Here’s what to expect for the IEM Chengdu CS2 semifinals.

The IEM Chengdu CS2 tournament will finish this weekend, starting with the semifinals on Saturday, April 13. MOUZ and G2 will play the first match at midnight PST followed by Astralis vs. FaZe Clan at 3:15 a.m PST, and there's a lot to unpack.

FaZe, G2, and MOUZ were expected to make a deep run at IEM Chengdu as they are the three higher-ranked teams of the event, but the same can't be said about Astralis. The Danish team, after all, have already surpassed all expectations in Nicolai "device" Reedtz's first-ever tournament as an in-game leader.

Here's what to expect for the IEM Chengdu CS2 semifinals after everything that happened in China over the past few days.

MOUZ vs. G2 preview: 2 top teams that never won a CS2 tournament

Will G2 qualify for their first grand final in CS2? (Image via Helena Kristiansson and ESL Gaming)
Will G2 qualify for their first grand final in CS2? (Image via Helena Kristiansson and ESL Gaming)

Pre-event analysis

MOUZ and G2 are currently the fifth and sixth-best CS2 teams in the world, as per HLTV's ranking, as a result of consistently making playoff runs in top tournaments. They, however, are still fighting to lift their first trophy in the new CS:GO game.

Out of the two, MOUZ are doing better in CS2 as they have played at least one grand final (CS Asia Championships in November). G2, on the other hand, have never made it past the semifinals since CS2 came out.

MOUZ cruise past the group stage, G2 fight in the lower bracket

MOUZ didn't have much trouble throughout IEM Chengdu up to this point. The international squad had a perfect group stage run in which they beat TYLOO by 13-11 on Overpass, reverse swept FURIA (8-13 on Nuke, 16-14 on Vertigo, and 13-9 on Mirage), and cruised past Team Liquid (13-11 on Inferno and 13-6 on Mirage), a result that put them straight in the semifinals.

G2 didn't struggle so much, but they had to survive the lower bracket to reach the playoffs. After besting 9z by 13-on Nuke, they lost 1-2 to Liquid (6-13 on Ancient, 13-10 on Anubis, and 9-13 on Inferno) and recovered with two clean victories over Lynn Vision (13-8 on Anubis and 13-9 on Inferno) and HEROIC (13-10 on Ancient and 16-13 on Nuke). The success against HEROIC put G2 in the quarterfinals, in which they showed their strength against Virtus.pro (13-6 on Anubis and 13-10 on Overpass).

While MOUZ have been slightly better than G2, pressure will most likely be a factor both teams will have to deal with during the semifinals, and it's hard to not favor G2 in this aspect. The average player age in G2 is 26, which is quite high in comparison to MOUZ's 20.5 average player age.

The prediction

All things considered, the winner of MOUZ vs. G2 will likely be whoever gets the most of their star players. G2's AWPer Ilya "m0NESY" Osipov has been absolutely stellar throughout IEM Chengdu and the star rifler Nikola "NiKo" Kovač is also contributing a lot in the fragging department.

The best MOUZ player in IEM Chengdu has been the prodigy Jimi "Jimpphat" Salo, but none of his main sidekicks Dorian "xertioN" Berman and Ádám "torzsi" Torzsás are close to him, m0NESY, or NiKo's level of impact in this tournament yet.

If nobody on the MOUZ's camp steps up a bit and both m0NESY and NiKo keep delivering, I'm confident G2 will reach their first grand final in CS2.

FaZe vs. Astralis preview: A battle between the most consistent team in CS2 and a dark horse

Karrigan led FaZe to seven grand finals in a row in CS2 and could do it again if they beat Astralis in the IEM Chengdu semifinals (Image via Helena Kristiansson and ESL Gaming)
Karrigan led FaZe to seven grand finals in a row in CS2 and could do it again if they beat Astralis in the IEM Chengdu semifinals (Image via Helena Kristiansson and ESL Gaming)

Pre-event analysis

It's nearly impossible to not name FaZe the best CS2 team in the world. Ever since the transition from CS:GO, the international powerhouse won their first three tournaments in the new game and finished runners-up in four out of four opportunities next.

Astralis, though, were in complete shambles before IEM Chengdu started. The Danish team only reached a semifinal once, at the CS Asia Championships in November, and most notably failed to qualify for the PGL Copenhagen Major in March, effectively missing the first CS2 Major ever and the first Major ever in Denmark. This led the organization to bench the in-game leader Benjamin "blameF" Bremer, sign Alexander "br0" Bro, and surprisingly move device to the captain role for the first time in his career.

Astralis reborn under device's leadership at IEM Chengdu, FaZe continue doing the usual

Even the most optimistic fan wasn't expecting Astralis to deliver such a good performance at IEM Chengdu. Led by device, Astralis had a 71% round win rate throughout the group stage (65 rounds won and only 26 rounds lost), and have never lost a single map in either of their matches. The Danes steamrolled Steel Helmet (13-2 on Ancient), made quick work of FaZe (13-7 on Ancient and 13-4 on Nuke), and swept past Virtus.pro with ease (13-6 on Overpass and 13-7 on Vertigo). Securing a 3-0 record in the group stage meant Astralis advanced directly to the semifinals.

On top of that, two Astralis players — stavn and device — are the higher-rated players of IEM Chengdu thus far, according to HLTV's tracking, and Jakob "jabbi" Nygaard is not too far.

As for FaZe, they had to fight in the lower bracket of IEM Chengdu just like G2. They beat Nemiga by 13-8 on Inferno before losing to Astralis, and stayed alive in the tournament following two 2-0 victories over Cloud9 (13-4 on Overpass and 13-11 on Nuke) and Flyquest (13-4 on Ancient and 13-10 on Nuke).

Liquid could have won the quarterfinal against FaZe on Friday, April 12, but Finn "karrigan" Andersen and his men showed their playoff form and advanced to the semifinals after a hard-fought 2-1 victory (16-13 on Nuke, 11-13 on Anubis, and 13-10 on Mirage). The fragging trio of David "frozen" Čerňanský, Robin "ropz" Kool, and Helvijs "broky" Saukants is working as usual, and the veteran is not too behind them, statistically speaking.

The prediction

While Astralis and device have left me hyped after the IEM Chengdu group stage, I'm skeptical they can defeat FaZe again.

We must take into consideration that nobody knew how Astralis would play under device's leadership prior to IEM Chengdu and now that they played some maps, they'll begin to be anti-stratted just like every other team. And the bad news for Astralis is that karrigan is one of the best, if not the best, when it comes to match preparation.

If that wasn't enough, let's remember that FaZe played in every grand final they possibly could in CS2. For me, it would be truly shocking to see them stumble against Astralis out of all promising teams in the competitive scene at the moment.

That's all for now. However, be sure to stick around on esports.gg for more CS2 news, guides, and updates!

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