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Photos of Fnatic's win at IEM Katowice

Monster Gaming Weekly

Mar 162018

It was an historic week for Monster, and it’s difficult to say that it was anything but an unbelievable surprise. After what seemed like an eternity, Fnatic were once again crowned the Champions of Counter-Strike at the World Championships in Katowice. The Swedes proved that they deserve their title of Legends and backed it up with a performance for the ages. Over in Bucharest, we placed 2nd and 3rd/4th in Dota 2 on the backs of VGJ.Thunder and Team Liquid, respectively.


It’s been less than two weeks since the completion of Counter-Strike’s yearly rendition of the acclaimed World Championships in Katowice’s Spodek Arena. Though everyone expected a frenetic and ultra-competitive battle among the best teams in the world, we definitely did not expect the outcome. 


For the first time in quite a while, the champions came from Sweden.


To longtime fans of CS it may as well have been a full millennia since the Fnatic Swedes were reigning champions, but against all odds they prevailed against the best the world had to offer. Though there were more than a few moments of weakness along the way, Fnatic deserve to be proud of this momentous occasion, as they’ve once again established themselves as a true Major contender among the game’s elite. 


Sitting in Group B, the Swedes dug their way out of the entrance stage with encouraging ease. Round one offered a dangerous Heroic side, but Fnatic’s Cobblestone play was simply too mighty for the young challengers. In the second round of the upper bracket, the French squad G2, led by NBK, was the first significant roadblock for Fnatic. A comfortable win for G2 suggested that Fnatic still had some ways to go, but the Swedes bounced back on Mirage and Cobble to take the series and advance to the playoff decider. The remainder of the upper bracket was no different, and though Fnatic would meet their future grand finals opponent, FaZe Clan, a facile two-and-through would send them straight to the semifinals of the following weekend. Few brackets would have predicted Fnatic to get out of their group in first, and this already promised to be one of Fnatic’s most impressive outings in quite a while. 


On the other side of the bracket, Team Liquid continued their string of top tier performances by placing second in their group. Wins against Gambit and Cloud 9 secured their spot in the seeding match, but Astralis proved too strong on the day.


With the final 6 teams decided, the World Championships moved on to the playoffs, where Team Liquid faced the Ninjas in the quarter finals. NAF defended his home turf on Overpass to give Team Liquid the series lead, but NiP drew even on Mirage by narrowly avoiding a comeback. Momentum was clearly on Liquid’s side, however, as the North Americans closed out the series on their signature map, Inferno.


The CS Summit Champions Team Liquid and the old Legends Fnatic both had something to prove in this tournament, yet only one would make it to the finals to face FaZe Clan. In what many expected to be a tight match, Fnatic instead advanced with relative comfort. After taking Liquid’s Inferno, Fnatic cleaned up their opponents on Mirage to earn their first premiere tournament finals since ELEAGUE Season 1 back in July 2016.


From that point on, it was history. 


The finale wasn’t flawless by any means, but it provided thrills for the enraptured Katowice audience. The gruesome duel between ten of the world’s best players required two consuming overtime periods across five full matches to determine the winner. In the end, the side that demonstrated more polished team-driven executions and creative play styles ultimately prevailed. When the smoke cleared on the finish line, Fnatic had limped their way across to claim their IEM Katowice trophy.


After a string of heartbreaking losses and early tournament exits, Fnatic can once again call themselves champions. In addition, flusha, JW and Krimz, against all odds, are now two-time World Champions. Few could have expected such an outcome, but everyone joined the applause for Fnatic’s return to prominence.

Dota 2

The Bucharest Major came to a close with an incredibly important result for VGJ.Thunder as they finished second to earn themselves 450 DPC points each. As we approach the halfway point of the season, the Dota Pro Circuit leaderboard has begun to clearly divide teams based on their performance so far in the season. In one fell swoop VGJ.Thunder moved themselves from 18th to 6th, sandwiched by fellow Monster teams Vici Gaming and Na`Vi. The importance of VGJ.Thunder’s placement doesn’t stop at the points alone though. Their 3-0 finish in the swiss group stage was followed by a terrific win against Team Secret. They doubled down on their form by taking down Newbee 2-0 in the semi-finals, making it clear that they were yet another Chinese team that could contend with the best in the world. Both Sylar and DDC are some of the oldest veterans in the professional Dota scene which makes their resurgence all the more impressive. The two played together on LGD back in 2012 when they made their incredible TI2 run, which saw them take 2nd place. Their goal this season is to recreate that success with Freeze, Yang, and Fade, three rising stars who have been making names for themselves in recent months.


Team Liquid once again finished in the top 4 of a tournament, their 8th such placement or higher since their TI7 win. Admittedly, this was not a great tournament for the 5Jungz as they struggled in the group stage with 2 defeats. Yet, somehow, they still made it to the semi-finals to face the all-conquering VP. Despite narrowly missing out on the finals, the team surged to a total of 4635 points — good enough for 2nd in the standings. Team Liquid only needs to reach the number 5847 to secure their invite to TI8, and with each passing tournament they get closer to achieving that goal. 


Evil Geniuses also had an impressive performance, defeating Team Liquid and Newbee in the group stage during their 3-0 run to qualify for the playoffs. Unfortunately, their reward for going undefeated was a first round matchup against Team Liquid, and after a hard fought three game series they were eliminated 2-1. Much is still to come for all of the teams who competed in Bucharest as EG and VGJ.Thunder will be joining Fnatic and Na`Vi in Jakarta for the upcoming Minor.