zyw0o. The best player in 2019 and 2020, he has yet to win a Major. He holds numerous trophies to his name and many MVP awards, but the battle this time is for the title of the Major winner.

Vitality’s roster is unique, holding two of the most experienced players in the game with Shox and apEX. However, the remaining three players are young and inexperienced. For Kyojin and misutaa, this is their first Major and it’s in front of a large audience.

Vitality faces off against the number 1 seed, Natus Vincere in the quarterfinals. This is a CS:GO esports match that many believe could be a great Grand Finals for the 2021 PGL Stockholm Major.

Gambit Esports

The CIS squad is one of the most successful teams in recent months, but they still have to prove themselves on LAN. Gambit saw a very good performance in the Legends stage defeating Ninjas in Pyjamas 2-0. The team’s performance was just a reinforcement of their talent and the players are eager to prove they can perform on LAN as well.

Gambit is in a weird situation in the playoffs with players that pop off in nafany and Ax1le. The duo put up big numbers so far at the PGL Stockholm Major. With Hobbit’s calm and collective leadership, Gambit could be a potential dark horse in this CS:GO esports tournament.

G2 Esports

G2 Esports Niko is one of the most storied players in Counter-Strike. Before the likes of S1mple and Zyw0o took the world by storm, Niko was the best player in the world. He is one of the best players in the world and stepped up his performance at the PGL Stockholm Major.

G2 saw a commendable performance at IEM Cologne. But after going into the player break, G2 Esports could not replicate the same level of performance. The team struggled to find form in the events leading up to the Stockholm Major.

A 0-5 Group stage exit at the ESL Pro League Season 14 was embarrassing for the team, especially since there were high hopes on them. A lot depends on Niko and huNter in this tournament. G2 faces off against home team, NiP in their opening match of the playoffs.

Heroic

Heroic has seen a roller-coaster year. From being the best CS:GO esports team in the world to getting their coach and players embroiled in an ESIC investigation, pressure has been high. Soon after its players were declared innocent (to an extent) in the ESIC investigation, Heroic released a heartfelt video from their players on how the entire ordeal affected them.

The players’ emotions on qualifying to the champion’s stage spoke volumes of their mentality. Heroic could upset many teams here although it seems like they ran out of steam. A team that used to aim for championships earlier is now content, surprised even, to make it to the playoffs. Their first playoffs match is against Virtus.Pro, another dark horse in the tournament.

Virtus.Pro and FURIA

Virtus.Pro defeated Vitality, FaZe Clan and Mousesports in the New Legends stage. These are formidable teams and not many expected VP to qualify for the Legends stage.

VP defeated FaZe Clan in a close series. Despite some heroics by the FaZe Clan IGL, Karrigan, Virtus.Pro still managed to eke out the win. The team’s strength lies in its coordination and understanding of each others’ playstyle. They are often trading kills or avoiding unnecessary risks, which gives them a numbers advantage. Of course, in between all this is the insanely good individual skill for the youngsters on the roster.

FURIA’s chances seem to be the weakest in the playoffs. They are against Gambit Esports, a high-performance team and one of the world’s best. But FURIA itself is reliant on individual plays. The team lacks the diversity in strategy compared to the other teams and will need a miracle to move ahead.

The PGL Stockholm Major Champions stage kicks off on November 4 with the following match-ups:

  • Navi vs Vitality
  • Gambit vs FURIA
  • G2 esports vs NiP
  • Virtus.Pro vs Heroic

CS:GO fans can catch all the action live on Twitch.

Written by Rohan Samal

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