ViCi Gaming are one of the new faces of the Counter-Strike: Global Offensive scene. The mostly-Chinese side is making their debut at a major. ViCi is a squad that relies on quick executes, snap aim and raw skill to plow through their opponents. This preview will give a rundown on ViCi’s resume and outlook coming into IEM Katowice 2019.
Andrew ‘kaze’ Khong 1.19 rating, .79 Kills per Round, 81.6 Average Damage per Round
WingHei ‘Freeman’ Cheung 1.22 rating, 50.1 headshot %, 84.3 ADR
ZhiHong ‘aumaN’ Liu 1.06 rating, 82.7 ADR
WeiJie ‘zhokiNg’ Zhong 1.10 rating, 86.4 ADR
Zhuo ‘advent’ Liang 0.92 rating, 50.6 headshot %, 64.6 ADR
- 42nd-ranked team in the world, according to hltv.org’s rankings.
- Finished third place in Asia Minor, losing to Grayhound Gaming in a close BO3 series.
- Qualified for IEM Katowice 2019 after beating 12th-ranked team North 2-0 in a BO3 in the Minors’ 3rd Place Play-In.
There is little tape on how ViCi play. The few demos that are available are primarily ViCi sparring against other Asian teams, who play a unique style of CS. We’ve seen in the past that top level teams can get surprised by an upstart team. The underdogs can make a huge run whilst under the radar. One example being BIG at PGL Krakow Major in 2017.
Vici also has the talents of the young Malaysian talent kaze. The 18-year-old is a gifted AWP player. His aggressive style can throw off opponent’s timings and open up rounds when he’s hitting shots. When he’s hot, kaze can start carrying the match almost single-handedly.
While the fragging power of ViCi is actually relatively high for such a lowly-ranked team, advent is not a high-fragging in-game leader, averaging a subpar 0.92 rating in a meta, where to be one of the best teams you need a fragging IGL and a roster in which all five members can contribute at a high level.
Vici will also find struggles with being the only team in the entire major to not have a coach on the roster. While Valve’s rulings on coaches have limited their effectiveness in recent times, coaches still can improve a roster by providing advice and planning strategies but ViCi just doesn’t have the resources.
ViCi is really only gunning to make it out of the first swiss system group stage to escape the Asia Minor system that has been dominated by Australian teams over almost every cycle. Getting out of the minor system would be a virtual guarantee that ViCi would get major prize and sticker money for the next two cycles. This success would improve the Chinese and Asian scene as a whole with such an infusion of cash.
Where there is potential for boom there is also potential for bust. ViCi’s worst case scenario is the scenario that most pundits are predicting for the squad: complete and utter annihilation by every team that they come across. If this happens ViCi get sent back to the minors, continuing to chase the cash cow that are majors. This is a feat that will only get tougher as the Asian minor system gets more competitive with each passing tournament.
It is fun to imagine a magical run, a la Greece in the 2004 Euros or Leicester City in 2016. However, it is likely ViCi is too inexperienced to compete with even the mid-level organizations involved in the major process. ViCi might surprise a team and steal a map away if Freeman and kaze go ballistic that day. However, outside of a possible upset chance, it is expected that ViCi will flounder out of the major with hardly a whimper.
Official Prediction: ViCi lose three straight, going 0-3 and get eliminated in the first swiss system at IEM Katowice 2019.