It is almost time to start what is now known as Legends Stage. This will be a review to cover each of the teams that finished on top seven at PGL Major Kraków 2017. Since 100 Thieves will not be playing and their spot has already been taken by one of the teams that qualified from the previous New Challengers Stage. The swiss format will be used once again as it was on the previous one. Here is the list of teams joining this stage:

Astralis

Nicolai “dev1ce” Reedtz

Peter “dupreeh” Rothmann

Andreas “Xyp9x” Højsleth

Markus “Kjaerbye” Kjærbye

Lukas “gla1ve” Rossander

Danny “zonic” Sørensen – Coach

In the beginning of 2017 Astralis had broken their curse of “only” reaching semifinals/finals in big events and won ELEAGUE Major: Atlanta 2017. This time they are back to defend their title at ELEAGUE Major: Boston 2018. The end of 2017 has not been easy for them as they lost dev1ce due to health issues and were forced to play the last three tournaments with a stand-in, for which they had ups and downs along the way. The AWP was taken by dupreeh and Astralis recently announced he will be keeping it since dev1ce will play as a lurker for them. Despiste the risk of making changes like that before a major, they can always count on the clutch plays from Xyp9x and Kjaerbye amazing skills to find wins. Overall the team is very dangerous and will not disappoint anyone at this stage.

Opinion: Top 8

First match against: mousesports

Last three tournament standings:

ECS Season 4 Finals – 3/4th

ESL Pro League Season 6 Finals – 9/10th

BLAST Pro Series Copenhagen 2017 – 2nd

BIG

Fatih “gob b” Dayik

Nikola “LEGIJA” Ninić

Johannes “tabseN” Wodarz

Kevin “keev” Bartholomäus

Johannes “nex” Maget
Alexander “kakafu” Szymanczyk – Coach
It is hard to know what will happen to BIG as the Legends Stage starts since they had a very impressive run at PGL Major Kraków 2017. Just to give you an idea, they came out of qualifiers with a 3:1 win/loss and shocked everyone with 3:0 at that major defeating FaZe, Cloud9 and SK. All three matches were played in Inferno and BIG was accused of using a bug which all teams had agreed not exploit anymore in a common sense decision during the tournament, so they beat SK without using this bug. Much of the team success depends on the pure talent that tabseN has – he is an amazing player with a lot of game sense and great accuracy in his shots. If gob b is able to create space for tabseN and let him play what he knows, with all team giving support, BIG can keep their legend status even not showing convincing results in their recent tournaments. Go BIG or go home!
Opinion: Top 8
First match against: Liquid
Last three tournament standings:

DreamHack Open Winter 2017 – 5/6th

WESG 2017 Europe & CIS Regional Finals – 9/12th

WCA 2017 Europe Main Qualifier – 3rd
Fnatic
Freddy “KRIMZ” Johansson

Jesper “JW” Wecksell

Robin “flusha” Rönnquist

Maikil “Golden” Selim

Jonas “Lekr0” Olofsson
Jimmy “Jumpy” Berndtsson – Coach
Fnatic has not been making a lot of noise on the scene lately as the roster has changed and they don’t look as strong as they used to. KRIMZ, JW and flusha have been playing together for a while now and they will need to find their old form if they want to make it to the next stage. Fnatic is not the most consistent team on the scene at the moment but they are delivering some good results as we can see from their last tournaments. The biggest question for them right now is if Golden and Lekr0 are ready to take the pressure from such a big tournament and if they can beat the favorite teams on the scene, which seems unlikely, by checking their latest results on lan.
Opinion: Bottom 8
First match against: FaZe
Last three tournament standings:

ECS Season 4 Finals – 3/4th

ESL Pro League Season 6 Finals – 3/4th

WESG 2017 Europe & CIS Regional Finals – 3rd
Gambit Esports
Mikhail “Dosia” Stolyarov

Dauren “AdreN” Kystaubayev

Rustem “mou” Telepov

Abay “HObbit” Khassenov

Bektiyar “fitch” Bahytov
Andrey “Andi” Prokhorov – Coach
We have reached the Major title defender and it looks like they are ready to show us why they have taken the PGL Major Kraków 2017 title. Gambit is such a strong team and has many talents on their roster. HObbit is their main star at the moment and he said fitch will surprise everyone at this major, so we can only expect great thing from this duo. The latest results from Gambit are pretty good and they are a very consistent team playing on LAN. The downsides from Gambit is that mou is not having his greatest moments with the AWP and Dosia is still an inexperienced team leader. If they are able to overcome these challenges they will reach the next stage to defend their current title at the Champions Stage.
Opinion: Top 8
First match against: Natus Vincere
Last three tournament standings:

ROG MASTERS 2017 Grand Finals – 1st

WESG 2017 Central Asia – 1st

DreamHack Open Winter 2017 – 3/4th
North
Mathias “MSL” Lauridsen

Kristian “k0nfig” Wienecke

René “cajunb” Borg

Philip “aizy” Aistrup

Valdemar “valde” Bjørn
Casper “ruggah” Due – Coach
It looked like North was slowly losing their power as 2017 was coming to an end. The team was not playing to their full potential and they haven’t done it for a while now. When valde joined they had some good results but we can see from their last three tournaments their results are not good and they haven’t been playing their matches the way they used to. In order to keep their legend status, k0nfig will need to become the player he once was and valde needs to find positions and plays to take full advantage of all players in the team. North will not go down without a fight and they must be prepared and ready to show something different to overcome this bad moment and reach the next stage.
Opinion: Bottom 8
First match against: Vega Squadron
Last three tournament standings:

ESL Pro League Season 6 Finals – 11/12th

BLAST Pro Series Copenhagen 2017 – 4th

EPICENTER 2017 – 5/6th
SK Gaming
Gabriel “FalleN” Toledo

Fernando “fer” Alvarenga

Marcelo “coldzera” David

Epitácio “TACO” de Melo

João “felps” Vasconcellos
“One of the best CS:GO teams of all times” – this is what SK will be trying to prove in 2018, and they are capable of doing it. The first challenge will be playing with Felps as boltz can’t play since he was part of Immortals in the American Minor. Felps joined the roster after ELEAGUE Major: Atlanta 2017 where they played with Fox who helped them reach the semifinals. With Felps on their roster they lost something and the team wasn’t as stable as they used to be. At PGL Major Kraków 2017 they kept their legends status but they couldn’t replicate their previous success at majors. In order to recover they changed their lineup – seeming to be the correct call as their results with boltz on the last events couldn’t be any better. However, once again they will be playing with Felps and that will make the difference. SK shouldn’t have any problems to make it past this stage but FalleN will have to pull something out of his hat to keep coldzera and fer at their peaks as they were in the end of 2017.
Opinion: Top 8
First match against: Space Soldiers
Last three tournament standings:

ESL Pro League Season 6 Finals – 1st

BLAST Pro Series Copenhagen 2017 – 1st

IEM Oakland 2017 – 3/4th
Virtus.pro
Wiktor “TaZ” Wojtas

Filip “NEO” Kubski

Jarosław “pashaBiceps” Jarząbkowski

Janusz “Snax” Pogorzelski

Paweł “byali” Bieliński
Jakub “kuben” Gurczyński – Coach
What can we say about Virtus.pro? They are the longest standing lineup between all CS:GO professional teams. The team has had many up and downs along these years and they faced all these situations showing again and again they are still a top team. Many of us have doubted VP at one point and despite having one of the most passionate fan bases they are still here proving us right or wrong. With players like NEO, TaZ and pashaBiceps – all of whom are legends in CS 1.6, and the new talents – Snax and byali, they will not let us down and will show everyone why they have reached the finals at ELEAGUE Major: Atlanta 2017 and semifinals in PGL Major Kraków 2017. Virtus.pro will be back and only good results can come out when this team is prepared. They are a completely different beast when it comes to LAN games, and when it is a major they are even scarier. Legends never die and VP is here to prove that to us.
Opinion: Top 8
First match against: Quantum Bellator Fire
Last three tournament standings:

WESG 2017 Europe & CIS Regional Finals – 13/16th

SL i-League Invitational Shanghai 2017 – 2nd

EPICENTER 2017 – 2nd
Cloud9 x G2 will be the match with both teams coming from New Challengers Stage.
Opinion: The teams to complete top 8 will be Cloud9, FaZe and G2.
This stage will be intense! I can think of at least 12 teams fighting round by round to reach the Champions Stage. At our last quickpoll we have asked if the teams coming out of New Challengers Stage were superior and deserved the spot at the Legends Stage. A massive “90%” said Yes. Lets all hope for great games and if your favorite team/player fails – don’t worry, at least they won’t have to play the minors to be at the next major. GL and HF everyone, especially to the players and the orgs supporting them!

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