After a tough group stage, Europe Minor playoffs are finally here. Vitality topped Group A with victories over Valiance and OpTic. On the other hand, Ence dominated Group B with two swift wins against ex-Space Soldiers and Windigo.
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Vitality vs North match analysis
As we mentioned above, Vitality dominated both Valiance and OpTic as they topped their group. On the other hand, North had poor showings as they lost their opening match against Windigo. However, they bounced back with a victory against the worst team in this event, ex-Space Soldiers. Once again, they had to play against Windigo in order to stay alive in Europe Minor, and somehow, they prevailed, after being 1-0 down.
Now that we have at least a couple of matches played in this event, we can come to a good conclusion about the form the teams are in.
Let’s start with Vitality. At one point, they were the underdogs in their opening match against OpTic, but they proved everyone wrong by dominating Kristian “k0nfig” Wienecke’s team. Furthermore, in their second match, they had to play against Valiance, a team that dominated favourites to win the entire thing, mousesports. Vitality was on a verge of being eliminated, but they pull through as they saved a couple of map points on Inferno. Even though they lost their map pick, Mathieu “ZywOo” Herbaut stepped up big time on Dust 2 as they sealed the series.
To conclude, Vitality is playing with some serious confidence, and that is really important since they are a team driven by individual skill and not structure or strategy. Their goal is to win individual duels.
North has been hot and cold throughout the entire tournament. After they were stomped against Windigo, they stepped up to defeat ex-Space Soldiers in a dominating fashion. Lastly, it was a do or die moment for them against their nemesis, Windigo. Even though they were favourites once again, they did not adjust accordingly, and once again they were on the verge of defeat against Bulgarians. However, this match showed how important experience is, and this is the main reason why North won this best-of-3 series.
In conclusion, North is nowhere near where they want to be. Their timings are off, they are very lucky to have Valdemar “valde” Bjørn Vangså on their roster. Sadly, he is the only one carrying his team throughout this period. If something is not drastically changed by tomorrow, I really can not see North as a threat in the Europe Minor playoffs.
It is really hard to predict what map will North permaban. On the other hand, Vitality is most definitely permabanning Train, since they never play this map. This time around, North might permaban Overpass, since they do not want to play against Vitality on that map, trust me.
On to the better maps, both of these teams are comfortable playing Inferno, Nuke, and Cache. Vitality is really strong on Mirage, while North struggles on it. However, Nuke has been really good for North as of late, and I would not be surprised if they picked it against Vitality.
As for the decider, it could be either Inferno or Dust 2.
- Vitality remove TRAIN
- North remove OVERPASS
- Vitality pick MIRAGE
- North pick NUKE
- Vitality remove DUST 2
- North remove CACHE
- INFERNO was left over
These two teams never played against each other, but since this is the G2’s core, we might actually have some insight about this match-up. However, this is not relevant, since Vitality’s star player ZywoO never played against North, and this will be a real test for him.
You probably know where this betting prediction is leading. I simply do not believe North in this event, as they were on a verge of being eliminated against lower tiered teams. On the other hand, Vitality is looking really sharp, and they really dominated Valiance in their last best-of-3 series. French roster is playing with so much more confidence, while North is basically a one-man team at the moment. If valde stops fragging, there is no way North is getting to double digits in any of these maps.
Predicting map pool is really hard in this one since North is all over the place when it comes to maps. But still, both of these teams have similar map pools, and I simply can not see a map where Vitality will not be comfortable against North.
To conclude, Vitality is definitely in a better form, they are winning individual duels like crazy, their star player is performing on another level, and they are comfortable on every map North plays. That is more than enough for me to have my money on Vitality in this one.
Betting prediction: Vitality to win
Date: 18th of January, 17:00 CEST