Photo Credit: HLTV
The First Day
The first day of the major progressed relatively normally with a few upsets, but with most of the favorites moving through to the winner’s bracket. The only big surprise was the defending champions, EnVyUs, falling to the North American team, CLG. The French team managed to take a narrow lead in the first half on the T-side with a score of 8 to CLG’s 7. The second half was a completely different story with CLG cleaning up the previous winners with a perfect 9-0 T-side of their own. The second upset wasn’t as big of a shock as Liquid took down FaZe. Both teams were analyzed to be close in terms of skill with FaZe being given the slight advantage. Nevertheless, Liquid went to work and comfortably took down FaZe with a 16-11 score. The rest of the favorites managed to make it through the day safely, winning their games.
Photo Credit: HLTV
The Second Day
The second day brought about a flurry of huge upsets and turned the playoff brackets completely on its head. The first game of the day, mousesports vs FlipSid3, was a thriller that almost broke the 60 rounds mark as mousesports finally managed to win the match in the 5th overtime. The game saw a resurgence of the old CS 1.6 god, markeloff of FlipSide3, as he took it upon himself to drag his team out of some horrible situations, putting up 51 kills in the marathon of a game. However, on the other side, NiKo from mousesports, also put up an impressive show and even outdid markeloff with 52 kills.
The second game was not as exciting as the previous one with FaZe crushing Splyce 16-3 to eliminate Splyce from the major. However, the third game of the day set a number of firsts, at the expense of the defending champions. EnVyUs was taken down by the CIS team, Gambit, in a close 16-13 game with wayLander from Gambit playing lights out with a kill-death difference of 30-16. The huge performance by the sole Finnish player on the CIS team carried them over the finish line. This marks the first time a previous champion has gone out in the group stages and also the first time that a champion has gone out in last place in a major.
The next two games would also go to the favorites with Cloud 9 being dismantled by G2, 16-3, and Luminosity Gaming taking down fan favorites, NiP, in a 16-5 fashion. The LG vs NiP game is deceptive at first look due to the scoreline, but was in fact a heavily contested game in the opening rounds. Both teams traded rounds back and forth with both teams making big plays and even coldzera of LG getting a 1 vs 3 clutch with just a pistol.
The next game would be the biggest upset and shock of them all. NV losing could have been predicted because the French team had shown signs of weakness and not performing at their usual level over the last few months. However, Fnatic was touted as the strongest team in the world and having won the previous 6 LAN tournaments in a row, the title wasn’t simply an empty statement. Liquid was given no chance to beat Fnatic by the analysts, and even most of the fans. At the beginning, it was certainly looking this was with Fnatic taking a strong 5-1 lead on Dust II. Liquid came storming back with a 9 round streak of their own to take the half 10-5. A pistol round victory for Liquid saw the score blooming to 11-5 but Fnatic came back the next round winning with only pistols. The Swedish team would continue to breach the Liquid defense to take 2 match points at 15-13 and potentially smashing the hopes of the North American team. However, Liquid would hold on to take the match into the first overtime. In the first overtime, Liquid was the one to get to the first match point at 18-16, but similar to Fnatic in the regular time, couldn’t close out the match allowing Fnatic to tie it up at 18-18. In the second overtime, Liquid saw several big plays from stand-in adreN, EliGe, and superstar s1mple brought them to another 2 match points at 21-19. This time, the team didn’t fail to close out the match with s1mple finishing the last round with a triple kill. The victory gave the North American team a guaranteed top 8 finish and the “Legends” status for the next major, something that hasn’t happened in a long time for a North American team.
Today’s games will be four BO3 decider matches for the second seed in each group. The first game will be between mousesports and NiP followed by FaZe vs Fnatic, Gambit vs CLG, and finally G2 vs Virtus Pro. The full coverage can be found on Twitch and HLTV.