The European Minor Championship for the upcoming Katowice Major – two teams will qualify for the Challengers stage – is a mix of stable rosters and squads looking to integrate a new player.
Off-season moves always lead to massive speculation heading into the new year. This year is no different and it appears likely that it will take a number of tournaments for the contenders to reveal themselves.
In the meantime, upsets could well be the name of the game.
mouz potentially in a good place
Favourites mousesports – 2.880 with Dafabet – appear to be set up nicely for this event, given the star power of suNny and the consistency of the rest of the roster.
mouz generally lacked upset potential towards the end of 2018, but they seemed to replace that with a consistency to strike down lower-tier teams.
The issue for mouz remains the same as it was ever since they brought in STYKO again – that they need either oskar or ropz to find a consistent level and assist suNny if they are to find better results moving forward.
Questions surround OpTic
OpTic Gaming (8.890) are one of the squads with a roster change – they have added refrezh in place of niko. OpTic were one of the most disappointing teams of 2018, but many of their poor results will be swept under the rug if they can find a top finish here.
refrezh is a nice addition to this squad, given he is both an immediate firepower upgrade and also seen as a talented player with a bright future who OpTic can look to work around even past the Major.
One interesting note for this squad is that if they fail here, the line-up will almost certainly be overhauled, especially if karrigan is available, so Snappi and JUGi, in particular, have everything to play for.
The most anticipation surrounding a team is attached to Team Vitality, who recently acquired ALEX in place of Happy. This appears to be more about the removal of Happy than the addition of ALEX, but given how much Happy was struggling, this could be a move that sees instant results in a positive way for Vitality, who can be backed at 7.400 to win this Minor.
Despite the veterans on this squad, everything about this team revolves around their young star ZywOo, who will be looked upon to lead them to a deep run here. This is a ton of pressure for the young AWPer, but he has been up to the task thus far and has shown no signs of slowing down.
Another potential player to watch is RpK, who while not returning to the previous incredible form he showed in the old G2 line-up, still produces star performances from time to time.
Soldiers rely on Calyx
Space Soldiers (15.680) are trending down entering this event given the departure of one of their star players in XANTARES, who left to join BIG. Replacing him is yam, a long-time player within the Australian scene who has left a lot to be desired during his time there.
All eyes now shift towards Calyx, who was the other side of the dynamic duo that Space Soldiers attempted to utilise. They could look to index even more into Calyx, although the addition of yam, who has been an in-game leader previously, could also improve the overall tactical game plan of this squad.
Watch out for ENCE
Another team similar to mouz are Finnish side ENCE eSports, who enter with lofty expectations and are 5.440 to triumph.
ENCE have their own star in sergej and also an incredible stable veteran presence in the form of allu to assist around the top of the scoreboard.
This makes ENCE a fairly dangerous team, given they are consistent enough to hang tough in any match, while having the star power of sergej to push them through difficult opponents.
This is a massive opportunity for ENCE to find some success and if they can get some momentum started here, it could be the catalyst for a brilliant 2019 campaign.