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StarLadder i-League Season 4 CS:GO Preview

15 February 2018 13:40

The StarLadder & i-League StarSeries is in its fourth CS:GO season, with sixteen of the world’s best teams from the European, North American and Asian regions fighting it out for the majority share of a $300,000 prize pool. Kiev, Ukraine, will host the tournament from Saturday February 17th to Sunday February 25th, and all the action has been previewed below ahead of the opening clash.

There’s a revolutionary 16 team best-of-three swiss style format in the group stages, where the top eight teams progress into single-elimination bracket play-offs and the bottom eight teams are eliminated from the tournament. The teams will battle in the Cache, Cobblestone, Inferno, Mirage, Nuka, Overpass and Train maps.

The Teams

The sixteen participating CS:GO teams are shown below, along with their odds of winning the tournament outright:

  • FaZe – 3/1
  • SK Gaming – 7/2
  • Cloud9 – 11/2
  • G2 Esports – 13/2
  • Astralis – 10/1
  • mousesports – 10/1
  • Fnatic – 12/1
  • Gambit Esports – 14/1
  • Team Liquid – 14/1
  • Natus Vincere – 16/1
  • HellRaisers – 25/1
  • Heroic – 33/1
  • Virtus Pro – 50/1
  • Renegades – 66/1
  • TyLoo – 100/1
  • MVP PK – 250/1

Ten of the above teams received direct invites to the event, with six securing their place through regional qualifiers. HellRaisers and Heroic qualified as the best two teams from the European region, whilst Team Liquid and Renegades came through the North American section, and TyLoo and MVP PK - two of the rank outsiders to reach the grand final – are the representatives from the Asian qualifiers.

Focusing on the possible region of the winner, a European team is odds-on to go all the way at 2/5, with North America a tempting 7/4 and Asia a long shot at 80/1.

Prize Pool

The $300,000 will be split amongst the sixteen teams based on their overall finish:

  • 1st - $130,000
  • 2nd - $50,000
  • 3rd - $30,000
  • 4th - $15,000
  • 5th to 8th - $10,000
  • 9th to 11th - $6,000
  • 12th to 14th - $4,000
  • 15th to 16th - $2,500


Bosnian-born 20-year-old Nikola "NiKo" Kovac is 8/1 favourite to be named HLTV MVP (Most Valuable Player). The multi-skilled rifler and AWPer has been on FaZe’s roster since February 2017, enjoying a stellar career since his switch, including 1st place finishes in the ESL One: New York 2017, ELEAGUE CS:GO Premier 2017 and Esports Championship Series Season 4 – Finals. Based on his resume and previous experience, it’s understandable to see why NiKo is tipped to make a huge impact in Kiev, and FaZe fans will be hoping he can lead his team all the way to the showpiece grand final.

Elsewhere, at 11/1, Frenchman Kenny "kennyS" Schrub is another talented player tipped as a potential recipient of the prestigious MVP accolade. Predominantly an AWPer within SK Gaming’s team, the 22-year-old will play a key role in an outfit widely considered to be one of the pre-tournament favourites. kennyS, previously contracted to the likes of Titan eSports and Team EnVyUs, is known as a quick and skilled operator on stage, and will be seeking to continue his remarkable winning streak since joining the European outfit last February.

Cloud 9’s Timothy "autimatic" Ta isn’t fancied as much as the likes of NiKo and kennyS in the MVP stakes at 20/1, but the 21-year-old American rifler has always been a talent since his younger days with LunatiK eSports and will be eager to demonstrate his class on the world stage in Ukraine.  Having represented nine seperate teams over the past four years, he has honed his gaming techniques and CS:GO abilities in a variety of different environments and, since joining Cloud9 in the autumn of last year, autimatic has enjoyed success with the North American region. This includes three consecutive 1st place finishes in the DreamHack Open Denver 2017, iBUYPOWER Masters 2017 and ELEAGUE Major: Boston 2018, highlighting autimatic and Cloud9’s unquestionable ability of performing at the big tournaments when it really matters.

What Happened In The Previous Three Seasons?

Season One, held in Minsk, Belarus, belonged to Alliance as the Swedish side swept all before them in front of 18,000 spectators. They only dropped one game in the play-offs, a seemingly minor blip against Team Secret in the quarter-finals, before commanding 2-0 victories over Team Liquid and Evil Genuises in the respective semi and grand finals.

Los Angeles was the location for Season Two, where direct invites Ukrainian outfit Natus Vincere claimed $135,000 after a 3-1 grand final triumph over Team Secret. Team Secret were also present in Season Three, finishing in 5th place behind overall winners Team Liquid in Shanghai.

After three incredible seasons full of twist and turns, Season Four looks to be the biggest and best yet for CS:GO fans worldwide.

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Updated on: 2018-02-15

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