ECS Season 6 Finals begin on November 22 in Arlington Texas and will feature 8 of Counter-Strike's top teams battling for a $660,000 prize pool. Here are some story lines to keep an eye on heading into the tournament.
Team Liquid can't beat Astralis
Easily the most promising North American team, Liquid have been turning heads for some time and have cemented themselves as one of Counter-Strikes best teams. However, Liquid haven't been able to close it out when it counts. They've finished 2nd place in 6 of the last 7 premier tournaments they've participated in with 5 of those losses coming at the hands of Astralis. Aside from a group stage loss to Na'Vi in Blast Pro Series Copenhagen, no other team has come close to stopping Astralis as Liquid has. It wouldn't be absurd to assume the two will meet in the finals of ECS giving Liquid yet another shot to dethrone their bitter rivals.
MiBR on the hot seat
It's no secret that MiBR haven't lived up to the hype since acquiring Stewie2k and Tarik from Cloud9. The team has failed to win any major competition since forming and fans are starting to lose patience. Brazilian Counter-Strike fans have been spoiled with the likes of Luminosity and SK Gaming bringing home back-to-back Major's in 2016. With that much success comes a gold standard that fans hold teams too. The expectation is to compete and MiBR haven't lived up to expectations highlighted by their most recent group stage exit at IEM Chicago by the likes of NRG eSports. ECS might be the final strike for the team and if they can't get a positive result out of it we might see another roster shakeup.
Cloud9 enters with no expectations
The Americans were placed in the tournament due to Renegades having to withdraw because of visa issues and scheduling conflicts. It should be interesting to see how this new Cloud9 roster competes now that they've had some time to mesh and build chemistry. For once we get to see a Cloud9 team compete with no expectation surrounding the team. Cloud9 haven't been a competitive team since their Boston Major win back in January. HLTV has them ranked 25th on the CS:GO World Ranking. With the bar set low this gives Cloud9 a chance to have fun and try new things without the pressure of winning the whole tournament. I think fans understand that this is a rebuilding process with the team and putting out a product like the one they witnessed in the Boston Major will take some time.
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