Day 1 of the biggest non-major CSGO tournament of the year kicks off at The Cathedral of Counter-Strike: LANXESS Arena in Cologne, Germany in a few hours.Sixteen of the best teams in the world will be competing for $300,000. Both the groups will be following a double elimination bracket with the initial matches being a single game affair, followed by the rest of the match-ups being a best-of-three.The brackets of the opening matches are out. Here’s how we think the first day of the tournament will unfold.Team Liquid vs MVP PKLet’s start with the easy ones. Liquid - The best team in the world right now is up against one of the lowest seeded teams in the tournament - MVP PK. To put into perspective, the North American roster recently won DreamHack Masters Dallas. Meanwhile the Koreans did not even manage to qualify for the main event of the tournament after losing to Lucid Dream in the Asian Closed Qualifier. Hopefully, that statement would accurately describe the massive skill gap between these two teams.Predicted Winner - Liquid
Upset Potential - LowNatus Vincere vs MousesportsThis is a close one since both teams, defending champions -- Na`Vi -- as well as the German comrades -- Mouz -- haven’t been in the same dominant form as they were the previous year. Both teams have never gone head-to-head in the past few months.In fact, there aren’t many tournaments that these two teams have played together. Mousesports are coming into the tournament after a respectable 3rd place finish at ESL Pro League S9 finals, while Na`Vi has been on a break since quite a long time.On top of that, Kirill “boombl4” Mikhailov will be playing his debut match for the men in yellow tomorrow, hence things really can go either way.Predicted Winner - Mousesports
Upset Potential - HighFaZe Clan vs RenegadesAt the time of writing this, FaZe is ranked as the fifth best team in the world according to HLTV, and Renegades are trailing far behind at rank fifteen. Despite the huge gap in ranks, Renegades just seems to be the kryptonite of the European super team. The last three times that FaZe faced Renegades, the Australian team triumphed on every occasion -- a bo3 win at IEM Sydney 2018, bo1 win at IEM Katowice 2019, and yet another bo3 victory at StarSeries iLeague S7.Since this match is a best-of-one, a lot of it will boil down to the map that gets chosen in veto. If Inferno comes up, Renegades have a high chance of winning, having defeated FaZe thrice on the map during the aforementioned tournaments.However, if FaZe manage to force out a map which throws Renegades off balance, like Overpass or Dust2, FaZe can bring it back. Renegades’ map pool is not as deep as FaZe, and the Europeans would want to capitalize on this fact.Predicted winner - FaZe
Upset potential - HighAstralis vs BIGThis game is yet another example of David vs Goliath. Astralis is arguably the best team in the history of CSGO, and despite the recent drop in form, BIG don’t pose much threat to the Danes. BIG has been struggling against the likes of VP, Fnatic and North, all of whom are significantly softer opponents when compared to Astralis. However, the last two times BIG faced Astralis at the ESL Pro League Europe S8 and S9 respectively, they defeated the dominant Danes both times on Inferno. If BIG can manage to pull Inferno up in the veto, they might just give themselves a fighting chance. Predicted Winner - Astralis
Upset potential - LowFURIA vs NRGFuria have surprised everyone with their inspiring underdog run at recent events. A second place finish at ECS S7 and third place at DH Dallas is a respectable feat. However, they are plagued with inconsistency, having suffered losses to teams like eUnited at ESL One New York NA Qualifiers.NRG are pretty much the opposite of this behaviour. They radiate consistency with a string of third place finishes at ESL Pro League S9, ECS S7 Finals, CS_Summit 4 and IEM Sydney. Furia has faced NRG four times this year, three of which were bo3’s. The Brazilian squad was never able to defeat NRG in a bo3, but they did beat them in a bo1 on Overpass at DH Masters Dallas. Compared head-to-head, Furia has won 2 maps and NRG have won 6 so far.Predicted winner - NRG
Upset potential - HighFnatic vs MIBRThe most closely contested game of the day will take place between Fnatic and MIBR, as they both sit just one spot apart on the HLTV leader board, at the 11th and 12th position respectively.Now even though the Swedes are ranked higher than MIBR, their recent results at IEM Sydney say otherwise. The Brazilian team was able to overcome Fnatic convincingly in a bo3 in the land down under. The funny thing is, even after being defeated by MIBR, Fnatic gave Team Liquid a tough run for their money in the grand finals, dragging them into a grueling five map brawl.On the other hand, MIBR slipped and fell in the tournament in the semi-finals. However, MIBR have changed things up with the addition of LUCAS1. Hence, there is no telling what might happen. That is why I am picking MIBR to win, only based on the fact that they have defeated Fnatic in the past.Predicted Winner - MIBR
Upset Potential - EXTREMELY HIGHVitality vs NiPVitality has been rising up in the world, proving to everyone that French CS cannot be counted out just yet. Mathieu 'ZywOo' Herbaut has been carrying the team harder than ever. The Ninjas cut down Vitality in the IEM Katowice Major with a score of 2-1.A few months later, Vitality extracted revenge by defeating them 2-0 at DreamHack Masters Dallas. One thing that I noticed, is that Vitality won Overpass both the times. NiP need to steer clear of this map at all costs.Even if the Swedes manage to avoid Overpass, their map pool is weaker as Vitality is stronger on maps like Dust2, Mirage, Inferno and Nuke. Train is perhaps the only map where NiP has a real chance of taking this game against the Frenchmen.Vitality currently sits at the spot of the third best team in the world, meanwhile NiP is knocking on the doors of the Top 10.Predicted Winner - Vitality
Upset Potential - Low to MediumEnce vs HeroicEnce have given us some of the best story-lines in the history of CSGO. From being a meme to becoming a dream team - their dream run at the IEM Katowice Major and then finally a tournament win at BLAST Pro Madrid proved the world that Finnish CS is no joke.Ence is the team that has the potential to beat anyone and everyone at the tournament. The same cannot be said for Heroic. They’ve had some pretty disappointing performances at IEM Sydney, European Minor for the Starladder Major, and an average 7th-8th finish at the ESL Pro League finals.Statistically, Heroic have a good chance of pulling off a victory on either Dust2 or Overpass, but that too, is based on hope.Predicted Winner - Ence
Upset Potential - LowThis article has been written by our Guest Editor; KripzYou can head over to our CSGO hub for more content.Featured image credits: ESL
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