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Pre-Fire Predictions - 18 December 2020

The year is soon coming to an end, but we still have plenty of high-level CS on the schedule to look forward to, with the likes of Vitality and Astralis set to face off in the IEM Global Challenge.

Valle | Dec 18, 2020 | Pre-Fire Predictions

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Vitality -vs- Astralis

Top Pick: ZywOo (Vitality) / device (Astralis)

Outsider Pick: dupreeh (Astralis)

Vitality are set to take on Astralis in what is a modern classic at this point. What is worth noting about this matchup is that both of these teams have shown the tendency to swap out players mid-game, with Vitality swapping out shox and misutaaa for Nivera depending on the map, while Astralis have let Bubzkji step-in for Xyp9x at times. This makes it very hard to recommend picking any of these aforementioned players. shox has been an absolute god recently and he could be in for a good game depending on the map veto, but if we see Inferno at any point in this series, he is a goner. For that reason, ZywOo is pretty much the only guy that I would consider on Vitality without knowing the veto beforehand. 

On Astralis, there are more viable options. device is obviously going to be a solid pick, and I love dupreeh due to his upside on maps like Dust2 and Vertigo, both of which are maps that we could see in this series. His recent form on Dust2 has been poor, but this has always been one of his signature maps in the pool and I personally wouldn't be too worried about it. Despite poor play on Dust2 in their most recent match against BIG, he more than made up for it with a godlike performance on Vertigo, posting 40 frags in total. As a result, he actually ended up as the top fragger at the end of the game, despite losing both maps and having a less than stellar performance on Dust2. 

FURIA -vs- Liquid

Top Pick: yuurih (FURIA)

Outsider Pick: EliGE (Liquid)

These two teams have played each other so many times this year that I have lost count, and they will face off once more in this decider match in the IEM Global Challenge. This matchup used to be Nuke and Vertigo in what felt like an infinite loop, but recently the teams have mixed it up a fair bit, with maps like Overpass, Mirage and Inferno getting thrown into the mix. This has made things a lot more complicated to forecast and I cannot recommend anyone but the most consistent players without knowing the veto beforehand. Those two players are going to be yuurih of FURIA and EliGE of Liquid. The two are both aggressive riflers who consistently put themselves in positions to multi-frag. They might die more on average than the likes of KSCERATO, HEN1, NAF and Twistzz, but that is not something we care about in the Most Kills market. 

However, this is definitely the type of matchup where it might be worth locking in your bet after the map veto is announced due to the many map specialists on the server. HEN1 is a player who has top-fragged in two out of the last three games against Liquid, and he is coming off an amazing performance against Heroic. He has particularly high upside on Mirage and Vertigo, and when we get a combination of these two maps, he tends to pop off. 

VINI and Twistzz also stand out for their play on Inferno, and I doubt either of the two will be popular picks here. VINI is a particularly interesting case since he is otherwise one of the bottom-fraggers on this FURIA team. In the last six months, VINI has posted 0.76 kills/round on this map, which is more than anyone else on FURIA. Add in the fact that he has top-fragged in two out of the last five series between FURIA and Liquid, and you've got yourself the ultimate outsider - high risk, high reward. Lastly, NAF is worth mentioning due to his proficiency on Nuke, which has been a very common map between these two teams.  

Movistar Riders -vs- NAVi Junior

Top Pick: m0NESY (NaVi Junior)

Outsider Pick: kapacho (NaVi Junior) / shokz (Movistar Riders)

NaVi Junior will take on Movistar Riders in this BO3 semi-final. It is worth noting that B1T has made the move over to NaVi's main team, and he hasn't been playing for NaVi Junior in the last few matches. This will definitely give more room for m0NESY to shine, and he is understandably the favourite with the Puntt AI. With that said, I definitely would not rule out some of the options lower down the board on NaVi Junior. kapacho and topa have been impressive in the last few matches, especially on Vertigo and Overpass, which are maps that we could see in this matchup. Out of the two, it is kapacho who I like the most due to recent form. I suspect that m0NESY will be far more popular, so it might be worth going the contrarian route and pick kapacho here for a higher potential return.

On Movistar Riders, it is hard to ignore mopoz' form. The Spaniard used to be in the shadows of players like loWel and ALEX in the early days of this roster, but since loWel left the team, he has stepped it up significantly. As mentioned previously, Overpass and Vertigo are two maps that we could see in this series, and on these maps, mopoz has posted 0.74 and 0.72 kills/round respectively, which is the highest on the team. Another player worth considering is shokz, who the Puntt AI has pinned at just 7.2% to top frag. The Estonian has been the best overall fragger for Movistar Riders with 0.72 kills/round across all maps since this roster was formed, so I definitely think that there is some value on him as an outsider for the same reason as I like kapacho on NaVi Junior.

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