The second major of 2022, the Berlin Major begins on 15th August and will last for six days, with the final played on 21st August.
16 teams earned the right to compete at the tournament through their regional leagues, with sides from North America America, Brazil, Korea, Singapore, Thailand, France and Europe competing for the $500,000 prize pool.
Earlier in the year, Dark Zero claimed the Charlotte Major in a back-and-forth North American brawl with Astralis. The former are not in attendance this time around, but as the odds suggest, AST are still the favourites to make it back to back majors.
The outright favourites are Astralis, who came agonisingly close to winning the Charlotte Major in May. They were far from flawless in Stage 2 of the North American League, but they ultimately topped the standings and produced some dominant performances along the way.
Given their most recent international performance, they have to be considered deserving favourites. Let us not forget, their only defeats in Charlotte were against BDS, who have an excellent record internationally, and Dark Zero, who had experience of playing Astralis domestically.
They finished just 9-12th in Charlotte, but Wolves have looked very strong in the European League and will be flying the flag for their region. They ultimately dominated Stage 2, winning seven of their nine matches. Remarkably, all of their wins were outright, and they did not go to overtime in any of their matches.
They have it to prove against international opposition, but their dominant performance in Europe marks them out as one of the tournament favourites. They will need both BiBoo and risze to continue putting up MVP performances, but if their regional form is anything to go by, that seems more than likely.
The last time FaZe qualified for a major, they won the whole tournament, and that should send out alarm bells for their competition. That was in the fall of 2021, where they steamrolled through the Sweden Major, dropping just four maps along the way.
Although they could only manage third in the Brasileirão Stage 2, a strong performance to win the Copa Elite Six Stage 2, defeating Brasileirão winners w7m, showed just how little there is between the Brazilian sides heading into the tournament. Given their recent international form, it would be foolish to dismiss FaZe's chances.
Winners of the Brasileirão Stage 2 with seven wins from nine matches, w7m would ordinarily be considered Brazil’s biggest hope on that basis. Defeat to FaZe in the Copa Elite Six has thrown that up for debate, however, and their 9-12th finish at the Charlotte Major is another question mark next to their chances.
That being said, their domestic performances this year have been mightily impressive. In Brasileirão Stage 1, they won eight of their nine matches, with the sole defeat being an overtime loss in the final game of the campaign. Ultimately, they have a fighting chance and there is little to split them from FaZe.
Another of Brazil’s big chances is FURIA 8/1, who have been consistent domestically but have struggled to make the latter stages of international tournaments. North America will have further representation from XSET 11/1, Soniqs 10/1 and Oxygen 9/1, with the former making a deep run at the most recent major.
Europe will also be represented by G2, Rogue and MNM Gaming. The former scraped into the major at the last possible moment and having been below par at their two most recent major appearances, they would not be the most reliable of options, despite their obvious class.
Rogue, who finished 3-4th at the Sweden Major 2021, missed out on Charlotte and will be looking for redemption after a much improved domestic showing in Stage 2. This will be a first major appearance for MNM, so they are somewhat of an unknown quantity, but their 13-16th finish at the Six Invitational would suggest they might be out of their depth here.
The other team who finished 3-4th at the Sweden Major 2021 was DAMWON Gaming, who have won both stages of the Asia-Pacific North Division in 2022. They will have hopes of a deep run, given their previous international heroics, while the South Division will be represented by Elevate.
Of the rest, SANDBOX Gaming will look to reverse its domestic form with DAMWON Gaming, which will be no small task, and Gaimin Gladiators will look to do the same with Elevate.