Blast Pro Series: Lisbon
What a best way to conclude the year for CS:GO than with a… Blast? And a blast, it was. Starting off with the trademark round-robin phase, Astralis, FaZe, Cloud9, MIBR, Na’Vi and NiP battled it out in successive best-of-ones to make it out alive of the group and book their place to the finals. Na’Vi began their road against the Ninjas In Pyjamas, and kicked off the tournament with a game that promised a good fight, as both teams finished their first half on quite an equal footing. But Natus Vincere would claim victory in the second half, and prove too tough a nut to crack for the ninjas on Overpass, winning 16-12.
Despite tough losses against Astralis and MiBR, their 3-0-2 scoreline was sufficient to secure a spot in the finals after beating Cloud9 in a tie-breaker. They would be matched up against Astralis again, their third finals against them this year, their third chance to break the streak and take down the favorites.
We had witnessed Team Liquid trying to throw a wrench in the works at the ESL Pro League finals a short while ago, by banning Nuke right away and leaving a dangerous Train open for a pick, which paid off. In the same trend, Na’Vi went for bold picks and bans, banning Nuke and leaving Cache open, a map they’ve played a grand total of one time this year, back in May. For a while, things looked good for Na’Vi, as they won convincingly on Overpass 16-7. Unfortunately, the CIS squad crumbled on Cache, and the subsequent Dust 2, and couldn’t prevent Astralis from adding another trophy to their crowded case.
There was another clear star during this event, and that was the portuguese crowd. Lisbon and Portugal answered the call, and the entire arena shook all weekend long to the roars of the enthusiast portuguese fans, at times under the lead of Alexandre “Archarom” Maia, the local host. A crowd that supported Na’Vi in their quest to dethrone the seemingly unbeatable. A crowd that left the likes of S1mple with an unforgettable souvenir from Portugal.
PLG Grand Slam 2018
Fnatic has had some difficulties as of late in CS:GO but they ended 2018 on a high note as they claimed a 2-0 victory over G2 in the finals of the PLG Grand Slam. The Swedish team of KRIMZ, JW, Xizt, Twist, and Brollan raised the trophy over their heads for the first time in nearly 9 months and they did so only dropping a single map during the whole tournament. While the level of competition at the tournament was certainly lower than that of ESL Pro League or the Blast Pro Series, there were still teams there who could give Fnatic a run for their money. G2, Hellraisers, Tyloo, ForZe and Avangar were all present and have all had terrific tournament runs this year.
They 2-0’d their group stage relatively easily, winning 16-3 over Energy and 16-8 against the Brazilian team Sharks Esports. After easily winning their quarter-finals match 2-0 they faced their first big challenge in the semi-finals against ForZe. After an incredibly close first map ForZe took the lead, winning 16-14 and putting Fnatic one game away from elimination. Fnatic fought back and stomped ForZe 16-4 on Overpass which lead to an incredibly close decider on Inferno. Fnatic ended up winning the semi-finals with a triple overtime 25-23 win which set them up with a date against G2 in the grand finals. G2 proved to be much easier for Fnatic to handle and Fnatic were crowned champions of PLG Grand Slam 2018.
It is an incredibly important win for Fnatic as they have struggled lately to find their footing against other top teams in the scene. They end 2018 on a high note and the promise of a better future in the year to come — a positive message for their budding new stars and old hardened players alike.
When the dust settled on the 2018 Capcom Pro Tour, two Monster players were among the battle tested still standing — Team Liquid Nemo and Razer Xian. The two mixup heavy players took their shot at writing Street Fighter history at the Capcom Cup finale, and here's how it went down.
After a successful bid to attend the prestigious finale, Team Liquid Nemo met an unfortunately quick exit losing to the dangerous Menat play of the execution God, Sako and then to the rock solid Akuma play from Haitani. While it was a disappointing performance, you can rest assured that Nemo being the consummate professional he is, will be eager to ‘right the wrongs’ in 2019. We can’t wait to see what he cooks up for Season 4.
Razer Xian looked as though he would suffer a similar fate after an early wakeup call in the bracket losing in the first round to RISE| Caba, the stellar Guile player from the Dominican Republic. Being the best friend to the reigning Capcom Cup champion RISE| MenaRD, you can be certain they prepared extensively and it showed in his play over a stable player throughout the season in Xian.
Xian who always seems to make insane loser bracket runs did so once more on the biggest stage. It goes without saying any path to the Capcom Cup finals is ridiculous but the lineup Xian battled through is nothing short of spectacular.
Xian ran through Pikoro, the Latin American Regional winner, as well as the likes of Sako, Xiaohai, Problem-X, Momochi and Bonchan before ultimately meeting his end by the hands of Itabashi Zangief’s vroom vroom Abigail. That’s multiple EVO winners, a Capcom Cup winner and some of the most famous and recognizable names in Street Fighter history. While Xian ultimately finished 4th and we know he wanted to win, the gameplay he displayed on his legendary run will be talked about for years to come!