Written by The Admiral
The newly rebranded ex-SMASH and Illuminar are facing in Group A opening match of the Eden Arena Malta Vibes Cup 1, and Illuminar are slight favorites in this Best of 1 duel. These rivals have met once before, and Illuminar won that clash.
The European team ex-SMASH just assembled a new squad this month and played only five matches so far with the current lineup. They recorded a pair of wins and three defeats in that span, while their most recent loss came to Endpoint at the DreamHack Open Summer 2020 Europe Closed Qualifier. When it comes to the maps during the same period, ex-SMASH showed the best displays on Dust2 (75.0%), while they are winless on Train and Inferno.
Illuminar are playing in a hot and cold form lately since the end of their six-game winning streak. The Polish side lost three of the previous six matches and have a 47.6% win rate over the last three months. In that span, Illuminar performed quite well on Overpass (75.0%) and Nuke (66.7%), while they are without a victory on Inferno, and haven’t been good on Vertigo (28.6%).
The experience will going to play a vital role in this encounter, and I am backing Illuminar because their lineup played more times together than ex-SMASH’s, who only appeared in five matches since formation. The odds on Illuminar to win are actually quite attractive, and given this is a Best of 1 matchup, I am backing the Poles to get a victory as they did in the lone H2H duel back in April.