StarSeries i-League Season 7 will bring together some of the best CS:GO teams in the world in Shanghai to fight over a $500,000 prize pool.
Considering that this is the first big event without Astralis in a while, the tournament will serve as an interesting proving grounds for CS:GO teams as they see how well they really stack up against each other without having to worry about playing against the best CS:GO team of all time in Astralis.
Winners of the StarSeries i-League Season 6, ENCE are headed into the tournament with quite the hot hand. Even if they ended up barely missing out on a chance to play against Astralis at BLAST Pro Series: São Paulo 2019, the level of play that they showed in Brazil only served to reinforce their status as one of the best CS:GO teams right now following their runner-up finish at the IEM Katowice Major.
So, which teams are playing? Who are the favourites? When are the matches all going to go down?
Find out more right here.
StarSeries i-League Season 7: The Odds on Favourites
Natus Vincere (3.80)
If it hasn’t already been established, Oleksandr ‘s1mple‘ Kostyliev is a god.
The 21-year-old literally did everything he could to help Natus Vincere make a deep run at the IEM Katowice Major, and had he had a little bit more help from his teammates, we could’ve definitely seen them square up against Astralis in the grand finals. But, that didn’t happen, and instead, ENCE’s collective effort trumped the transcendent firepower of s1mple as they went on to make it to the grand finals themselves.
Hopefully, a bit of time off have done Natus Vincere some good.
Despite all the ramblings and rumors that Natus Vincere are going to change their roster soon, the fact of the matter is that they haven’t, and that’s okay. So long as s1mple is playing on their roster, the CIS powerhouse is going to contend for titles, regardless of how well the rest of the team performs.
Of course, it would certainly help if his four other teammates were a bit more useful than bots at the StarSeries i-League Season 7.
If Denis ‘electronic‘ Sharipov can at least be Robin to s1mple’s Batman in Shanghai, while the rest of the team play good enough not to be net negatives, Natus Vincere should be a shoo-in to make it all the way to the grand finals.
It would definitely have been magical if ENCE ended up winning the IEM Katowice Major. In fact, the argument exists that a successful run by ENCE would have trumped Cloud9’s last year at the Boston Major, especially since ENCE came into Katowice with very little fanfare behind them and had to grind all the way from the Europe Minor to even make it there. That ENCE even made the playoffs was a feat in on itself already.
Of course, that didn’t happen, as Astralis played their usual role of gatekeepers and proceeded to win their second Major in a row.
ENCE shouldn’t let the loss get them too hard, however. Neither should they let their failure to make the playoffs in São Paulo affect them too much. After all, in terms of the eye test and their most recent showings, ENCE are a legitimate Tier 1 team in CS:GO who can literally beat anyone outside of Astralis.
And, lucky for ENCE, the Danish side are not here.
ENCE’s playstyle, which revolves more around teamwork and strategy, feels like it’s a lot more immune to cold spells compared to other contenders, like, let’s say, Natus Vincere and MIBR, who are just a s1mple or Marcelo ‘coldzera’ David slump away from having a bad performance.
That’s an edge that makes ENCE arguably the most dangerous CS:GO team in Shanghai as they seek to defend their title.
At this point, MIBR feel more like dark horses than actual contenders. After all, the best CS:GO teams just don’t go 0-5 in a group stage of a tournament filled with similarly-skilled competition, especially when they’re playing in front of their home crowd.
That just doesn’t happen. Or rather, it shouldn’t.
If there’s any consolation to MIBR’s dismal showing in São Paulo, it’s that it serves as a much-needed wakeup call for a team that so many have billed as contenders but haven’t really done anything noteworthy for the better part of the past year. You can’t just win a single LAN tournament across a little over a dozen events that you’ve attended to and call yourselves one of the best teams in CS:GO, especially when you weren’t even consistently performing well in most of those tournaments.
MIBR are contenders by virtue of the names on their roster alone, nothing more. But, of course, we’d be happy to be proven otherwise.
At this point, however, it’s just so much wiser to bet against MIBR suddenly finding their form than it is to bet on them.
Betting Prediction for StarSeries i-League Season 7
Had BLAST Pro Series São Paulo different rules, we might have seen ENCE take on Astralis in the grand finals, and not Team Liquid. Sure, the Finnish side would’ve still lost anyway, and Astralis would’ve still gone on to win their nth straight title in god knows how many tournaments in a row now, but, at the very least, we would’ve seen them play against the best CS:GO team in the world again, an experience that should only prove valuable as they try to establish themselves as one of the best that CS:GO has to offer.
Taking a look at the teams that they’ll be playing at the StarSeries i-League Season 7, ENCE has a good chance of successfully defending their title, even if not all of their players are clicking at the same time.
After all, both MIBR and FaZe Clan are struggling. Meanwhile, Natus Vincere is still very much the s1mple show and ENCE have shown before that they know how to neutralize s1mple’s impact on the game just enough to make it near impossible for Natus Vincere to win.
Barring a surprise underdog run, or one of the other contenders suddenly finding their form at the right time, the StarSeries i-League Season 7 should be #2EZ4ENCE.
Betting: ENCE to win StarSeries i-League Season 7 outright at 4.00 odds via ArcaneBet.
StarSeries i-League Season 7: Schedule and Format
The StarSeries i-League Season 7 will kick off with its group stages from March 30 to April 4, followed by the playoffs from April 5 to April 7.
As is typical of most CS:GO tournaments, StarSeries i-League Season 7 will start things off with a Swiss System format for its group stages. For the format, the Invited teams will be drawn versus the teams from the Qualifiers. For succeeding rounds, the teams with the same score will play each other, and each team is guaranteed to play a different team for each round so no team is ever going to play each other twice during the group stages. To advance to the playoffs, teams will have to score 3 matches. Teams that lose 3 matches are then eliminated from the tournament.
By the end of the group stages, the sixteen CS:GO teams will have been cut down to just eight.
The eight CS:GO teams will then play each other in a single-elimination playoffs stage until only one team is left standing.
For more information regarding the schedule, be sure to to follow the tournament’s official website.
Seldom will you see a big event held without Astralis nor Team Liquid in it. Though the rivalry is quite lopsided, these two CS:GO teams have been at it for the better part of the past year, with Team Liquid getting the best of Astralis only once, which was at the iBUYPOWER Masters 2019.
With that said, the results of the StarSeries i-League Season 7 should be really interesting.
On one hand, without Astralis and Team Liquid, it might feel like the participating CS:GO teams won’t have a chance to test themselves against the best of the best. However, it also means that they’ll have a shot at proving, once and for all, which of them are the next best CS:GO team.
With the likes of ENCE, FaZe Clan, MIBR, and Natus Vincere playing, as well as up-and-coming teams like Team Vitality, BIG, Renegades and hopefuls such as North and Ninjas in Pyjamas, thois clash in Shanghai should be well worth following right until the very end.
Which team do you think wil win the StarSeries i-League Season 7? Do you think our prediction will come true? Will ENCE successfully defend their title? Or will another team reign victorious in Shanghai? Be sure to let us know your thoughts in the comments down below.