NIP vs. Heroic - Who Will Win the Opening Match of IEM Cologne?
Which Scandinavian will be stronger?
The map veto in this match is incredibly flexible for one reason - both teams are not playing Dust2. And therefore, they can not ban this card in the first stage, which opens up a huge tactical scope. The biggest issue for NIP in this veto will be the Overpass ban. The Swedes play this map well, but at the same time, Heroic plays it even better. Their win rate on it is 81%. The most likely map veto options are Ancient-Overpass-Inferno, Inferno-Vertigo-Nuke, Overpass-Inferno-Mirage, and Overpass-Inferno-Nuke. These maps may be selected in a different order depending on the order of the teams. NIP will likely still try to beat Heroic on Overpass, but this will be a mistake. The most favorable option for the Swedes will be the second option, but the first one is also beneficial. In it, Heroic bans Dust2 to hedge against surprises from NIP, which gives the Swedes the opportunity to pick Ancient. The veto map looks slightly more favorable for Heroic in this showdown, but it all depends on the NIP's answer to their big question.
Both teams are roughly equal in form, but NIP hasn't played for a long time, which makes their results less relevant. On the other hand, NIP and Heroic haven't played each other for a long time, so the form should be learned from games with other tier-1 teams. And in such matches, the Swedes often have problems. Lately, the team lost to Cloud9, BIG, FaZe, and NaVi, which are comparable in level to Heroic.
At the same time, the Danes look unstoppable. Their game changed a lot after signing jabbi, and after the Play-In Heroic stage, they generally became one of the favorites of IEM Cologne. Also, what is worth mentioning is their win streak, which is equal to seven matches.
Heroic is looking much stronger in this matchup. The Danes are better both in map veto and in shape. Will the NIPs be able to impose a fight? It depends on their actions on the map veto. You can view detailed pre-match statistics here.