Counter-Strike: ESL ONE New York
We are now several days past the grand finals of ESL One New York and it still feels as if the ground violently shakes from the roaring crowd in the Barclays Center. This weekend's tournament provided us with some of the most unexpected yet eccentric Counter-Strike playoff action that we've seen all year, and even better -- it took place only one week after the London Major!
Heading into the 4-day challenge were eight different teams: FaZe, Fnatic, G2, Team Liquid, Mouz, Na`Vi, Gambit, and NRG. Although Cloud 9 was originally going to take part in the tournament they chose to drop out of the bracket back in May, allowing for Liquid to take their place, and based off of a pure entertainment stance, fans were thrilled with the change and end result. The tournament group stage was structured around two double-elimination pools (four teams each), with the remaining two teams from each pool advancing to the playoffs. Once in the playoffs, one loss means you’re out. No redemption, no forgiveness — you’re going home. And that’s where all of the excitement began.
Starting from square one, Mouz and Liquid took 2-0 leads within their respective team pools during the group phase, carrying a ton of momentum into their upcoming playoff series. Na’Vi however, did not seem themselves during the early stages of the tournament. An energy-draining 1-2 series loss to Gambit clearly shook the Ukrainian-ish squad up from the beginning. And though Na’Vi did look promising in their saving-grace elimination series against Fnatic, the roster of seasoned veterans looked exhausted from the prior week’s Major in London where they had finished 2nd.
With that said, the playoffs were set for action. From Group A, Mouz & Gambit, and from Group B, Liquid & NRG. Liquid was not as kind to Gambit in the first round as CIS fans would have liked them to be. The two score lines of 16-6 and 16-3 proved that the NA roster would soon be ready to challenge the battle-driven Mouz in the grand Sunday finals. Unfortunately for TL, Mouz showed up big time, coming out as the ESL ONE champions after a gritty five-game series where at one-point Liquid was up 2-1 and looking to close out the series in the fourth game which went to overtime. This amounts to Liquid’s second high-placing finish within a week and it is clear that they are ever so close to taking some trophies for themselves and for the NA region as a whole.