The PGL Minor will feature four invited, up and coming and/or proven – teams to determine the two best teams taking part in the qualifier for the ELEAGUE Major 2017. As important as the tournament is – the aftermath will prove to be equally important for each participant. All four teams have something to prove ahead of the tournament – whether it be an unproven player, a rising team, or the confirmation of an impending roster change, these four teams will fight it out at a chance to prove the community wrong. What exactly are these teams out to prove?
The invited PGL European Minor participants are as Turkey’s Space Soldiers, Heroic Gaming and GODSENT in addition to the Eastern European HellRaisers.
Recently, at ESWC, we saw two of the aforementioned in action – Space Soldiers and Heroic. Space Soldiers, powered by Can “XANTARES” Dörtkardeş, are appraised by analysts, casters, and spectators alike as the most hyped team in 2016. Winning their first international LAN tournament at ASUS ROG Summer 2016, Space Soldiers made headlines for the incredible firepower of their three players – Çağatay “DESPE” Sedef, Ahmet “paz” Karahoca, and XANTARES (or, “LANTARES”).
Heading into ESWC 2016, Space Soldiers, along with Heroic, were the arguable favourites to contest one another in the grand finals. Ironically, Space Soldiers went out in the semi finals to an inconsistent (and heavily underrated) LDLC squad.
I think we are, for sure, the favorites against LDLC. We lost against them on ESEA when we put on a garbage performance. We just need to play our game and if we do that they can’t stop us.
Tugay “TuGuX” Keskin before their semifinal match against LDLC
The question stands, will they power through these mishaps with TuGuX, or will this be his final chance at stabilising the roster?
Due to TuGuX’s German citizenship, Space Soldiers used Milenium player Engin “MAJ3R” Kupeli in his stead for the WESG Finals and at the TWC 2016 Finals – featuring paz, DESPE, and XANTARES, and Dark Passage star Buğra “Calyx Arkın in representation of Turkey. The Milenium player has definitely been the “Engin” during the past two tournaments, being the backbone of Space Soldiers and Turkey during the journey to two 1st place finishes.
If TuGuX were to be replaced with MAJ3R, Space Soldiers would turn into a Fnatic, being “all muscle, no brain.” Space Soldiers’ placing at the PGL Minor may define the fate of TuGuX’s starting position. Why? In the meta of CS:GO, it’s mainly about the firepower and little – but still required – strategy. The Fnatic era defined the meta, and many teams followed in suit shortly after. Space Soldiers may pursuit this option with MAJ3R, ridding themselves of TuGuX in place.
On Heroic’s side, ESWC was their first scrimmage with Nikolaj “niko” Kristensen. Going out in the round of 16 from a major upset by Fnatic’s Academy squad, the event doesn’t mean much – but losing to Fnatic Academy was an unforeseen event. What matters right now is if Heroic can make the necessary fixes to unleash niko and co. at the PGL Minor. Getting out of the group stages is the minimum for Heroic – considering the roster situation. A group stage exit may just signify the incompatibility of niko’s position on Heroic.
“Niko is a really aim-based player so he brings a lot of firepower to the team and he’s also really good at communicating compared to other players at his age and experience level.
“That’s one of the reasons we brought him in. He was a stand-in at Copenhagen Wolves back when even I hadn’t played with them so Snappi and I know him from previous experiences.
“I think he brings a lot of firepower and we can maybe play a bit more aim heavy now that we have him.”
Valdemar “valde” Bjørn Vangså
The GODSENT squad are in shambles as of recent times. Losing Freddy “KRiMZ” Johansson to a roster swap with Fnatic – in addition to their major spot – GODSENT are on the brink of an implosion.
With Jonas “Lekr0” Olofsson as a replacement, GODSENT are showing their bad side in the ESEA Premier League. Losing a 11-4 lead to the also new look Gambit Gaming and getting obliterated by a low-premier tier Danish squad named Team123 (formerly Wizards E-Sports Club), GODSENT are facing the dissemination of their roster as close to the naked eye.
It’s either go big or go home for the GODSENT squad, and anything but the minimum second place at the PGL Minor is meaningless to the hungry Swedes.
“We were ready to start qualifying for everything and actually start over from scratch, so losing the Pro League spot was not that hard of a loss for us, and we actually had a chance to get a spot as well but we failed to do so.
“As I said, we were ready to qualify for everything, that included the Major, we never thought about who gets the Major spot and all that when we decided to do this change and I cant answer if it’s “fair” or not, it just is what it is.”
Robin “flusha” Rönnquist
HellRaisers had the most surprising performance at EPICENTER 2016. In their group, they faced the likes of Fnatic, SK Gaming, and Virtus.Pro. Immediately, one would assume that HellRaisers would put up little of a fight? HellRaisers exchanged their vows with 1-1 scorelines that went neck and neck with Fnatic and Virtus.Pro, but proceeded to choke against SK Gaming in the playoff-qualifying match against them.
But, it did at least validate the addition of Hungarian AWPer Bence “DeadFox” Böröcz. Even though they came in dead last, it surely backed up their favourable ESL Pro League results online. The only question is, can they repeat the performance again at the PGL Minor, or will the PGL Minor show HellRaisers’ inconsistency that dates back to the original HellRaisers roster?