Who do you think will make it to the Champions stage?
The PGL Antwerp Major is down to its last sixteen teams in the New Legends stage. Eight teams will play their first matches at this Major in the Legends stage and almost each of one of them is a contender for the title. The eight qualified teams from the Challengers stage will meet eight Legends. Only 50% of the teams can advance to the playoffs, so competition is intense. Here's a quick preview of the PGL Antwerp CS: GO Major Legends teams.
FaZe Clan: The Favorites at PGL Antwerp Legends Stage
Karrigan's history with the Majors is a tough tale. After being part of the perennial chokers, TSM, Karrigan created a powerhouse in Faze. The roster was on the verge of an era and was spitting distance from a Major trophy at ELEAGUE Major Boston 2018. But the Cloud9 miracle stole the win, bringing home NA's only Major trophy.
Now, 4 years later, Karrigan is back on top. With success at Katowice and Pro League, Faze is ranked number 1 in the world. They are the favorites for winning this major, but it isn't as guaranteed as NaVi was at PGL Stockholm.
Natus Vincere: The Defending Major Champions
Natus Vincere hasn't won an event in the last 2. Now for any normal team that's a normal result, they made playoffs at all those events and lost to finalists. But for the defending major champions, that is an underperformance. Ever since the invasion of Ukraine began, we have seen a clear dip in form from NaVi. The team that won the last major without dropping a map, has now failed to win back-to-back LAN events.
Nevertheless, they still have been amazing in the group stages. And they still have the best player in the world. Those factors alone will be enough to take NaVi into the playoffs. The only question for NaVi is whether they can join the elusive multi-major club.
Cloud9: New Home, Same Story?
After a year of absence from the scene, the North American organization returned to Counter-Strike with the signing of the former Gambit roster. The squad is not only a top 5 team in the world, but with only 4 losses in the year so far, they are without a doubt a contender for playoffs.
With Faze returning to Boston levels, Cloud9 has re-emerged as a rival. Not only is their 100% loss record to Faze similar to Cloud9 of the past, but they also have a dark horse chance at this major. With that said, their historical struggle to perform at the biggest events will be something they need to get over once we reach the playoffs.
Heroic: Looking to Dominate at PGL Antwerp Legends
Heroic in the past would be in the same boat as Cloud9. But over the last few events, they've had a few results that make it really difficult to predict their success. With their loss to a stand-in riddled FaZe Clan at IEM Katowice and a disaster against Team Liquid in the playoffs of ESL Pro League, Heroic is almost guaranteed to not win the major.
At the PGL EU RMR A, however, they had a great run. Not only did they go 3-0, but they also did it by finally beating NaVi, a team that has always been an obstacle for them. At the legends stage, they could go from 3-0 to 3-2 at the flip of a coin, but they shouldn't struggle before the playoffs.
FURIA: Brazil's Best, a True Contender
FURIA comes into the major as the highest-ranked Americas team. The Brazilian squad has achieved strong results at recent events including a top 4 at ESL Pro League Season 15, and a flawless RMR run. Ever since the addition of Saffee, they have consistently been improving, despite the AWPer himself not being a stand-out.
The riflers, KSCERATO, and yuurih have been one of the strongest duos for multiple years now, and it allows FURIA to be a consistent force. Expect the Brazilians to surprise some of the bigger names at this stage. The Jaguars of Furia are a true dark horse at the PGL Antwerp Legends Stage and beyond.
Ninjas In Pyjamas: The Device Question remains
Ninjas In Pyjamas are as always, stuck in limbo. Their signing of Swedish phenom Brollan has been a success, but to facilitate it, the team has removed their academy AWPer phzy. While on paper a massive upgrade, es3tag AWPing has not been amazing so far.
IF Device ever comes back, this team is an immediate contender. But with their major run, already beginning, that IF is becoming a massive question mark. As it stands right now, we have no indication that Device will ever return to this roster, which means that with the resurgent form of G2 and Vitality, NIP is no longer in contention for the playoffs.
Copenhagen Flames: Another shot at Greatness
Copenhagen Flames' loss in the 2-2 decider to NIP, was a heartbreaker. Despite the Flames having the upper hand, NIP's highly criticized Academy player, LNZ took the game into his own hands, pulling out key rounds that left Copenhagen Flames in shock as NIP took the final playoffs berth. Now, they have another shot at glory.
But their journey will be harder than before as they will face a much stronger field of teams. If they replicate their amazing form at the last Major they will be in contention for that final spot. But overall the scenario is looking tough for the second-best Danish squad.
BIG Clan: The Return of Gob B
The German representatives, BIG are the lowest-ranked team to qualify as Legends. But in their run at the RMR, they showed capability far beyond what could be expected. All that comes down to the two changes BIG made in the RMR cycle. First, they brought in their academy IGL Krimbo to supplement the team in both fragging and calling. The youngster has shown cerebral gameplay, ending the event with the most clutches for any player.
The other game-changing signing was the return of Gob B as a coach. For those who remember the Gobfather's legacy, this was a tidal shift for the fortunes of BIG. The legendary in-game leader has led Germany to countless top placings in CS:GO despite never having the best talents around him. Now with a fabulous squad of star players, it is time for Gob B to bring German CS back to glory. Will this be the rerun of the Krakow story?