NAVI lost first place in the HLTV rankings. Thirty-eight weeks of domination are over. But the NAVI era is far from over and they are still the heavy favorites in the Major. Here are arguments you can make.
NAVI lost only two tournaments. Both due to external factors
Let me remind you that the entire second half of 2021 was one big NAVI dominance. 6 first places in top tournaments, 6 MVP medals for S1mple, 0 lost maps in the Majors. Not even Astralis was so dominant! Yes, the Danes topped the HLTV rankings for a longer time, but they didn't win everything listed in the "S-Tier" tab on Liquipedia, giving CS:GO betting fans, who betting at gg.bet/en/esports, a bunch of positive emotions.
So when did NAVI's winning streak end? Most will answer - on Blast. But actually, the Blad3’s boys made it to the Spring Finals. And do you really think they were too lazy to sweat for another $10,000 and 1200 Blast Premier points for 1st place?
In fact, NAVI lost only two tournaments - IEM Katowice and ESL Pro League S15. At the first tournament, the Boombl4 squad took out the group with G2, Ence and Furia with a score of 3-0. And then all of a sudden, they were defeated by G2 with a score of 0-2. Same pattern in the Pro League: 5-0 in the group, 0-2 in the first playoff game.
At EPL S15, two factors stand out. First, the Boombl4 covid. Second, the heavy psychological state of the team as a whole for obvious reasons.
The team is getting better - you can see that in the stats
Think back to the final EPL S15 rankings. S1mple is back in great shape. B1t, Perfecto and Electronic are slowly returning to the level of the Major Kings. Only Boombl4 is not progressing - "thanks" to Covid.
In the Pro League NAVI played better than in Katowice. And at IEM, better than at Blast. The team is steadily getting to its peak form for the Major. And so we can already count on the return of the best team in the world. Follow the results of the NAVI CS:GO team at https://gg.bet/en/counter-strike.
The first Pro League of the year is often won by not the strongest team in the world
Let's take a look at who has been winning EPL spring/summer seasons over the last 5 years:
- 2022 - Faze Clan
- 2021 - Heroic
- 2019 - Team Liquid
- 2018 - Astralis
- 2017 - G2
Of these five teams, four have never won a major tournament of the year. Moreover, winning the Pro League does not guarantee anything at all in the context of the Majors:
- G2 didn't make it out of the group (2-3) in Krakow
- Liquid barely made it to the 1/4 with 3-2 stats and got knocked out there without a chance
- Heroic had huge problems to reach the semis. The team came out of the Challengers stage on very thin ice (3-2). In the Legends stage they had problems with CPH Flames (2-1) and nearly made it to the decisive match with NiP. And what a problem it was with the VP in the 1/4! Three maps, all with more than 25 rounds, 16-12 on the deciding Inferno.
And only Astralis won them all. Nevertheless, history clearly proves to us that the spring ESL Pro League is no indicator.
There are too many questions for NAVI opponents
So let's think, who can beat S1mple and company?
- Ence - a top-16 major team with zero big names
- Vitality - with misutaaa, apEX and almost 30 years of dupreeh?
- Heroic - there is hardly any criteria for the Danes to be comparable to NAVI
- Gambit - the team has enough problems too. And the results at the beginning of the year are even worse for the Groove guys.
- NiP is a team without a sniper and without victories.
The only dangerous opponent looks to be the Faze Clan. But for one thing, Karrigan always succumbs to the pressure of the Majors. Cloud9's golden lineup will confirm that. And secondly, it's hard to believe that the Clan will be in their peak shape for 5 months, from January till May.
NAVI still has the strongest lineup in the world
Let's not forget who is the best player on the planet (hint: it's S1mple). Don't count out B1t and electroNic, who are at least in the top 10 of the world. Don't underestimate the achievements of Perfecto, the maestro of clutches. And, of course, don't undersell the magic of B1ad3 and Boombl4. Bad captain and coach can't win PGL Major Stockholm 2021 with zero maps lost.
For the reasons above, it's safe to say that S1mple and company are the top favorites in the PGL Major Antwerp.
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