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| 15. April 2021

ESL One CIS Online Season 2: Upper Division Predictions

ESL One CIS Online Season 2 has begun and the top 3 teams will qualify for the 2nd Major of the year. The competition takes place between April 15th – May 21st and features the strongest 8 teams in the region. In this article I will take a look at these teams and analyze their chances.

ESL One CIS Online Season 2 Participants

ESL One CIS Online Season 2 features the following teams:

  • pro
  • Natus Vincere
  • AS Monaco Gambit
  • Team Spirit
  • EXTREMUM
  • Team Unique
  • PuckChamp
  • Winstrike Team

Team Analysis

Here’s a brief analysis of each of these 8 teams:

Virtus.pro

Virtus.pro is the big favorite to win the competition. Their only real opponent in this region is Natus Vincere. Other than that, VP will probably be unchallenged. The team won in Season 1 and then finished 7th – 8th at ONE Esports Singapore Major. This result was below what they were expecting, but the competitive level in the CIS region is much lower than the global one.

One of VP’s strong points is the stability of the roster. These players have been competing together for a long time. They were signed by VP around 6 months ago but prior to that, they competed for VP’s academy team. If we take a quick look at some of their top results in 2020, we immediately see that this squad has the potential to be one of the best in the world. Just take one example: EPIC League Season 2 Division 1 was one of the biggest championships in Europe and CIS in 2020. And VP won it, defeating Team Secret and OG in the process.

Going into ESL One CIS Online Season 2, I expect VP to finish either 1st or 2nd. Anything else would be a complete failure for a team of their caliber.

Natus Vincere

Natus Vincere is the 2nd best team in the region. And just a few weeks ago, they replaced GeneRaL with RAMZES. This could significantly improve their performance, but I’m not sure how well can RAMZES play in the offlane. Even more doubtful is his ability to lead a team. And since he’s the captain of Na’Vi, he’ll need to succeed in two roles in which we haven’t seen him succeed. Not yet at least.

As a roster, Na’Vi looks amazing. Almost everyone in the team is very experienced and competed in high-level events. In the case of RodjER and RAMZES, the two of them used to be teammates at Virtus.pro. And they won numerous Majors together. The other 3 players are not as accomplished but they certainly demonstrated great skill and determination throughout the years.

AS Monaco Gambit

Gambit is a pretty good team, largely thanks to SoNNeikO’s leadership. His professional experience spans almost 7 years and he’s just 23. Among his top accomplishments are multiple Grand Finals played at Minor events. Some won, some lost. But the fact remains: the player is good enough to compete against the world’s best and beat them.

As a team, Gambit finished season 1 in 3rd place and then got 14th place at the Major. If everything goes according to play, they’ll finish season 2 exactly the same way and then they’ll hopefully do a bit better at the 2nd Major.

Team Spirit

Team Spirit is an average competitor in a race like this. And they will need to play the best Dota of their lives to qualify for the Major. In season 1, TS finished 4th with a record of 4 wins and 3 losses. The result isn’t bad. But it’s not great either. And the main problem is that the CIS region has two teams that are simply unbeatable. And then it has a third team, AS Monaco Gambit, that’s currently stronger than Spirit.

Going into ESL One CIS Online Season 2, I expect Miposhka’s crew to finish 3rd or 4th. But if they play as well as they did at EPIC League Season 3, where they finished 2nd, they have a decent chance of finishing 3rd.

EXTREMUM

Extremum finished the previous season of ESL One CIS Online in 5th place with 3 wins and 4 losses. The team heavily relies on two players: G and Shachlo. But even they are not world-class competitors.

Going into ESL One CIS Online Season 2, I expect EXTREMUM to do even worse than they did in Season 1 and possibly even relegated to the Lower Division.

Team Unique

Team Unique has a lot of experienced players on its roster, but they clearly don’t know how to compete as a compact group. Their performance in Season 1 was quite bad. The team only managed to beat the two competitors that ended up relegating. So who are they going to defeat this time? Both teams that were promoted from the Lower Division are quite strong, which makes me think that Team Unique will no longer be here at the end of Season 2.

PuckChamp

dota2 artstyle 1

This is a very interesting team and a potential dark horse. The players are relatively unknown but the coach is Artstyle, the man who led Virtus.pro to multiple Major titles. And on top of that, he’s also the winner of the first International. So he’s both a highly successful coach and a highly successful player. This combination makes him very good at what he does. And I wouldn’t be surprised to see him get a decent place with PuckChamp at this tournament.

Winstrike Team

Winstrike finished the first season of ESL One CIS Online in 2nd place. Of course, in the Lower Division. They had a record of 6 wins and just 1 loss, which pretty much means that they were much stronger than the other tier 2 competitors. But will they succeed at this level? It remains to be seen.

Going into ESL One CIS Online Season 2 Upper Division, Winstrike Team has a real chance of maintaining their spot for the next year. But they’ll need to do a decent job in order to avoid relegation, because their strength is comparable to that of the weakest teams in the league.