JUST ONE DAY LEFT
Another heart-racing day of competition has parted us through the third day of the Champions Cup Finals. St. Julian’s has never seen such a level of competitive CS:GO, churning up the winds all over the island in contention, as the $300,000 are closer to being claimed by the rightful champions. 8 teams set out on this journey, either following an arduous qualification stage or having the honour of being invited – now only 4 remain and 2 of them are in our grand final as determined by the two semi-finals played out today. Let’s take a look at each of the couple of games and realise our grand finalists.
G2 ESPORTS VS ENCE (2-1)
I’ve probably said this every day so far, but this time I mean it – this match was the most nerve-racking and exhilarating bit of competitive CS:GO so far, as two of our invited heavyweights took the ring whipping out their entire arsenal and not holding anything back – G2 would take on ENCE.
Until this point in time G2 Esports have come through the tournament unscathed, occupying the first seed for Group B following a 2-0 performance in their group. Throughout the games they had played before, their star in “huNter-” has been playing out of his mind, with support from his equally talented teammates. Meanwhile, ENCE wasn’t so perfect, instead claiming the second seed of Group A on the back of a Decider Match where they escorted Movistar Riders out of the competition and now find themselves here, against G2 Esports. As time neared 16:30 on the partly cloudy afternoon of December 21st, the wind died down momentarily as the island held its breath.
ENCE would take T-side and not hesitate to break the tension with the initial pistol round going their way. Putting two more together, they set a respectable 3-0 lead. Knowing the Champions Cup Finals and how it’s gone so far, nothing’s ever that simple – G2 quickly start putting rounds on the board in conversation with ENCE, as huNter- starting racking up kills. Down 8-3 at one point, G2 managed to pull their stuff together and secure the four remaining rounds of the first half on the back of some beautiful trigger discipline from “AmaNek” on the swing round.
A pep-talk and a toilet break later, ENCE were now CT and 5 rounds passed, slowly creeping to that 16 mark, leaving the score at 9-11 for the Finnish squad. This is where G2 decided that they’d rather no lose on Mirage, opting to win a few rounds instead. While ENCE fought them off, thanks to multi-kills from Aerial at one point, it didn’t seem to be enough to stop the bleeding.
G2 would go on to win 8 out of the remaining 10 rounds – a phenomenal round 1 from both sides set the tone for the entire series. With regards to player performance, I’d like to point out that as a team, ENCE found 16 less kills than G2 and still managed to remain in contention – quality CS:GO doesn’t rely on frags.
Map 2 brought us to Dust2, pardoning the rhyme. Once again, ENCE took the initiative as Terrorists and claimed an early lead in the first half and this time, resisting G2’s attempt to equalize the score, establishing a 5-10 scoreline at the break. Needless to say, G2 didn’t much like the sound of this, deciding to get back on the board quickly, thanks to an impressive play by “AmaNek” in the second half.
However, despite G2 mounting some momentum in the second half, at one point panicking ENCE as they gathered 5 rounds of their own, bringing us to a dramatic 14-14 scoreline. I think it’s better to see what happened rather than me describing it, actions speak louder than words – just ask “Aerial” and “Sunny”.
Placing ENCE at the cusp of victory, they went on to secure the map 16-14. That left the series checking into the station at Train. Lots of strong emotions here led to a lengthy map featuring some incredible plays all-round.
ENCE flew into the map, building a temporary lead of 5-0, surmounted by 5 rounds from G2 – 5-5, thanks to a classic “KennyS” play.
Once again, another 5 rounds went in favour of ENCE, leaving us with a 10-5 scoreline once again at half-time, with ENCE clearly favouring CT. What can I say, you probably know what to expect in the second half – G2 fought back once again from a deficit thanks to 7 rounds in succession. Tilting the tables in their favour at 14-13, G2 would then go on to lose two rounds and win one to tie us up at 15-15.
Overtime it is then; the pressure was palpable. While both teams may have deserved to advance to the Grand Finals, only one would.
G2 Esports would advance after a 4-2 overtime performance, ending the series at 19-17. Heart-broken, ENCE would have the chance to perform to grab 3rd place against the awaiting opposition determined by the upcoming match.
In terms of overall statistics, “huNter-” dominated the series with 72 kills, the most damage (91.2) and the most first kills (19) to accumulate a rating of 1.24. He’ll be key to the grand final.
Team spirit vs furia (2-0)
Doesn’t everyone love a good underdog story? I would say so, except for the FURIA, who was on the back end of one. Not to say that Team Spirit is lesser in any way, (it’s actually the opposite), it’s just that FURIA headed into the match as the favourites, untouched in the competition so far, as they cleaned up their group with a 2-0 performance and skipped out on Friday. Meanwhile, Spirit had to fight their way through – here we were, ready to determine the second finalist and the other 3rd-4th contender.
The following is a perfect idea as to what happened in the first map:
What ensued was the most one-sided half of competitive CS:GO yet at the Champions Cup Finals, and won’t take much elaboration. Team Spirit simply dominated FURIA, really putting on a show for everyone here. Everybody on Team Spirit ended up with more kills than FURIA, as the European team secured 16 rounds, disturbed by four of FURIA’s, not requiring much description from my end. Everyone was floored though, as expressed especially by the commentators, here on Mirage.
Statistics-wise, it was rather one-sided here, thanks to “iDISBALANCE” and his stand-out performance – 20 kills in total, the most damage at (103.8) and a rating of 1.78.
Let’s forget that first map and move on to Nuke. Team Spirit started out on T-side and took advantage of the shocked FURIA hopping their way to a 7-1 start.
That’s when FURIA actually woke up and started winning rounds. Towards the end of the second half, they managed to show some promise and retain 6 rounds to themselves, ending the half at 7-8 in favour of Team Spirit. Would FURIA manage to pull themselves together? It seemed so for a moment, as spawning on the T side provided a few more rounds, and eventually everything was tied up at 11-11.
11 rounds would be all they’d ever get – Team Spirit decided to turn up the heat and bury FURIA were they stood – finishing the game at 16-11. It happened all so quick – Spirit were through and FURIA were sent to 3rd-4th, in one of the greatest upsets of the tournament.
In terms of overall statistics, FURIA kind of got spanked overall – as “mir” landed 42 kills and “iDISBALANCE” followed closely with the highest rating of 1.37.
And that was that Day 3 is over. On Sunday, G2 Esports and Team Spirit would meet in the grand final while FURIA and ENCE would settle over 3rd-4th.