Rainbow 6 ProLeague Season 8 Finals
The Rainbow 6 Pro League Season 8 Finals had two very different stories for our two teams, Evil Geniuses and Fnatic, as they went into the competition. For EG they were without a doubt one of the top 3 teams in the world with many predicting they would win the whole thing. Fnatic on the other hand was forced to play with their coach as a last minute stand-in for their Captain and in game leader as Magnet was unable to attend due to needing emergency surgery. While the pattern of Monster teams playing each other and knocking each other out sadly continues no matter what game is being played Fnatic’s incredible accomplishment can be summed up with this crazy play.
Despite not having their IGL and Captain, the Fnatic boys played without fear, and their constant pressure on both offense and defense paid dividends. It was an incredible upset and it was a terrific result for the Australian squad that was nearly written off completely after the bracket had been drawn. While Fnatic didn’t make it any further as they went up against the eventual champions G2 in the semi-finals, there’s a lot worth celebrating in their top 4 finish in the Pro League Season 8 finals.
MegaFon Winter Clash Qualifier
Na`Vi has been performing extremely well as of late, taking 2nd place at the DreamLeague Minor, and now winning the MegaFon Winter Clash Qualifier. After Na`Vi took down Vega Squadron in the first round in only 22 and 19 minutes it was clear they were a step ahead in figuring out the new patch. The return of Batrider mixed with the new and improved Lich were a force to be reckoned with during the laning stage and in both games Na`Vi looked to have complete control for the entire duration.
Their real test was in the second round where they went up against PPD’s Ninjas in Pyjamas. NiP was fresh off their 4th place finish at the Kuala Lumpur Major but in only 61 minutes Na`Vi was stepping over them, eyes fixed on their next opponents. From here Na`Vi would go on to win the upper bracket finals and then clinch the qualifier spot 3-2 over No Pangolier. The Grand Finals were nerve racking to say the least as Na`Vi dropped the first two games, meaning they had to win the following 3 games in a row to make it to the lan event. The tenacity Na`Vi showed as well as their draft adaptations to what had beat them in the first two games were a sight to see.
This win further solidifies Na`Vi’s place among the top teams in the CIS region, a place they haven’t been in a long time. The return of Sonneiko along with the additions of players like Magical, Blizzy, and Chuvash was met with mixed replies at first, but everyone can see how well this roster can work together and that they are capable of taking down Major contenders like NiP. The season is still young and there is still work to be done for the young and largely inexperienced group of CIS players, but the future has never looked brighter for fans of the team.
Smash Summit 7
Another Smash tournament has come and gone. And that means another win for HungryBox. With Smash Summit 7 successfully added to his growing collection, Team Liquid’s resident Smash God HungryBox clocked his 5th consecutive tournament win. Bringing him up to 14 total tournament wins this year. Though this tournament was harder fought than the last, Hbox continues to plow through his competition with momentum that would make the Juggernaut blush.
The competition at this year’s Smash Summit was strong. Of the seven total sets Hbox played, three went the distance to game five. One series even went down to the wire with both Hbox and his opponent racing to beat the clock on one stock each. With time running short in the final game Hbox was slated to lose by damage percentage when his opponent panicked, giving him an opening. He took it. In the final 40 seconds Hbox pushed the enemy Marth off the platform and into the corner to take the game. That series in particular was the Winner’s Quarterfinals. A series so hype and so close that upon winning Hbox himself let out a victorious battle cry and exited the room, his controller in the air, without so much as a glance at his opponent (he later went back to find him to shake hands).
Despite a close Winner’s Quarterfinals series, there was never really a point in time where it felt like Hbox wasn’t in complete control of his destiny. Both the Winner’s Finals and the Grand Finals were clear indicators that Hbox is not yet ready to relinquish his crown. Both series went to four games and were a spectacle to behold. After all, watching the best in the world battle it out is always exciting. But Hungrybox was on a roll and nothing could stop him. In the end both Mang0 and Leffen ultimately fell to the pink Puff with the headband and HungryBox was crowned champ at Smash Summit 7.
This year’s DreamHack Atlanta has been a tournament of firsts. First offline tournament outing for a recently formed lineup, such as Vitality. First international offline tournament for French rookie Mathieu “ZywOo” Herbaut and his first international title in his career. But this was also the return of EnVyUs to CS:GO, this time with an American lineup for the first time. After lying dormant in the summer following the release of its french squad, they signed three ex-Splyce players — more recently playing as boxr — alongside Josh “jdm64” Marzano and Noah “Nifty” Francis. The Boys in Blue are back, waving a different flag this time.
For some this marked a return to competition after a couple months of inactivity, especially for jdm64, who once against wears the Monster patch after being inactive for eight months since his departure from Team Liquid. He thus joined forces with his former CLG teammate of 2016, Stephen “reltuC” Cutler, and a compatriot returning from Australian grounds from Renegades, Nifty. This experienced trio accompanied Matt “Pollo” Wilson and Taylor “Drone” Johnson coming into Atlanta, where the squad made their offline debut.
While it wasn’t met with success, as they lost to compLexity in their opening match, then to Luminosity Gaming in the elimination match, EnVyUs’ road in the Americas started here. If their initial foray into CS:GO was from the very top, this time it starts from scratch, with everything to build, and everything to prove. They need to establish their style, a consistent schema in which every player finds his place and feels comfortable, and overall find their footing as a squad. The task is ambitious, but chapter II of EnVyUs story starts here.
ECS Season 6 Finals
We’re just back from Arlington, Texas, where FaceIT held its bi-annual Esports Championship Series Season Finals, the sixth in the league’s existence. It featured their usual restricted playing field, with only eight participating teams, compared to the sixteen that will battle it out in Odense for the finals of ECS sister league run by ESL, the Pro League.
Team Liquid hailed from the North American side of the league, and flew to Arlington with the same objective they have been pursuing these past few months: claiming their first important title. The competition would be fierce, as notably the Danes of Astralis, and the resurging Ninjas in Pyjamas were attending, alongside multiple dangerous quintets. Liquid’s road began against Denmark second finalists, North. A best-of-one for the opening matches, and this one peculiarly took place on Nuke. At first Liquid’s show, the map quickly took a sharp turn in favor of North who managed to overcome an early deficit to close the first half evenly, before outclassing the American side on the defense and snatching the first win.
Unfortunately for Team Liquid, their tournament run would abruptly end in the following match. Pitted against NRG, their first battle unfolded with both teams grinding lots of round on the offense, before reaching the score of 15-14, where an individual play from Cvetelin “CeRq” Dimitrov sealed the deal. Liquid didn’t manage to recover, and lost the second map in a less contested fashion.
As such, it wasn’t their time to contest Astralis again in the finals as they’ve done multiple times this year. This time, they were replaced by MIBR, who made the Danes sweat to get their map wins, but couldn’t eventually prevent what now looks inevitable in any tournament Nicolai “device” Reedtz and friends partake in, an Astralis victory.
This doesn’t mean that Liquid are going anywhere, but this was a bump in the road of a team that did so much in the latter part of 2018 to maintain themselves at the top, and cement themselves as an elite side. Still, it needs to be reminded the brutality of the recent CS:GO calendar, with both leagues concluding their online parts only recently. Added to the multiple events over long weekends that took place between the Major and now, and one can’t help but feel that the team might need some resourcing and practice after so much time spent in countless official matches and tournaments. This has led teams like Astralis and Na’Vi to skip some tournaments altogether to get that time, and understandably so.
It is now up to Liquid to keep their chin up and keep moving forward. With such an incredible form that maintained them at the top right below Astralis for so long, it is an incredibly hard task not to dip in form here and there. But this is a team that came a long way since its last roster changes, and that handled disappointing losses in the past. Losses after which they picked themselves up nonetheless, got back on track, and stepped up again.