Semi-final #1 - IEM IV World Championship semi-final rematch
Evil Geniuses vs. Natus Vincere
Time to prove you're ready to accept your destiny
EG roll into their second international event semi-final of 2010 in as good a form as any we've seen them in during the year. They may have run into a momentary speedbump in iDemise but other than that they've put away a mouz team on one of the German's strongest maps and dominated a Burning team in Bo3 who had been causing other teams problems.
Throw in that the Americans are at home, some of them even living in Texas, and if ever they were going to make a successful push to the final of a legitimate event it has to be now right?
The blue and yellow title winning machine rolls on
The biggest problem for EG is that the guys sitting across the other side of the stage will be the best team in the world and the best team of 2010, world champions of ESWC and IEM season IV no less. Sprinkle onto that Na`Vi's repeat record from ESWC of getting through the group stages without looking too incredible but then turning all the levels up to the maximum come the playoffs.
Na`Vi have continued to rack up highlight series as they put another classic into the history books against mTw, the second best team at the event, beating them incredibly in two overtime games with the second going into double overtime. In both of those games mTw came out with confidence and their games on and pushed the pace but both times it was Na`Vi who made all the big plays down the stretch and who came up with the heroic clutch moments which put them through. Na`Vi took mTw's best punch, withstood it and then delivered their own brutal knockout in the waning moments.
Throw in the additional factor that this is a rematch of the IEM IV World Champsionship semi-finals and this becomes quite the ticket. That match was seen as EG's chance to make the final and perhaps finally lay claim to legitimately being one of the top 3-4 teams in the world. Instead they were breezed past by a Na`Vi side who themselves were in the process of climbing the ladder and proving themselves. The Ukrainians went on to the title and all that has followed while EG has never fully recovered and must still think back to that series from time to time with a wistful sense of lost opportunity.
For Na`Vi there is no way to lose this series and not gain criticism. After they put out mTw and SK Gaming fell to H2k the tournament opened up completely for the Ukrainians. mouz may well have something to say about that in a potential final, being as they match up well against Na`Vi, but as of right now Na`Vi should win Arbalet Cup Dallas. The teams remaining have not proven themselves to be in that elite group of 3-4, with H2k knocking on the door and mouz briefly a member but dropping down earlier in the year.
For EG this match isn't just about Na`Vi it's about finally delivering on the promise their play and their fans and their inner belief has been demanding was there all along. Is this the moment when fRoD returns to a proper event final? Is this when n0thing stops being a star player in the stats and becomes one in terms of impact against an elite team? This match is about legitimacy for an EG team who badly want to be at least contend for a title, if not win one.
Whatever happens today lurppis will know that when he hangs up his mouse and takes off the EG jersey this was one of those moments where it all lay in the balance. Arbalet Cup Europe 2009 got away from them, the IEM IV World Championship got away from them and now they have to beat the best if they want to be the best at Arbalet Cup Dallas 2010.
Semi-final #2 - Battle for a second top placing in 2010
mousesports vs. H2k Gaming
Seeing mTw and SK Gaming eliminated 5th-8th might have left the current remaining four teams looking a little less glamerous but this is a matchup with enough storylines of its own to carry weight. For mouz it's a chance to turn things around and start heading in the right direction again. For H2k it's another opportunity to snipe a top team and gain themselves more confidence and legitimacy as a top team in their own right.
What happened to our dream of a perfect German team?
mouz began 2010 with such an incredible playoff run at the IEM IV European Finals that it seemed as though the German side was set to be a permanent fixture in top 4s from there on out. As it happened they would fall one step short of that mark at the next two major tournaments, IEM IV World Championships and Arbalet Cup Europe.
For a team who have such a defined and at times effective style mouz have fallen apart in uncharacteristic fashion as of late but what better chance to turn it all around than the one which lays before them? If you had told mouz before the bracket stage began that to win the title here they'd have to beat Underestimated in the quarters, H2k in the semis and Na`Vi/EG in the final I think they'd have snapped your hand off taking the opportunity.
H2k is a side who like to play aggressively and disrupt slow terrorist setups. mouz is known for their slow grind-it-out terrorist approach, mixing in fakes and fake-fakes like few other teams can, but they are also known for being able to sit back and punish teams who push by employing a regimented system of defense which leads to their offense. mouz's base counter flanking and overaggression from the opponents well so despite the danger this hungry H2k team poses to the Germans they have to be confident going in to face them.
Throw in a little foresight and mouz have to be licking their lips at the prospect of facing either team in the final, as crazy as that may sound on the surface if it's a case of meeting the blue and yellow Eastern European monsters again. mouz know that they match up well against both sides. EG may have beaten them in the group stage but mouz know they were in that game and they also know they are the stronger Best-of-3 team. If it's Na`Vi then mouz know they beat Na`Vi in one Best-of-3 at the first IEM event and only lost by 2 rounds in the second.
Hungry and foolhardy enough to eat the monster before it eats them?
H2k are hungry, of this there should be no doubt, and what's more they have that pure and unshakeable confidence that comes from being skilled and new enough to these kinds of waters to feel as though you can win but at the same time not having had their hearts broken enough to know they should be underdogs. That kind of blissful ignorance can work in your favour sometimes. Beating SK in the fashion they did was impressive as that first map clearly didn't get into their heads and they were the ones who forced the action in the clutch against the higher ranked Swedish team.
H2k's DreamHack Summer performance was impressive and even if they go out here against the Germans they know they have added another scalp to their collection. 3rd/4th at this tournament coupled with 2nd at DreamHack and the upset wins over fnatic and SK Gaming is a nice record to have over the space of a month. Nevertheless this is a real opportunity to take another 2nd place or maybe more. Sometimes when you're the young team of guys who haven't been there before you take too much heart from being also-rans, from making the finals but not winning it. Later in your career you might look back and realize those were the best opportunities you had to win titles and if you knew what you did now back then you'd have taken more advantage of them.
For H2k winning against mouz will prove their growth as a team has continued since DreamHack and it'll also show that while they haven't cemented themselves as an elite team they are knocking on that door and with each monster they fell they know they get a little closer to getting inside. For H2k to win they need to be disciplined in the key moments, they need to have that good fortune which has defined their style where they push out at the right time for them and the wrong time for the opponent. Lastly they need big time individual performances and not to get too caught up in a single map win or loss.
Both games are scheduled for 18:00 CEST tonight.
Keep track of Arbalet Cup Dallas via the coverage page.
(Photographs copyright of eseanews.com)
@Thooorin on twitter.
2001-2002 Pro-cybernews (Editor-in-Chief)
2002-2003 Gamers.nu (Lead Editor)
2004-2005 ESportsEA (Editor-in-Chief, Consultant)
2006-2008 ESportsEA (Editor, Community feature host)
2008 TAO-CS volume 1 (Co-author)
2008 TAO-fRoD (Co-author)
2008-2009 WinOut.net (Editor-in-Chief, Consultant)
2009-2012 SK Gaming (Editor-in-Chief)
2012-2013 Team Acer (Editor-in-Chief)
2013-2014 OnGamers (Senior eSports Content Creator)
Pro bono publico:
2001-2002 XSReality (Site administrator)
2003-2004 Team3D (Editor-in-Chief, Consultant)
2012-2013 fragbite (Blogger)
2013-XXXX [POD]Cast (Co-host)
2005 Down with the s1ckn3ss
2009 fRoD Quick and nasty (part 1)
Events attended for coverage purposes:
2001 CPL London (Pro-cybernews)
2001 WCG Qualifier (Pro-cybernews)
2002 CPL Summer (Gamers.nu)
2002 WCG Qualifier (Gamers.nu)
2002 CPL Oslo (Gamers.nu)
2002 CPL Winter (Gamers.nu)
2003 CPL Cannes (Gamers.nu)
2003 Clikarena (Gamers.nu)
2004 CPL Winter (ESportsEA)
2009 WEM (SK Gaming)
2010 IEM IV European Championship (SK Gaming)
2010 IEM IV World Championship (SK Gaming)
2010 Arbalet Best of Four (SK Gaming)
2010 Arbalet Cup Europe (SK Gaming)
2010 e-Stars Seoul (SK Gaming)
2010 WCG (SK Gaming)
2010 WEM (SK Gaming)
2011 IEM V European Championship (SK Gaming)
2011 Assembly Winter (SK Gaming)
2011 IEM V World Championship (SK Gaming)
2011 Copenhagen Games (SK Gaming)
2011 Dreamhack Summer (SK Gaming)
2011 SK vs. FX showmatch (SK Gaming)
2011 e-Stars Seoul (SK Gaming)
2011 ESWC (SK Gaming)
2012 IEM VI Kiev (SK Gaming)
2012 IEM VI World Championship (SK Gaming)
2012 WCS Europe (Team Acer)
2012 Dreamhack Open Valencia (Team Acer)
2012 Dreamhack Winter (Team Acer)
2012 IPL5 (Team Acer)
2012 HomeStory Cup VI (Team Acer)
2013 IEM VII World Championship (Team Acer)
2013 MLG Winter Championship (Team Acer)
2013 LCS Europe Spring Week 10 (Team Acer)
2013 WCS EU S1 Ro16 (Team Acer)
2013 LCS Europe Summer Week 9 (Team Acer)
2013 WCS EU S2 final / LCS Europe Summer playoffs (Team Acer)
2013 Riot S3 World Championship (Team Acer)
2013 Battle of the Atlantic (OnGamers)
2013 Battle of the Atlantic (OnGamers)
2014 LCS Europe Spring Week 5 (OnGamers)
2010 IEM IV European Championship (ESL-TV)
2010 IEM IV Asian Finals (ESL-TV)
2010 IEM IV World Championship (ESL-TV)
2010 IEM V Shanghai (ESL-TV)
2011 ESEA-invite S8 (WinOut)
2011 GameGune (WinOut)
2011 SEC (WinOut)
2013 Dreamhack SteelSeries CS:GO Championship (DH-TV)
2014 Dreamhack Steelseries CS:GO Invitational (DH-TV)
2014 Dreamhack Summer (DH-TV)
2014 Gfinity G3
2014 Dreamhack Stockholm CS:GO Invitational (DH-TV)
Pro bono publico:
2010 ESWC (lvl^)
2010 Arbalet Cup Dallas (lvl^)
2010 GameGune (lvl^)
2010 fnatic PLAY (lvl^)
2010 WCG Nordic (SK Gaming)
2011 Dreamhack Winter BEAT IT (whisenhunt)
2011 EPS Winter (whisenhunt/ESL-TV)
2011 WCG (whisenhunt)
2011 IEM VI Kiev EU qualifier (SK Gaming)
2013 FACEIT Sunday Cup April 28th (FACEIT)
2013 Prague Challenge (District)
2013 FACEIT Sunday Cup September 8th (FACEIT)
2013 FACEIT Monday Cup September 9th (FACEIT)
2014 ESEA Invite S15 LAN finals (NiPTV)
* Winner of the Heaven Media 'E-sports Journalist of the year' awards for 2012 and 2013.
starix Best player, fRoD Best AWP
Photos from final day of Arbalet
Na`Vi win Arbalet Cup Dallas 2010
natu commentating Arbalet semi-final
Arbalet Cup Dallas day 2 photos
THE NEW JERSEY