Following yesterday’s feature on the open qualifier teams for the BenQ Zowie eXTREMESLAND CS:GO ANZ 2018 Closed Qualifiers, our focus today shifts towards the four invitees.
With a plethora of internationally-proven talent amongst the teams of ORDER, Legacy, Tainted Minds and The Chiefs, these squads and their individual players make up what many would consider the ‘best of the best’ in the Oceanic scene.
Form: 2nd ESEA Premier Season 28 (AU), 3rd-4th DreamHack Masters Stockholm 2018 Asian Qualifier, 3rd IEM XII Shanghai ANZ Qualifier
It wasn’t too long ago that ORDER were making waves across the international scene, with the former Kings Gaming Club core roster often jet-setting overseas, competing against the world’s-best at events such as the IEM XII World Championships and WESG 2017.
Though we haven’t seen this roster keep up the same level of consistency as was seen since the inception of the ORDER organisation, the unchanged lineup remains a staple in the Oceanic scene, with the ability to fend off challenges from the nation’s up-and-coming competition.
“Coming in to this event, our expectations are, of course, to qualify to the regional finals, and from there to win and get to the main event. We made it to semi-finals at last year’s main event and would be looking to have a deeper run this time, with stronger results against the Chinese teams.”
“Our practice has been continuing as normal; while we haven’t prepared for the other teams specifically, we are focusing on bringing our own level up independently. We have looked at our map pool and made some decisions and generally been working on adding some ingenuity and further structure to our existing maps.”
“Grayhound are unavailable to play due to their participation in DreamHack Stockholm, so our focus moves to TM. As for new teams, I think Ground Zero have the pieces there to get some good results, and Legacy are always lurking for an upset.”
“Overall, the eXTREMESLAND qualifier is very important to us, and was my personal highlight in the Asian circuit last year. Shanghai is a beautiful location, and we would love to travel back there this year. Following this tournament, we will resume training to win any upcoming qualifiers that arise before Christmas.”
– Chris ‘emagine’ Rowlands, ORDER
My Prediction: I don’t think many people expect ORDER to struggle coming in to this tournament. They have the capacity to win against a side such as Tainted Minds, but also risk running close matches against Legacy and AVANT. Their finishing position will be reliant on how the bracket is seeded, but it would be a surprise to all if ORDER fail to make the top 4. 2nd Place.
Form: 3rd-4th ESEA Premier Season 28 (AU), 1st IeSF World Championships 2018 Australian Qualifier, 1st CyberGamer Pro League Season 14
If it’s a team that’s got to prove themselves here, it’s the Chiefs Esports Club. Once-regarded as the powerhouse organisation in the Oceanic CS:GO scene, Chiefs have somewhat struggled to retain their top spot in the region since losing the likes of aliStair and malta to ORDER and Grayhound respectively.
The former Athletico pickup of Texta and flickz has bolstered this team’s ability to place in regional tournaments such as ESL AU&NZ Season 7 and ESEA Season 28, but the Chiefs still have some way to go in proving that they can challenge and defeat the rest of the top-tier teams in the region.
“Our only expectation is to win the qualifier. Although we don’t feel we’re the best we can be, we are still very confident against ORDER and TM.”
“Preparation for the event has been pretty standard; day-to-day team and individual practice. We haven’t really looked at any of the teams in the qualifier too much, as we know ORDER, TM and Legacy quite well already – we have mainly been focusing on us.”
“I’ve for sure seen some really positive signs from the Dynasty team, who have seemed to come out of nowhere in the last few events and performed quite well. They seem like they understand how to play as a team on a pretty good level, so I’m excited to see their progression.”
“For us moving forward, it’s just making sure we keep getting better and focus on qualifying for the next big international event, then performing well there. For me – that’s everything right now.”
– Tyler ‘tucks’ Reilly, Chiefs Esports Club
My Prediction: I can see the experience of Chiefs fending off competition from Ground Zero, Dynasty and Surge, but when it comes down to it, I don’t know if Chiefs will be able to topple some of the bigger names. Regardless, we should still be seeing Chiefs progress through to the next stage. 3rd-4th is the most likely outcome.
Form: 3rd-4th ESEA Premier Season 28 (AU), 2nd DreamHack Masters Stockholm 2018 Asian Qualifier, 3rd Asia Minor Championship – FACEIT London 2018
The highest-rated squad on our shortlist of eight teams, Tainted Minds have somewhat slipped under the shadows of Grayhound’s success in the region. The guys in green have a plethora of international talent in the likes of yam, ofnu and zewsy from the days-gone of Renegades and Winterfox, and with the addition of bURNRUOK to the roster, it’s only a matter of time until Tainted Minds are to break through once again to the world scene.
After falling just short in making it to next month’s Valve-sponsored major in London as a Minor Champion, this might finally be the opportunity that Tainted Minds have been long-searching for.
“We’ve just returned from a boot camp in Poland in the lead up to the FACEIT minor and will use what we learnt and absorbed there to prepare ourselves for this event.”
“We’re looking out for namely the top teams; Chiefs, Grayhound and ORDER. Haven’t been keeping up too much with teams outside the top 4 so really not sure who could be a surprise but I know Legacy are definitely on the rise and the rest of the teams still should never be taken lightly.”
“We are really keen to secure a spot at the MEO LAN finals and will be gunning for the finals seed by taking it out. We’re incredibly grateful to Zowie for making this kind of format that we’ve been longing for a possibility. Only thing I’d want differently is more spots for the international finals held by eXTREMESLAND. I think we’ve earned it as a collective community and definitely are worthy.”
– Coach Fergus ‘ferg’ Stephenson, Tainted Minds
My Prediction: It appears the stars might finally align for Tainted Minds. With Grayhound out of the picture, the path is paved for Tainted Minds to finally rise up to the challenge and make a name for themselves. However, they will need to watch out for teams such as AVANT and ORDER if they want to cement themselves on top coming in to the next stage. 1st place.
Form: 5th-8th ESEA Premier Season 28 (AU), 2nd CyberGamer Pro League Season 14, 5th-6th IEM XIII Shanghai ANZ Qualifier
Rounding out our four invitees for the eXTREMESLAND 2018 ANZ Closed Qualifier we have Legacy Esports – a last-minute replacement for Grayhound, who could not attend due to schedule conflicts with DreamHack Stockholm.
The former lol123 lineup has typically performed well in qualifying stages, and now that sterling has had some time to gel with his team, Legacy will need to act swiftly to secure a victory and make a name for themselves, rather than continuing to drift outside the region’s top four. The recent departure of coach SnypeR could throw a spanner in the works, but with plenty of talent on this roster, they should be able to at least put up a fight.
“We’ve been putting a lot of hours in to our game after losing to The Chiefs at CGPL. Our primary goal right now is on improving our own style of play – We’ve changed some roles on some maps (mostly CT side), and we are working on improving our communication as a team.”
“We haven’t had much of a chance to look at how to counter some of the other teams as of yet, but hopefully that will be better in the long run.”
“We are very grateful for the opportunity that eXTREMESLAND has given us. Our goal is to make it to the LAN Qualifier.”
– Egor ‘LONS’ Baranov, Legacy Esports
My Prediction: If Legacy are to make it through to the top 4, then they will need to make sure they don’t get scalped by teams such as Surge or Dynasty. They have the depth and ability to make the cut, but I predict that if there’s going to be an upset, it will happen in a game which includes Legacy. 4th or 5th place.
With the qualifiers now underway, it’s only a matter of time before we see which of these eight teams will make the cut to the top four playoffs at the Melbourne Esports Open in a weeks’ time.
Will the invited teams prevail? Could we see some scalps and upsets perhaps? Be sure not to miss any of the action by following Snowball Esports on Twitter to keep updated with the latest esports news in the Oceanic scene.