There are very few tournaments in CS:GO with the prestige of Epicenter. Between the production, the level of competition, and the fans who come out to see their favorite teams compete, the atmosphere is only second to that of a Major. Team Liquid and Na`Vi were among eight teams competing for nearly $300,000 in Moscow, Russia and the home crowd advantage for Na`Vi was made clear early in the group stage.
As soon as Na`Vi took to the stage the crowd’s roar was deafening, cheering on the home crowd heroes as they went up against HellRaisers. Immediately you could see that s1mple was on another level compared to his competition. S1mple did it all, he did the most damage, got the most kills, even picked up the AWP and proved nearly unstoppable with the sniper rifle, taking HellRaisers apart and putting on a show for his fans. His performance in the first game set expectations high for Na`Vi and while it took them till game 3 to put away HellRaisers, the 16-3 score line on the third map made it clear Na`Vi was here for the trophy and everyone was doing their part to make it happen. Na`Vi went on to take down FaZe in a clinical 2-0 victory and put themselves in the semi-finals after a terrific group stage.
In Group B we saw a similar story emerging with Team Liquid except it was an even more dominating performance. Liquid’s first opponents, SWOLE can be thought of as a mismatch of skill, but even so the two 16-5 map scores left people in awe of Team Liquid’s technical skill. They moved on to face Avangar and after the first map ended 16-5 yet again it was clear that Team Liquid was simply a tier above the rest of the teams in their group. Avangar got more than 5 rounds on the second map but Liquid easily closed out the series 2-0 with an 16-8 on Inferno and also found themselves in the semi-finals on the opposite side of the bracket from Na`Vi.
Here is where the story unfortunately diverges for Na`Vi and Liquid. While Na`Vi would go on to 2-0 Avangar on their side of the bracket with 16-11 and 16-12 map scores, once again aided by terrific performances from s1mple, Team Liquid fell to FaZe which set up a Na`Vi vs FaZe finals. This was doubly unfortunate as FaZe was able to study their earlier loss to Na`Vi during the group stage and use it to come out victorious against them.
Despite Na`Vi’s loss, s1mple maintained his position as the highest statistically rated player of the tournament. Liquid’s NAF and EliGE were also in the top 5 with TACO and Twistzz right behind them at 6th and 7th. This goes to show just how well both Na`Vi and Team Liquid had been playing despite falling just short of lifting the trophy. Team Liquid always claimed the highest pistol rounds, winning 75% of those key rounds. Both Na`Vi and Team Liquid won’t have much time to analyze their performance however as they will both be flying to the United States to take part in IEM Chicago on November 5th where they’ll look to claim a trophy for themselves.