IEM Oakland – The CS:GO Grand Final Overview

The Intel Extreme Masters (IEM) grand finals took place on the 20th November. The Oracle Arena, Oakland, hosted two of the biggest teams in CS:GO, SK Gaming and Ninjas in Pyjamas. We have a look at the teams competing in the grand finals and who became the champions of IEM Oakland 2016.

Grand final – Ninjas in Pyjamas vs SK Gaming

The grand final featured the all Swedish team, Ninjas in Pyjamas and the Brazilian powerhouse SK Gaming. It was a clash of the titans in this three map thriller. The players to watch:  Forest, FalleN and ColdZera. Forest and ColdZera played consistent high-level CounterStrike throughout the tournament. Whilst SK Gaming captain FalleN was on fire with the AWP from the previous series versus Astralis. But how would he fare against the different beast that is NiP?

Game 1 – Train

Recently named the best Train team in the world SK Gaming went into the map with confidence. Despite SK’s recognition on train they lost the opening pistol round. NiP took the round from their CT side, after successfully denying the bomb plant from SK. Although NiP won the first round, Get Right made a huge blunder totally mis-spraying from the B site. As a result SK answered back straight away with FER catching the enemies whilst disadvantaged using only the Tec-9.

Despite this, Forest managed two M4 frags early to give NiP hope, the veteran took the Swedes score to 2-3. SK saw the momentum starting to swing so therefore decided to take an early timeout. The timeout played a huge role, gaining the correct information and using it effectively. The score was now 5-3 to SK Gaming. ColdZera won an easy 1v2 due to his skills and higher hp. Whilst Pyth and Forest were playing well SK remained in full control of the first half. The Brazilians led the half 11-4.

coldzera
ColdZera (courtesy of HLTV.org)

Half time

The Ninjas had a mountain to climb, in addition SK Gaming are highly regarded as the best team in the world on their Train counter-terrorist side. Similarly the Brazilians took the pistol round in impressive fashion, ColdZera and FER putting in noticeable performances. However NiP continuously got the bomb plant for the added money bonus. Although the bombs were being planted the Brazilians shut them down every round. The first map was incredibly one-sided. SK Gaming lived up to their reputation on Train. They never dropped a single round on their CT side. Equally they stomped NiP, the map ended 16-4.

 

Game 2 – Cache

The opening round was extremely interesting. Forest and FER grabbed back-to-back USP headshots to their enemies until it eventually came down to a 1v1 duel. FER came out the victor of the duel to put SK ahead. With the game at 2-2, NiP went into the next round with all AK47s across the board. The Swedes managed to lose the round, regardless of having the better arsenal. The map was very back and forth that was until Get Right began warming up by taking more favorable duels.

Round 10 was an imperative one as SK went for a high risk buy with FalleN and ColdZera both on glass cannon (no armor) AWPs. But the high risk buy didn’t pay off, it resulted in a lost round. Nonetheless, SK never learned their lesson from this. The Brazilians then went for an even more dangerous buy-in with two AWPs and an auto sniper. The result of this was the same, a loss. At this point NiP had a huge lead with the map at 10-3. Pyth’s fragging transitioned well from Train to Cache and this time Forest joined him. The first half ended at 10-5 to NiP. SK managed to cling on picking up an extra two rounds.

Half time

A great headshot from Forest gave NiP an instant advantage, from this they grabbed the pistol round. However ColdZera responded immediately with fantastic headshots on two of the NiP players each of them taking only one bullet each in quick succession. The world class Brazilian helped bring the score to 6-12, then continued on to win a 1v1 to close the gap further to 7-12. ColdZera put in a top tier performance winning yet another 1v1 clutch, despite the amazing plays the Swedes led 12-9.

Xizt
Xizt (courtesy of HLTV.org)

The Ninjas in Pyjamas had their backs against the wall. The Brazilians were beginning to breathe down their necks. When they needed it most Forest confronted an on-form ColdZera and won out. At round 26 the map started heating up. ColdZera, Forest and Pyth were all playing incredibly well. Likewise Brazilian captain FalleN began hitting his targets. The score was 14-14, the map came down to the wire. NiP snatched the huge 29th round with a clutch double kill from Pyth. Xizt came alive with the auto sniper in the final round of the map with a deadly headshot to FalleN. The map ended 16-14 to Ninjas in Pyjamas.

Game 3 – Cobblestone

NiP came out firing in the pistol round in the third map of the IEM Oakland grand final. Additionally with all the advantages the Swedes continued the momentum and went 3-0 up. However it changed during the first buy round for SK Gaming, FNX shut down the last remaining NiP player. Regardless of this NiP were firmly in control of the game. The map looked promising for the Swedes lead by Xizt who had eight kills and only one death in the opening six rounds.

Taco grabbed three crisp P250 kills to put SK at 2-5. Equally important was ColdZera’s 4k a round after, whilst on an eco round. In spite of the small hiccups the Ninjas kept a handle on their lead, even though the tension for them increased. Round 15 saw SK Gaming at a slight disadvantage in their arsenal with FER only on a CZ. However a great round from FalleN rendered the CZ purchase a non-factor for the team. SK remained behind by five rounds, at 5-10.

Half time

Pyth
Pyth (courtesy of HLTV.org)

The Brazilians barely took the second half pistol round as Pyth put the team under immense pressure. The Swede almost managed a sneaky defuse but was eventually spotted out. SK continued to sweep the Ninjas in Pyjamas, only losing one player in the 18th round. At round 21, SK were on the heels of NiP. Again they lost only one player and were closing the gap at 10-11. The all Swedish side struggled to cope with a red hot ColdZera.

 

Round 23 was tense for the young Brazilian Taco. The rifler clutched out a 1v2 on the terrorist side whilst the CTs had to defuse the bomb. Dropping two rounds behind NiP had to come up with something. Xizt on the auto sniper was that something. He picked up three kills with the Scar 20 to bring the score to 13-12 to SK. Despite being in the lead, Forests form began to intimidate the Brazilians who decided to take a couple of timeouts.

Similar to the previous map the score was at 14-14 in the grand final. Get Right, Forest and Friberg pulled it out of the bag for the Ninjas, everything connected for them when it mattered most. SK went into the final round of the map with Tec-9s in the hopes of taking the map to overtime. For the Brazilians beating NiP with only Tec-9s was too much to ask. After picking up a kill and managing to get crucial information before going down, Get Right sat nervously hoping he’d done and seen enough. Friberg and Forest benefited the most from Get Right’s efforts and they closed the round. The Swedes won 16-14 and were crowned IEM Oakland 2016 champions.

NiP lift IEM Oakland shield
Ninjas in Pyjamas – IEM Oakland Champions 2016 (Courtesy of Yahoo Esports)
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Epicenter – The CS:GO Grand Finals Overview

Epicenter host the biggest CS:GO event in Eastern Europe held in Moscow, Russia. The event took place from October 17th to 23rd. With a $500,000 prize pool at stake let’s see who became the champion of this Epic Esports Event.

The VTB Ice Hall sports arena was the venue for the semi and grand final of the tournament. This huge arena has a maximum capacity of 12,100 people. These eight teams were wittled down to two for the grand finals. One of which being the unlikely and unexpected Danish side, Team Dignitas. Here is an overview of the grand finals when underdogs Team Dignitas took on the Polish veterans, Virtus.pro.

Team Dignitas vs Virtus.pro (Best of three)

Rosters

Team Dignitas

  • Emil “Magiskb0y” Reif
  • Rene “CajunB” Borg
  • Ruben “Rubino” Villarroel
  • Kristian “k0nfig” Wienecke
  • Mathais “MSL” Lauridsen

Virtus.pro

  • Wiktor “TaZ” Wojtas
  • Filip “neo” Kubski
  • Pawel “Byali” Bielinski
  • Jaroslaw “Pashabiceps” Jarzabkowski
  • Janusz “Snax” Pogorzelski

After a close game against Na’Vi in the semi finals, Team Dignitas made it to the grand finals with the biggest win for their current roster. Magiskb0y’s great performances on every map led the Danes to victory. Virtus.pro had an unconvincing first game versus SK Gaming, but managed to bring clinch the second map, Nuke winning by three rounds. VP then sent SK home with a solid 16-4 victory on Cobblestone.

Map 1 – Nuke

Virtus.pro came out firing in the first map, winning the pistol round and putting Dignitas on the back foot. While the Danes had a poor economy Virtus.pro made sure they capitalized on it. Byali getting two triple kills in the first few rounds to extend their lead to 7-3.

vptaz
Virtus.pro’s TaZ. Courtesy of GosuGamers

Constantly Magisk was left in 1 vs x situations with no hope to clutch the round. Byali and Taz’s good showing put VP in a prime position up 11 rounds to 4 in the first half.

In the second half Team Dignitas took the pistol round followed by the next two. At 11-7 the Danes were beginning to close in, however VP had other ideas on their buy round. A successful defuse by Virtus.pro shut out Dignitas to go to 12 rounds. An incredible hold by Neo in round 20 stretched their lead further and put Dignitas under more pressure. Neo was beginning to show up after the demoralizing quadra kill hold and a double kill afterwards. The Poles were up 14-7 , yet Team Dignitas kept an unshakable mentality. They made sure they would at least go into double digits on their end and took it to 10-14. The Danes struggled to shut down Neo as he consistently put up high numbers with multiple frags each round. Although Dignitas got into double digits it was still a sour game for them. Virtus.pro took the map 16-11.

Map 2 – Cobblestone

Determined to put the last map behind them, Team Dignitas took an early lead with a pistol round win. Rubino’s nice triple put the Danes three rounds up. Virtus.pro started to play more cautiously on their CT side, Snax  provided the team with good holds to close the gap. In round 7, Magiskb0y got an amazing quadra kill but couldn’t put the cherry on the top for the clutch win. With the clock at less than ten seconds the young Dane went to plant the bomb. Completely unaware of how close Neo was, the veteran picked up the easy kill to take the round for VP.

magisk
Team Dignitas’ Magiskb0y. Courtesy of HLTV.org

Despite this Magiskb0y was still performing brilliantly with a 12 kills and 5 deaths only 12 rounds into the map. Virtus.pro were feeling the strain on this map Neo was forced to win a gut-wrenching clutch vs MSL.

The first half ended 11-4 to Team Dignitas. Rubino lead his team to a second half pistol round win with an impressive USP triple kill. Magiskb0y and Rubino really carried the team on their back. Both boys had outstanding stats against the veterans of the game. The pair remained composed and closed out the map with a great 16-5 win.

Map 3 – Mirage

In the final map Dignitas won yet another pistol round in impressive fashion. The eco rush from VP caught out the CT side and leveled the scoring at 1-1. Although the Danes were startled they kept up their impressive form from the last map. At 7-1, Dignitas were performing like a top tier team. Rubino, MSL and Magiskb0y were giving Virtus.pro serious problems. The Polish side needed to pull something out of the bag. With the score at 1-12, Byali stepped up to do so with a fantastic ace. But it was to no avail.

The young Danes completely shut out VP’s T side with an extremely impressive first half finishing 13-2. With such a horrible scoreline for the Poles, the second half pistol round was a must win. Fortunately they took the round. Virtus.pro struggled to carry the momentum forward, every player on Team Dignitas was on fire. PashaBiceps and Snax were non-existent in the map the pair had a disappointing 16 kills combined in 21 rounds. Dignitas closed the map 16-5 and won the best of three 2-1.

“Today everyone was fired up!” – Ruben “Rubino” Villarroel

The underdogs became victors in this truly great series. We have a new team to take the Great Danes title from Astralis. The Danes had never been in a final as their current roster. The first final they reached they became champions. Team Dignitas battled through to claim their $250,000 first place prize.

HLTV’s tournament MVP was Kristian “k0nfig” Wienecke.

Overview: Gfinity’s CSGO Tournament at EGX

This year I attended EGX in Birmingham, UK to cover the Gfinity CS:GO Invitational. For the CS:GO fans that missed the event here’s a chance to catch up on all the important details. 

The Gfinity CS:GO Invitational consisted of four European teams. These four teams were 2015 winners Team EnVyUS, Mousesports, GODSENT and Epsilon Esports. These four teams battled hard to take home the $50,000 first place prize. On Friday 23rd September the tournament begun with the first match on LAN, all French side Team EnVyUS vs Epsilon Esports. The next day we’d see Mousesports against GODSENT and Sunday, the grand final.

Team EnVyUS vs Epsilon Esports

Mousesports vs GODSENT

Grand Finals

 

Team EnVyUS vs Epsilon Esports

 

Epsilon Esports CSGO Team
Epsilon Esports – left to right. BARBARR, disco doplan, freddieb, REZ and draken.

For the underdogs Epsilon this was an opportunity for a big break. However, Team EnVyUS had other ideas coming into the first map Mirage. The map was over before it had even begun. The French roster strolled into a 3-0 lead on the T side after taking the pistol round. They were only contested once Epsilon were able to complete a full buy. This recipe for disaster left Epsilon trailing behind 5-10. After another comfortable pistol round Team EnVyUS closed the first map 16-5.

The next map was Cobblestone one of Epsilon’s best maps. Draken starting landing important AWP shots becoming a threat to EnVyUS’ CT side. The Swedes lack of experience held them back from winning the game in a convincing fashion. EnVyUS were playing patiently, picking their moments to strike and capitalising on the enemy mistakes. The game got to an astonishing 10-10 after Epsilon took both pistol rounds for themselves this time. EnVyUS’ smart timings on when to force buy was keeping them in the game, especially Happy’s desert eagle shots. At 14-14 the game started growing in intensity.

Epsilon Esports
Epsilon celebrate after disco doplan clutches the game-winning round vs Team EnVyUS.

When the pressure was on, Epsilon’s superstar had arrived. EnVyUS committed to another force buy but were punished by disco doplan this time, getting an amazing three kills in a 2v4 clutch to end the game at 16-14 to his team.

Moving onto Cache Epsilon showed no signs of slowing down. Their solid pistol round resulted in a 6-2 lead. Draken impressed with an amazing AWP flick shot to win a 1v2 clutch. The great plays of the team’s main AWPer extended their lead to 12-3 at half time. But the Frenchmen were not swayed by the scoreboard. Epsilon were put on the back foot immediately, losing the pistol round and ecos that followed. Team EnVyUS went on to win seven rounds in a row. The lead that Swedes had worked for began to diminish. Eventually the semi final was decided in double overtime, DEVIL ended the game with a demoralising ace.

 

Nuke was the next map in the schedule. Epsilon lost the pistol rounds, which resulted in detrimental eco buys. The first half ended 9-6 to Team EnVyUS with a few easy rounds for the French side. REZ’s nice pistol plays couldn’t save them. EnVyUS asserted their authority only dropping one round in the half. KennyS produced the goods with many AWP kills. The EnVyUS AWPer couldn’t be contained by the Swedes. Epsilon lost the game 7-16.

EnVyUS and Epsilon shake hands
Team EnVyUS progress to the final.

 

Mousesports vs GODSENT

 

Mousesports
Mousesports – left to right. chrisJ, oskar, NiKo, Spiidi and Denis.

Saturday’s action brought us Mousesports vs GODSENT, with Cache the first map. In common CS:GO fashion the pistol round winners claimed an early 3-0 lead. GODSENT took the lead, however it wasn’t without any first half hiccups. Mousesports’ starlet NiKo was always going to be a problem for the Swedes. The Bosnian’s consistent high level play put Mousesports ahead 9-5 at half time. GODSENT found weaknesses to expose against the mixed European side. Oskar, Mousesports’ new main AWPer struggled to put up respectable numbers. GODSENT capitalised on his poor performance and costly mistakes. The all Swedish roster managed to come back and close the game at 16-11.

NiKo and Spiidi
NiKo and Spiidi celebrate after the game

The second map had everyone hyped, Mirage. According to analysts this was the best map for both teams, it was expected to be an exciting game. This did not come to pass. Mousesports were firing on all cylinders from the T side. NiKo, again was stretching the defence of GODSENT. The Germany-based team led 12-3, GODSENT were getting completely rolled over and Oskar all of a sudden wasn’t exploitable. The Swedes were prolonging the inevitable, as NiKo was impossible to stop at this point. Mousesports made a clear statement closing GODSENT’s best map 16-5.

On the third map Dust2 it was a much closer affair. Mousesports’ CT side wasn’t as solid as the prior times. The first half was incredibly tight between both teams. Spiidi and Denis most surprisingly keeping the European team in the game. After a back and forth first half, the game eventually steadied at 14-14. JW and KRIMZ managing to keep GODSENT in contention and bring the game to overtime. Their efforts were short lived as the oldest member of Mousesports chrisJ stepped up to take the game 19-17.

GODSENT struggle
GODSENT can’t find an answer for NiKo.

Overpass was where GODSENT looked to improve after their demoralising defeat. GODSENT’s experienced players were able to get a few rounds in the first half due to their good positioning and overall team strategy. Their weakness was their communication in skirmish scenarios. The Swedes struggled to win rounds where effective communication was imperative like 2v2 situations. ChrisJ was even allowed to grab a 1v3 clutch to extend Mousesports’ lead. The mixed European team managed to finish the half 11 rounds in front. At 13-2 GODSENT began to realise the harsh reality they facing. GODSENT never won any rounds in the second half of the Overpass map, the game ended 16-2 to Mousesports. Mousesports progressed to the grand finals with a 3-1 series win.

Grand Finals

Four teams became two for the Gfinity Invitational Grand Finals, Team EnVyUS vs Mousesports. The first map going into the final was Cache. EnVyUS were the first out the gate to get a lead with their force buys paying off. Mousesports struggled against the Frenchmen. EnVyUS dealt with Mousesports even with their risky all-in buys. They finished the opening half 11-4. Coming into the second half the tides turned for the mixed European side. Mouz had gained full momentum after taking the pistol round, steadily catching EnVyUS to bring the score to 11-11. NiKo yet again had the Frenchmen scratching their head at how to control him, however a switch in tactics helped them close the game in overtime. Good performances from Happy and apEX meant the game ended 19-17.

Mousesports took pistol round going into Cobblestone, however they never capitalized on it. As a result EnVyUS punished Mousesports with force buy antics. Most noteworthy was Happy and apEX pioneering the French to a 5-1 lead. While NiKo did all he could, his flashes of brilliance couldn’t restrain Team EnVyUS. Although he achieved multiple kills in some rounds, Mousesports’ economy constantly got reset. The first round of Cobblestone finished 5-10 in EnVy’s favor. Team EnVyUS kept up the pace going into the second half, yet it was the young Bosnian again keeping Mousesports in contention. NiKo provided the team with a more stable economy to apply pressure, while EnVyUS waited it out for a full buy. The full buy paid off, Happy’s AWP 3k gave his team the win.

Happy
It wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows for Happy.

The German-based team came out all guns blazing and all shots on target in Dust 2. ChrisJ and Denis had the most notable pistol performances giving Mouz a 5-0 lead. As a result the boosted economy meant the team had much more freedom, especially relevant was NiKo and ChrisJ’s clutch 2v4 situation to take the score to 9-2. Team EnVyUS desperately tried to find something but the first half ended 4-11 to Mousesports.

When in serious need of a pistol round, EnVyUS had found it. The Frenchmen took the momentum forward, while Mousesports were continuous forced to ecos. These budget purchases meant EnVy could slowly get back into the game. The mentality of the major winning players came into full effect. KennyS was a man on a mission and his AWP shots were on target now, at the deadliest time. At 14-13, Mousesports cracked under the immense pressure EnVyUS put onto them. Spiidi and Oskar were nowhere to be found now, whilst KennyS and apEX were more than accustomed to the situation. However it was DEVIL that stepped up to bring the game to a close, with a triple kill to take the Gfinity trophy. Team EnVyUS won the game 16-14 and the series 3-0.

Team EnVyUS lift Gfinity Trophy
Team EnVyUS lift Gfinity Trophy

 

Please follow me on Twitter TheEmpress00 and PixelFire Gaming. All pictures taken by me.

Preview: Gfinity’s CS:GO Tournament at EGX

This year’s EGX event will play host to Gfinity’s CS:GO tournament brought to you by Omen by HP with a $100,000 prize pool.

 

Gfinity’s CS:GO tournament takes place on Friday 23rd September, a day after the pros vs fans show games. Birmingham, UK will entertain some of the best CS:GO players in the world. Here’s a preview of the teams that will be attending and players to watch out for. The four teams locked in teams are Team EnVyUS, Mousesports, Epsilon and GODSENT.

 

Team EnVyUS

KennyS
Kenny “KennyS” Schrub – Courtesy of HLTV.org

Team EnVyUS have a very experienced team and current holders of the EGX title, winning in 2015. However the all French team haven’t looked the stable presently. Having said this, the calibre of their roster means that they should be a solid competitor for any of the teams attending this tournament. Kenny “KennyS” Schrub will be the player to watch for Team EnVyUS. He is a very consistent and solid awper, despite the team’s recent downfalls.

Mousesports

Niko
Nikola “Niko” Kovac – Courtesy of HLTV.org

For Mousesports this competition is a way for them to make a statement. The absence of so many top tier teams means that the organisation will have increased pressure to perform. Failing to put in a great performance here would be hugely detrimental to the team. Nikola “Niko” Kovacs is definitely the definitive factor for Mousesports. The young Bosnian plays world class Counter Strike at a reliable rate with incredible aim and game sense.

Continue reading “Preview: Gfinity’s CS:GO Tournament at EGX”

My Interview with James Bardolph

jamesbJAMES BARDOLPH IS THE VICE PRESIDENT OF FACE IT MEDIA AND ECS COMMENTATOR AT FACE IT LTD.DIRECTOR OF ARMSHOUSE TV, ONE OF THE MOST SUCCESSFUL FIGHTING GAME BROADCASTING COMPANIES AND TOURNAMENT ORGANIZERS.

I received quality answers from the esports businessman that I thought were worth sharing. I managed to get his opinions on PixelFire’s tournament the Hitbox Challenger Cup. Additionally advice for young people wanting to get into the esports industry. James Bardolph is an expert in the esports industry with a lot of solid business knowledge.

Some questions during the interview maybe specific to the United Kingdom, as it is the location of James and I.

1. HOW DO YOU LOOK TO IMPROVE THE UK CS:GO SCENE? TO GET MORE PEOPLE INTERESTED ETC (NOT JUST CALL OF DUTY / FIFA).

Depends on what you mean specifically, as it is a question thrown around a lot, mainly in reference to lack of a competitive team in CSGO.  On lower levels the scene is good in my opinion, and that is from someone who attends LANs themselves (I attended i55 LAN with a team). If you mean getting more people involved in CSGO, I think more large scale live events like the ECS finals at Wembley will encourage people a lot. Also a great opportunity for people who have met and played together online to meet in person and forge stronger relationships with each other. Perhaps events like that can help expose people to the existence of LANs in the UK like Insomnia and epicLAN. I think a lot of it is about exposure, both to people playing now who may not be aware of their local competitive scenes and also to a mainstream audience who would find it interesting.

2. WHO IMPRESSED YOU THE MOST DURING ECS SEASON 1 FINALS AND ESL ONE COLOGNE 2016?

I think it has to be Shox’s G2 who impressed the most, they beasted everyone. They were written off as a team following the exit of Ex6TenZ, and what a great way to prove people wrong. Shox playing towards the top of his capability, and ScreaM finally finding the way to unleash the beast. Everyone likes an underdog as well. The way they ran over FalleN’s team on maps the Brazilians have shown strength on was amazing.

At ESL One Cologne for me it was Liquid’s run to the final. They beat big teams to get there, tons of exciting individual play, and everything was against them. After the horror stories from their previous major where they lost multiple huge leads, the storylines from Hiko’s video as well and his CSGO career to this point, s1mple’s farewell Liquid tournament it was something beautiful to witness to watch them make the run. Such a great story. Was an honour to commentate some of it.

3. WHAT ARE YOUR OPINIONS ON THE HITBOX CHALLENGER CUP AND THE OPPORTUNITIES FOR SMALLER TEAMS?

I like it – it’s a small cup so viewers can easily understand the storylines and follow all the teams in the tournament, and it also gives exposure to teams outside the usual suspects which is great and important for the ecosystem. We’ve seen through FPL that increased exposure to more players leads to more opportunities for everyone which is fantastic.

4. WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO YOUNG ESPORTS JOURNALISTS?

If you are a budding writer wanting to get into journalism, don’t get stuck doing basics like interviews. Look at Richard Lewis, Thooorin, Lurppis and real articles on various websites. Be informed about your chosen subject to write about and check and double check your information. When I had more time with photography, I always wanted to do documentary photography, however I never got beyond taking photos at protests/marches (the easy stuff) so indeed I was a basic bitch in that respect. Don’t make that mistake. Much sure you educate yourself on what makes a good journalist. Perhaps get a copy of the book ‘Essential English for journalists, editors and writers) especially if English is not your first language.

5. WHAT ARE YOUR OPINIONS ON GINXTV COMING TO SKY SPORTS?

The more exposure the better. Our ECS finals were on Ginx and a chap I used to work with randomly tuned in and saw us on there which is pretty cool. I know people who have worked with Ginx a bit and I think they are a good company to work with to give esports more exposure. Going up to the first question about the UK Scene this will definitely help! Hopefully journalists will pick up on this soon and ask more questions (ideally not ‘is esports sports’).

6. WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO LESSER KNOWN ESPORTS CASTERS?

Get demos/replays of games and commentate them yourself, ask commentators you respect for feedback. When you think your commentary is to an acceptable level at the very least, start uploading commentaries to youtube on your own channel, then email every org you can think of and offer your services. Tell them who you are, where you live and your general availability. If you are able to stream yourself let them know, if your connection is not good enough let them know you can be a secondary online commentator or you can commentate in person. I would have started commentating Counter Strike much earlier but my home connection still to this day has .7 upload.

7. WHAT DO YOU THINK OF GAMING LOUNGES SUCH AS MELTDOWN BAR AND OMEGA SEKTOR?

I’m very familiar with Meltdown Bar, when my main job was still commercial real estate I actually helped them find their premises. It’s another great way for people to get involved and meet people, also if you have a crap PC or connection these bars are a great help. Every city I go to, if I have time I seek out a gaming cafe to play some CSGO and see what the community is like. I’ve recently found lots of smaller community-run gaming cafes which are great to see. The more the merrier.

I would like to thank James Bardolph for taking the time to answer our questions. You can follow his twitter page and my twitter.

ECS Season 1 – The Finals Overview

Written by Joanne “TheEmpress00” Watson. Date: 28.06.2016.

 

The finals for CounterStrike: Global Offensive took place at the SSE/Wembley Arena from the 24th to 26th of June 2016. Joanne “TheEmpress00” gives an overview of the finals.

Select your favourite team or view all:

Astralis
Cloud9
Fnatic
Ninjas in Pyjamas
Team Liquid
Team SoloMid
Luminosity Gaming/SK Gaming
G2 eSports

Astralis

astralis
(Left to right. Dupreeh, Karrigan, Kjaerbye, Dev1ce and Xyp9x).

The ECS Season 1 finals was a bad day at the office for Astralis. Their failure to make any significant impact in their best of three series against Cloud9 led to an early exit after being beaten 0-2. During the first map, played on Dust 2 Astralis’ terrorist side looked lethargic whilst Cloud9 were making much more pro-active movements on the map. Astralis’ new addition Markus “Kjaerbye” Kjaerbye showed his talents towards the end of the game. His frags keeping the team in the game for a few more rounds, however it was only prolonging the inevitable. The other players were constantly caught unaware and at times looked unfocused. The second map was on the Overpass, where Astralis’ performance again wasn’t very impressive losing four pistols rounds to Cloud9. Cloud9 went into the game with a much better mentality then Astralis, not being fazed when mistakes happened that lost them a round. The all Danish side seemed reckless and lacked the communication needed to give Cloud9 a decent challenge.

Cloud9

Cloud9
(Left to right. Nothing, Skadoodle, Stewie2k, Shroud and Slemmy).

Cloud9 had a solid performance at the ECS Season 1 finals. The NA team showed more cohesion as a unit than the European side, Astralis. Cloud9 came into the series with sharpened skills, Jordan “Nothing” Gilbert consistently getting the important frags to claim the round. Jake “Stewie2k” Yip’s unpredictable and brave entry-fragging was catching the counter-terrorist side of Astralis out over and over again. Tyler “Skadoodle” Latham was coming up big with the AWP also, making it difficult for Astralis to provide a solution for dealing with him.

disappointedskadoodle
Skadoodle failed to find the answers against TSM.

For Cloud9 the problems came later, when their next series was against Team SoloMid. Cloud9 struggled against a commanding TSM, with the new young talents of Sick, Twistz and Autimatic. Captained by the veteran players FNS and sEMPHis, Cloud9 lost the series 0-2 eliminating them from round two of the losers’ bracket after their victory to Astralis. The young TSM team came up with the goods after Cloud9 couldn’t really come up with any way to contest them. It is was clear that Cloud9 were putting an extra amount of pressure on themselves due to the unproven TSM team. Whilst TSM went into the game with nothing to lose and it had paid off for them.

Fnatic

fnatic
(Left to right. Flusha, Olofmeister, Dennis, JW and Krimz).

After winning their best of one matches against Cloud9 and TSM in the winner’s bracket. Fnatic had only G2 eSports standing in their way to reach the grand finals. Fnatic hoped to meet Luminosity Gaming to put a stop to their impressive form. However to their dismay G2 eSports happened to be on hot form. Overpass was the first map to be played in the best of three series, where Fnatic only managed to win two rounds. One of the rounds consisting of a mistake from G2 eSports themselves. Richard “shox” Papillon, Adil “ScreaM” Benrlitom and Cedric “RpK” Guipouy all had other ideas for Fnatic reaching the grand finals each finishing with high kill to death ratios. The next game was a lot closer on the map Dust 2, but in the end G2’s counter-terrorist side was just strong to contest with. Edouard “SmithZz” Dubourdeaux was coming up big with the AWP taking two players down from Fnatic most of the time. The closer second game was a tough pill to swallow for for the Swedes but there was no denying that shox, ScreaM and RpK were on top form.

Ninjas in Pyjamas

NinjasinPyjamas
(Left to right. Friberg, Forest, Xizt, Pyth and GeT_RighT).

NiP began in the opening match versus Luminosity Gaming. LG determined to keep their title of being the best team in the world, made sure the momentum would only end in their favor. The best of one game was a close one NiP were performing well on the terrorist side of train after a good performance on counter-terrorist side. The Swedes were a few rounds ahead and in a comfortable position. After a few eco rounds from LG, NiP had to be ready for Luminosity’s retaliation of a full buy. The Ninjas began to buckle, simply disrespecting the AWP skills of Gabriel “Fallen” Toledo, peeking when they had no business doing so. The disrespect resulted in a loss 12-16 relegating the team to the loser’s bracket.
The tournament didn’t get any easier for them with G2 eSports to face in a best of three. G2 were coming up big on the rifle rounds and were keeping up their hot form. NiP had lost the first game 4-16 on Cache looking too reserved and passive. Richard “Shox” Papillon was showing how scary he can be with just about any weapon in his hands this tournament. The second map begun with NiP going toe to toe with G2 on Dust 2. Early in the game the Ninjas had given G2 seven terrorist side rounds by the first half. The second half NiP went with a risky default strategy that managed to win them a few more rounds. G2 consistently held as counter-terrorists when the opportunity for a full buy arose Edouard “SmithZz” Dubourdeaux performed well holding the A site from long. His AWPing becoming a human blender for anyone trying to attack A site from short. The Swedes weren’t taking it to G2, but instead letting them play their game without the firepower to match them.

Team Liquid

team liquid
(Left to right. JDM64, s1mple, Hiko, EliGE and nitr0).

After coming out the victors in their best of one game in the winner’s bracket against G2. Team Liquid confirmed the rematch (best of three series) by losing to Luminosity in round two of the bracket. Not shaken by G2’s previously dominating games versus NiP, TL went into the game with full confidence. Mostly fighting fire with fire both teams weren’t being very strategic throughout the first map constantly taking aim duels.

simplejdm
S1mple impressed with JDM64’s performance with the AWP.

Joshua “JDM64” Marzano, Oleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev and Spencer “Hiko” Martin were winning Team Liquid a lot of important rounds. Edouard “SmithZz” Dubourdeaux was at times playing a little over confident which cost G2 rounds that should have been competitive. Combine this with JDM64 that couldn’t be controlled with the AWP and the enemy had a mountain to climb. He was making game-winning plays with the sniper rifle, double kill after double kill with no response from the French/Belgian side. Team Liquid took the first game 16-12 on Cobblestone. Dust 2 is where G2 came back in a big way, going even until forcing TL into an eco round. It was G2’s time to pounce. The momentum gained from their rich economy only snowballed from there. It was a scary time for TL, G2 proving that with an economy advantage they are incontestable. JDM64’s AWP skills couldn’t bail them out this time especially with the rest of the North American side looking so lack-luster. Liquid lost the game 6-16. On the deciding map Nuke, TL were unsettled. They looked uncomfortable on the map, whilst their opposition looked well-practiced. S1mple wasn’t able to turn on the style and was completely shut out unable to make an impact. Team Liquid were eventually knocked out by G2 losing 11-16. Cedric “RpK” Guipouy was awarded the MVP for the series after an extremely solid performance in the decider.

Team SoloMid

team solomid
(Left to right. SicK, autimatic, Semphis, Twistz and FNS).

After an impressive showing against Cloud9 here, TSM were looking like a strong contender in the London tournament. Winning the loser’s bracket TSM had no time to celebrate their win over rival North American team Cloud9.

The young talents had to prepare for Luminosity Gaming next, a serious challenge for any CS:GO team. Game one was a solid victory for LG, capitalizing on the mistakes of the youngsters. Unlike previous games of the ECS finals, TSM’s lack of experience was beginning to be exposed. The Brazilian team (known for performing well on Overpass) always managed to secure the important rounds as Team SoloMid caused them no real problems. Luminosity Gaming had been sure to do research of the Americans prior to the series, concentrating on winning the pistol rounds. TSM lost to Luminosity 3-16 in game one.

twistz
Twistz hopes the rest of the team can win TSM the round.

In game two TSM simply didn’t look comfortable on Cobblestone. It was clear to the spectators that Team SoloMid still had work to do if they wanted to be considered one of the best CS:GO teams. The unnecessary peeking resulted in punishment from Gabriel “Fallen” Toledo’s AWP. Dropping of the bomb in open areas that could easily be monitored by the counter-terrorist team. Twistz (pictured right) couldn’t show the consistency seen on Cobblestone prior to the game and performed under par. Despite the loss to Luminosity, TSM still played very well in the second game narrowly losing 14-16 . They were not expected to make it that far in the tournament so credit to them for getting to the playoffs. If they can play more tactically and cut out the amateur mistakes then this young talented team could be very dangerous. A respectable finish for Team SoloMid.

Luminosity Gaming

luminosity
(Left to right. Fallen, ColdZera, FNX, Taco and Fer).

For Luminosity Gaming they were coming into the ECS Season 1 finals as the favorites to win. There was no denying that in 2016 they have been the most dominant team in CounterStrike: Global Offensive winning ESL Pro League Season 3, DreamHack Austin 2016 and MLG Major Championship: Columbus. Captained by the best AWPer in the world Fallen and his second in command rifler ColdZera, everyone hoped they’d be meeting Fnatic in the grand finals. However G2 eSports had other ideas, already confirming their place in the grand finals stomping over Fnatic to get there. LG had comfortably beaten TSM to obtain their grand final spot, explained here. After such a straightforward victory Luminosity Gaming were looking like a strong team. This maybe affected their mentality going into the game versus G2. The Brazilians knew G2 would give them a much bigger challenge, knowing this it was almost as if they were giving G2 too much respect. Their decision-making had altered from other games. They expecting them to be better than they were when in reality they could have pushed further or peeked to gain more information. This was easier said than done for Luminosity, of course. The French/Belgian side were firing on all cylinders, playing out of their minds. The first game in the map Dust 2 saw Richard “Shox” Papillon using flashes and smokes very effectively, whilst Adil “ScreaM” Benrlitom capitalized on their disadvantages. His one taps constantly put LG on the back foot they couldn’t afford to be hit repeatedly but there was not much they could do. ScreaM was on fire; Luminosity Gaming lost this close game 11-16.

G2 eSports

G2 esports
(Left to right. Shox, ScreaM, bodyy, RpK and SmithZz).

G2 continued their red hot form into the next game of Overpass. This is a map Luminosity were heavily praises for their performances on, however G2 showed their true strength. Already 1-0 up in the best of three G2 had no plans of taking it to a third game. It was a complete massacre as G2 asserted their dominance over the tournament. Everything was working for G2 like a well-oiled machine. Every player came to win the main three of ScreaM, Shox and RpK flexing their muscles, meanwhile SmithZz played above average and bodyy provided more reliability despite being less experienced. G2 were hungry for the trophy and it showed. In Overpass Luminosity were simply outplayed and outclassed, they had no answers for the form G2 was in. Shox was performing like a man possessed with the pistols achieving an astonishing four headshots in a row to win G2 a round. It was really incredible to watch such top players at the peak of their form. G2 had won 16-5 against the current best team in the world Luminosity Gaming on one of their best maps. They truly deserved to be called champions after this extremely impressive victory. This tournament has only made ESL One Cologne 2016 look even hotter with Fnatic, Luminosity (will be SK Gaming) and G2 all in the same group along with FaZe (that have the potential to cause an upset). The future of CS:GO is looking a lot more exciting after this performance.

victoryg2
Champions G2 eSports lift the ECS Season 1 Finals trophy.

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