Another fantastic week of CS:GO action has come to an end. This past week 16 teams made their way to Belek, Turkey to battle it out for the share of a $500,000 prize pool. With Astralis and Liquid not participating, it was a chance for some teams to prove their worth.
The group stages were all best of 3 matches in a double elimination bracket. With the 16 teams being split into two groups of eight, only 4 teams would advance from each group. Group A consisted of the following teams:
- Imperial e-Sports
- Invictus Gaming
- Mousesports (Mouz)
Whilst both teams were stacked with talent, I think this group had the most uncertainty around it due to the upset potential that existed. The upset potential didn’t disappoint, that’s for sure.
Whilst things seemed normally on one half of the bracket, with Vitality finding their way to the group final, Renegades caused an upset with a 2-0 win over Fnatic on the other side of the bracket. Renegades then went on to pull off a 2-0 victory over Vitality, securing 1st seed in the group.
This Renegades upset really shook things up. It meant Fnatic and Mouz faced off early on in the loser bracket with Fnatic coming out on top. The 4 teams progressing in the end wasn’t too surprising, more so the seeding caught people off guard. Renegades, Fnatic, Vitality and MiBR all progressed, with MiBR surprising some with their strong performances.
This group initially looked clear cut but things took right from the start. Within the first two rounds of action G2 had knocked NaVi to the loser bracket and NiP defeated Evil Geniuses. G2 went on to secure first seed in the group with a 2-0 win over NiP, not something many had predicted to happen.
With so many top teams falling early, the loser bracket become a nightmare for everyone involved. The biggest shock was when Heroic beat NaVi 2-0, meaning NaVi were eliminated after winning just 1 map. Heroic continued the strong performance but fell short against Evil Geniuses 2-1.
Furia managed to win the battle of the underdogs against Avangar in loser bracket, securing their place in playoffs. The four teams advancing again had a surprising seeding order; G2 Esports, Evil Geniuses, Ninjas in Pyjamas and Furia.
So, things would surely settle down and go as expected when playoffs came around, but some teams had different ideas. The top two teams from each group advanced to the winner’s bracket semi-finals. This resulted in the following match ups:
G2 Esports 1 – 2 Fnatic
Renegades 0 – 2 Evil Geniuses
The winner bracket final consisted of a closely contested match between Evil Geniuses and Fnatic, with Evil Geniuses edging out on top 2-1 despite the 16-2 defeat they suffered in the opening map.
The Loser Bracket
The seeding confusion created a tasty loser bracket that threw all predictions out the window. The two opening matches both consisted of upsets, with Furia breezing past Vitality 2-0 and MiBR squeezing past NiP 2-1.
In the next set of matches Renegades brought the MiBR success to an end and continued their strong performances. In the other match Furia seemed to have the ambition to crush all hopes and dreams of French Counter-Strike fans with their 2-0 win over Vitality.
The day ended with a match up between Furia and Renegades for a top 3 finish. This was well and truly a shock to majority of fans and analysts. One of the underdogs would be advancing with one being eliminated. Furia managed to take the series 2-0 with 16-9 & 16-11 wins.
This meant the next morning Fnatic would face Furia who had become upset kings at the event. The Swedish team and fans had an early scare after doing down 1-0 in the series. The experience and upcoming raw talent in Fnatic came together to ultimately win the series after two insanely close matches.
Evil Geniuses and Fnatic met in the grand final of StarSeries & i-League Season 8, giving us a rematch of their encounter the previous day. With both teams winning major tournaments recently, it’s hard to say it’s a surprise to see them here. However, the route they had to take to get there was a surprise.
The previous day it was a back and forth series that ended up swinging in Evil Geniuses’ way. This time around, it looked clean and concise for EG with a 2-0 victory coming out. Neither map was overly close, Dust II finished 16-12 but swung heavily in EG’s favour after half time. Things looked even more convincing on Mirage, with Fnatic failing to win a round after half time.
After their victory at ESL One New York, many fans refused to give Evil Geniuses the credit they deserved. A huge part of this was the influence the home crowd appeared to have on the roster. This time around Evil Geniuses proved a point, that they can win without a crowd advantage, with no crowd at all actually. The next step is to repeat this success at an event with Astralis and Liquid.