Liquid vs Mouz
Liquid have proven to be a tough nut to crack. We have not seen a spectacular performance from Simple yet in this tournament, yet the team has managed to put up some really good performances. Their first match was against EnVyUs, who to be honest have not had a good time at all. Liquid won that match 16-6 and there is nothing much to be said about that except that its EnVyUs.
Mouz at the same time had their match against Virtus Pro on Train. They were up 7-0 before a total collapse, which included niko not being able to find form for the team. They lost to Virtus Pro quite easily.
Liquid then faced VP on Cobblestone. The Liquid roster has always been T sided and their CT holds have always been weak. On a map like Cobblestone, where VP are very experienced and have had loads of practice, LIquid just could not get enough T sided rounds. The match was pretty much determined at the end of the first half itself as Liquid were simply unable to put forth enough rounds on their part.
Mouz faced EnVyUs. Remember EnVyUs are at the rock bottom of their team form right now. After going out in the Group stage of the MLG Columbus, they have had a long string of losses as a team. EnVyUs looked almost poised to take the map as they went up 12-9, but a few clutch rounds by ChrisJ towards the end helped shift the momentum towards Mouz. EnVYUs being EnvyUs continuously force bought and were crippled in the economy game. It does seem in the current meta, force buying is punished much harder than before. EnVyUs has been the team most affected out of this.
Now if you look at the two teams. Before the Major; Mouz have been in pretty bad shape. Yes they did go through the Offline Qualifiers and through the first two matches at the major, but the teams that they have faced so far is not really the highest level. Mouz have been scraping the floor in terms of results against mediocre teams.
Liquid is quite the opposite end of the spectrum. They have been winning matches and dominating the NA scene for quite sometime. We see Liquid improve their map pool continuously and with the addition of JDM, they have the dedicated AWPer in the team ( remember simple is not a part of the team anymore; he is just a standin).
In terms of maps, both teams share a very common set of map pools. Liquid favor Cache, Cobblestone and Train. Now the problem for Liquid is that their Dust2, Overpass and Mirage are extremely weak, more so when compared to Mouz. Overpass used to be a good map for them but they have been losing on it since late. Indeed of their past 6 matches, they have lost on it 5 times. Nuke is a strict negative for Liquid , they have lost 3/3 times and just dont seem to be good on it (as of what we can see). Dust2 is a decent map, but you really dont want to play Dust2 when you are up against Mouz..
The only common factor that we see in the bans of Mouz is Nuke, the remaining bans have definitely been based on the enemy team. Now against Liquid it does not make much sense mainly cause there is no big skill gap between the two teams. Mouz also have the added map advantage ( with a deep map pool) and Liquids favorite maps are some of the best maps for Mouz
So how does that leave us with the maps?
- Liquid ban Overpass
- Mouz ban Nuke
- Liquid pick Cobblestone
- Mouz pick Mirage
- Random map.
Well that leaves us with Dust2, Cache, Train. I would say each of the random map choices is really a good option for Mouz. Even on the maps that are picked, Cobblestone and MIrage, they have a decent chance as they are actually good on it.
The only problem for mouz is that NIko is not fragging like normal. If nIko goes off, the team wins easily. If he doesnt , I still expect Mouz to win but it wont be as easy IMO
The Prediction : 65%-35% Mouz
The Bet : Low Mouz