The Autumn 2016 season kicks off this weekend on twitch as the Evil Eight battle for points and that sacred spot at the World Championship this December. A lot happened at the Summer Live Championships — and we all watched with bated breath as former Community Challenger team SNOW Avalanche dethroned the reigning champions Team Secret. There has now been a small but perceptible change as all the teams realize that the “impossible is possible” and that gods can bleed. All the teams will be entering this season with high stakes ahead of them and the quality of the games will be sure to reflect this.
BRACKET SIDE B
4pm GMT: SK Gaming vs Team Secret
SK Gaming ban first
Both of these teams will be entering the Autumn season having faced disappointment just two weeks ago at the Summer Live Championships in Cologne. SK had a frustrating result in the season finale tournament, failing to win a series or make it out of the Elimination Bracket. Part of this comes down to having lost many of the key players over the past seasons, and just recently their laner lloH4uK announced that he would also be leaving. This leaves them in a precarious position and it is uncertain how they are going to reshuffle the remaining players. The good news is they have a tremendous new addition in Aidslip and return the legendary jetpacks to the roster, so SK has the pieces to make this work. They just need … once again … to find the right combination and a winning formula.
Team Secret dropped their first Championship title in four seasons after losing to SNOW Avalanche in a dramatic five-game series. Not only that, they were also pushed to their limits by two other teams, mousesports and Gankstars, an outcome that wasn’t expected considering the almost-perfect run Team Secret had during the Summer splits. Interestingly, their drafting phase during the weekend was considerably weaker than in previous seasons. Nevertheless, they have a guaranteed spot at the World Championship in December on the strength of their Winter and Spring titles, and they’re sure to have set their eyes on the prize and lay rest to the NA > EU claims.
SK Gaming: Raph, Aidslip, Bayu, Cr3am, jetpacks
Team Secret: KVAlafar, Palmatoro, Mowglie, TheJoker94
5pm GMT: Gankstars Cerberus vs Mousesports
mousesports ban first
The EU Gankstars team has gone from strength to strength in the past season and are easily considered one of the top four teams in Europe. Strategically, Gankstars are very strong; however, they’re still let down in teamfights by positioning and slower mechanics. They’ve added greatkhALI to the roster for the Autumn season — an excellent move that gives them a feared jungler and more roster flexibility, especially when L3oN isn’t playing. GreatkhALI’s comfort heroes are very different from IraqiZorro’s, and together they cover a formidable hero pool which will allow for more drafting combinations.
Mousesports have been looking very good recently. However, these two teams battled it out on Elimination Day of the Summer Championships and mousesports lost 0-2. This was in a large part due to a narrow defeat to Team Secret earlier, a series from which MOUZ never mentally recovered. For them, it’s about the early- and mid-game jungle control, and they do best when they are able to create a strong early lead.
Mousesports: Sn3aky, Emiring, Aeroniac, Asater, IroNs
Gankstars Cerberus: IraqiZorro, L3on, TetnoJJ, nettetoilette , AeOn, greatkhALI
BRACKET SIDE A
6pm GMT: Rising Lotus vs SNOW Tsunami
SNOW Tsunami ban first
SNOW Tsunami have faltered in momentum in the past season and, truth be told, the last meta was not in their favor as previous comfort picks were no longer a viable option. However, new update equals new meta, and this could be a shift in the right direction for SNOW Tsunami. Buffs to Alpha and Rona — along with the incredibly strong return of Petal — might mean that lookatme will be back to his old aggressive self. The standout player from SNOW Tsunami is Sosiska, who has some of the best mechanics of any roam player.
Rising Lotus have failed to perform so far in the Evil Eight. That said, their roster has changed considerably, with more players who made this team a name in Europe in the first place. On top of that, well-known player MrKcool just announced he’ll be joining the Lotus roster as well, subject to an initial waiting period. That’s yet another highly talented, elusive player for opponents to deal with. Rising Lotus has had strong moments in the past but they need to work past the inconsistencies in their macro and micro play to put a real challenge to SNOW Tsunami. On paper, this looks like a SNOW victory, but we’ll know quickly if the new Lotus roster is going to upend the Autumn Evil Eight and put forth another strong contender for Europe’s lone remaining Worlds spot.
Rising Lotus: justman00, KeanuNakoa, Loere, Flobby, MrKcool
SNOW Tsunami: lookatme, PTLam, Sosiska, araxii
7pm GMT: SNOW Avalanche vs G2.Esports
G2.Esports ban first
G2.Esports overcame their previous inconsistencies to pull off their strongest performance yet at the Summer Championships, making it all the way to the semifinals, only falling to SNOW Avalanche. G2 tend to do better in the late game and usually opt for those lat- game compositions that have favored them so well in the past. They also do well if they’re able to pick up a tanky melee hero for DarkPotato, who seems more than comfortable being in the thick of all the action preventing the opponents from getting to Reddix, who favors high-damage snipers.
In a story akin to David vs Goliath, the battle between SNOW Avalanche and Team Secret thrilled audiences with its unexpected result at the Summer Live Championships. New champions SNOW Avalanche showed that they were capable of being the best of the best. They’ll continue to utilize unusual drafts and a unique playstyle to their advantage during Autumn, but they’re also team that still has more room for improvement and could get even stronger.
This is going to be a rematch of the summer semifinals, and if it’s going to be anything like that series, then this is going to be full of high-octane action. SNOW Avalanche are not averse to experimenting with new heroes, and it would not be surprising to see WalDeMar picking up Baron for one of these games.
G2 Esports: Reddix, DarkPotato, D1ngo, Hundor
SNOW Avalanche: WalDeMar, Kentysik, Bashn, ryuren
The first week of the Autumn Season kicks off this weekend on twitch at www.twitch.tv/vaingory. Be sure to tune in at 9AM PDT/4PM GMT to keep up with all the action.