The Berlin Major is finally right around the corner. Despite Team Liquid being the heavy favorites to win, there are a few unlikely teams that could go deep in the tournament. With the new Challengers Stage starting in just four days, we’ll see which hopeful teams will earn the right to challenge the legends of counter-strike at the main event. With such a stacked field of competition, which of these challengers have the potential to be legends? In no particular order, these are three teams that have the potential to reach legend status at the StarLadder Major.
Vitality is the most likely team from the Challengers Stage to make it to the Quarter-Finals of the Berlin Major. Currently ranked 2nd in the world, the French roster looks to be Team Liquid’s biggest competition for the title of Major Champions. Vitality must play in the Challenger’s stage due to their early exit from the IEM Katowice Major, where they placed 9th-11th. The French side has come a long way since then, and now look to be one of the most competitive sides at CS:GO’s premier event. They have a deep map pool and dreams of defeating Liquid. Vitality represents a serious threat to any team that stands between them and victory.
Vitality is running a unique dual In-Game-Leader set up with veteran French player, and previous Major winner, Nathan “NBK” Schmitt taking control of the CT-side of Vitality’s play. Schmitt also takes the reigns of the T-side of Inferno. But notably, newer IGL Alex “ALEX” McMeekin has control over the T-side of the rest of Vitality’s map pool. This unique tactical approach combined with the outstanding form of Mathieu “ZywOo” Herbaut creates a deadly mix in the server. Herbaut has shown an unprecedented level of talent in recent months. Quite frankly, he's showing a level of play that could even rival the infamous Oleksander “s1mple” Kostyliev. For someone who's only 17, this is quite impressive.
Vitality is poised to do incredibly well at the Major. They just need their experienced core to calm the nerves of their less experience Major players.
Mousesports is a team brimming with potential. Lead by Danish IGL Finn “Karrigan” Andersen, the latest iteration of Mousesports have the capability to overcome some of the organizations that currently hold “Legend” status. The exciting new roster boasts Andersen’s tactical prowess in conjunction with some immense firepower in the form of veteran AWPer Chris “ChrisJ” De Jong and Faceit Pro League graduate Robin “ropz” Kool. Andersen’s latest European outfit have the ingredients to produce a formidable force in counterstrike but, until now, the Mousesports project has remained in relative infancy. The Major will be a fantastic opportunity for Mousesports to establish themselves as a seriously competitive CS:GO side, and achieving “Legend” status there would be the perfect way to do so.
Mousesports currently look stronger than several of the teams that made top 8 at the IEM Katowice Major. The most notable of which is FaZe. Andersen captained there before ex-Mousesports player Nikolaj “NiKo” Kovač controversially took over the role. Mousesports looked sharp in their series against FaZe, both of which have resulted in Andersen defeating his old team in 2-0 victories.
However, the pressure of competing at such a prestigious event could be a significant factor that negatively impacts some of the Mousesports players. The most notable of which being David “frozen” Čerňanský who will be making his Major debut at just 17. To avoid crumbling under pressure, Mousesports will need some strong leadership if they wish to succeed in Berlin. That burden of leadership will be Andersen’s to bear.
The North American organization NRG Esports finalizes this list of potential CS:GO “Legends.” The team is currently ranked 6th in the world, making them the second-best North American side behind Team Liquid. But NRG has recently undergone a change of leadership. Previous IGL Damien “daps” Steele was replaced by fellow Canadian Peter “stansilaw” Jarguz. Jarguz only joined the organization in early June this year. This means that it could be too soon for him to have implemented his full game plan.
Regardless of whether the team is operating at maximum tactical capacity; all eyes will be on the thrilling Bulgarian AWPer Cvetelin “CeRq” Dimitrov who’s showcased a natural ability with the weapon. Dimitrov’s high impact multi-kill rounds have been the difference between the team’s success or failure in the past. He’ll need to bring his A-game if NRG is to do well at the Major. We’ve also seen some tremendous individual prowess from Tarik “tarik” Celik in recent months. This provides another element of much-needed firepower for the North American roster.
NRG's Potential Journey to Legend Status
NRG should comfortably breeze past most of the teams in the Challengers stage, Excluding Vitality and Mousesports. Their greatest chances of reaching the Champions stage lie in defeating some of the weaker “Legends.” One of these is the Immortals-owned MIBR roster. They will be playing with coach Wilton “zews” Prado while MIBR finalizes the rumored recruitment of Vito “kNgV-“ Giuseppe. NRG also look much stronger than the Australian core of Renegades. Overall, Renegades had a surprising run at the IEM Katowice Major. This squad looked to be a genuinely competitive force in the upper echelons of CS:GO. However, since the Major, Renegades have largely failed to replicate the form that earned them “Legend” status.
NRG have never made it to the round of 8 at a CS:GO Major. That said, it’s current iteration is eager to make history for the organization.