Season 5 LAN finals preview
BESL Pro Season 5 LAN finals are set to take place on the 15th of February at the Kipsala exhibition center in Riga, Latvia with the event being hosted as part of the HyperTown urban & esports festival. Additional information about the festival and tickets can be found by visiting hypertown.pro.
The culmination of the €9,000 CS:GO competition is going to feature the four best teams from the online stage. These teams are going to continue playing out the single-elimination playoff bracket with all the games being played as a best-of-three series.
The winner of the event is not only going to be crowned as the best team in the Baltic states, taking home the beautiful BESL Pro champions trophy, but will also receive the lion's share of the prize pool in the form of €3,000!
Want to find out a little bit more about the LAN finalists? Check out our “A look at the finalist” article series:
Map pool (4 series)
1337HUANIA are coming into this weekend’s competition as one of the two favorites alongside last season champions Akatsuki and with both of them being seeded on the opposite sides of the bracket, it seems destined that we’re going to see them going at each other in the grand final.
But, first things first! Let’s not forget that 1337HUANIA have to first deal with alltheRAGE in their semi-final match and with Justinas “jL-” Lekavicius having found new levels of individual confidence, one can only wonder what kind of performance we’re going to see from BESL Pro LAN finals debutant alltheRAGE on Saturday.
With that being said, though, it goes without a saying that an early exit here would definitely not be the result 1337HUANIA were looking for as the two-time BESL Pro champions have set their eyes to possibly add another trophy to their cabinet. If history has taught us anything - in Riga, 1337HUANIA are the team to beat!
Something to look out for: 1337HUANIA’s young FPL prodigy Aurimas “Bymas” Pipiras is without a doubt the hottest prospect on the squad and while him boasting 88 ADR across 8 games in the regular season is already quite the accomplishment, we all know that he is capable of so much more! Keep a close eye on how Bymas performs on the big stage as 1337HUANIA are definitely going to need him to come online if they plan on taking home another BESL Pro trophy!
Map pool (5 series)
For the culmination of this season’s competition happening on Saturday, alltheRAGE are marked as one of the underdog teams, and not without a reason. Attending their first-ever BESL Pro LAN finals event, the only thing going for them at the moment is their star player Justinas “jL-” Lekavicius feeling overly confident about what he and his troops will be able to achieve in Riga.
From the outside, being as confident as jL- is in their capabilities looks to be a positive thing as we all know the importance of confidence when it comes to a game of CS:GO. But, one thing that has to be said is that there is a thin line between feeling confident and being delusional, and while the former will lead to greater results, the latter will tarnish your performance and leave you in disbelief as soon as the game is over.
However, we’re not saying that alltheRAGE are delusional and that they are destined to fail, but we’re rather pointing out to the fact that we’re yet to see this newly found confidence manifest into results as alltheRAGE’s regular season performance was good, but not to the levels of 1337HUANIA or Akatsuki good.
Something to look out for: the man of the hour, Justinas “jL-” Lekavicius, is the ultimate X factor when it comes to how well alltheRAGE are going to perform in their BESL Pro LAN finals debut on Saturday. With 94 ADR in 11 maps, the performance of jL- is going to decide whether alltheRAGE are going to finally break out of their shell and possibly lift the trophy in Riga, or are they going to go home after the semi-finals.
While both of these teams have played in BESL Pro for a couple of seasons now, weirdly enough, they have never met each other. So, with no real head-to-head game data available, the only rule of thumb that we can use to compare these teams is their past achievements at BESL Pro events and it’s clear as day that 1337HUANIA, being the two-time champions that they are, takes the cake in that regard.
As for the possible maps that we’re going to see played in this series - right off the bat it’s obvious that 1337HUANIA are far from being fans of overpass, while alltheRAGE probably won’t risk leaving vertigo open with nuke ban also being a possibility if they want to spice things up a little bit.
Coming into the first round of picks, it’s safe to assume that dust2 is a map that we’re going to see for sure, while the second map seems to differ depending on who’s the one picking dust2 in the first place. If 1337HUANIA picks dust2 then alltheRAGE will probably go with inferno, while in the scenario of alltheRAGE picking dust2 1337HUANIA would probably answer back with another PUG style map in the form of mirage, or they could also throw a curveball and pick nuke if it’s still available.
Apart from that, it’s hard to predict what the decider of the series would be as the first two phases of this veto process are very much up in the air. But, just based on the map pool of both of the teams it seems like the most likely decider map options would be mirage or nuke as both teams are up for playing these maps.
Map pool (4 series)
Just like the two-time BESL Pro champions 1337HUANIA, Akatsuki are also coming into the LAN finals event at HyperTown as one of the favorites to possibly be seen taking home the trophy when the dust settles on Saturday. The defending champions have kept the same exact roster that was victorious last season and this time around, with more play-time under their belts, they are looking as fierce as ever!
While looking to possibly add another title to their resume, Akatsuki will firstly have to go through Timechasers who are the only real team at the event. Akatsuki’s overall fire-power and experience at events like these does put the odds heavily in their favor, however, it is yet to be seen if Timechasers being an actual team could throw a wrench into Akatsuki’s plans. In the words of Aurimas “Kvik” Kvakšys - “[in theory] it should be fairly easy for a team to play against a mix”.
All in all, Akatsuki are traveling to Riga with a set goal and clear vision of how to achieve it, though, only time will tell if they do indeed manage to beat all the other competitors and become the first team in Baltic state CS:GO history that wins back-to-back BESL Pro seasons!
Something to look out for: the ultimate strength of Akatsuki is that by taking a quick glance at individual player statistics we can see that everyone is chipping in and doing their part when it comes to the gameplay on the server. With that being said, keep an eye out for someone having an off-day, because that might just be the deciding factor between lifting the trophy and being left empty-handed.
Map pool (5 series)
On Saturday, all eyes will be on Timechasers as the only real team at the event makes their BESL Pro LAN finals debut. After two seasons of disappointing results stretching from being one step away from the finals last season to being straight up banged out of the league the season before, Timechasers are now considered the epitome of hard work leading to progress!
The road to the trophy has been laid out and it’s a rocky one to say the least as right out of the gates Timechasers are going to be facing the defending champions from the last season in Akatsuki, and it doesn’t make things easier knowing that Akatsuki have kept the same exact championship-winning roster either. However, in theory, Timechasers should have had plenty of time to look over Akatsuki’s demos and prepare a gameplan of how to bring them down.
With that being said, though, Timechasers are far from being considered the favorites of the event, let alone their semi-final match, but one thing is for sure - Timechasers are on their way to proving that in the long run a team will eventually be able to outplay any mix-team and while lifting the trophy this season might be a stretch, no one can deny that they are going to be a force to reckon with in the seasons to come.
Something to look out for: Timechasers’ sniper Jokubas “ceNder” Labutis is the man that you should keep an eye out for as his 99 ADR across 11 games has him marked as the second best player in the whole league. If Timechasers are to upset Akatsuki and maybe even go as far as taking home the trophy, ceNder is going to be a big part of it!
These two teams have played against each other two times before in BESL Pro competitions. Back in Season 4, during the fourth week of the swiss group stage, their first-ever encounter ended with Timechasers rolling over their opponents in a very one-sided affair. But, when the competition moved to the playoffs, Akatsuki got their chance to answer back! However, the caveat here is that both teams had different rosters back then, so these results should be taken with a grain of salt.
Moving on to the possible veto of this match-up. From the outside, it seems like the first set of bans is already carved in stone as both teams will probably just stick to their so called permabans. For Akatsuki this would mean taking out vertigo, a map that coincidentally is also a map that their opponents really like to play, while Timechasers would surely veto their most banned map in the form of mirage.
Similarly to the first set of bans, the map picks of both of the teams should also be pretty much set and, unless someone decides to throw in a curveball, we should be seeing a map pick of dust2 coming out from Akatsuki, while Timechasers should be sticking to their bread-n-butter in the form of train.
As for the last phase of the veto process - Timechasers are probably going to opt for a nuke ban, while on the other side of the coin, things are not as clear-cut for Akatsuki as they have to decide between playing inferno, a map that they have not played this season yet, or playing overpass, a map that they suffered a humiliating loss on in their ¼ final against deprEST.
BESL Pro Season 5 is a seven-week competition between the sixteen best Baltic state CS:GO teams for their share of the €9,000 prize pool and the right to call themselves the best in Baltic states.
The four best teams from the online part of the competition are going to meet each other on the Samsung Odyssey esports stage on the 15th of February at Kipsala exhibition center in Riga, Latvia at the HyperTown Riga 2020 urban & esports festival. Visit hypertown.pro for more info about the festival and tickets.
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Article by: Bruno ‘Gekons’ Gailītis