#HSH Week 8: Group D Preview
The last group of #HomeSweetHomes final week is upon us and as always we preview the teams. AGF Esport, Complexity Gaming, Hard Legion ...
The third day of play in week one of #HomeSweetHome has concluded. That means two teams from group C has moved on to the playoffs and two teams have been sent packing. In our preview article yesterday we managed to predict all five games of the group, which means there weren't any massive upsets, but Japaleno, Sprout, Movistar Riders and North did offer us great entertainment. Each week #HomeSweetHome awards $40,000 in prize money and at the end of the 8 week stretch of mini tournaments a grand final playoff will follow. If you want to read more about #HomeSweetHome you can head over to our event page!
Japaleno winning their opening game was our betting tip of the day over at our Twitter dedicated fully to betting, but even if we believed in the Swedes we did not see this coming. The game ended up on Overpass and after a magical T-side with players like Fredrik “FREDDyFROG” Gustafsson and Adam “dezon” Wahlqvist lighting up the scoreboard Japaleno had a 12-3 lead. It would only be a formality for Japaleno to close the game out from that point and the end result 16-4 was the perfect opener for the young Swedes who still were far from favorites for a playoff spot.
North and Sprout went head to head in the second opener, which seemed unfortunate for both teams as they on paper were clearly the two strongest in the group. The game ended up being played on Nuke, which seemed like a fairly good deal for both teams. After a close start and the game being tied at 5-5 it would all go south for Sprout. North went on a massive roll and smashed Sprout in 11 out of the 12 last rounds. Most noteworthy was the 7 straight rounds on the danes T side. Important win for North who went on to face Japaleno in the winners match.
The winners match between North and Japaleno proved two things - North is the best team in the group, but Japaleno can perform on this level and challenge anybody. North won their own map pick, Vertigo, very convincingly, but if someone thought Japaleno was out of this one they would have been wrong. Japaleno came back through their map pick, Overpass in a dominant fashion as they brought home 10 straight CT rounds to pull the rug from under Norths feet. Joakim “Relaxa” Gustafsson played his best map of the tournament to help his team accomplish this heroic feat. However, the story would take another turn on the last map, Dust 2, and North could once again show their strength and also why they were so heavily favoured on paper. Markus “Kjaerbye” Kjærbye was once again on fire, just like on Vertigo, and was one of the main reasons North could go on to win with 16-10 and secure the their playoff spot.
In the elimination game between Sprout and Movistar Riders it was clear how important the best of one opener can really be. Things were looking tough for Movistar Riders beforehand as Sprout were heavily favoured, but this was the harsh reality after being crushed by Japaleno in the first game. Sprout started the game on their map pick of Vertigo and after going up 10-1 on the T side it looked over already and the end score 16-7 does reflect how one sided this story was. Things would not work out much better on Mirage for Movistar Riders either as they only managed to gather 4 rounds on their T side, but things would get close as the star player Christian “loWel” Garcia Antoran gave his team a chance with a massive CT side comeback. At 14-13 to Sprout it looked like the spaniards were about to do it, but the ship sunk just before reaching the harbour and Sprout picked up the two rounds they needed to close it out. Convincing win from Sprout who moved on to face Japaleno in the decider match for a spot in the playoffs.
Both Sprout and Japaleno had showed some good and some bad until this point of the group stage. The battle for a playoff spot between the two would start out on Mirage, Sprouts pick. After heroic performances on the CT side by Tomáš “oskar” Šťastný and Paweł “dycha” Dycha Sprout were up to a 13-2 lead and had already secured a win on their own map pick. 16-8 in total and it was time for Japaleno to show a better side on their map - Inferno. Similar to the previous games it was FREDDyFROG and dezon who made things happen for the Swedish squad and on Inferno they secured their team a 10-5 lead on the T side. Japaleno managed to grow that lead all the way up to 14-7, before everything would crash and burn. 14-7 turned into 15-15 and overtime, which in turn ended 19-15 t o Sprout who managed an absolutely stunning comeback to clinch their playoff spot.
North and Sprout move on to the playoffs, just as was expected beforehand, but there was definitely some bumps along the road, especially for Sprout. It is fair to say that Japaleno performed fairly well and probably better than most expected. If it wasn't for their total collapse on Inferno in the decider match things might have looked different. Group C was also a very strong group on paper and it's quite honestly unfortunate for Japaleno to end up in this one. Same could be said for Movistar Riders, but in all honestly they tripped themselves and no group could have saved them from that. Going into the playoffs both North and Sprout have great opportunities to make a deep run and North might even be considered a main favorite.
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