PGL Regional Minor Championship: Asia Preview

In the PGL Regional Minor Championship: Asia we have the chance to see 8 of the top teams from the Asian and Oceanic scene battle it out for a $50,000 prize pool. Along with the cash prize comes the top two teams to compete in the offline qualifier for the next CSGO Major tournament held in Cologne, Germany.

The two groups of 4 will compete over this coming weekend in a double elimination setup with the initial matches being best-of-one’s and the following winners and deciding matches being best-of-three’s. This means that even the favourite teams can lose the first match and still make their way out of the group stage.

So who will make it through to the play-offs and which teams will have the opportunity to qualify against 14 other teams for the ESL One Cologne Major tournament? That’s what I’m hoping to answer here. I’ll go over my picks for the group stages and who I think will take out the top two spots.

GROUP A

IMMUNITY

Let’s start off with the first Australian team to be competing in the form of Immunity. Considered to be the best team currently residing in Australia, Immunity blitzed through their Oceanic qualifier without dropping a single map to their competition. With that being said I’m unsure as to how the team will perform in this upcoming qualifier. I’d love to say that the two Aussie teams will dominate all challengers and move onto the next stage but considering how quickly the Asian scene is developing it’s hard to ignore the serious threat that teams like TheMongolz and TyLoo possess.

I’ll make the predication that Immunity will make it out of the group stage behind TheMongolz after a hard fought battle against VG.CyberZen. After this they can easily run into either their Renegades brothers or the Chinese powerhouse TyLoo and be knocked out in the playoffs. It’s going to be an uphill battle for the Aussies (and Zewsy) and hopefully one that’s going to show off what more Australian teams can provide to the global scene.

M0NSTER

We’ve recently seen what an unknown team can do after witnessing wildcard team TyLoo take out both Liquid and Luminosity at DreamHack Masters Malmo. Unfortunately I don’t see the unknown team of m0nster providing the same amount of upset potential. One thing is for sure, it will be exciting to see if there a separate meta game evolving out of the South Korean scene.

VG.CYBERZEN

Arguably the 2nd best team in China, VG.CyberZen are solid contenders to make it out of group stage of this qualifier. Their recent form against their local scene is definitely impressive but it’s hard to ignore the one sided rivalry with them only winning against their big brothers TyLoo once out of the 8 times they have met.

The question is whether or not the map change of Inferno to Nuke will affect the map pool of this Chinese side. I predict they will face Immunity in the deciding match and probably going out in the group stage (This may be the Aussie bias talking). Hopefully Savage and his team can pull out all the stops to overcome the challenge posed by the other teams in their group.

THEMONGOLZ

Probably the favourites going into Group A I have saved the best for last. TheMongolz have had the most international experience out of all Group A teams which gives them a great advantage going into this tournament. 2016 has shown that TheMongolz have dominated almost every match they have played with the exception of the IEM Katowice 2016 event where they went up against some of the best teams in the world and ultimately went out in the early stages.

While we are still learning a lot about their playstyle, TheMongolz haven’t gone up against any of the other teams in this qualifier since their recent roster change. It will be up to star player Machinegun to kick this line-up into gear to push them through to the playoffs. I predict they will finish first in their group and then it will be a matter of when they meet TyLoo before they make their exit.

TLDR; My picks for Group A are TheMongolz and Immunity will be advancing to the playoffs but I may be biased towards the Aussies as VG.CyberZen pose a serious threat. M0nster are the wildcard of this group and anything could have with this unknown team.

GROUP B

RENEGADES

Renegades are in an odd position right now in terms of what they are bringing to the table and I think it’s a matter of consistency. Top fraggers jks and AZR have been on and off in the past few months and the strategies called by in game leader SpunJ have become stale and predictable when looked at by the global scene. With that being said, The Australian team is still one of the favourites for this qualifier and I have no doubt they will make it out of the groups stage. From there I believe their Major tournament experience will make the difference and taking at least 2nd place is almost guaranteed for the Aussies. Hopefully the change in map pool from Inferno to Nuke doesn’t have too much of an effect on their performance.

I’m of the opinion that Renegades are stuck between being the best Oceanic team by a long margin and yet possibly not being good enough to play on the big stage. Their recent pickup of Peekay as their new coach will hopefully bring some fresh strategies to the table and assist the team with their abilities to change up their plays during the middle of rounds. They have the tools available to win this qualifier and even attend ESL One Cologne if they can pull their team together.

TYLOO

The wildcard Chinese team has exploded onto the global stage after shocking upset wins against Team Liquid and Luminosity Gaming at DreamHack Malmo. From that event TyLoo has continued to dominate their games against local and online competition. Labelled as the definite favourites for this qualifier, they are all but confirmed for the grand final and should be able to move on to the next stage without issues.

This new, explosive playstyle is a breath of fresh into the current CSGO meta and is definitely welcome by all of TyLoo’s newly found fans. It seems to be a perfect counter to the slow/patient style seen by a lot of the European teams and I’m excited to see how far they can go in the upcoming tournament.

MVP PROJECT

There isn’t much information on the Korean scene of CSGO but a name that keeps seeming to pop up recently is MVP Project. They have had their chances to participate in Major tournaments but have always fallen short. This could be a chance to put the Korean scene on the map similarly to what TyLoo has done in early 2016.

I see MVP Project pulling ahead of the other unknown team Risky in the group stage but unfortunately I can’t see much more happening for this team just yet. They have been dealt a tough group with the two favourites and it will take a massive upset for them to even make it to the playoffs.

RISKY

If MVP Project have it tough it’s nothing compared to the team from the United Arab Emirates (and India). Risky are the second unknown team coming into this qualifier but also have the displeasure of potentially going up against the 2 favourites right out of the gates. From the matches that I could get data on I can’t be confident in the abilities of these new players but I hope this experience will allow these players to get a taste of what other countries have to offer

TLDR; TyLoo and Renegades are the two favourites for this qualifier and are also my picks to make it out of the group stage. Barring some major upset from some of the more unknown teams I also see these two teams taking out the entire qualifier.

We have the opportunity to see some new talent emerge onto the global stage. The PGL Regional Minor Championship allows for unknown teams to make their way onto the global stage and gives them ability to test their strength against the best teams of their competition.

The qualifier will kick off at 9am on May 5th and all the action will be broadcast via PGL’s Twitch Channel.