Fragadelphia: Group Stage Preview
Once again, Fragadelphia is being held at DevNuts in Philadelphia on May 20th - 22nd. The place where talented individuals get their shot at showing the audience their Counter Strike: Global Offensive skills.
Article provided by Blake 'Balt' Evans, community caster and analyst.
This is the 8th time that Fragadelphia has happened, and there is a lot to live up to. Teams such as Torqued have played here, with the likes of DaZeD and Steel winning first prize at Fragadelphia 6. ShahZaM being the winner of Fragadelphia 5 is returning and is actually joining Frag 7 victor, Roca’s compLexity, in which both of them are now teammates on Echo Fox.
Tons of familiar faces have participated in this amazing event and it’s going to take some sick shots and sweet strats to be able to take down these titans.
Starting off with Group A, the Echo Fox team, known at Fragadelphia as EchoMix, have an easy route to the Semifinals of their group. They will have to wait out the first match between Big Test Icicles and Evolve eSports. This match does remain a mystery to me. I’ve seen Big Test Icicles as they attended the Group Stage of AdrenaLAN, a Canadian based competition in which they won their first game, and losing their second with results of 16-1 for each. As well, BTI and Evolve (at the time known as Velocity eSports) actually attended Fragadelphia 7, and this is not the only similarity they share; both teams lost to Roca’s compLexity, resulting in Roca snagging first place in Frag 7. Simply based upon their respective placing in Frag 7, it would seem like Evolve would be able to make it to the next stage of groups. Evolve beat out teams like Warfare Gaming and Edge Gamers 2-0 in both Best of 3 games. Upon entering the first round of playoffs, Big Test Icicles weren’t able to secure a map in their two Bo3’s.
Based upon these simple facts, it appears to be that Evolve would have the upper hand. However, these two have yet to face each other prior to this tournament, and anything goes in a best of one. With all this in consideration, I think we have to come to terms that EchoMix would be one of the favourites to win this. So personally, I see EchoMix and Evolve eSports getting out of this group. If EchoMix beat Evolve in the next stage, Evolve will have to play Big Test Icicles again in the Losers Bracket. If BTI can even manage to play the same map again, and read what Evolve will do, they might be able to squeeze past and into the playoffs.
Deciding Winner: Evolve eSports
Group MVP: Roca
Group B(alt)! Bee’s Money Crew, Eclipse eSports, and Team Problematic. I think it’s a safe assumption that Bee’s Crew are going to be able to take the group. Eclipse is a team unknown to me, as they don’t have an ESEA nor a CEVO team. It seems as if they haven’t attended Fragadelphia before either. At least with Team Problematic we have an ESEA season to go off of. However, that season makes it “problematic” (Get it?) for me, because the roster they have presented for Fragadelphia is completely different than the one they had for the 21st Season of ESEA in the Open division. The Fragadelphia page suggests that the 5th member of Problematic is unknown, however, it would be a fair guess that it is “rwdw”, who was on the last ESEA roster, as well as the current one.
Before a stray away from talking about BMC, I must say that this team has wow’d me. Consistently on CSGO Lounge in the Stream.me Gauntlet and other high profile tournaments. Bee has always managed to get a roster that simply plays well. Bee has gotten Seb to stick by him after all this time and the two work great with one another. Bringing in vSa was certainly an upgrade as well. I favor this team highly in this particular group.
As for the two unknowns, it’s not safe to assume we know who will win here, as they will have to face each other twice, granted that BMC does beat the winner of the first match. With that in mind, both of these teams are fresh and new, as we already know the Problematic is. I’m sensing either close matches 16-12+ or absolute dominance 16-6-.
Favourites: Bee’s Money Crew
Deciding Winner: Whoever wants it more
Group MVP: The Man Himself, Bee. Or his right hand man, Seb
TeCtoniC in Group C. Seems suspicious to me, sasquatCH! In all seriousness though, Tectonic should be a lock for this Group. When they had Twistzz, who now plays for TSM, they were an amazing team who competed in the Fragadelphia Online tournament,coming in 3rd by losing out to Method with the German tabseN as a stand-in. Despite not having him anymore, they are going into this Fragadelphia with Tectonic vets Impsta, Dmize, ZecK and Drone, along with their new edition Hwinn from teams like VeloX and Woosah. All of these players play tremendously well and have actually played at Fragadelphia before, coming in 3rd at the 6th edition of the tournament.
Their opponent in the semis of the group will be either Savage Gaming (once known as VeloX) or Legalize Ranch. Unless Ranch’s last two unknown members are unreal players, I’m going to give the nod towards Savage Gaming to win their matches. Legalize Ranch do have an ESEA team, however, they simply have scrims where they’ve played well going 7-3-2 W/L/T. I expect that we’d see one of the other members of this team attend Fragadelphia, which would be Echo, FanTheHamme, or Cabbge.
As for Savage Gaming, the team seems quite fresh as they were picked up by Savage Gaming to be known as the “Blue Team”, having the main team be the “White Team”. Thankfully, Savage Gaming posted each individual player and their role on their website, thus, making it seem like I actually know what I’m talking about. So with the roster as it stands (sYnceD, nalA, dazzLe, poised, and JDWede) I really like their chances. sYnceD is an actual talent, showing everyone what he can do playing for teams like ex-Astral Authority where he easily solidified himself as one of the better players on the team, with good performances against Liquid and Noble. Another great face to see is JDWede. I wouldn’t be surprised if nobody has ever heard of him, but he used to play for VeloX back when talents like Brehze (now on Team Kaliber), Yay, and Barrage played on it. Because of the highly skilled opponents of his, he was nothing to write home about, but at this level, where he won’t be facing teams capable of competing in the Game Show Global Cup, I believe he’ll come to form here.
nalA is the IGL (In-Game Leader) for this “Blue Team”. With the talent that he has around him, I don’t doubt that he can come in with no issues. JDWede is the entry-fragger for Savage, and sYnceD is listed as a hybrid. For success, I would want sYnceD to be my second entry, as his aim is arguably the best on the team, which is subject to change upon their results.
Deciding Winner: Savage Gaming
Group MVP: Impsta or Drone
Onto Group D, we get to meet familiar faces in VexX Gaming, and say hello to Fragadelphia rookies: Mist Globals and Venture Gaming. After going through the groups one by one, this is the first group that provides a great match-up from all teams; to the point there is no true favourite. First glance, and one would just say VexX have an easy playoff spot. Doing the smallest amount of research would suggest that may not happen. The VexX Gaming squad that came in fourth at Fragadelphia 7 is not the same as it is here. So by that, I mean the roster is completely different. This VexX doesn’t have star players like manTa and Fighter, and vSa has moved onto bigger and better things with Bee’s Money Crew.
Looking at the roster of each Mist Globals and Venture Gaming, there is something useful to pick out from them.
Mist Globals have been scrimming ESEA for a few weeks now and have gone 10-3 so far. Sure, it’s just scrimmages, but these guys have to start somewhere, right? A pleasant surprise to see is that Karnage is on this team. The man is a boss, and to see him sub in for SteamAnalyst a few times this past ESEA season was awesome, and he just manages such a nice RWS that you can’t help but like the guy. His teammate Boomy, based off their scrims, seems to be a very consistent 2nd star. Karnage is easily the man they depend on to help win these games, and he’ll be a big factor in their victories. They haven’t confirmed their 5th player yet, but I think it will be their leader “Saosin”.
Venture Gaming put up a great showing in the Eastern Conference of ESEA’s Open division putting up a 12-4 score. The only thing that remains a mystery to me is Venture’s 5th. Voltage, Snakes, Loner, and GoodLuck are all members of their ESEA team, but Eternal is a bit of a wildcard to me. As for performances, I have based these opinions off of their post-season in Open, as it would prove to me the most worthy stats due to it being a more important game than any other. With this in mind, it seems like Snakes is the one coming up big when they need him to. The other members of the team aren’t a cause for concern on their own side of things, being able to handle themselves. However, Voltage is a worry for me. His first decent performance was against a team by the name of FiveN where they would win 16-13 on Mirage. Is there a consistency issue here? These are the kind of questions we have to be asking ourselves come game time. Based off of Karnage’s scrims, he seems hot-and-ready to go like a Little Caeser’s pizza. [Unpaid advertising ftw; get at me, Little Caesars!]
When I said that VexX don’t have the same roster as they once did, that’s not to say that some of the skill has not been left over. They still have gifted players like DraWsouL who tore it up with Draek in the old Lunatik roster, and Ruin who’s played for Woosah along with possible future opponent sYnceD. To me, Pinekone and djay are slight mysteries as I’ve only seen a select few matches from CSGO Lounge. The team had a good showing at the RGN Pro Series Qualifier where Ruin dropped 53 frags over the course of two maps, as they eliminated ESEA Main’s number one team SinisterGG 2-0. However, the very next Bo3 would not go their way as they were ousted in 2-0 fashion by Nexus eSports, largely due to Marioo destroying VexX with 51 frags in 47 rounds of the series.
This has to be one of the closer groups than any other, that’s for sure. Each team possesses some real great players.
Favourites: VexX Gaming
Deciding Winner: Mist Globals
Group MVP: Karnage
I truly can’t decide what group is going to have the bigger stomp in scoreline. Group A, or this Group E. Consisting of Team RivaL, endResult, and Adderall Admirals, I can’t see an alternate dimension where RivaL doesn’t move on.
Let’s just start with our clear favourites here. Team RivaL is a team I have considered to be a good team ever since I casted their ESEA match when they lost 2-0 to Broken Alliance. I could just tell that with a few adjustments they could be a great team. Thankfully, they turned it all around upon dropping hTr and picking up tennLs. No offence to hTr, I’m aware of the kind of player he can be, but tennLs has come in and made an immediate impact by looking at the most recent of tournaments, the America Minor Qualifier. They got an easy forfeit victory against Ze Pug Godz, and got to face off against NA Veterans Winterfox, who they managed to take a map off! It was a 25-23 Overpass victory where tennLs and cuse- combined for 81 frags, getting 41 and 40 respectively. They go down to the lower bracket after going down 2-1, and they greet Mostly Harmless with a 16-6 victory on Train. Great game by tennLs, Grumpixx and Cuse- all bringing home 21 frags each. After a stomping victory, they breeze by the Echo Fox eliminators Team Detonate 16-11. Unfortunately it was Team Kaliber to bring down the dream as they stole Mirage 16-10 after a dominating T side snagging 12 rounds.
Team RivaL is something to be feared in this group. endResult and Adderall Admirals would kill for an opportunity to play against NA titans like Winterfox and Kaliber, but it’s RivaL that earned their spot for that to happen.
Plus, I always have a soft spot for old Incursion vets like mCe!
Now we have to talk about the lower end of the spectrum here. endResult genuinely had a great showing in the ESEA Playoffs for their Open Season, enough so to the point they were bumped up to the Intermediate level for Season 22! As said on their ESEA page, they’ve attended Fragadelphia 6, 6.5, and 7, going out in Groups, placing 3rd, and 9th respectively. Reaching playoffs of ESEA, and being promoted. Being Fragadelphia vets, including decent placing, this will be the team to provide the biggest scare to RivaL’s chances here.
To be blunt, Adderall Admirals are going to have to use a lot of their namesake drug to be able to come up with wins against either of these squads. Of course this is not me condoning the use of Adderall or any other substance! However, the point still stands. These guys are going to have to work harder than ever before because RivaL and endResult are legitimate competition.
To finish up with this Group, RivaL will have to gear up for whatever team comes their way, because everyone is expecting them to put on a show after what they could do at the America Minor Qualifier.
Favourites: Team RivaL
Deciding Winner: endResult
Group MVP: Any member of RivaL really
Group F. Probably the most underwhelming group. Despite the fact that we get to see one of my all-time favourite AWPers Funshine again. I’m hoping we hear a few “Quack! Quack!” chants in the crowd when he starts hitting unbelievable shots. #FlyingVThrowback
We’ve got The Foundation, Devastation, and SKY Gaming all battling for their spot in the playoffs. It’s a shame when I have to say that The Foundation is the favourite to win this group. Being who I am, I am not afraid to stray from speaking unpopular opinions. When I say that The Foundation is overrated, I await the incoming barrage of hate.
It’s just that when it comes to Devastation and Sky, nobody is going to know these guys. When someone sees The Foundation, they’ll notice that they’ve been on CSGO Lounge on multiple occasions. I won’t lie, I think dee is really good player, and his team is a decent support cast, but I don’t think the dent they’d put in the NA scene is very big. Should they be able to beat Sky and Devastation? Absolutely! And I don’t think they’d settle for any less.
Now if I were to say that Devastation were bad, I feel like I’d get smited by the almighty hand of sasquatcH for speaking ill of the team he’s on the ESEA active roster for. Sadly their Intermediate season came to an end before playoffs as their 10-6 record wasn’t enough to bolster them into the playoffs. However, based upon the win results during their season, Funshine and Cheekz seem to be the primary reason why they win most of their games, as well as sasquatcH putting in some seriously good scores.
As for Sky Gaming, they are a bit of mystery to me. I see “hERO^_^” listed as one of the players, and it just makes me think back to the beast of a player HeroTown who played for Nexus eSports back in 2015. I doubt he’d be here, but through my limited research, it appears that Sky doesn’t have an ESEA nor a CEVO team. This means that unless they bring in two more players that have an unrealistic amount of talent, their time at Fragadelphia 8 may be limited to just two matches.
Favourites: The Foundation
Deciding Winner: Devastation
Group MVP: Funshine or Dee
Onto the first of two Groups that actually has 4 teams within it! Group G features Ace Gaming, Last Minute, sUrKaDuRk - RWYS, and Prevail eSports. With four teams, we no longer have to deal with bye rounds, and we will get a full Group stage.
Based off of name value, one would just assume that Ace Gaming are going to come out of this group unscathed. Well I might agree with you when I say they’ll most likely win the Group, but they’ve got some tough competition in the likes of Prevail eSports, who placed 2nd in ESEA Open finals, managing to take a map off of the eventual winners tNt.
Taking a look at Ace’s roster and it’s looking strong. With players like “pauLy” and “Pho(jesus)”, they shouldn’t have to worry when playing Last Minute and Surkadurk, especially with the supporting cast of ex-WinOut’s “Jstone”, along with Team Kaliber stand-in “btk”. Personally, I’ve been a Pho fan for a long time and to see him at this event certainly makes me want to watch him play especially with pauLy. As I mentioned, I have a soft spot for old Incursion vets, like Team RivaL’s mCe. These guys have been playing the game for a long time and I couldn’t see them losing to anyone but Prevail.
Speaking of Prevail, these guys truly put on a show for ESEA Open when they just lost in the Finals 2-1 against tNt. I don’t think there is a doubt in anyone’s mind that Spriggals is one talented individual for that team. He was consistently the best player on their team during the post-season on route to a 2nd place finish. Even in the Finals, map 2, where they would inevitably lose 16-13 on Inferno, Spriggals still managed to put up 29 frags, the highest on the server. M16 though, that guy wants to challenge Spriggals for that top spot, as he as well put up great numbers throughout the playoffs. Even “KingsBlend”, from the side of tNt, admitted to them that they are “the best team we’ve ever played” in a post-game comment. Now, coming from the winners, that’s pretty amazing to hear. It’s only slightly disappointing that Prevail got two forfeit victories. Just means we didn’t get to see them dominate even more people!
Now we’ve got Last Minute and Surkadurk, the two teams that I wager will be meeting sooner than later in the lower bracket after their respective losses. From the amount of scrims that Tilly has played with his team, I would deem that they are working hard for this tournament. It’s just that Surkadurk don’t have any sort of information that I can go off of that would suggest that they have a chance. All I have going for myself is that SirSnipeys has a cool name.
So in the lower bracket, I bet that Last Minute will get a victory and end up playing either Prevail or Ace in the Lower Bracket Finals.
It’ll be interesting indeed, but my eyes are going on Pho.
Favourites: Ace Gaming
Deciding Factor: Prevail eSports
Group MVP: Pho/Spriggals
Finally! Last, but certainly not least, Group H! The second of two, four team groups, featuring NoobsOberating the BDS, RHS:CS, PocketGlobe, Shitposter Allstars (Great name). Now three out of four of these teams actually have some definitive results, and RHS:CS has nothing. There’s really nothing I can say about them. They have NickyS, so I can only imagine he’s their AWPer, but I don’t know what would draw me to that conclusion to be honest.
We’ll start with NoobsOberating, because it actually features a fellow caster of mine. “Em-jay”, based off of his RWS, is a good player. I’ve never seen him play myself, however, I have heard him cast, and the guy knows what he’s talking about. The players of his team, “Terror” and “TSG” actually played for EVLgg in ESEA Main this past season and they didn’t do too bad either! They went 11-5, but sadly got ousted from the playoffs from round 1 by Bowlcut eSports, who would eventually become Semi-finalists of the bracket. Now that Terror and TSG are at Fragadelphia, they have three newcomers, em-jay, dapr, and a mystery person. Barrage is on the roster of EVLgg, so I’m hoping that’s who steps in, because Barrage is a great player reigning from team VeloX. Let’s just hope that the new additions to the team doesn’t hurt them in the long run as they try to escape from groups.
Moving onto PocketGlobe, they are also an accomplished ESEA team going 13-3 in the regular season of Open and leaving the post-season after winning 3 games in a row, yet losing out to the eventual semi-finalists Vital Signs. Only worry for me is that they are coming in with a new player, “Wanted”. Roster changes are always a worry, just like it is with NoobsOberating. It also doesn’t fair well for them when in their last 5 scrims with Wanted, they’ve gone 1-4 and the win included a member of the team that won’t be attending Frag. Wanted is a player to watch though. They may be losing with him, but he is putting up some decent numbers.
As for Shitposter Allstars, still a great name, but maybe not the best team. In the past two Intermediate ESEA season, they have yet to make the playoffs and have any success towards making it to Main. With a Season 20 score of 9-7, then to follow it up with a 6-10 season, it doesn’t look like the Shitposters are all-stars at all. With the editions of Nylee and CarlSaganBro, they aren’t giving themselves that great of a chance to win these games. Nylee has been incredibly underwhelming in their recent scrims with the team. It also doesn’t help their case when CarlSaganBro has yet to play with the team.
This is quite literally the hardest Group to predict 100% correct due to the fact that every team is having some sort of roster change, and not showing any sort of results to go along with it. When people speak of a team being “good on paper”, this is honestly all I have to go off of. This “paper” is the only research I have for this game.
Deciding Factor: NoobsOberating
Group MVP: Alive/Terror
With all the effort I could muster to bring this analysis to completion, my concluding statements are this.
I’ve given you group favourites, but I feel like that’s barely satisfied you so far. My personal favourites for this entire tournament would be in order of each sentence from first to fifth as that is how the money is given out.
#1: EchoMix. There is not disputing that this is the team to beat here in Philly. Roca, ShahZam and Ryx are all amazing, and to add Karbon and Ak-Ny wouldn’t exactly be “upgrades” from Sean Gares and IchibaNNN, but they will do for this sort of competition. I truly think that when players of this caliber step into DevNuts, they come out on top, and it’s been done before, just like ShahZam’s squad from Frag 5, and Roca’s compLexity from Frag 7. Does it help now they are on a team? Previous Fragadelphia Champions are teaming up. What could possibly go wrong?
#2: Tectonic. This team has played so well with each other in the past, and it’s silly to think that they can’t do it again. Impsta, Dmize and Zeck have been teammates ever since they were on mouseSpaz playing in CS:Select Showmatches. Does anyone still remember those? Anyway, this team is a force waiting to barrel you down. If they survive the scare that Savage Gaming will bring, their playoff run can be very nice.
#3: Team RivaL. Now putting Team RivaL under Tectonic was genuinely a hard choice here. There is serious talent going for RivaL. We have Recky, from my all-time favourite NA team, Mortality. That team had some of the best NA players to me, and they were fantastic. mCe playing on Incursion back in 2015 with players like Witmer and Ry9n. GrumpixX being a monster, and I don’t say that just because he has muscles the size of my head! Now for a man who has displayed his skills right in front of me, it’s Cuse-! Also a name that I’ve mispronounced on stream multiple times and people get mad at me. Plus the rookie TennLs. Rookie, but he’s incredible, showing what he can do at the America Minor Qualifier. They may be 3rd on my list, but don’t be surprised to see them prove me wrong!
#4: Bee’s Money Crew. I said before, Bee knows what he is doing. Connor and Wardell may be unknown to some, but not to me. These guys may not be your crazy fraggers like Seb and vSa, but they hold their own. Bee’s Money Crew couldn’t be any more accurate when they bring in the 4th place cash prize of $1’000.
#5: Ace Gaming. A Canadian company deserves my Canadian love, doesn’t it? Well it’s not my love that’s going to win them this 5th place spot. It’s the fact that they have some serious talent. If I were to be picky, I would wish that Jstone were switched out with his former WinOut teammate, agM. He’s just better in my opinion, but the roster is just fine the way it is. I’ll be watching out for my boy Phojesus to put up some big numbers.
Wildcard: Prevail eSports. I doubt anyone would expect me to put down any sort of wildcard or possible top 5 breaker. Essentially the top 3 is a lock. But Bee’s Money Crew and Ace Gaming could have a bit of trouble if Prevail is able to get going. They are in the same group as Ace, and could certainly take the 1st spot in their Group. Even if they were the deciding winner to make it out, as long as they play someone that isn’t amazing, they might be able to make something happen.
Thus ends the tale of the tape, as the UFC would say. Echo Fox, Tectonic, and Team RivaL are my picks for a top 3 finish. They all look incredible and bring tremendous skill to the state of Pennsylvania, and DevNuts are lucky to have them all.