The ninth iteration of Eden Arena: Malta Vibes Counter-Strike: Global Offensive tournament is already underway with Group A fixtures slowly coming to a close, while the remaining 12 teams are still waiting for a chance to prove their worth.

We will take a look at opening fixtures of Group C, where we will see the famous MiBR take on HellRaisers, followed by a Russian derby between Gambit Youngsters and forZe. All opening group stage matches are played in a best-of-one (Bo1) format, which should give the underdogs a slightly better chance to impress, but the question remains: Are they up to the task?

MiBR vs. HellRaisers – Eden Arena Malta Vibes Cup 9

Once a force to be reckoned with and a feared opponent in the CS:GO competitive scene, MiBR is now only a shadow of its former self, and even that is taking it lightly. The Brazilians are entering this match with a five-game losing streak, which they have earned with losses to Team Liquid (0-2), FURIA (0-2), G2 Esports (0-2), FaZe Clan (1-2) and Wisla Krakow (1-2).

While losing to the likes of Liquid, G2, FURIA and FaZe does not exactly spell the end of the world, seeing MiBR drop the ball against a tier-two team such as Wisla Krakow is concerning, to say the least. There is no hiding the fact that MiBR is in a terrible form, and it is fairly obvious that they are dealing with some internal issues, which are not likely to go away anytime soon.

In a bid to improve their performances, MiBR traveled to Serbia at the end of June, where they boot camped with European teams. That might seem like a good idea – given that EU region is significantly stronger than North America – but it can hardly be viewed as such. Back when they were playing on North American servers, MiBR were at least winning games, but now they are struggling even against second-tier opponents, which tells a lot.

MiBR’s newest addition, Alencar “trk” Rossato, has yet to show up, and the usual suspect, Epitácio “TACO” de Melo, continues to be more of a liability than an asset for this team. Overall, MiBR has won only 44% of its matches across the last three months.

HellRaisers, on the other side, are entering their opening match of Eden Arena Malta Vibes Cup 9 with a 2-3 record from their last five games. They have managed to defeat HONORIS (2-1) and Galaxy Racer (2-0) but lost against Natus Vincere Junior (0-2), K23 (1-2) and Gambit Youngsters (0-2).

As HellRaisers’ results would suggest, this team is nothing special, and while they occasionally get a win here and there, those wins mostly come against weaker sides. It’s also worth noting that while HellRaisers can have their flashes of greatness, this team quickly falls apart when the shots don’t go their way. Perhaps they’re the perfect opponents for the broken MiBR.

Prediction

It’s difficult to figure out just how well MiBR will prepare themselves for this match, and, since they’re under heavy fire from their fans via social media, it’s likely the motivation to perform won’t be there. Having said that, they’re facing HellRaisers, who are objectively a terrible team.

If MiBR doesn’t win here, they might as well shut down their CS:GO roster and start fresh. Bet on MIBR to cover the handicap!

Prediction: MIBR -4.50 Rounds – 1.90 at bet365

forZe vs. Gambit Youngsters – Eden Arena Malta Vibes Cup 9

The second Bo1 fixture on Thursday will see forZe clash with Gambit Youngsters, who they just met only three days ago in the Group D Winners’ match of the Eden Arena Malta Vibes Cup 8. The match ended with Gambit Youngsters securing a close 2-1 victory with a strong comeback on Inferno (19-17 OT), and Dust2 (16-13) after losing the opening map Overpass 16-13.

Dmitry “sh1ro” Sokolov was the main engine behind Gambit Youngster’s reverse sweep that day with his 77 frags and an impressive 1.25 HLTV rating. In contrast, their newest addition, Abay “Hobbit” Khasenov, left a lot to be desired with 46 frags and 0.83 HLTV rating.

On the side of forZe, Bogdan “xsepower” Chernikov and Andrey “Jerry” Mekhryakov both performed well and came away with over 60 frags and +1.10 HLTV rating.

In all honesty, there was not a single player on forZe who underperformed in the series, though we could point out Dmitriy “facecrack” Alekseyev, who could show a bit more since he managed only 0.99 HLTV rating.

As the score would suggest, their previous meeting was very close, so this could easily end both ways. In fact, forZe had an excellent chance to lock in a 2-0 win, but they choked on crucial maps and let the lead slip between their fingers.

Prediction

Bearing in mind that the previous clash between forZe and Gambit Youngsters took place only a few days ago, we can expect much of the same here. In other words, expect another close and exciting fixture, especially considering there is not a lot to set these two teams apart quality-wise.

Since this match looks like a complete coin flip, we have to play the odds and side with forZe as the underdogs. The 2.00 offered on forZe is very tempting, and since they could have easily won the first game, there is no reason to believe they can’t fix their mistakes and get a revenge win on Thursday. Bet on forZe to avenge their loss!

Prediction: forZe to win – 2.00 at bet365