eXTREMESLAND ZOWIE Asia CS:GO 2018 presents an opportunity for a myriad of squads with minimal LAN experience to make a name for themselves.
The 16 teams competing are a motley crew, all looking to become relevant in the second tier of Counter-Strike.
The $100,000 prize pool, with $40,000 for first, is a nice incentive in what should be a good chance to scout a broad range of teams who normally fly under the radar.
One of the teams with the most experience entering this event are MVP PK, who defeated both GOSU and ikarus.kr in qualification.
MVP PK have shown some decent promise throughout the year, with losses to some of the top squads in the world. They took a game off NRG Esports during the ESL Pro League Season 7 Finals back in May, although they have one new player since then with minixeta having replaced HSK.
More recently MVP PK fell to MIBR in the semi-finals of the ZOTAC Cup Masters at the tail end of August.
This is the type of event MVP PK should thrive in, given both their past experience and decent showings across the region. Indeed they have been installed as the 2.990 favourites by Dafabet.
It is also an excellent chance for the team to get more practice in high-pressure situations before they attend IEM Chicago early next month.
Can Flash go back-to-back?
The defending champions of eXTREMESLAND are Flash Gaming.
In the last couple of months Flash have performed well, with their most recent international showing being a loss to MIBR in the very same ZOTAC Cup event as MVP PK, although it was a much more one-sided affair.
Flash do still have some star players with the likes of Attacker in particular still being respected for his mechanical abilities.
Another to be on the lookout for is Summer, a player previously known as fancy1, who previously spent time on TyLoo.
Flash have had their share of battles with the number one qualified squad in 5Power Gaming, falling to them in the qualifier finals before getting revenge in the 3rd-place match of the WESG 2018 China Finals, with each set going three games.
The question for Flash is whether or not they can find any sort of sustained success having had spotty performances at tier-two LANs throughout their history.
This is another team to track early on, with hopes that their nous and cohesion can help find them success. They are rated 6.420 fourth favourites.
QKA one to watch
The aforementioned 5Power Gaming are in a similar boat to MVP PK, with a chance to get a wider range of experience before entering a key LAN showing.
5Power are into the EPICENTER 2018 Wild Card Qualifier LAN, with some rising teams such as HellRaisers and ENCE.
They are looking to stake their claim as the second-best team in China, behind TyLoo, and have a chance to make some noise here. They are rated second favourites at 4.970.
One player to watch is QKA, the primary AWPer (sniper) of the team as he looks to control the CT (counter-terrorist) side.
All change for Chiefs
Oceania representatives, Chiefs eSports Club, are coming off sweeping roster changes made at the start of the month.
Chiefs ended up retaining only two members of their starting line-up, bringing in MoeycQ, lyeN and InfrequeNt.
Stuck behind the top dogs of the region – Renegades – for quite some time, the Chiefs have been a decent outfit with solid performances throughout their regional play.
However, this roster shake-up is a huge shift in the direction of the squad, although they have already begun to show signs of life. Their only impactful showing post-roster change saw them in the WESG 2018 Oceania Online Stage where they were able to qualify without dropping a map, despite the presence of Order in their group.
One concern for Chiefs is that they have ended up in Group B, the same pool as Flash Gaming, although two teams from the group do end up making it through to the play-offs.
In any case, Dafabet make Chiefs more likely winners of the event – they have them as their 5.590 third favourites.