Overview: The ELEAGUE CS:GO Major 2017

The first ELEAGUE CS:GO Major took place in Atlanta, Georgia from the 22nd – 29th January. In case you missed it, here is an overview of each semi final match, leading to the grand final. Hopefully there are more Majors held by the Turner Broadcasting Company in the future.

Semi Final Match 1 – Astralis vs Fnatic

Semi Final Match 2 – SK Gaming vs Virtus.pro

Grand Final

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Semi Finals – Astralis vs Fnatic

Astralis (Denmark)

  • Nicolai “Dev1ce” Reedtz
  • Lukas “Gla1ve” Rossander
  • Markus “Kjaerbye” Kjaerbye
  • Peter “dupreeh” Rasmussen
  • Andreas “Xyp9x” Hojsleth

Fnatic (Sweden)

  • Joakim “Disco Doplan” Gidetun
  • Olof “Olofmeister” Kajbjer
  • Dennis “dennis” Edman
  • Simon “twist” Eliasson
  • Freddy “Krimz” Johansson

Game 1 – Cache

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Astralis playing at the ELEAGUE studio (Courtesy of WWG.com)

In the first semi final game Fnatic exploded from the terrorist side of Cache. Disco doplan and dennis gained a double kill each. However Astralis instantly neutralized the Swedes with a beautiful headshot from Kjaerbye. At 3-1 down Fnatic recovered during the first gun round of the game. They’d gained mid control and performed a successful B split. Despite the previous execution, Astralis pressed their lead with Dupreeh at the helm. The Danes were ahead 6-2, with an 11-4 stat on the entry fragger.

Although Astralis were in a comfortable lead, a costly mistake from Kjaerbye led to another round on the board for Fnatic. The youngster threw a smoke grenade which gave disco doplan enough cover in a 2v1 clutch. Regardless of the blunder Kjaerbye was determined to make up for his mistake, with their backs against the wall Dupreeh and Kjaerbye’s solid entry frags gave the Danes a great ending to the half. The half ended 9-6 to Astralis with Dupreeh at a fantastic 110 average damage per round.

Half time

Gla1ve and Dupreeh carried Astralis through the pistol round. Unfortunately for Fnatic disco doplan failed to do any damage at crucial points of the round. Later, Fnatic opted for a force buy twist on the scout paid off for them. It was a great decision that gained momentum for the team. At round 21 the score was 11-9 to Astralis. The Danes checked every crevice with molotovs in the middle of Cache. After using the strategy to gain mid control Dev1ce shut down four members of Fnatic and secured the round from the A site. Round 24 was an imperative one for the Swedes, however they failed to close the round. The Danes were in full swing, led by the star man Dev1ce who began to dictate the game with the AWP. Despite taking the back seat for most of the second half Kjaerbye popped up to get a rifle double kill and put Astralis on map point at 15-10.

Under pressure disco doplan performed a flash of brilliance with a pistol double kill in the storage room to keep Fnatic in the game. Regardless of the map point Astralis were struggling to close the game. Fnatic had 12 rounds to their name now and the Danes’ economy was broken. 12 quickly became 13 as Astralis couldn’t overcome the disadvantage they’d snowballed from such a poor economy. Fnatic veteran Krimz secured yet another round and again had broken their economy. The Major semi-final opener went down to the wire.

The score was now 15-14 in favor of Astralis. In a tense clutch versus Gla1ve, Olofmeister had to defuse the bomb to bring the game to overtime. The Fnatic legend performed a nail-biting defuse whilst shrouded in smoke. Meanwhile in overtime Xyp9x consistently dealt with Krimz in two 1v1 clutch situations. Astralis recovered from the second half disaster with incredibly solid overtime performance winning the first three rounds. With Astralis on map point, twist’s brilliant AWP peek from the B site in a 1v1 clutch denied the Danes going up 1-0 in the series. Dupreeh’s great early push put Astralis in a good position during the fifth round of overtime. Luckily, Fnatic could recover the round but they’d forgotten about Kjaerbye were punished. Astralis took the first map to go up 1-0 in the semi-final series.

Game 2 – Nuke

Astralis came out firing in the pistol round with an impressive four kills from Dev1ce. The Astralis star became increasingly comfortable and carried the team to go 3-0 up. Although Fnatic were losing 4-0 they went for a double AWP setup on their CT side, rarely seen on Nuke. Regardless of the unconventional tactics, it had paid off for the Swedish team. Dupreeh narrowly missed out in his 1v1 clutch against dennis who successfully defused the bomb and wasn’t bluffing. At round 12 Astralis were in full control of the game. Fnatic didn’t look very comfortable as a team on the map. Dev1ce had impressive stats at 15 kills, he was becoming a problem for the Swedes. The Danish players played well across the board and were ahead 10-3.

Half time

The half started on a 1v1 clutch, disco doplan vs Xyp9x, the Swede was eventually denied the defuse. Astralis executed proficiently on their map pick, it was clear how experienced they were. At 14-3 to the Danish side, Fnatic had to make a move or they were leaving the Major. Krimz was the guy making the moves and the most consistent on the Fnatic team throughout the series. Round 21 saw Astralis on map and series point. Dev1ce was playing world class CounterStrike. The Danes closed the series and had an answer to Olofmeister and the team. It was Astralis’ first time at a Major final.

Semi Finals – SK Gaming vs Virtus.pro

SK Gaming (Brazil)

  • Gabriel “Fallen” Toledo
  • Marcelo “coldzera” David
  • Epitacio “Taco” Melo
  • Ricardo “Fox” Pacheco (Portugal)
  • Fernando “FER” Alvarenga

Virtus.pro (Poland)

  • Wiktor “TaZ” Wojtas
  • Filip “NEO” Kubski
  • Jaroslaw “pasha” Jarzabkowski
  • Janusz “Snax” Pogorzelski
  • Pawel “byali” Bielinski

Game 1 – Train

After a patiently planned engagement SK Gaming take the opening pistol round. The terrorist side stormed the A site whilst Snax and byali were caught napping. Equally important was the flow of momentum to put SK up 3-0. On the first buy round Taz defended the B site calmly with beautiful headshots. Virtus.pro got their first round on the board. TaZ’s patient play put VP ahead on round seven. The Polish veteran shut down everything coming into the B site on Train. At 6-3 to Virtus.pro, the Brazilian side were forced to take a timeout before the game got out of hand. The Poles were in firm command on their counter-terrorist side of train. Round 13 saw SK Gaming on an eco buy that resulted in a loss. At half time SK Gaming were desperate to get away from the T-side and luckily the captain Fallen managed to scrape a round for the team before leaving it. The half ended 10-5 to Virtus.pro.

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Fallen, coldzera and Taco – SK Gaming (Courtesy of ELEAGUE)

Half time

Similar to SK Gaming, VP took the second half pistol round just as patiently. However their plans failed as NEO got unlucky in a 2v1 clutch and Fox got the defuse. SK Gaming gathered momentum on their CT-side in round 18, Fallen got his AWP. Although he’d purchased the AWP nothing came of it as he was unable to hit his first shot. Round 20 was imperative to Virtus.pro. The Poles decided on a risky force buy with pasha on the AWP. With hopes pinned on pasha the experienced sniper found two kills during the round. He robbed the Brazilians from what should have been an easy round. SK were beginning to creep up on VP. The score sat at 12-10 in favour of the Poles. Despite this the VP’s economy was poor resulting in an streak of rounds for SK.

Regardless VP waited on their inevitable buy round, SK Gaming struggled against VP with their chosen arsenal. The game was very back and forth, and had eventually tied at 13-13. Round 28 was a gun round that’d put one team in the driver’s seat. Everything connected for Virtus.pro, the Poles made decisive moves on the B site and planted the bomb. Again, VP used the same strategy and stormed into B with assertiveness, SK were once again forced to save. Fortunately for SK, Taco was able to take the game to overtime. In overtime both teams opted for a double AWP setup. NEO came up big for Virtus.pro, the veteran secured the round from A site in a 2v1 clutch. Taco immediately answered back with a 3k on B protecting the site from a plant. At 18-17, Virtus.pro were on map point in overtime. On the gun round Snax and NEO managed to close out the game on the A site of Train. Virtus.pro took the first map 19-17.

Game 2 – Cobblestone

Taco and FER teamed up to stare down NEO and take the opening pistol round as counter-terrorists. With SK 3-0 up, it came to the opening gun round. The Brazilians with a Portuguese stand-in took the important gun round without losing a player. With their backs against the wall the Polish side began to apply pressure on their gun rounds. They’d brought the score to 3-5. However they had Fallen’s AWP to contend with, the in-game leader carried the team with a 3k. The next gun round was during round 13. With the score tied 6-6, SK decided on a double AWP setup. The tactic worked for the Brazilians although Fallen was taken down coldzera recovered his AWP. In the last round of the first half SK Gaming held their two round lead, led by star player coldzera’s 3k.

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Snax and TaZ – Virtus.pro (Courtesy of ELEAGUE)

Half time

The back and forth continued, it was an incredibly close battle, the teams had nine rounds each. Pasha performed highly with a fantastic 3k in the 20th round of the game.
In 23rd round SK Gaming applied pressure on VP despite being on an eco buy. The round ended in a 1v1 clutch between TaZ and FER, TaZ’s gorgeous headshot to the Brazilian prevailed empowered by the chanting crowd. After VP’s brief timeout  it was the 26th round. The score was 14-11 to the Polish side. Coldzera, Fox and Taco secured this round for the Brazilian team. TaZ put Virtus.pro on map point with a great double kills spray to the enemies in the underpass. However VP could not close the series just yet. SK’s excellent boost at the A site caught Polish side unaware. They were exposed to Fox’s rifle and were shut down. On the last round of the map, VP had to pull something out the bag. NEO stepped up big in the last round getting a double kill as well as kills all round for the rest of the team. Virtus.pro progressed to the grand final after a 16-14 win versus SK Gaming.

Grand Final – Astralis vs Virtus.pro

Game 1 – Nuke

Dev1ce engaged upon VP flanking their backlines as a counter-terrorist. Astralis played calmly in the pistol round making sure they could secure it. Not content on sitting back, the Poles took a huge gamble and opted for Tec-9s that paid off for them despite their arsenal disadvantage. Regardless of the fantastic opening round for Astralis, VP gained momentum from the Tec-9 decision. The Danes lost five consecutive rounds and had no answers to Virtus.pro on gun rounds. It wasn’t until the 8th round that Astralis got into the game. Dev1ce AWP play took the score to 5-3 in favor of Virtus.pro. Snax’s incredible 3v1 clutch and overall 4k kept the Poles ahead in a tied 6-6 on the 13th round. The first half ended 9-6 to VP, byali was the standout player of the half with 16 kills.

Half time

Despite under-performing in the first half, Xyp9x came out firing in the second half and took the pistol round for his team. The first buy round of the half was important for VP, now tied with Astralis at 9-9. Virtus.pro took advantage of the unforced errors produced from the Danes. VP took the 21st round as Kjaerbye failed to 2v1 clutch. TaZ’s experience shone bright to outplay the youngster and get the defuse. However Kjaerbye quickly redeemed himself in round 23 in a 1v1 against NEO. It was an amazing headshot while the veteran was hidden in smoke. Gla1ve stepped up for Astralis, again taking the veteran down and bringing the score to 12-12. Round 25 saw Virtus.pro came up huge with an eco round with vs Astralis on a full buy. Fantastic play from the Poles put them on map point and Astralis on tactical timeout. On their first map point of the game VP took full advantage of the opportunity NEO took down Xyp9x in 1v1. The long standing Polish team went 1-0 in the grand finals.

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Virtus.pro at the ELEAGUE Major (Courtesy of ELEAGUE)

Game 2 – Overpass

In a split-second defuse byali secured the pistol round for VP, assisted by TaZ who provided protection. Dupreeh didn’t take the next round lightly and handled a 2v1 clutch in spite of the lesser economy. Although VP won the pistol round they didn’t start to come back until the first gun round. However the come back was short lived as Gla1ve and Dev1ce produced two double kills each. Astralis won yet another round after VP’s strategy was snuffed out. The Poles let put most players on B site to defend, Astralis read this and rushed A to secure the round. Later, Snax dominated Astralis shutting down their bomb plant with a 2v1 clutch the score was now 3-6 in favor of Astralis. Inspired by Snax’s play, VP snowballed and got a few more rounds on the board. The first half ended with a team ace by Virtus.pro, however Astralis were still in the lead with the score at 9-6.

Half time

Astralis took the second half pistol round on their CT side. VP were baited massively whilst on the A site. Angered by the previous round, NEO connected his headshots with the scout on a force buy to apply immediate pressure to the Danes. Xyp9x did an incredible 3v1 clutch despite being taken to 1hp, Astralis clinged onto their lead at 11-9. On round 21 byali’s flash blunder was capitalised on by Dev1ce and Kjaerbye. Astralis hit their stride and extended the score in their first Major final. After winning a couple more round VP decided to take a timeout after byali and pasha’s great entry frags. Astralis led 13-11. Eager to overcome byali’s blunder, Virtus.pro took four rounds in a row. Astralis began to sweat as the Poles closed in. VP got into the heads of the Danes and were only two rounds from hoisting the ELEAGUE Major trophy. In a nail-biting 1v1 Kjaerbye kept his team in the Major. Defeating Snax on the B site, the youngster wasn’t ready to throw in the towel. It was now 14-14 on Overpass. Determined to get to Train, Kjaerbye kept his team in the Major, his rifle connecting with NEO on B. Kjaerbye and Xyp9x refused to crack under pressure and closed the game for the Danish side. Astralis took the map 16-14.

Game 3 – Train

Virtus.pro rushed the B site on the pistol round, giving Astralis no choice but to cower into the corner on CT side. The Polish side were off to a flying start, winning the first gun round where both teams committed to a full buy. The Danes were losing 5-0 and had to call a timeout to regroup and discuss their strategy going forward. The timeout amounted to nothing for Astralis, they couldn’t stop VP’s late push to the A site. After losing seven rounds in a row Astralis finally secured a round preventing Snax from a 2v1 clutch. Despite the losing situation Astralis were in, it was the Kjaerbye show as he took the star role. The young Dane got numerous kills which resulted in secured rounds for the team. Dev1ce looked to have capitulated mentally, the score was 8-5 to Virtus.pro. VP finished the first half 9-6, Snax immediately shut down Kjaerbye before he had an opportunity to make an impact on the game. NEO dominated the pistol round with an instant 2k from the CT-side. VP continued to dominate Astralis until the Danes’ full buy into the round. However the winning rounds didn’t last long for Astralis. VP soon regained control over the game the score was 13-7. Meanwhile, Xyp9x’s consistency became a problem for the Poles as Astralis won four rounds in a row. The Dane’s rifle accuracy was met with no re-frags and he went three consecutive rounds without dying. After a sneak from NEO to gather information it was clear Astralis planned on a B bomb site plant. Snax took full advantage of the information and got an important 3k. With Astralis gaining so many rounds the game was tied 14-14. At this point VP took a tactical timeout to reflect on the situation.

Half time

The Danish side decided on an aggressive rush onto the A site that worked out for them. Astralis dominated the second half. On map point Kjaerbye and Dupreeh secured the round with a fast rush to B. This time they met VP who were in a desperate panic to take the game to overtime. Despite the pressure the Major final brought, it was embraced by Kjaerbye who took the spotlight.

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Player of the Match: Markus Kjaerbye

The young Dane played insanely well to secure the ELEAGUE player of the match. Astralis won the ELEAGUE Major 16-14 versus Virtus.pro.

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Astralis winning the ELEAGUE Major (Courtesy of ELEAGUE) 
Left to right – Xyp9x, Kjaerbye, Dupreeh, Dev1ce & Gla1ve.

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Overwatch: A worthy eSport?

Written by Joanne “TheEmpress00” Watson. Date: 03.08.2016.

This FPS has a competitive mountain to climb.

Turner Broadcasting have recently announced an Overwatch Open. As ELeague will now include Overwatch in its television broadcast, a critical look will be taken at how engaging this will be for the spectators and analysts of the game. After a successful first season of ELeague, broadcasting Valve’s CounterStrike: Global Offensive (CS:GO), there are a lot of changes Blizzard would have to make in order to consistently gain a respectable amount of viewers.

“It’s too casual!”

A statement Overwatch fans have heard on too many occasions. For eSports fans it became quickly apparent that there were downsides to watching competitive play. Blizzard were forced to make changes such as limiting each team to one unique hero each to prevent duplicates. Good move. However advocacy for competitive Overwatch is whittling as most games are complete chaos that lack depth. Unlike a game such as CS:GO that requires one less player (five) on each team and is approached in a careful, much more tactical matter allowing for new viewers to follow and become easily engaged. Currently Overwatch is a mess as the camera cannot keep up with the amount of actions being performed simultaneously, routes a player takes and when they use their abilities for example. The spectator mode features no demos, no different angles to view the game from and no replays. No addition of a mini-map hinders the experience too. A player’s position on the map can be used to predict an area of focus for the camera before it’s too late. Currently the focus is during the action, making it difficult to see who initiates the attacks etc.

“Give us the numbers!”

Statistics are imperative to anything classified as a sport or eSport. Having barely any data to analyse at the end of a competitive game is simply detrimental to it.
Fans and people within the eSports industry need to know the following information at the very least:

  • Damage done
  • Healing done
  • Damage blocked
  • KDR (Kill to death ratio)
  • Objective time

From here averages will be calculated. Based on the information so many different decisions can be made such as purchasing a player, making predictions, writing a feature article and determining who the best player is.

Due to this Overwatch will have a very tough time portraying itself as an eSport via television and online. Although it’ll be good for the exposure of the game, the total pandemonium in the end will hold it back. Adjustments need to be made by Blizzard and fast.