There is no shortage of CS:GO happening from one week to the next and it can be tough for even hardcore fans to keep track of it all, so we've narrowed down your choices to the few must-watch matches of the week.
ELEAGUE Premier Group A
- Where: ELEAGUE TV Twitch
- When: Sept. 8
- Why: Can FaZe/Na`Vi recover from Malmö, Renegades w/ NAF?
Group A of the ELEAGUE Premier marks the kick off point for what is ostensibly ELEAGUE's third season of ELEAGUE CS:GO, where FaZe Clan, Natus Vincere, G2 Esports and Renegades compete for two playoff spots. No team is guaranteed a spot given that level of competition.
FaZe Clan vs Renegades
A win is a sure thing for FaZe here in their matchup against Renegades, however fans likely assumed the same thing ahead of DreamHack Masters Malmö 2017, yet FaZe bombed out in the group stage after losses to Ninjas in Pyjamas and Gambit Esports. And this was despite both NiKo and GuardiaN popping off throughout the event.
Renegades were also eliminated during the Malmö group stage, but will be going into the EL Premier with a finalized roster, bringing in former OpTic Gaming player NAF to replace stand-in jayzwalkingz.
NAF was a beast on OpTic, though he didn't shine as brightly when compared to the likes of mixwell. However, if he's given priority on Renegades, he could potentially be their star player and the X-Factor needed in their match against FaZe.
Realistically, an upset is probably unlikely, but even if FaZe win against Renegades, they'll have to look forward to facing much harder opponents in Natus Vincere and G2 Esports.
Natus Vincere vs G2 Esports
FaZe wasn't the only team to under-perform at Malmö as Na`Vi also failed to live up to expectations. The CIS squad did fare a little better, with a finish in the quarters, but many fans had higher hopes now that the squad is once again under the command of Zeus, backed by coach Kane.
Even worse was the fact that Gambit Esports also progressed farther into the tournament than Na`Vi and eventually finished in third-fourth place. All with an ostensibly worse roster, at least according to some.
G2 on the other hand went the distance and won the whole event after a dominant 2-0 finish over North in the Grand Finals. As such, G2 look to be the strongest team in this group and their opener against Na`Vi will be theirs to lose.
DreamHack Montreal 2017
- Where: DreamHack CS Twitch
- When: Sept. 8-10
- Why: Who can topple North and Immortals?
Immortals and North have made a strong statement post-Major, advancing past the group stage in Malmö and later putting on an impressive showing in their head-to-head match during the quarterfinals.
North took that series in the end and eventually progressed to the Grand Finals, so Immortals will be looking for a bit of revenge as both teams head to Montreal. However, there will be six other teams looking to stand in their way to the Grand Finals.
On the other end of the spectrum, Luminosity Gaming and Gale Force Esports awkwardly find themselves attending DreamHack Montreal. Both teams failed to secure their slots to the event via the North American qualifier. But sinceDreamHack couldn't secure any other invited teams, the two South American squads now have a second chance to prove themselves.
GFE is a new face to CS:GO and an unlikely direct invite to the tournament. Though their Argentinean squad (formerly of Miami Flamingos e-Sports) has a few notches under their belt, this will be their first real test in a LAN environment against some top teams.
LG on the other hand are a familiar face. They're a squad that has yet to impress, despite numerous roster changes, and they live constantly in the shadow of their much bigger Brazilian brothers, Immortals and SK Gaming. Expectations are low for them, but Montreal would be the perfect place to flip the script and show their mettle.
Likewise, Team Kinguin come into the tournament as both Space Soldiers and HellRaisers (the winner and runner up of the EU qualifier respectively) were unable to secure their visas in time of the event. Kinguin are often thought of as the 'other' Polish team, taking a back seat to Virtus.pro, but this means that teams underestimate them, leading to some upset potential.
On the NA side, Cloud9 is normally considered a strong contender in these smaller LAN events, but their latest lineup has not inspired a whole lot of confidence, despite the raw talent on the roster. We'll see if they can show a drastic change in their overall trajectory in Montreal, but they may need some more time to grow.
Counter Logic Gaming and compLexity Gaming are the other two NA representatives, though not much stock is being put in either team. Both have failed to impress in their online matches, but if either had any upset potential it would be CLG, who have the firepower of Rickeh and koosta.
Dennis "Tarmanydyn" Gonzales is a news editor for theScore esports who enjoys whiskey, D&D and first-picking
Oracle my Souvenir Negev Discipline Priest Pharah a silenced Cavity 9mm Ryu. You can follow him on Twitter.