Moose breaks down Epicenter 2019 with an in-depth analysis of the teams attending!
EPICENTER is an event in Moscow that hosts a $500,000 prize pool with 1st place taking home $250k. That is a big payday for a team. Even 2nd place will distribute $120k or about 20k per player + coach.
EHOME (Tier 3)
EHome qualified through the asian qualifier into Epicenter and I don’t see them doing much here. With BnTeT gone from Tyloo this is (I guess) our new Chinese team to look at but their map pool is only strong in Nuke. We will be looking for spots on them to take easy overs. They’re mainly here to collect the 10k check and enjoy the views. They draw French powerhouse Vitality first who are a basket case.
Heroic (Tier 2)
Heroic are a Danish tier 2 team that are actually very good at playing fundamental CS. Up and coming rook stavn joins where his previous squad left off with awper Cadian, anchor Snappi, fill-in Borup, and frag machine es3tag. Not sure what to think of Heroic against T1 talent but they beat mouz online to make it here and they are looking strong their last couple of online events. The up and coming start with against Navi doesn’t look bad for them on paper because Navi is no longer really a Mirage team and has shown weaknesses. The +1200 dogs may make it out of groups but I am not sure they go further given T1 talent.
Forze (Tier 2)(Tier 1.5 on home soil)
Forze are a mixed bag of tricks that somehow has kept the lineup together (which may change soon if Navi ever buys a player from them). The lineup has been together for over a year now and their communication is strong, but we will see how good they look against EG to start off matches. Their nuke is wicked good and they also have a complete map pool. I honestly look forward to watching them play on LAN because they show signs of big success behind awper xsepower. They’re +3300 to win the event but we’ve seen them do well on Russian soil before.
Avangar (Tier 1.5)
Avangar are always a dark horse when they play well, but right now they are a mixed bag. This is probably their last event under the Avangar banner as it looks like T1 powerhouse Virtus Pro is buying the entire roster to play under them. If they keep the core, awper/in-game leader Jame is an insane shot and can really hold his own for a 20 year old kid. The team will need to heavily rely on buster and qikert to make big plays like they are used to, as their other two players Sanji and Adren are either gods or bots. Adren is on the decline of his career and is mostly just a veteran addition, and Sanji is legitimately either really good or really bad depending on the map. With the signing over to Virtus Pro and other factors, I am not sure if they can pull through here against tier 1 talent, sometimes they look really flat, other times they look great. Last time we saw Avangar/Forze in a major tournament it was BLAST in Russia where they destroyed Tier 1 talent.
Evil Geniuses (Tier 1)
On paper and in show EG are the best team in the world – at times. They have an amazing in-game leader in stanislaw, a very strong awper in Cerq, and great firepower out of Brehze and lately Ethan. Tarik holds the glue together but has faired poorly in recent times. Overall, I love EG and I hope to see them bounce back but the fan favorite is lacking in confidence after ESL NY. They haven’t done much and are righfully +350 at this event. If you told me EG was attending this event a month ago, I would bet that they flat out win it, but recent losses to mouz, Astralis, and Navi have made them look really docile.
Vitality (Tier 1)
It is tough to say what Vitality’s problem is. They have the hottest rookie in the game right now in Zywoo, who’s awping out of his mind, but see issues with IGL Alex disappearing in games, Apex disappearing in games, RPK disappearing in games, and star French swiss knife shox also disappearing in games. They have had a month off from competition and enter Epicenter as a dark horse favorite. If they cleaned up their mistakes and come out fresh, they will win the tournament. If they get bit by rust and fall flat again, they’ll lose in semis.
Natus Vincere (Tier 1)
Navi have had a history of starting events slow, but they came into EPL Finals looking really, really good at first. They crushed Tyloo, crushed MIBR, and took down EG only to completely disappear against Fnatic. The streakiness of the other players doesn’t help star s1mple do any better. The biggest problem with the team right now is Guardian, who is an AWPer that has not been feeling the game at all. He had a terrible showing at the EPL finals and I don’t think he’s had enough time to fix the mistakes. If Guardian shows up at this event, the +450 for Navi to win it all is an insanely good price. That being said, I am not sure the squad can clean up here.
Mousesports (Tier 1)
Mousesports are flying over from Los Angeles tonight to make it by Tuesday to play in Epicenter. I think the jet lag will bite them in the ass but the team is hot. They won Asia Championship, they won EPL by beating Astralis in glorified fashion and taking FNC 3-0, then somehow won cs_summit tonight with their coach!! I think that the team is probably going to run into the event burnt out and I do not like their chances. That being said, if they catch fire and manage to make playoffs it is up to IGL Karrigan how far the team goes. Frozen and ropz are two of the hottest young riflers in the game today and the team is very intelligent. We will see what happens.
I wouldn’t be surprised to see several teams win this tournament. We could have dark horses like Avangar or Forze show up on home turf, Navi or Vitality might come in looking more polished, or EG/Mouz could come in and sweep it all with pure talent. This is going to be a good event.