Image: Ubisoft/Kirill Bashkirov
When w7m esports dropped their IGL Gleidson “GdNN1” Nunes, it was perhaps the ballsiest move since G2 Esports dropped Daniel “Goga” Mazorra. They were on the up, but they gambled their future of becoming a top-four team on Julio “Julio” Giacomelli. There was a chance that he wouldn’t jive well with the team or that his IGL-ing wouldn’t work when not alongside his NiP teammates.
But now, they only need one more win versus Black Dragons to achieve their first goal and return to a Major semi-final and look effectively unstoppable on their way to their first title.
But even though w7m are looking like they are title-bound, FaZe are past champions, and Liquid have some of the most-loved players in the region, Brazil’s heart will likely be behind Black Dragons. The organization has done so much for the region and has finally reestablished itself as a top team in Siege. They’re gonna be the ultimate underdogs in this game.
The most apparent thing when looking at these figures is just how many greens are on w7m’s column. Throughout Stage 3, they’re unbeaten on six different maps and always ban out a seventh.
This leaves just Kafe and Oregon as their “weak” maps and, throughout 2022, they’ve still won these maps more than they’ve lost them. To make matters worse, Kafe is Black Dragons’ most-banned map and they have not won it all year.
To win a BO3, Black Dragons will need to win two maps. However, w7m will presumably ban out Theme Park, giving BD a chance to pick Oregon, after which w7m can ban Kafe. As such, this leaves five maps that w7m are flawless on and BD need to crack one of them at a minimum to win the series.
BD have a solid chance at winning on Oregon — they took it 7-4 against w7m during the Copa Elite Six — but finding a second win is the challenge.
Who will win?
Realistically there’s no way you can look at this game and not put w7m on top.
They’re unbeaten on seven maps in Stage 3, are on a 17-match unbeaten streak, and just became the first ever team to manage 18 out of 18 points in their Major group. They also have an SI-winning IGL and won a Six Major quarter-final just three months ago.
Black Dragons have the history and underdog support, but they barely managed to make it to the playoffs at the Major.
This isn’t to dismiss the roster, though, as making it to the quarter-finals on your first international appearance is nothing to be taken lightly. They beat NiP and FURIA to get to the Major and beat out the more experienced MNM Gaming in their group, but w7m are a whole different beast. A 1-2 loss would be an impressive scoreline alone, if they can nab Oregon once again.