Click here for all links to all sixteen of the team profiles for the Europe Closed Qualifier for ESL One Rio.
Rank (HLTV/ESL): #65 / --
Invite or Qualifier: Open Qualifier #3
- Lauri "pietola" Hietala
- Samu "uli" Leirilaakso
- Nikita "derkeps" Sirmitev
- Petteri "peku" Jaakkola
- Samuli "Twixie" Herrala
Five most recent results
- LanTrek 2020 = 3rd (LAN)
- ASUS ROG Winter 2020 = 7-8th (LAN)
- Europe Minor Open Qualifier #3 = 1st (Online)
- WINNERS League Season 3 Europe = 3rd (Online)
- DreamHack Open Leipzig 2020 Europe Open Qualifier = 5-8th (Online)
While most of the teams in the Closed Qualifier are top tier players and organisations in ESL Pro League or Mountain Dew League, KOVA are in ESEA Season 33: Advanced Division alongside the likes of fellow Closed Qualifier team Copenhagen Flames and Endpoint, the team they beat in their final match of the third Open Qualifier.
The Finnish scene is relatively small and while many of the names on the KOVA lineup might seem unfamiliar, the organisations and players they have competed alongside or on are recognisable ranging from iGame.com to HAVU to SkitLite, while former teammates are now on SJ Gaming and ENCE.
Finland's fan favourites ENCE have seemingly been cursed since the removal of OG's Aleksib and SJ Gaming took a heavy hit when 18-year-old Elias "Jamppi" Olkkonen was found to have an old VAC banned account, preventing him permanently from being able to compete in Valve-sponsored Majors.
There is a huge opportunity in the Closed Qualifier for KOVA to latch onto the lack of support for a Finnish side and continue the story that saw its first chapter written in the IEM Katowice 2019 grand finals.
Player to watch: derkeps
Realistically, any KOVA player could stand out during the online qualifier as each one enters the server as an unknown opponent to most teams.
In the last six months, derkeps has been the highest rated player (1.07) but different players on the roster have had their moments offline and online.
KOVA will be hoping to channel the spirit of Quantum Bellator Fire, the CIS team that made a run from the region's Open Qualifier all the way to Legends status in the New Champions Stage of the ELEAGUE Boston Major 2018.
Heroic in their opening match seems tough but the Danish lineup has not looked as dominant as they once did and a win there would help avoid dropping into a lower bracket that will be stacked due to the top-heavy bracket placing Fnatic, Dignitas and Complexity on the other side.