What are the Americas chances at playoffs?
The top 16 of the PGL Antwerp Major have 13 European/CIS teams and just three teams from the Americas to carry the banner to playoffs. The last Major was quite similar, with the three Americas representatives being the same, except for Evil Geniuses swapped for Imperial. PGL Stockholm had FURIA make the playoffs after just four matches, who later succumbed to Gambit in the quarter-finals.
FURIA will debut this Major with a refreshed roster, with fresh faces in André "drop" Abreu and recently acquired star AWPer Rafael "saffee" Costa. The lack of a dedicated star AWPer in the previous Major brought quizzical looks upon the Brazilians, but they were nonetheless able to fight their way through the Legends Stage Swiss bracket. Now, they have one of the best AWPers in the Americas on their team, creating what should be an even stronger roster than last year's.
With an improved line-up it seems fair to put the expectation of achieving at least the same placement as last Major upon FURIA. With an extra week to prepare thanks to their Legends slot, they should have ironed out all their kinks and put their nose to the grindstone. We will see the best FURIA has to offer in this Legends stage. We'll see if that's enough to send them to the playoffs.
Liquid comes to the Legends stage battered and bruised. After an 0-2 start, they haven't lost a single map, and are poised to continue their upward momentum. Every single one of them apart from Josh "oSee" Ohm knows what it's like to be on the biggest stage. This roster was built to win big events, and what's a bigger event than the Major?
Perhaps a better AWPer and the expertise of legendary Frenchman Richard "shox" Papillon will be enough to take Liquid across the line this year. They finished last Major's Legends Stage 1-3, but with their momentum and still fresh line-up, they could achieve much more than last time.
Their opening match is against Heroic, which this core remains undefeated against. Starting off on the right foot could be exactly what they need to grasp a playoff slot.
No fnx, no Major. Yes fnx, yes Major. That's all there is to say. Imperial is filled with the Brazilian legends of old. The Major is their playhouse. Just Gabriel "FalleN" Toledo has been to ten Major playoffs. He knows the landscape, and he knows what he needs to do to rally the troops.
Imperial has already flipped the script making it this far, why not further? Why not complete the underdog story? The canceled 2020 Major was supposed to be in Brazil. Why not bring Brazil to the Major? Frankly, anything Imperial accomplishes is an achievement, so who's to say they won't go all the way? I sure would love to see it.