The groups have recently been announced for Gfinity's second Spring Masters for Counter Strike: Global Offensive! 10 exceptionally talented teams are congregating on London from all corners of the globe, to battle it out with one another in the hopes of attaining the title of Gfinity Champions as well as a slice of the $50,000 prize pool on offer. Tickets are available now to catch the event live this weekend in London, at Gfinity's own arena.
Group A is an exciting mix of highly prominent European, North American and Australian rosters that all have the capability to take one another to task if they perform at their best consistently throughout the weekend. FNATIC and Ninjas in Pyjamas headline an intensely competitive group alongside Team Liquid, Natus Vincere and Vox Eminor. Let's take a look at the teams in-depth.
KRiMZ - JW - Flusha - olofmeister - pronax
FNATIC need absolutely no introduction. Arguably the outright best team in the world right now, this quintet has only failed to make the grand finals in tournament play twice throughout the entirety of the 2015 season so far. Having taken gold over Team EnVy in the grand finals at the Dreamhack Tours only last weekend, the Swedes will be on form and ready to expand their trophy cabinet even further this weekend at the Gfinity Spring Masters II. Anything other than victory will be considered a disappointment for these world class players.
Ninjas in Pyjamas
GeT_RiGhT - f0rest - allu - Xizt - friberg
The poster boys of Counter Strike: Global Offensive, no tournament would be complete without an appearance from NiP. Having not managed to secure a championship title since January including a second place finish at the previous Gfinity Spring Masters, there will no doubt be a good deal of fire in the bellies of this primarily Swedish powerhouse. They'll want to showcase their class and prove that NiP should never be discounted for a second as eventual victors.
flowsicK - adreN - EliGE - nitr0 - FugLy
This is an opportunity for Team Liquid. One of North America's finest outfits that is mostly unproven in majors under the organisation, the Gfinity Spring Masters II is a chance to butt heads with the greats and do US Counter Strike proud. Whether they can cope with the likes of FNATIC, NiP and Na'Vi in their group is unclear, but if Team Liquid manages to progress through to championship Sunday they'll undoubtedly have earned their stripes in the public eye. flowsicK is standing in for regular starter daps, which will definitely hurt their chances.
Zeus - seized - GuardiaN - Edward - flamie
Na'Vi have had a tumultous season thus far. A first place finish at the ESL Pro League over Titan in the finals was a highlight, but otherwise the Russian / Ukranian roster has struggled to maintain their position at the very top of global CS:GO competition recently. It would be folly to doubt their potential, but unless Natus Vincere comes out of the gates hot and ready to play, they could have a difficult time converting skill into results this weekend.
SPUNJ - AZR - Havoc - jks - Yam
Vox Eminor is among Australia's finest in Counter Strike, but the region has often lacked the ability to make a meaningful impact on international soil, regularly relegated to Top 16 finishes. Painful losses to both FNATIC and Na'Vi in the group stages at ESL One Katowice in March will still be fresh in their memories, and if they want one of the two coveted Semi-Finals spots for Group A they're going to need to outplace one of them. Vox will need to bring their game to a whole new level.
Despite being top of the class in their respective regions, I'm expecting both Vox Eminor and Team Liquid to face notable issues when placed in direct competition against Europe's best in the form of FNATIC, Na'Vi and NiP. Unless sent a blessing straight from the heavens themselves, both of these teams will likely be unable to defeat the odds and take the essential wins from their opposition, swiftly being eliminated from the competition with little more than excellent seats at championship Sunday as consolation. It'd be lovely to see an upset and subsequent cinderella story from one of these two, but it just seems that there's such a negligible chance of that happening this weekend at the Gfinity Arena.
It's a completely different story with the aforementioned European teams, though. Na'Vi haven't exactly had the best couple of months, experiencing what can only be considered as a rut in the past few major tournaments they've competing in. This will mean two things. Firstly, that they'll be eager to break out and solidify a position as one of the first three rosters people think of when they think "winner" once again. Secondly, that in order to progress they will need to be absolutely on point throughout the entirety of the group stages. A single misstep could cost Na'Vi dearly, with one or two key rounds meaning the difference between bracket play and disappointment.
FNATIC are the clear favourites to move ahead. As a unit they are absolutely on a roll recently, showing dominance and determination at every major stage possible in 2015, with clear aspirations of being considered the world's best current CS:GO lineup. They've achieved that goal as well, in the majority of eyes. If they don't make it through to the latter stages of the Gfinity Spring Masters II, I won't be alone in my surprise. They also recently took down Spring Masters I champions, Team EnVy in tournament play after an intense final showdown. A great boon, to be sure.
Ninjas in Pyjamas are my second pick. A favourite to win in Counter Strike predictions since time immemorial, NiP have remained successful within the top level of competition as of late without gaining the win they covet so dearly for the past 4 months. I'd be surprised to see them fall at the first hurdle in groups, but simultaneously I'm expecting the professional gamers in pyjamas to continue their streak of just missing out on an appearance at the grand finals
Advancing to Bracket Play
FNATIC | KRiMZ - JW - Flusha - olofmeister - pronax
Ninjas in Pyjamas | GeT_RiGhT - f0rest - allu - Xizt - friberg
Seeing annything besides these two talented rosters advancing would be surprising, a veritable upset in my eyes. Na'Vi have the ability to shake up the landscape to an extent, but this will rely solely on their ability to make an impact from the very first round. Either way, it'll be an exhiliarating weekend of Counter Strike action at the Gfinity Spring Masters II. Look forward to it.
Gfinity is bringing Counter Strike: Global Offensive back to London with the Spring Masters II, taking place May 15-17th. Watch 10 of the world's top Counter Strike talent, including NiP, FNATIC and EnVy battle it out for $50,000 at Gfinity's London arena! More information on the event and tickets for purchase are available now.
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