Virtus Pro crowned champions after wild G3 tournament
The best Counter-Strike: Global Offensive teams in the world gathered in London for this weekend’s Gfinity 3 event. And While the tournament was full of upsets and minor controversies, few were surprised by the name that finally came out on top.
Swedish side Ninjas in Pyjamas were widely considered to be the best in the world coming into the event. But they followed their disappointing fifth place finish at the ESEA global final earlier this year with a poor performance in the group stage and a quick quarterfinal exit after being swept by a hot Dignitas side.
American team iBUYPOWER, who upset Ninjas in Pyjamas in group play, had odd results of their own. The team followed up a draw with an in-form Fnatic by drawing British side Infused, who were considered the weakest team in attendance prior to the event getting underway.
The mishmash of odd results led to a group stage finale between London Conspiracy and Epsilon with the winner guaranteed a place in the playoff bracket while the loser would be seen off. Interestingly, a draw would have seen both teams through to the next stage while Ninjas in Pyjamas would have been knocked out before the playoffs even began.
Before the game was played, there was a lot of chatter over whether the teams would collude and purposefully earn a draw. But the talk turned out to be unfounded, as London Conspiracy pulled away late in the match to win and knock Epsilon out.
When the playoffs began many spectators expected the two hottest teams during group play, Dignitas and Fnatic, to meet in the final. But it was two names who have long occupied top spots in the scene who would prove too strong for the upstarts to overcome. Polish Virtus Pro defeated Dignitas while French side Titan emerged from their recent malaise to defeat Fnatic and earn their own way to the final.
That final would prove to be dramatic, even though only two games in the best-of-three series were played.
After taking a lopsided 16-4 loss in the first game, Titan rebounded to take a 12-3 lead at halftime in the second and looked for all the world to be sending the series to a third and final map. But the experience of Virtus Pro came through, as they proved their mettle by rattling off 13 consecutive rounds in the second half to complete an epic comeback and win the game 16-12.
The championship victory is the third major title of the year for Virtus Pro, who were victorious at both ESL Katowice and Faceit Spring events.
Unfortunately, the event did have its share of problems. Players were frustrated by server crashes and inadequate playing spaces.
The live match commentators were at times asked to avoid addressing specific player locations and team strategies because the supposedly soundproof player booths weren’t actually preventing players from hearing commentary, allowing them to potentially pick up on their opponent’s movements based on the play-by-play calls.
Spectators also had reason to be frustrated. Early match streams were plagued by audio issues. Gfinity organizers also chose to stream only one match at a time during the group stage, and fans were vocal in their displeasure with the showing of local British teams being blown out rather than close games between top teams that were being played concurrently off-stream.
Eight of the teams who competed in London now have less than two weeks to make for ESL Cologne, a $250,000 Counter-Strike: Global Offensive tournament that is set to be the biggest of the year.
Screengrab via YouTube/StarLadder.tv