Tuesday, 25 July 2017

PGL Krakow Major Review

It was tipped to be the most wide open Counter Strike Global Offensive major so far and now that a few days have passed since the 2nd major of the year ended, it's time to review what happened in those 8 days of shocks, upset's and outplays to lead us to where we are now. A surprise new champion and a scene that could possibly be wondering what will happen next.  

The group stage really set the scene to expect the unexpected throughout this tournament as none of HLTV's top 4 ranked teams (SK, Faze, Astralis & G2) won the group stage out right. Rank 1 SK Gaming and Rank 3 Astralis led by Marcelo "Coldzera" David and Nicolai "Dev1ce" Reedtz respectively both had to go into the later rounds of PGL Krakow's Swiss format group stages to make it through to the quaterfinal and this was after SK beat Astralis 16-8 on Inferno during the Swiss second round. Both SK and Astralis would make it through easily and actually set up a rematch in the quarterfinals

G2 on the other hand wasn't as lucky with their drawn opposition. Starting with a win against NA'VI after picking Overpass on a coin toss, they then had to face Astralis, Gambit, Cloud 9 and Fnatic to try and make it into the playoffs. Going 2-2 into the Fnatic game G2 just couldn't come out the other side and were eliminated, this set back however, was nothing compared to Faze Clan! 
Faze were expected to go deep into the playoffs and many thought they'd have a shot at winning but they never showed up. Havard "Rain" Nygaard was his consistent entry-fragging self but only Nikola "Niko" Kovac appeared to provide any support. Faze went 0-3 after being beaten by BIG, Mousesports and Flipside in the best of one's to be one of the first eliminated from the tournament. 

It was actually some of the tier 2 teams that where the most consistent in the group stage. Berlin International Gaming or BIG for short were the biggest surprise of all. Led by in game leader Fatih "Gob B" Dayik who pulled out some well played and thought out executes and superstar rifler in the making Johannes "tabseN" Wodarz, pushed BIG to a 3-0 record with wins against Faze, Cloud 9 and SK, really turned some heads with how well they played. The other team who exceeded all expectations were Gambit who also went 3-0 with wins over Mousesport, G2 and VP. Under the command of the meme god Danylo "Zeus" Teslenko, support from the X God Mikhail "Dosia" Stolyarov and Kazakh star Dauren "AdreN" Kystaubayev. Gambit commanded every opponent from start to finish and looked more impressive after each game.

The Polish home crowd hero's Virtus Pro came into the major on a really flat note, with there even being potential rumours of a Polish shuffle but Jaroslaw "PashaBiceps" Jarzabkowski dragged VP through with his AWPing prowess to the roar's of those inside the Tauron Arena. The others teams to qualify were North, Immortals and Fnatic.

The 8 team, best of 3 playoffs began on Friday with Gambit brushing Fnatic aside with ease 2-0, Astralis getting revenge against SK 2-0 with Dev1ce completely owning Gabriel "FalleN" Toledo 7-1 in AWPing 1v1's, Immortals under the fragging of Lucas "Steel" Lopez and Vito "kNgV" Giuseppe in games 1 and 2 and in game 3 Ricardo "Boltz" Prass and Henrique "Hen1" Teles securing a 2-1 win vs BIG. The final game of the day was Danish team North against Poland's Virtus Pro, this was such an occasion for VP that they even had specifically designed jersey's with the Polish national colours. Virtus Pro swept North in easy fashion 2-0 by 16-10 on Cobblestone and 16-9 on their best map Nuke. 

For Virtus Pro there wouldn't be a dream run and a trophy hoist on home turf as Immortals played out of their minds controlling the semi-final from start to finish. Cruising to a 16-5 win on Inferno and 16-11 on Mirage. Immortals proved that they were the Brazilian team to watch and had enough of being SK's understudies, all the while raising the trash talk and hype level's to 9000. Defending Champions Astralis felt comfortable against Gambit and thought that they would be able to get to the final to and defend their title. However, AdreN and Zeus that the time was right for them to become the best team in the CIS and shook Astralis by beating them on Overpass and then using all of Zeus's experience and leadership to take a late time out and then the eco the next round to talk tactics. Shut Astralis's hopes and dreams down on Train 16-12 to take Gambit into there first final. 

While Gambit and Immortals were not the two teams that anyone expected to be in the final, their match was one of the most exciting major finals there has been. Map 1 went to Cobblestone and with Hen1 leading the a great all around team performance, Immortals went 1-0. This was as good as it got for Immortals though as Map 2 went to Train one of Gambit's best maps and Rustem "Mou" Telepov took control with the AWP, stopping plays from Hen1 and kNvG to take Train 16-11. It all came down to Inferno, a map Immortals had played well all major long until now. Gambit under AdreN and younger Abay "H0bbit" Khasenov punished Immorals time and time again with accurate fragging and a great amount of team work. This team work was shown at 9-1 Gambit when Dosia threw what has been called the 200 IQ nade to prevent Steel and Lucas "Lucas1" Teles from saving their AK's and causing the bomb blast effects to kill them. Gambit ending up winning Inferno 16-10 and taking the series 2-1, becoming the first team from the CIS region to win a major and giving Zeus his first major win in 7 attempts.

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