The first Major of the year, PGL Antwerp, is set to start in a couple of days. As 24 teams will enter the server, it is hard to track who the favorites, dark horses, and scrappy underdogs are.
Jaxon will be highlighting the teams to keep an eye on in the days leading up to the Major.
Today, we take a look at the dark horses in the race. They might not be favored to win, but they could make a deep run in the tournament.
The curse of the finals
At the time of writing, it's been 866 days since G2 won a single map in the grand final of a LAN event. They played 4 finals in that period: twice in Katowice, once in Cologne, and at the previous Major. It's fair to say G2 is cursed when it comes to grand finals.
G2's struggles were the other side of the coin in Natus Vincere's success. Time after time, the European roster was beaten by the reigning Major champions.
In Katowice, the tides seemed to change in the rivalry.
G2 booked their first significant victory, as they eliminated NAVI in the semi-finals of the event.
But the curse came back, as they subsequently lost the finals against FaZe Clan.
A prime candidate to make a deep run in the playoffs, G2 should be among the favorites to win the event.
But winning the final?
The Danish crown
There's more to Denmark than just Astralis. Heroic has long been the little brother for the most successful team in the history of CS:GO, but has recently somewhat surpassed their local rivals.
While Astralis struggled to move away from their legendary roster, Heroic steadily climbed towards the top and still has one of the youngest rosters at the PGL Antwerp Major.
But Heroic aren't without their flaws.
They have been in the sub-top for a year now, and are translating their strong online results to LAN.
But reaching the next level, and becoming an elite contender for titles, seems harder than expected.
Heroic seems a shoo-in for the playoffs and has a reasonable chance to beat every team at the event.
However, getting anywhere near lifting silverware would be an overachievement.
The Jaguars are back
CS:GO without a Brazilian team competing at the highest level isn't how it's supposed to be.
With Furia looking like the best version of themselves, we can finally welcome back one of the most passionate regions in the game.
In Stockholm, they made it to the quarter-finals, where they lost to Gambit.
Reaching the playoffs should be the minimum expectation for the team, as they look a lot stronger since adding Rafael "saffee" Costa.