The play-ins are over and we’ve got our first slate of the main event on Thursday. It’s another 4 game slate, and in case you missed yesterday’s article, 3/2/1 builds and 3/1/1/1 builds win on these slates at a rate significantly higher than they are used. I personally build almost exclusively 3/2/1 on 4 game slates. Lock is at 9:15 am EST, and the games are:

Astralis (75% implied win probability) vs Mouz

Big (54%) vs Heroic

Faze (53%) vs Liquid

Vitality (64%) vs OG

Sub Risk/Roster Changes

Since we last saw them only a few days ago, Olof has officially left Faze and Karrigan has taken his spot. Both players have had something of a resurgence so far this year, Olof had been Faze’s best player over the past few weeks and Karrigan had been regularly near the top of the Mouz leaderboard. I don’t expect Karrigan to slot into the same role Olof had been playing though, as he will be taking over the IGL duties that Coldzera had previously been carrying out.

The only other team that has possibly made roster changes since the last time we saw them is Vitality. At this point it’s unclear whether or not Apex will be playing. There’s been no official word on whether or not he’ll be back. He is listed on the roster on the IEM website, but he’s not listed on the HLTV match page. There’s a video from a French CSGO show that mentions he has been practicing with the team, but of course that’s not official confirmation he’s back (thanks to KingJ from discord for the translation). From my own speculation, it seems odd to take such a short break, but I’m definitely not ruling it out. They’re the last game of the day so it’s unlikely we know before lock unless they tweet about it pretty early EST time. If he’s still on break Vitality won’t be subbing anymore, if he’s back Nivera subs in for Misutaaa on Dust 2 and Nuke, and Shox on Inferno. I’m going to take a few risks on Nivera and Shox since they’re both underpriced, but I’ll definitely make some lineups without them. The safest thing to do is just play Zywoo and RpK from Vitality (or play the OG side).

Astralis still subs Bubzkji in for Xyp9x on Nuke, and that’s the only map he plays. Both Astralis and Mouz play Nuke, but neither team has a particularly good win rate on it. Both teams have a different map they permaban, so Nuke will be open for the picking. I’d be a bit surprised if either team picks it, though I can see a slight case for Astralis picking it to test the coordination of Mouz with Dexter now as IGL. It could also easily be left as the decider. Even though this is the 1st game of the day there are games before it that aren’t included on the slate. It’s fairly unlikely that we get to see map picks before lock. I’ll be leaving Xyp9x out of my lineups as he’s not that great of a play on this 4 game slate to where I think it’s worth risking him being subbed out.

None of the other teams sub.

Slate Analysis

When games are 50/50 toss-ups or close to it, Draftkings has a tendency to underprice the entire game. They’ve done that again on this slate, as no one from either the Heroic vs Big game or the Liquid vs Faze game is over $7.8k, and only Syrson is over $7.4k. All 4 teams have some studs, and the winners of the contests are likely to put up strong scores. I’ll have a lot of exposure to all 4 of these teams. I prefer both underdogs, as the ownership in these close games usually tends to tilt too far towards the slight favorites. From Heroic I like Stavn, Cadian, and Teses. I won’t be playing Niko as his struggles have continued into 2021. From Liquid, I’ll be on Elige and Naf. When I do play Big, I like Tabsen a lot. He’s been back to his old self so far in 2021, but his ownership hasn’t quite caught up to Syrson and Xantares yet. For Faze, Broky is the clear top play, behind him it’s anyone’s guess. I do think that freeing Coldzera from the IGL duties should help his fragging a lot, but Twistzz and Rain are also solid plays. I likely won’t have much Karrigan at all.

Astralis are priced about correctly (aside from Bubzkji but he’s unplayable regardless of price), magisk may be a tad underpriced but that’s about it. Device and Dupreeh are both high upside plays, but they’ll cost ya. On the Mouz side, take Dexter’s projection with a huge grain of salt. He has been the bottom fragger or 2nd bottom fragger in all of Mouz’ matchups since he joined, which is expected as IGL. acoR has also stepped up a bit recently, and has solidified himself into the top 3 with Ropz and Frozen. Frozen continues to play really well, and all 3 of them are cheap on this slate. Mouz are definitely live in this spot, and I don’t mind taking a couple shots on Mouz 3 stacks here.

Lastly, we have the Vitality vs OG game. Zywoo is still Zywoo, whether or not apEX plays I expect Zywoo to put up his usually massive numbers. If apEX is out Nivera is definitely too cheap. But even if official news does come out before lock, I still won’t be locking Vitality 3 stacks into every lineup, as the loss to EG showed that apEX’s leadership is very important to their overall play. If apEX is back he’s too expensive for me to play and we won’t know if Shox, Misutaaa, or Nivera are playable since the game is part of the later set. That means I’ll just use Zywoo and RpK.

On the OG side, they’re basically all too cheap. If apEX is out I’d go so far as to say OG should probably be the favorites. You don’t really need the OG cost savings to fit anyone except for an Astralis stack, but they have a good chance of winning this series in which case good fantasy scores are likely to follow. Even if apEX is back OG have a decent shot as Vitality had been scuffling a bit before he too his leave. Valde is my main target and Mantuu is my 2nd. After NBK-‘s huge game (very glad I highlighted him in yesterday’s article), I don’t think he’ll be quite as sneaky, so I’m back to Issaa as my 3rd target.

Top Captains

Zywoo and Device are the clearcut top captains. There’s plenty of value to be able to afford them, and lots of different cheap/mid range plays so it won’t be too hard to differentiate your Zywoo captain lineups. Dupreeh makes for an interesting pivot off of Device, as he has huge upside when he’s on.

Heroic and Big are both hard teams to nail down who is going to top frag, especially with Tabsen’s resurgence. I don’t mind using Naf or Elige captain for Liquid, or Broky captain on the Faze side.

Valde is an interesting option for OG, especially after he was just OK as chalk on Wednesday. Ropz or Frozen are both playable in their game, Ropz should have much lower captain ownership than usual.

That’s it for me, good luck on Thursday!

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