This article is part of our CS:GO series.
PGL Major Antwerp is in full force with the best teams in the world going head-to-head for their share of the $1,000,000 prize pool. With everything to play for here's a look at some players to target and fade in the Challengers stage, and the beginning of the Legends stage.
Players to Target
Spinx and ENCE are one of the top teams in the world, and one disappointing loss to G2 doesn't change that. Spinx has a 1.17 rating over the past three months with an absurd 0.77 kills per round. It's no longer a question of if Spinx is really one of the best players in the world, it's now a question of if Spinx is one of the top three players in the game. There is no better place to try and answer that question than at the major, and so far he hasn't disappointed. Spinx and ENCE take on Bad News Eagles to try and secure a place in the Legends stage.
forZe have an almost entirely new roster and have had to build their way back up through the CIS sub-top scene. They are back at the top now and it's in large part due to the exceptional firepower of KENSI, who has smashed his way onto the Tier 1 scene. With a 1.15 rating and 0.72 kills on average over the last three months, KENSI has been on an absolute tear. Now at the major he still looks like one of the top players in the event and despite disappointing close defeats to Vitality and Outsiders, forZe still look like one of the favorites to make the Legends stage. KENSI will need to be at his best in the fifth and final Swiss stage match to carry on in the major.
North America's golden boy EliGE still looks right at home among the top players in the world even if the rest of Team Liquid struggles to make the jump. The superstar rifler has a 1.20 rating in the last three months despite spending a majority of that time in Europe and has moved to an incredible 0.80 kills per round. Falling to 0-2 in the Challengers stage, many questioned if Team Liquid could make the run back to 2-2, but two quick wins of 9z and Complexity see EliGE and co. one match from Legends stage qualification.
Players to Fade
The other side of the Team Liquid coin, nitr0, has been absolutely woeful in the major. The in-game leader has been simply forgettable throughout the event and sits with a 0.99 rating over the past three months, including a 0.60 kills per round and 0.65 deaths per round. That's not a good ratio for fantasy managers and leaves nitr0 out of contention for most formats immediately. When you add the fact that Team Liquid are still a major doubt to even make the Legends stage it's impossible to trust nitr0, at least individually. nitr0 and Team Liquid will play their final qualification match Thursday against another team sitting at 2-2.
boltz and Imperial may have formed originally as a nostalgic team for the fans, but they have become real competitors quickly. That said the magic hasn't been there at the major, and this roster has struggled against teams that aren't even among the best in the world. Imperial sit at 2-2 with wins coming against Liquid and IHC, and defeats at the hands of European opposition such as Bad News Eagles and Spirit. It's possible for Imperial to complete the 3-2 run and qualify for the Legends stage, but it's unlikely for their run to go much further than that.
WOOD7 and MIBR have been in an awkward position in the PGL Major. With a win against 9z and narrow losses to Outsiders and Astralis, two world-class teams, many would expect this roster to have the talent to make the Legends stage. Unfortunately close losses are still losses, and WOOD7 has done little to be the difference-maker. Over the past three months he sits with a 1.01 rating and an abysmal 0.60 kills per round, those numbers are also mostly against regional opponents while he is now taking on the top teams in the world. There are fantasy options more likely to make the Legends stage as well as options on MIBR who offer more individual firepower.