Credit: PGL

CS:GO Pick’em for PGL Antwerp Challenger Stage

Who should you pick for the first stage of the CS:GO Major in Belgium?

The $1,000,000 tournament is starting next week. Here 16 teams will fight to make it into the Legends stage of the Major.

But who will make it out of the group?

Teams to go 3-0:

ENCE:

The Finnish Organization will be one of the hottest going into the Major. Their win at BLAST Spring Showdown underlined their perfectly timed form. In the Challengers stage, ENCE will face 9z Team in the first round.

Player to watch: Lotan "Spinx" Giladi is playing some of the best Counter-Strike in his career. If the Israeli can perform on the big stage, he could be one of the best players in the tournament.

trace has been promoted as headcoach on a permanent basis after several good performances.

Astralis:

The four-time Major winners are beginning to look good again. The signing of Asger "farlig" Jensen on the AWP and Martin "trace" Heldt as a coach has been a revelation for the Danes. For the first time in a year, it is actually looking promising for Astalis, who was only bested by ENCE in the Grand Final of BLAST Spring Showdown last week.

Player to watch: If Kristian "k0nfig" Wienecke can deliver consistently on a high level, then Astralis will be a dangerous team at the Major. With Benjamin "blameF" Bremer already in excellent shape, it could be real fun for the fans of Astralis if k0nfig also fired on all cylinders at the event.

Teams to go 3-1:

Team Vitality:

The French/Danish roster had one of the most difficult routes to Antwerp with matches against #1 and #2 in the world. In the end they still qualified and it did look better for the team. Most notable was the rise of Mathieu "ZywOo" Herbaut, who finally showcased his great talent on the new roster.

Player to watch: All eyes will be on the young Frenchman Kévin "misutaaa" Rabier. The 19-year-old rifler has suffered the most from the switch from the all-French roster to the new international one. With four events in row below 1.00 rating there will be talks about replacing misutaaa on the team, if doesn’t deliver at PGL Antwerp.

G2:

The Grand Finalist from the 2021 Major in Stockholm are looking shaky in 2022. They started well with the second place at IEM Katowice, but since then the performances on the server have not been impressive. Nemanja "huNter-" Kovač is the only player on the team with consistent performances. The alarm bells were ringing after they lost their opening match against Anonymo at the RMR qualifier, but in the end they got the job done with a win against Astralis in overtime on the decider map. We could easily see G2 make a slow start to the Challenger Stage but still qualify.

Player to watch: Ilya "m0NESY" Osipov will be playing his first major at the age of 17-years-old. There will be a huge pressure on the young AWP’er to perform on the biggest stage. So how will he do? We are looking forward to seeing him at the Major.

FalleN with his new teammates at the RMR tournament.

Imperial Esports:

Gabriel "FalleN" Toledo’s new project got off to a great start qualifying for the Antwerp Major and then went on to also qualify for IEM Dallas. The Brazilians took down MIBR at the Dallas qualifier to prove, that they could be the second strongest team from South America after FURIA.

Player to watch: Lincoln "fnx" Lau has one of the most crazy stats in all of CS:GO. The 32-year-old Brazilian have won two Majors in his career but have only ever attended two. He has a 100% win-rate at Majors, so who wouldn’t have him on their team at a Major?

Team to go 3-2:

Eternal Fire:

There are a lot of teams in contention for the last three spots. The Swiss Group Stage format can be brutal for teams in this echelon. Eternal Fire got the taste of it at the European RMR tournament, where they were paired with FaZe and Team Vitality along their way. This time they will face Bad News Eagles in an early key match. A win will most likely give the Turks a big boost towards qualifying for the Legends stage.

Player to watch: Ismailcan 'XANTARES' Dörtkardeş is back at a Major for the third time in his career. The Turkish rifler is coming in hot at the event with several huge performances during 2022 for Eternal Fire.

MIBR:

They looked really good at the Americas RMR tournament, but the big question is if that was a one-off. Since they qualified for Antwerp MIBR has lost to both Imperial and paiN. Their opening match against Outsiders will be pivotal. MIBR rarely plays against Europeans, so it is hard to predict the faith of the Brazilians at the event.

Player to watch: Jhonatan "JOTA" Willian has never played against a top 20 team in the world! So how will he do against tougher opposition?

shox says hello to his new teammate EliGE at an event last year

Team Liquid:

The sheer amount of experience on the Team Liquid roster should be enough to see them qualify for the next stage. But the results of the new roster have not been convincing in the past couple of months. Their last match was a loss against paiN at the BLAST Spring Showdown, which again ignited the doubters of the team. The North Americans enter the tournament with a Contender status, which has given them a tough draw in the first round, where they will face G2. We still believe that the stars of Liquid find a way through.

Player to watch: Is Richard "shox" Papillon the right fit for Team Liquid? This Major will probably give us the answer. The 29-year-old veteran has always been a joy to watch, but can he still deliver for Team Liquid?

Honorable mentions:

It is a tough time for all the CIS teams at the moment. The war in Ukraine has certainly had its influence on the competitive CS:GO scene as well. Outsiders (Virtus.pro) have been a shadow of themselves. They were 0.02 seconds away from missing out on the Major, while rumors are already sending their starplayer Mareks "YEKINDAR" Gaļinskis away to join a new team after the Major.

forZe and Spirit could also be dark horses for a spot in the next stage, while Bad News Eagles are the last team, that we have chosen to highlight. As the only second team in history to compete in a Major without an organization, the roster from Kosovo can play without any expectations from the outside world. A fact that can make them dangerous to face.

Good luck on your pick'ems!

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