This article is part of our CS:GO series.
The Challengers stage is done, the Legends stage is done and only eight teams remain in Rio as we head into the Champions stage. The top three teams in the world rankings: FaZe, Vitality, and Liquid are all eliminated with upstarts Fnatic and Spirit sneaking into the top eight. Here's a look at some players to target and fade in the final stage of the IEM Rio Major.
Players to Target
To call sh1ro the most in-form player in the world would be perhaps the understatement of the century. The Russian AWPer has been simply incredible throughout the Rio Major, and over the past three months, he sits on a 1.26 rating. There is no player in better form on the server or for fantasy managers than sh1ro and the sniper has been lighting up the best teams in the world throughout the major. sh1ro and Cloud9 are the favorites for the title, and are showing the type of level that could establish them at the top of the CS:GO ladder.
s1mple is the superlative talent he has been for years and despite not being the best player left in the major, at least on form he's still worth in the blue side. The sniper has a 1.23 rating over the past three months with 0.79 kills per round and 80.7 ADR. s1mple has been excellent even when in tough matches and is completely matchup resistant. The sniper is worth targeting in all formats for his consistency and if nothing else, s1mple is entirely matchup-resistant. Na'Vi are favorites to make the final even after drawing home-town favorites FURIA in the opening round of the Champions stage.
There's just something different about CIS snipers with a number in their name isn't there? When degster departed Team Spirit many were concerned this roster would struggle to qualify for the major, let alone make it to the Champions stage. Well here they are, sitting just three best-of-three's away from a world title. w0nderful has been... well wonderful, since joining the roster. The next mega talent to come from Ukraine, the sniper has been producing world-class showings throughout the major. Spirit open their run against Heroic, a tough test, but a doable one for a Spirit side with winning ambitions.
Players to Fade
dexter put together one of the strongest performances in the major to carry his MOUZ side into the Champions stage. That said the in-game leader isn't someone where the individual level is much to write home about more often than not. dexter isn't worth chasing individual stats with, but MOUZ have shown the ability to upset anyone in the server, though his contributions won't show up for fantasy managers. It's hard to quantify dexter - what he's doing is incredibly impressive, and yet he remains in the red.
drop and FURIA qualified with a 3-0 record from the Legends stage, they are playing in front of a raucous hometown crowd... and yet drop is in the red. That's due to drawing Na'Vi in the opening round, the highest ranked team in the world remaining headlined by superstars s1mple and b1t. drop isn't a bad player, and has done exceptionally well on this iteration of FURIA, but this draw would have been brutally difficult for any team and any player. drop has a 0.98 rating over the past three months and 0.60 kills per round, nothing awful, but not worth targeting in the Champions stage.
Qikert has had a rough go of it in the major, and has been far and away the worst performer on a surprisingly good Outsiders side. A semifinal berth is likely on the cards for Qikert though, if nothing else due to a relatively easy match against the lowest-ranked team remaining, Fnatic, in the opening round. Qikert's individual struggles keep him in the red category, but that isn't indicative of a very impressive Outsiders roster as a whole. Qikert has struggled to a 0.99 rating and just 0.59 kills per round in the past three months.
Stats courtesy of HLTV.org