The first CS:GO Major of the year is all set to get underway with the 2022 PGL Antwerp Major kicking off with its Challengers stage. Running from May 9th – 12th, the Challengers stage sees the sixteen lowest-ranked teams that have qualified for the event competing in a seeded-based swiss format. Matches will be best of ones, except for elimination showdowns that will see a full best of three formats. To help you get in the mood for the Major, Gamelevate takes you through some of the best storylines you need to be following at PGL Antwerp’s Challenger stage.
G2 Bringing The Hype?
Had you just been looking at all the rosters arriving at this year’s Antwerp Major, you almost certainly wouldn’t have expected to see G2 in the Challengers bracket. Having come agonizingly close at the last Major Championship at PGL Stockholm last year, the EU org has embarked on an ambitious rebuild that has seen the arrivals of Aleksib and exciting prospect m0NESY.
Known as one of CS:GO’s greatest ‘bottlers’ (which we think is a little bit harsh for a side that has routinely made the top five at most top-tier events over the past few years), G2 not only finished runners-up at the last Major but also the last big stage event at IEM Katowice.
The highest-ranked team in the Challengers stage and, in our opinion, the most exciting, it’ll be fascinating to see how well the team does against a few of PGL Antwerp’s wildcards. They will also be facing stiff competition from the likes of Team Vitality, Outsiders, and Astralis in their quest to finish top of the table.
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The NA Struggles?
North American Counter-Strike is one of the most hotly-discussed points in Esports, with everyone having their own take over where the skill ceiling really is for the biggest region outside of EU.
Team Liquid certainly brings a strong level of prestige and the most amount of talent out of these three sides, however, they are still waiting for things to click into place following the arrivals of nitr0, oSee, and shox at the beginning of 2022. Nevertheless, they still look like the best-placed representatives if NA are going to have anything to shout about at PGL Antwerp.
Complexity have arguably shown more recently in the server, and will always come out on top in any CS popularity contests, however, we think it’s going to be pretty touch-and-go over whether they can scrape past the competition in the Challengers, even with the likes of floppy back and firing again in CS.
As for the Brazilian org Imperial, we have said throughout that this lineup is ‘memes first, CS second’. FalleN and fer might have won back-to-back Majors back in the day, but we would honestly be stunned if that lot got anywhere near the other two NA representatives at this stage of the tournament.
A healthy scene in North America is obviously good for CS on the whole, allowing for more fan representation and more diversity when it comes to viable competitive stratbooks, however, we’re not entirely sure the skill ceiling in the region is quite where it needs to be for a Major Championship yet.