With MLG Columbus just around the corner, it is only natural to try to fire off a few predictions into the dark, especially when some of these predictions are rooted in a rather sound understanding of the field and when the speculations they generate are just too exciting to summarily dismiss. One of the most exciting speculations for fans of the genre concerns North American teams and the way they are likely to perform in this upcoming major. Indeed, the last time a NA team managed to fight its way into the playoffs of a major like the upcoming Columbus one, was in 2014 in Cologne, but specialists now agree that the chance for them to repeat that performance will definitely be there.
First of all, more NA teams have advanced into the major than ever before, so that alone increases their mathematical odds. When looking at cold-hard facts though, things are much bleaker, and it will definitely take an upset for one of these teams to advance, but the chance for such an upset is definitely there.
Based on the way they managed to fight their way out of the qualifiers, Splyce would be one of the teams to keep an eye on, but the group in which they landed is a rough one and they will likely not be able to repeat the miracle. Team Liquid on the other hand represent an altogether different brand of firepower and though they will be locked in battle with fnatic and FaZe, they might pull off an upset against the latter, given how fnatic are considered untouchable.
Counter Logic Gaming are an even better bet for the playoffs, though they too have some rather formidable opposition to face. The path to the playoffs probably does not lead through Astralis for these guys, but EnVyUs might be vulnerable in their current state and indeed, if CLG manage to eliminate them, they'll come up against the winner of the Gambit/nV bracket, and that means they might just make it.
With a new coach in the fold and with a string of impressive recent results under their belt, Cloud9 are definitely playoff-worthy this time. G2 proved to be a nut too tough to crack for them last time, but things have changed since and now G2 can be taken down. This match-up is probably what it will all come down to for Cloud9 as Natus Vincere will likely push them down and G2 will dispose of the weakest link, Virtus.Pro, thus setting up their direct confrontation.
Everything considered, the odds for NA teams in Columbus are far better than in previous majors, at least as far as the playoffs are concerned. How they'll perform past that point is a different question though. In all honesty, it is not likely we'll see any of them in the semifinals...
Peter Wassenberg works for the best spot for Overwatch news, Gosugamers.net.