The long-awaited qualifier for the IEM Rio Major is ready to be kicked off in Malta tomorrow, where both European RMR groups are set to begin.
In this article, we take a look at all the teams in Group A, and we try to predict who will make it to the Legends Stage and Challengers Stage.
1. FaZe (Legends Stage)
2. Cloud9 (Legends Stage)
3. G2 (Legends Stage)
4. Spirit (Legends Stage)
The top four of Group A qualify for the Legends Stage. We expect FaZe to pick themselves up and do the job at this qualifier. They start with a match against GamerLegion. Cloud9 and G2 showed promising signs at ESL Pro League, and against B8 and ECSTATIC, the two teams should be off to a good start in the group. Lastly, we have Team Spirit. The #14 in the world was not far off making it to the playoffs at ESL Pro League, where they took down NIP along the way. The CIS roster has a high ceiling and looks like a team, that is only improving every time we see them on the server.
5. Eternal Fire (Challengers Stage)
6. Fnatic (Challengers Stage)
7. NIP (Challengers Stage)
8. Bad News Eagles (Challengers Stage)
Eternal Fire is on a five-match winning streak with wins against Team Liquid, Movistar Riders, and MOUZ. With XANTARES in superb shape, it looks like Turkish Delight in group A. Perhaps they could even make a top-four finish? Fnatic looks like a safe pick for advancing to IEM Rio. The team is still not good enough to beat the likes of NAVI, Vitality, and Liquid, but could also be a contender for the Legends spot instead of Team Spirit. The Swedes from NIP start the event with a banger against Astralis. If they win that match, then we are almost certain, that they will make it through. BNE is the last team to qualify in our power ranking before the event. An eight-match winning streak has given the roster from Kosovo all the confidence, that they need to come into the event.
Astralis, Aurora, B8, ECSTATIC, 1Win, GamerLegion, Sprout, forZe.
It will be a brawl until the end. Astralis and forZe can easily be among the qualifiers when group A is done and dusted. The lack of Kristian "k0nfig" Wienecke on the team is a huge blow for Astralis, who had huge problems just making it to the RMR. Now they are forced to play with Mikkel "MistR" Thomsen as a stand-in, which could tip the balance against the Danish powerhouse, who will be extremely disappointed if they miss out. forZe is often too inconsistent to linger on at the top of the CS:GO, but Andrey "Jerry" Mekhryakov’s men can be a threat to everybody in the group.
The first round of matchups:
Tuesday 3/10: (CEST)
11.00: Bad News Eagles - Eternal Fire
11.00: Sprout - forZe
12.15: G2 - ECSTATIC
12.15: Cloud9 - B8
13.30: FaZe - Gamer Legion
13.30: Spirit - 1WIN
14.45: Ninjas in Pyjamas - Astralis
14.45: Aurora - Fnatic