REMATCHES TELLING DIFFERENT TALES
TYLOO VS ence (0-2)
While Thursday settled which teams would be advancing to the semi-finals thanks to two consecutive wins, namely FURIA and G2 Esports, Friday would sort out the good from the better. So much so that the first match of day, played at an early 10 in the morning, would involve ENCE playing against TYLOO, members of Group A, setting up for the Decider Game to follow.
TYLOO and ENCE both suffered losses yesterday, as explained, to FURIA and Movistar Riders respectively and desperately needed a win here in order to have a chance to continue further into the playoffs. The two would try to beat one another on the maps of Inferno and Mirage, maps both of them had played on Thursday against other oppositions.
Kicking off map 1, on Inferno, ENCE celebrated a hot start, helping establish an early 5-0 lead over TYLOO. While the Asian Champion would do well to recuperate some rounds, they couldn’t recover the deficit by the end of the first half, finishing behind ENCE through a 9-6 scoreline on the CT side, as plays from Sergej like the one below made it rather difficult.
ENCE sprang into the second half adamant to end it quickly, swiping 4 more rounds – TYLOO again took their time to read and respond ENCE’s plays. When they did manage to string some rounds together, ENCE started breaking a sweat – pulling 5 rounds consecutively pushed the game within one round at 13-14 for ENCE. With the air oozing tension, the Finnish Champions managed to avoid the comeback and stop halt TYLOO at a 13-16 score. After yesterday’s 14-16 loss to FURIA, it must have been frustrating for the Asian Champions to lose out again after toiling so far into a map. An astonishing 30 kill game from “suNny” highlighted the map.
The remaining map of Mirage would be less contended than the earlier one. With this time TYLOO starting out on T-side, they eagerly picked up 4 rounds, lead by “BnTeT”. Despite their efforts, ENCE would offer just enough retaliation to keep the scoreline at about even, swapping sides with a round in hand for TYLOO – they let it slip. Indeed, ENCE once again started another half focused, slipping 5 rounds under the carpet. TYLOO scrambled to claim two of their own, but another string of 4 from ENCE convincingly ended the match at 10-16.
In terms of individual performance, “suNny” seriously led his team to victory, with a total of 58 kills, with the most damage at 99 and most first kills to put him at a rating of 1.52. I’m afraid that this outcome does in fact mean that TYLOO is out of the competition – presenting the community with some incredible matches, they’re absence will be sorely missed – they just couldn’t close out some of their maps. ENCE now moves one step closer to the semi-finals.
Team spirit vs big (2-1)
This was the most exciting BO3 yet in the competition, running to the last map. Just like the match above, this would also serve as an Elimination game, but this time for Group B and this time, it would all go down to the wire. Both Team Spirit and BIG conceding their first games yesterday, a new opportunity dawned for one of them to make it further into the competition while the other would have to contemplate the bitter taste of defeat. It was this drive which fueled the epic display of competitive CS:GO which would grace our mainstage here in St.Julian’s at the Intercontinental Arena. The maps of Dust2, Nuke and Mirage patiently waited to be drilled with gunfire.
The big doors of Dust2 would open first, and BIG wasted no time in securing the opening pistol round, following it up with two more as the CTs to open with a respectable 3-0 start. Unfortunately for them, Team Spirit had other plans, taking 7 rounds in a row, leaving BIG guessing at a 10-5 scoreline – it seemed like Team Spirit would take the map unless BIG could comeback. Spirit quickly answered the question with a convincing ‘no’ as their CT side saw an additional 4 rounds hit the board. While BIG did suspend the ineviatable with an intense 5-round streak, all was futile as Spirit kicked down the door at 16-11.
Albeit a rough start for BIG, they were far from defeated. As they loaded up Nuke, they shook off the loss and prepared for a map which they would clearly soon show to favour, although they didn’t at first. They did in fact, claim the first round, though this victory was isolated by a gap of 5 rounds, which went the way of the CTs in Team Spirit. Resisting to let it slip, with their tournament life at stake, BIG pulled together 6 rounds of their own – streaking rounds seemed to be quite a characteristic of the series. The first half ended in Spirit’s slight favour, at 8-7. The second half would go on to put BIG in the CT spawn, and a show of dominance graced the arena – cleaning up Spirit by winning 9 of the remaining 11 rounds.
Everything came down to the final map, an absolute treat of a competitive CS:GO game. Both of these rosters, flying in from Europe to here in Malta, desperately wanted to progress through to the next round. Mirage being the map left in the BO3, Team Spirit fired up the scoreboard with 4 opening rounds on the T side. The remainder of the first half would see 2 rounds go one way and 3 rounds the other – rounding off at another indecisive 8-7 score in BIG’s favour. It’s in the second round where things would get a tad crazy. Spirit, now CT, took 2 rounds and so did BIG – it was here that Spirit simply got fed up and decided to win 6 rounds in a row, putting them on the cusp of victory at 15-10. Cornered and fearful of a loss after much deliberation, BIG suddenly went absolutely huge and you guessed it, fancied tying it all up at 15-15. The Champions Cup Finals would observe its first overtime – and in this case, Team Spirit geared up and simply took the last 4 rounds consecutively, beating out BIG, finally.
Now we can take a step back and pay some attention to the individual players. Both rosters performed incredibly with their own stars: “iDISBALANCE” shining for Team Spirit at 68 total kills and the highest rating (1.18) thanks to his incredible AWP play, while “smooya” headlined BIG with 67 of his own kills. The nail-biting BO3 is the longest one we’ve seen yet at the Champions League – Team Spirit deserved the win, while BIG went out fighting in true champion-like fashion.
Movistar riders vs ence (0-2)
The rest of the day had 4 teams compete in direct rematches from earlier in the tournament – yesterday to be in fact, the first of which saw Movistar Riders confront ENCE once again, the one I was more excited for personally due to how the first encounter went. Specifically, Movistar Riders managed to pull off an incredible win, surprising ENCE with a 16-7 win and to quote one of the castors’ in the greenroom – “they’ll need a team psychologist after that one”. Heading into the rematch, ENCE would not let the past come into fruition again.
Starting on Overpass, Movistar Riders took the CT side with a confident return to the stage thanks to 4 consecutive round wins. ENCE, fueled by a flash of defeat from the past, did their best to stay in the game, though Movistar’s hot start left them in the dust of a 10-5 score. Moving onto the CT side, it would take quite a few rounds to make for a superb comeback. This is the Champions Cup Finals, and everything is possible. ENCE dug deep, spawned in, and prepared for the best comeback we’ve seen this event.
Deterred by a couple of rounds from Movistar, ENCE chose the moment to comeback from a 12-5 deficit – we were all in for a treat, as 11 epic rounds would absolutely throw Movistar Riders hopes of winning straight into the in. Seriously, ENCE dismantled them in the second half, putting on a clinic and playing some quality CS:GO – the task of finishing the game seemed too much for Movistar. Continuing his form from the earlier game against TYLOO, “suNny” once again headlined his team, with a staggering 27 kills. This was probably the most impressive comeback witnessed in the competition yet. Movistar wasn’t necessarily getting out slain, just failing to capitalize on each one of their kills as ENCE did.
ENCE felt confident – they already took one map off an enemy that had beat them just a day ago, and slowly crept into a comfort zone. Indeed, Mirage would offer quite a comfortable setting for them against Movistar. Loading in with pistols on the CT side, they may have conceded an initial round, but they quickly demonstrated a fine use of eco rounds, piling 5 together.
It was clear that “suNny” was back in business once again, and Movistar became aware of this, avoiding his sightline. Grateful for a pause, the Spaniards went into the half at a deficit of 3 rounds – 6-9 in favour of ENCE. Would ENCE let Movistar steal it like they did yesterday? No, they absolutely wouldn’t, as even “allu” wouldn’t let mere objects such as boxes get in his way.
Only offering Movistar an allowance of 2 rounds, ENCE showed off an impeccable T side, with 5-rounds at a go, to end the map at 8-16, putting them through. Movistar certainly didn’t have their best performance on Mirage, but it simply wasn’t enough against an aggressive ENCE, as they fail to proceed further into the competition.
Without presenting itself as much a surprise, on an individual basis, “suNny” simply stole away the entire series – dominating the rest of the leaderboard at a total of 51 kills, 13 more than the nearest player, deserved rating of 1.48. ENCE are through to the semi-finals possibly due to such a stellar performance from the player – he’ll be especially essential during the semi-finals.
HARD LEGION VS TEAM SPIRIT (0-2)
I’ll have to be honest here – this was a complete wipe out, being the most one-sided series so far in the tournament. Acting as the determinant as to whether Hard Legion or Team Spirit would proceed to match up against FURIA, the stakes were high and this was it, the final chance. The thing is, this match was, yet again, another rematch; in which the original, Hard Legion took Team Spirit down through map 30 on Train. Things were different now – this was an elimination game, a best-of-three and Train would not be played.
Instead, Dust2 and Inferno were the maps drafted for the series, and nobody knew what to expect. The first map of Dust2 set a record for the Champions Cup Finals, which I’ll describe in a minute. Anyways, Hard Legion courageously charged into T-side with a vengeance and went on to secure a shocking 7 rounds in a row, leaving Spirit rather baffled as to what to do. An immature thought would have Legion taking the rest of the map, but Spirit had other plans.
Sporting a doughnut on the scoreboard and 7 rounds down, Spirit now had the opportunity to truly define the meaning of a comeback. You guessed it – the Europeans won a total of 16 rounds uninterrupted; an astonishing feat. There’s no point going into specifics – they won 16 rounds in a row, leaving Hard Legion with their tail between their legs. Such an achievement came off the back of some commendable performances from the slayers of “chopper” and “mir”, who really shined when they were needed. Hard Legion was not happy about that, and it showed on the second map.
Out of the frying pan, and into the Inferno, Hard Legion was desperate to start strong to try and stop the piling pressure from Team Spirit. On the T side, they managed to steal away the first three rounds from Spirit, but that didn’t really last long. Team Spirit eventually checked in to destroy Hard Legion – Legion only managed to win two more rounds, explaining a 16-5 scoreline. Not much to elaborate on here; Team Spirit showed that they are the better team, while Legion depart from the competition.
Taking a look at the numbers, “mir” owned each category for the series, having the most kills (48), damage (105.4), assists (8) and first kills (9) to lead up to an overall rating of 1.68. An interesting fact is that in terms of first kills overall, Hard Legion only got 6 less than Team Spirit – they demonstrated a shocking inability to capitalize on opening frags. Team Spirit move on to face-off FURIA.
That’s it for Day 2 – we have our semi-finalists. ENCE will match up against G2 Esports, being my personal one to look out for, while FURIA will face Team Spirit.