With the PGL Krakow Qualifiers just around the corner, 16 teams will fight for 8 spots over the next four days in the PGL studios, located in Bucharest, Romania.
PGL Krakow Qualifiers Favourites
1. G2 Esports
The current G2 squad formed after a disappointing ELEAGUE major, departing in the group stages of the tournament. Since then the group have had solid results, most notably a first placing in the ESL Pro League Finals, beating the likes of SK and North.
With the French squad holding their top 5 spot fairly consistently, many consider G2 an easy qualification. However, G2’s first match is against the Brazilians of Immortals, who bested G2 16-10 at the ESL finals. Although favoured in the qualifiers, the French may find the best-of-one Swiss format to work against them.
Cloud9 look to finally break their major drought after last qualifying to MLG Columbus in early 2016, only to go out in groups. In recent times, Cloud9 have been performing similarly to normal by winning most local tournaments, such as the Subaru Invitational, only to falter when it counts.
However, with exceptions recently in cs_summit and ECS, the boys in blue look to impress in the qualifier. Although not typically named favourites in LAN environments, the strength (or lack thereof) of the rest of the pool should see Cloud9 secure an appearance in Krakow.
PGL Krakow Qualifiers Underdogs
The Kazakhstanis came through a fairly weak CIS qualifier to make it to Romania, with a solitary notable victory over Vega 2-1. If you hadn’t heard of Tengri prior to this event you wouldn’t be alone, with the only other LAN they’d attended previously being the Adrenaline Cyber League Finals.
However, being unknown to bigger teams may present itself as an advantage, especially when paired with the innate unpredictability of the Swiss format. Although one shouldn’t expect much from Tengri, they do have the element of surprise.
FlipSid3 (Flipside) have had quite the fall from their once held grace. Long ago, Flipside were competitors for the wildcard spots at almost any tournament which they went near, however now they’re lucky to get to one.
Along with failing to qualify for events which are considered top tier such as IEM Katowice and ESL Cologne, the CIS team finished a miserable 13th in ESEA Premier division.
However, unlike their CIS brothers in Tengri, Flipside don’t boast the element of surprise as their lineup has had its heyday and shouldn’t perform any better than mediocre.
PGL Krakow Qualifiers Wildcards
A Chinese team only a step away from a major is enough to excite any fan of global Counter-Strike, but one that will threaten spots will make for a spectacle. Should TyLoo make it to Krakow the Chinese scene will light up with hopes for their local champions, no doubt boosting viewing numbers.
The Chinese team gives all fans something to look for as well, with a play-style different to that which we all know and love in the Western scene. Despite their mediocre to poor results outside of China, the qualifier field’s openness around the mid tier should provide plenty of opportunity for the Chinese to impress.
Gob b’s return to Europe has been semi-successful so far, playing with the pick of the available German crop. The German team achieved wildcard status due to their impressive results in the European minor, taking down EnVy, Dignitas and PENTA all 2-0.
With not many other results to go off except online tournaments, BIG look in place to contend the mid tier of the qualifier which, as previously touched on, is extremely open with only a few teams considered locks for Krakow.
Should BIG show up big when it counts, the Germans are looking at a major spot, starting with their opener against Cloud9 to round out day 1 of play.
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