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Telia Esports Series Playoffs at GameXpo - who will win it all?

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

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SJ, HAVU, KOVA and Helsinki REDS fight for the championship of the second season of CSGO league.

The playoffs of the second season of Telia Esports Series CSGO league will be played at GameXpo on Friday 15.11.2019. The top four of the league meet each other and there were no surprises. SJ Gaming, HAVU Gaming, KOVA Esports and Helsinki REDS have been an obvious quartet behind ENCE, when Finnish CSGO teams have been ranked.

The two-time regular season winner SJ Gaming faces Helsinki REDS in the first match of the day (12:30 EEST). REDS didn’t win any of the playoff teams during the regular season. Luckily for REDS, the trio of Menace, HUKKA and VETO had no clear winner in the bottom four of the table. The shocking defeat against HUKKA could have been the end of season for Helsinki REDS, but Menace saved them by beating HUKKA.

SJ didn’t lose a single match during the regular season, it doesn’t matter when the playoffs begin. REDS have fought hard against SJ every time they’ve met on LAN, all the way until SJ have eventually won the third map. SJ can’t take their final spot for granted, but they’re definitely the favorite to win it all.

The other semifinal consists of HAVU and KOVA. HAVU finished the regular season second by losing only against SJ. All the other matches looked like a walk in the park for them. KOVA made it through with the third place of the table, by losing against both HAVU and SJ. They had clean wins against everybody else, except difficult overtime wins against REDS and Menace.

This is the first time HAVU and KOVA meet after swapping players. Joonas “doto” Forss joined HAVU and Samuli “Twixie” Herrala were transferred in September. After adding doto, HAVU has shown their skills all around the international competition, meaning that they are definitely the favorite of this matchup.

Team introductions with statistics

The following statistics are listed:

  • Average damage per round

  • Percentage of round being either entry fragger or entry death

  • Success rate of entry duels

  • How many seconds the player has flashed his enemies per round

SJ Gaming 21p (7-0-0-0)

  • Elias “Jamppi” Olkkonen - 86 - 41.8% - 58.2% - 1.65s

  • Mikko “xartE” Välimaa - 78 - 11.6% - 54.5% - 1.75s

  • Jesse “KHRN” Grandell - 83 - 10.1% - 52.6% - 1.36s

  • Tuomas “SADDYX” Louhimaa - 91 - 15.9% - 3.3% - 1.08s

  • Tony “arvid” Niemelä - 75 - 24.3% - 50.0% - 1.36s

The regular season winner SJ Gaming profiles mostly by their AWPer Elias “Jamppi” Olkkonen. He rarely just keeps one angle, but instead he actively want to win round by himself. In addition to Jamppi, their in-game leader Tony “arvid” Niemelä has an important role as the entry fragger. Against other playoff teams he has won 67% of his entry duels. Against weaker oppositions he had only 50% win-rate, meaning that he’s been a lot sharper against the toughest opposition.

The evergreens of Finnish CS scene, Mikko “xartE” Välimaa and Jesse “KHRN” Grandell play more passive roles giving more space for youngsters to make plays. Their experience has improved SJ Gaming especially on LAN. SJ has forgot their crushing defeat in the final of the first season against ENCE. This time they want to go all the way.

HAVU Gaming 18p (6-0-0-1)

  • Aaro “hoody” Peltokangas - 82 - 24.2% - 40.5% - 1.31s

  • Joonas “doto” Forss - 97 - 24.8% - 52.6% - 1.79s

  • Olli “sLowi” Pitkänen - 89 - 22.9% - 60.0% - 2.23s

  • Lasse “ZOREE” Uronen - 91 - 17.0% - 57.7% - 2.24s

  • Eetu “sAw” Saha - 90 - 15.0% - 69.6% - 3.50s

  • Taneli “disturbed” Veikkola, valmentaja

HAVU is quickly nearing the international breakthrough after adding doto to their lineup. They couldn’t win regular season after losing against SJ, but they’ve performed really well against both Finnish and international opponents. They have formed into a scary team to play against, even though they’ve had massive amount of online matches since the lineup change. They even 2-0’d the Major finalist AVANGAR earlier this week.

If they can keep the pace on LAN, they’re definitely the biggest favorite to win the championship. They have had their difficulties against Finnish teams this year, especially against SJ and KOVA. However, they look surprisingly ready after only two months. They want to show everyone that this time they won’t choke.

KOVA Esports 13p (3-2-0-2)

  • Samuli “Twixie” Herrala - 77 - 26.8% - 47.3% - 1.98s

  • Samu “uli” Leirilaakso - 89 - 22.0% - 51.1% - 1.58s

  • Nikita “derkeps” Sirmitev - 75 - 22.4% - 47.8% - 1.15s

  • Lauri “pietola” Hietala - 81 - 14.6% - 66.7% - 1.96s

  • Petteri “peku” Jaakkola - 71 - 17.6% - 50.0% - 1.78s

The in-game leader of KOVA Esports, doto, left for HAVU less than a month before the season started. They received young hitter Twixie in return and peku took the in-game leader role for himself. They gained the playoff spot without too much trouble, but matches against SJ and HAVU have been the opposite. They need to have a perfect match to beat HAVU in their semifinal.

Nevertheless, this tournament is important LAN experience for the young team. Their performance has been anything but stable, which has been expected after swapping in-game leader and a player two months ago. It’s highly unlikely that we could see a surprise victory by them like we did during Assembly Summer. Even a map win would be good for them

Helsinki REDS 10p (3-0-1-3)

  • Jarkko “spargo” Rahja - 70 - 32.3% - 61.7% - 1.60s

  • Juho “juho” Lampinen - 89 - 22.0% - 53.7% - 1.74s

  • Eetu “eDi” Astikainen - 77 - 19.9% - 54.1% - 2.17s

  • Verneri “BONA” Junkala - 80 - 14.5% - 54.1% - 1.84s

  • Pasi “VORMISTO” Koskinen - 73 - 15.6% - 51.7% - 2.48s

  • Toni “toNppa” Luhtapuro, valmentaja

Helsinki REDS is similar to SJ Gaming in many ways. Jarkko “spargo” Rahja is aggressive with his AWP just like Jamppi, and Juho “juho” Lampinen plays the entry role fierlessly just like arvid does with SJ. The addition of Juho has given them both firepower and unpredictability. During the regular season they crushed weaker opponents easily but against KOVA and SJ they trembled horribly at the finish line.

They need to find new tricks against SJ, because xartE has surely analyzed their playbook thoroughly. They simply cannot afford performances such as the loss against HUKKA. Either spargo or juho need to find the openings or REDS is in big trouble. At their best, they can beat SJ, but it’s unlikely to see them lifting the trophy on Friday.



  • SJ Gaming - Helsinki REDS 12:30 EEST

  • HAVU Gaming - KOVA Esports 16:00 EEST

  • Final 21:45 EEST

All matches are best of three and they are played on the Telia Esports Series stage. The GameXpo event takes place at Messukeskus Convention Center in Helsinki. Final broadcast begins 21:45 EEST on Twitch and Ruutu. The television broadcast on JIM channel starts 23:00 EEST.

Prize pool




Esports Series is brought to you by Telia in association with Assembly