IEM Oakland 2017, CSGO Semifinal analysis

IEM Oakland 2017

The stage is set at IEM Oakland 2017 as SK Gaming, Ninjas in Pyjamas, Cloud9, and Faze Clan will face off in the semifinals. While none of these teams are strangers to the big stage, each will have something to prove. Common across all the teams are a recent slew of roster changes and a wide range of results, both good and bad.

This is an analysis of the upcoming semi-final at IEM Oakland, between Cloud9 vs FaZe and NiP vs SK. Epic shoutout to statshark.gg for the analysis.

IEM Oakland 2017 – Semifinal 1 – Cloud9 vs FaZe

Cloud9

Over the years, excitement for the next North American hope has come and gone as the region continues to look for a team be able to compete with the best. Some teams have made a splash but never for too long. This iteration of Cloud9 — with the acquisition of tarik and RUSH as replacements for shroud and n0thing — is a squad that shows incredible promise to finally bring the North American counter-strike scene to the forefront. After a brief set of poor results, this new squad is starting to look well-meshed and cohesive, and certainly not lacking in firepower. At ELEAGUE they dropped out in the semifinals after an incredibly close match against Astralis. Following that, Cloud9 claimed back to back titles on home soil at Dreamhack Denver 2017 and iBUYPOWER 2017.

The big stage at IEM Oakland 2017 will mean a lot for the North Americans. Not only will it be another playoff run for them on home turf, but it will be one of the best opportunities for them to cement themselves as one of the best teams not just in their region, but the world.

Faze Clan

On paper, the roster of Faze Clan is one of the most powerful the scene has ever seen. The team is studded with 4 superstars in rain, NiKo, GuardiaN and olofmeister, and aided by a proven leader and mastermind in karrigan. The raw firepower on this team alone is enough to intimidate opponents. At events like ESL One: New York and ELEAGUE Premier Finals, the team met their expectations by totally dismantling their opponents at these events. They looked unbeatable. However, at other events Faze failed to bring strong results: an absolutely dismal last-place finish at the previous Major along with a 5-6th placement at EPICENTER 2017.

For Faze, there is no doubt of their potential to sit atop the CSGO scene. Still, the polarizing results in the past few months have shed some doubts as to whether or not they will be able to be consistently as strong as they are capable of being. A victory on the stage as prestigious as IEM Oakland is a step towards maintaining the dominance that they have previously displayed

Map Picks & Bans

Picks

These are the past picks from the current rosters:

 cloud9 map picks  FaZe Clan map picks
Most likely to pick

  • Mirage
  • Train
  • Inferno

Least likely to pick

  • Cobble
  • Overpass
Most likely to pick

  • Overpass
  • Inferno
  • Mirage

Least likely to pick

  • Cache
  • Nuke

Common map picks

Both teams like to pick mirage & inferno.

Bans

These are the past bans (vetoes) from the current rosters:

 Cloud9 map bans   FaZe Clan map bans
Most likely to ban

  • Nuke
  • Overpass

Least likely to ban

  • Mirage
  • Train
Most likely to ban

  • Cobble
  • Train
  • Nuke

Least likely to ban

  • Mirage
  • Overpass

Common map bans

Both teams like to ban nuke. All day, all night. No nuke for you.

Possible map picks/bans

Here’s an educated guess, based on respective teams banning their weaker maps and opting to keep their best maps in rotation:

Cloud9 vs FaZe Clan map picks and bans

Map win probabilities

FaZe have a 60% probability of winning overall, with their lowest chance of winning on Train. Train is a good candidate for a map ban (see above) leaving FaZe unaffected if it’s put into play. Overpass and Inferno have very high win probabilities for FaZe, with a 68% and 88% chance respectively. On Mirage the probability is close with a slight edge for FaZe at 53%.

Cloud9 vs FaZe Clan map win probabilities

Player performance

Cloud 9 player performance

Cloud9 player performance by map

If we get to see inferno, Mirage and Cache picked (see possible map picks/bans above), then there will have to be significant performance increases from certain players, as described below:

On inferno

tarik and autimatic lead the way on this map. If they can step up their game they can carry a regular performance by Skadoodle (AWP) and Stewie2K but a win on this map would require tarik, autimatic and Stewie2K to hit their shots.

On mirage

Mirage is a strong map for the team with a balanced number of frags throughout the team. A lower average number of frags from autimatic and tarik could make a big difference in winning and losing this map.

On cache

RUSH carries so hard here with autimatic’s average hitting RUSH’s low number of frags. If tarik can get a bit lucky and get to his peak level of around 19/19 frags on cache it could make a big difference.

FaZe player performance

FaZe Clan player performance by map

On inferno

FaZe only needs to turn in an average performance on Inferno, which means C9 will need each player to go above and possibly beyond their historical stats. Key players here are rain and Guardian (AWP) and if they have a better than average game they could carry the team to a map win.

On mirage

On mirage, GuardiaN olofmeister and NiKo carry karrigan a bit here in average frags. karrigan’s role in setting up is more crucial on this map than frags so it isn’t a good indicator of performance. The three players mentioned before don’t have that luxury.

On cache

NiKo is a hard frag carry here. Without him, cache wouldn’t be a good map for FaZe. As before, with an epic setup from karrigan, rain, olofmeister and Guardian will do the rest.

Map breakdown

Cloud9 vs FaZe map and pistol performance

Cloud9 map and pistol performance

FaZe Clan map and pistol performance

On inferno

FaZe have a statistical likelihood to dominate both CT and T pistol rounds based on previous data.

On mirage

Cloud9 have over 60% win rate on mirage, with almost 50% success rate on CT pistol rounds and 38% on T pistol rounds. FaZe have a 70% win rate, and 60% CT pistol round average and just over 40% of T pistol rounds won, matching up with Cloud9.

On cache

With the current roster, C9 has the best stat on T pistol rounds on cache, however, this is very likely to be unsustainable. Their mCT pistol rounds are 50/50 and so is their win rate. Contrasting this to FaZe, they underperform slightly with FaZe having over 60% win rate and just under 60% CT pistol rounds won and just over 40% T side pistol rounds won.

Z-score of the heat matrices

Z-scores are useful for comparing Individual scores from different data sets and we can use it to standardize scores somewhat. These graphs show particular player ratings within the team. The dashed line is the group mean, to the left of the dashed line is below the standard deviation of the mean and to the right of the dashed line is above the standard deviation of the mean.

Overall, maps appearing at the top are the best team maps, inside each map shows the individual player performance of the map.

The analysis here explains the situation if see Inferno, Mirage and Cache picked.

Cloud9 heat matrix

Cloud9 map heat matrix

On inferno

Apart from pistol rounds on for C9 on inferno, every other outcome looks bleak.

On cache

Cache is C9’s second-worst map statistically. If they’re bullied into it then the outcome may be just as bleak as that of inferno. T side performance (including T side pistol round win rate), Skadoodle and RUSH and autimatic are great here, they would need a bit of luck on CT side and for tarik to get luckier with his performance to get the win here.

On mirage

Mirage is C9’s second best map. An improvement to T side pistol round might not have a huge affect on the map outcome, but it could set the stage for subsequent economical advantage if the team performance is good. Individual increase in performance by RUSH and Stewie2K could help C9 secure a win here.

FaZe heat matrix

FaZe Clan map heat matrix

On inferno

Inferno is FaZe’s second best map despite a poor individual performance from NiKo and a subpar performance by olofmeister. Their T side win rate is epic, including the side pistol rounds and rain is a god on this map. If NiKo and olofmeister can perform better here then FaZe will take this map comfortably.

On cache

Cache is where FaZe needs to put a bit more work into. They are better as CT here than T and both their CT and T pistol rounds here are subpar. NiKo carries them on this map and olofmeister and karrigan carry their weight but could step up and make this a more successful map for FaZe. GuardiaN has not had a luck AWPing on cache.

On mirage

This is FaZe’s third-best map with excellent performances by GuardiaN and olofmeister, on the other end of the spectrum rain and karrigan are below the mean although as stated before, karrigan’s utility on mirage is fantastic. With an improvement in T side play, T pistol and CT pistol, FaZe should easily win this map should it be picked.

IEM Oakland 2017 – Semifinal 1 -NiP vs SK

SK Gaming

With recent rankings placing SK Gaming as the number one team in the world, they perhaps would be the most confident going up against the Swedish squad Ninjas in Pyjamas. However a look at the recent history of the team, there are still some uncertainties.

Following their string of first place finishes in the summer (Dreamhack Summer 2017; ECS Finals Season 3; ESL Cologne), the Brazilian team entered a slump with multiple bottom placings at important events. They failed to get past their ELEAGUE Premier group, as well as a quarter-final knockout of the last major. Ultimately this led to a roster change with felps moving to the bench and former member boltz joining the main squad. The first showing of this new roster was incredibly successful — a 1st place trophy from EPICENTER 2017. Still, early successes of new rosters are usually met with mild suspicions. Is it a honeymoon phase? Was it just a fluke? A win at IEM Oakland with boltz on the squad would certainly settle those answers in emphatic ways.

Ninjas In Pyjamas

Those following the CSGO scene since its inception will know the storied history of this Swedish team. Perhaps one of the most dominant teams in the game’s history, NIP have their eyes set on a return to the echelons of the world’s best. Newer followers of the scene and unfamiliar with NIP’s past are only seeing a relatively weak team — a shell of their former selves.

For the past 6 months (and longer), NIP has failed to bring strong results in almost any of the events they have attended. The Swedish team failed to qualify for the previous major in Poland and are set to miss the upcoming one in Boston as well. In other events, the ninjas have failed to make a mark, commonly failing to make it past the quarterfinals or even out of groups.

In part, these poor results are from NIP trying to find the right teammates for their core of GeT_RiGhT, f0rest and Xizt by cycling through a number of players over the past few years. The recent acquisitions of REZ and draken, however, is giving the team signs of life. With a surprising performance during the group stages of IEM Oakland and seeding themselves into the semifinals, the Ninjas in Pyjamas will look to dispel any ideas that this is a fluke. A win at this event would mean that perhaps the Swedes are finally on a trajectory back towards the top.

Map Picks & Bans

Picks

These are the past picks from the current rosters, note, boltz is new on the SK roster and we’re only looking at data since he joined:

 Ninjas in Pyjamas map picks  SK Gaming map picks
Most likely to pick

  • Cache
  • Train
  • Nuke

Least likely to pick

  • Mirage
  • Overpass
Most likely to pick

  • Mirage
  • Overpass

Least likely to pick

  • Not enough data available

Common map picks

Currently, there are no common map picks.

Bans

These are the past bans (vetoes) from the current rosters:

 Ninjas in Pyjamas map bans  SK Gaming map bans
Most likely to ban

  • Cobble
  • Inferno

Least likely to ban

  • Cache
  • Nuke
  • Train
Most likely to ban

  • Nuke
  • Cache

Least likely to ban

  • Train
  • Mirage
  • Inferno

Common map bans

Currently, there are no common picks.

Possible map picks/bans

This will be tough since we don’t have a lot of game data on the new SK since boltz joined. Here’s an educated guess, based on respective teams banning their weaker maps and opting to keep their best maps in rotation:

Ninjas in Pyjamas vs SK Gaming map picks and bans

Map win probabilities

Ninjas in Pyjamas vs SK Gaming map win probabilities

SK has a 60% probability of winning overall, with their lowest chance of winning on Train. There is a very low sample set of data here due to the recent change in SK’s roster, but they have statistical edges on all maps and overall.

Player performance

NiP player performance

Ninjas in Pyjamas player performance

If we get to see mirage, train and overpass picked (see possible map picks/bans above), then there will have to be significant performance increases from certain players, as described below:

On mirage

This is a pretty even team performance with draken being the player who cannot drop form. A strong performance from REZ and Xizt might make a big difference here for the ninjas.

On train

Again, REZ and Xizt could up their game and make a big difference, this time f0rest’s performance must be consistent to provide NiP with a win. This is NiP’s best map, so a could performance here is required to secure a map win in this B03.

On overpass

NiP’s second best map is overpass and also where f0rest picks up most his frags. REZ has had some good games on overpass and if he’s on form and GeT_RiGhT also elevates his game, then NiP have a good chance to win it.

SK player performance

SK Gaming player performance

The low amount of sample data makes it hard to comment here, but let’s give it a go!

On mirage

If we see SK on mirage, we’d expect them to perform as well as they have done previously. Being their second best map, coldzera and FalleN (AWP) are stars. New guy boltz has the potential to do well as he fits in with his new team. If he manages to do this and raises the game of TACO, then SK have a fantastic chance to win this map should it be played.

On train

With the new roster, this is where SK has not performed well, although it is early days with boltz. TACO has played some great games on train with this new roster, but he’s also ventured into the other end of that spectrum. For SK to win this, it would need TACO to get more frags and stay alive more than he has done.

On overpass

This is SK’s best map with this roster despite the new guy needing to step it up to the level of his new teammates. On this map and this new roster, coldzera has had a massive swing in frags, as low as 8 and as high as mid 30’s, so a good game from him would make a huge difference in getting the win for SK. TACO again has had some great games and some abysmal games and if he stays alive and ups his kill count then SK will be hard to beat on overpass.

Map breakdown

NiP vs SK map and pistol performance

Ninjas in Pyjamas map and pistol performanceSK Gaming map and pistol performance

On mirage

SK have are close to hitting 80% win rates on this map and on the CT pistol round and winning 50% of the T pistol rounds. Stack that against NiP, who are winning around 40% here and have a decent CT pistol round stat of around 60%. If they can perform better on the T side pistol round it could be a game changer.

On train

SK have won all of their T side pistol rounds on train with the addition of boltz. They have a good CT round win rate matched by the map win rate of around 65%.

On overpass

The low sample data beast strikes again and we’re not going to get into this too much apart from saying SK is the best team in the world on overpass until they lose any side’s pistol round or the map itself!

Z-score of the heat matrices

See previous explanation of Z-score.

The analysis here explains the situation if see mirage train and overpass are picked.

NiP heat matrix

Ninjas in Pyjamas map heat matrix

On mirage

This is NiP’s second-worst map. Get_RiGhT, f0rest and REZ need to pick up their game a lot to secure a win for NiP and if this map isn’t banned by NiP then these three players will need to perform well to give NiP a chance.

On train

This is NiP’s best map. Xizt is amazing here and the rest of the team are consistent. Their pistol rounds are virtually flawless and their control of T side play makes this their best map.

On overpass

NiP’s second best map. So mirage is a bit of a gamble to not veto, but as long as NiP keep train and overpass in play they can do well. Here, everyone performs above and beyond, with standout play from Xizt, f0rest and draken. Their T side play is not as honed as on train, but they are well above average on pistol round sand T and CT control.

SK heat matrix

SK Gaming map heat matrix

On mirage

SK’s second best map. Fallen and bolts are cold as ice here, but luckily fer is a god on this map and combined with good performances from coldzera, SK are hot on T side control and comfortable on the CT side. They have an incredible pistol round win stat on both sides.

On train

The train is leaving the station here and SK isn’t on it. TACO and coldzera’s stats are colder than a well-digger’s backside, with the new roster (with boltz) at least. Equally cold is their T side control, leading to an overall below par map win rate.

On overpass

This is SK’s best map. If we think of a train track traveling on an overpass then SK is on this train (that was a bit of a stretch!) FalleN and boltz are surprisingly mediocre on this map based on recent data, luckily fer is on fire and cold performs well above average. SK control of both sides is excellent, better so on the T side and they consistently win the pistol rounds on overpass.

So who will make it to the final?

It’s difficult to see Cloud9 coming out of a Bo3 as the victor versus FaZe Clan. ESP believes that FaZe will win.

Similarly, SK Gaming even with new player boltz is statistically strong in the few matches they have played and ESP believes that SK Gaming will emerge victorious from this Bo3 semi-final at IEM Oakland 2017.

The data above backs all of this up, but anything can happen in CSGO! Bet live while the game is happening at ESP!