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Article:Stage 2 Playoffs Predictions
|Stage 2 Pro League Playoffs: Predictions|
Stage 2 Pro League Playoffs: PredictionsCall of Duty Global Pro League comes to conclusion this weekend, with the lion's share of $500,000 up for grabs. Red Reserve, Team Kaliber, Echo Fox and FaZe Clan made the cut from Division A, while OpTic Gaming, eUnited, UNILAD Esports and Rise Nation advanced through the other side. The bracket has been determined based on these seedings, so I'll walk you through my predictions for how the winners bracket will play out.
Winners' Bracket Round 1
Red Reserve 3 - 1 Rise Nation
Red finished Division A with an 11-3 record despite lacklustre CTF. Strong SnD and great teamplay in Hardpoint since Skrapz’s acquisition makes them a formidable opponent. They face a familiar foe in Rise Nation, who were too strong in the grand finals of CWL Anaheim. Red and Rise were the undisputed Top 2 teams following this event; a barn-burner of a match beckons. Rise fell to 4th seed with uncharacteristically poor performances from TJHaLy and Gunless in the final two weeks, losing to eUnited, UNILAD, OpTic Gaming and even CompLexity.
With Rise in a slump, the opportunity presents itself for the UK team to take the helm. Furthermore, Rise’s historic slow starts (losing in WR1 at Stage 1 Playoffs) arguably make Red Reserve favourites. Rise lead the head-to-head 7-2 this year (with at least ¾ of both rosters), but Rated’s team will be hungrier than ever for revenge. Although Red have had two weeks without good LAN practice, I think they will be too strong in both determination and attitude, ultimately winning 3-1.
Echo Fox and eUnited are the hottest teams in the scene right now, both finishing with a blistering 6-1 second half of Stage 2. Clayster’s men have excelled in the respawn modes, a 15-3 record in the final fortnight. Echo Fox’s worst game mode is Hardpoint (9-15 over Stage 2), while stellar SnD and clinical CTF has driven their recent success. These exact rosters have never faced off, so history has little to say.
EUnited should be significantly favoured in the Hardpoints, with Echo Fox with the statistical edge in SnD. I think eU will win both hardpoints and will wrestle away one of the 2nd map SnD or 3rd map CTF. Echo Fox’s CTF has been very strong, but any Echo Fox series victory here will surely come in game 5 fashion. This match is tough to call, but eUnited should be given a slight edge as they were in Division B, granting more recent high-level LAN practice.
Team Kaliber 2 - 3 UNILAD Esports
UNILAD represent the surprise package of Division B, continuing to impress after a 4th place finish at CWL Anaheim. Team Kaliber have had less success at recent Opens, but showed strong form to finish Stage 2 with the 2nd seed. Enable has proved a valuable recruitment in the respawns, particularly CTF (1.14 Stage 2 K/D), but his poor SnD has been a liability. These new rosters have never contested a match, but UNILAD's Stage 1 team beat tK's former line-up 3-2 at CWL Birmingham, for what that's worth.
Team Kaliber have the statistical edge in Hardpoint, while UNILAD have dominated in SnD (76% win). Both teams posted an identical 7-7 CTF record; vetoes will have an important part to play. My UK-bias is probably speaking, but I think UNILAD will edge out tK in a game 5. Team Kaliber keep surpassing my own expectations, but the recent form book at LAN events favours UNILAD. TK have struggled to re-discover their game 5 prowess from the early season, and rely heavily on Accuracy to dominate. UNILAD's strong teamplay should be too much overall.
FaZe Clan 1 - 3 OpTic Gaming
Not many would have predicted at the time that our Stage 1 Grand Final would have its first rematch in winners' round 1 at Stage 2 Playoffs. FaZe Clan did well to even make Playoffs, showing great form (particularly from captain Crowder) in the final week. OpTic have been on the rise, but inconsistency still plagues this lineup, losing to Tainted Minds just two weeks ago. History suggests OpTic struggle against Attach and ZooMaa, but with the addition of Methodz and Octane there is no guarantee the events of Stage 1 remain a reliable predictor.
OpTic have been steamrolling everyone in Hardpoint, with a 30-6 record since the start of Stage 2. FaZe's only shining light is Search and Destroy, and this has been OpTic's weakest mode. The CTF is far from a forgone conclusion, but OpTic's immense slaying power gives them the edge in any respawn. Crowder will need to show up big as in Stage 1 for FaZe to have a reasonable chance. I think FaZe will nab the SnD, with OpTic to take all three respawns to close the series 3-1.
Winners' Bracket Round 2
Red Reserve 3 - 2 eUnited
If Red and eU get through WR1, we have a spicy matchup in store. Clayster vs Rated has been something of a rivalry since the [TIFF] incident at PSX. Red's CTF has been their only dodgy mode as of late; any improvement here in addition to the confidence from a victory over Rise makes them favourites in this matchup. The last time these line-ups faced off at CWL Anaheim, Red came out on top 3-1. However, eUnited's impressive Hardpoint and new-found consistency points towards a longer contest.
Red Reserve should put up a sturdier fight in Hardpoint than Echo Fox (eUnited's WR1 opponents). Red and eUnited share an impressive 19-7 Stage 2 Hardpoint record, but Red have a clear statistical edge in SnD (74% > 45%). The CTF is a must-win map for eUnited to take this contest the distance, which they should by the form book. I think these teams will share the Hardpoints, eUnited win the CTF but Red take both SnDs in a 3-2 series. Joee's comfortability in the Flex role is devestating in SnD, but solid preparation could swing the outcome.
UNILAD Esports 1 - 3 OpTic Gaming
UNILAD and OpTic are familiar foes, facing off three times since the start of Stage 2. OpTic lead the h2h 2-1 (8-5 mc), but lost at CWL Anaheim where it really mattered. OpTic's pure slaying and recent experience beating the UK team gives them the edge, but UNILAD have their number in CTF, winning it in every series against the Greenwall. OpTic's historic struggles have come in WR1, so they should be in peak form if they dispatch of FaZe. OpTic are the favourites on paper and should take both Hardpoints on the back of pure slaying (every member above a 1.0KD).
Only Wuskin goes positive in Hardpoint on average, but very strong teamwork makes them a strong contender in every mode. I think OpTic will finally better UNILAD here at a major event, winning both hardpoints on their way to a 3-1. UNILAD should veto OpTic's impenetrable London Docks HP, but still face an uphill battle in the respawns. UNILAD will win a map 2 SnD or map 3 CTF to ultimately come up just short. If we do see a game 5, UNILAD's composure has been superior to OpTic's this year, so I'd favour an all-UK Winners' Final in this event.
Winners' Bracket Final
Red Reserve 3 - 2 OpTic Gaming
Red and OpTic are arguably favourites from each side of the division, so this WBF match-up is certainly on the cards. Red lost in the WBF to Rise Nation at CWL Anaheim; a huge motivator to finally start a Grand Final with an advantage. Both teams will have enormous momentum entering this series, and picking a winner is probably harder than all other matchups. These exact rosters have not battled it out yet, but the trio of Zer0, Joee and Rated knocked the Greenwall out of CWL Atlanta and New Orleans.
OpTic theoretically have slight advantages in Hardpoint and CTF, while Red are comfortably favourites in SnD. I'm expecting maps to be traded back and forth until an all-important game 5 SnD, where Red will have enough to get over the line. Preparation and countering strategies will be crucial down the stretch, as these teams are so closely matched on paper.
Red Reserve 3 - 2 OpTic Gaming
I'd favour OpTic to have enough to make it back to the finals, although one should never underestimate the possibility of a fired-up Rise Nation storming all the way through. Red Reserve have had issue with running out of steam in their 2nd place finishes at Atlanta and Anaheim, but the shorter format is favourable for them. Assuming OpTic win the Losers' Bracket Final, they'll be fresh out of the gates for their second grand final of the two Playoff events.
OpTic's momentum should carry them through Game 1, but I expect Red to bring their stellar SnD form when it matters most. Only Red's Zer0 has won a major international event before, but I think Red's time will come at Stage 2 Playoffs when all the chips are down. Red will stay true to the "SnD wins championships" mantra and finish the job in yet another game 5. The Greenwall will be left with only CWL Champs to bring home their first title of the season.
Published on 26. Jul 2020