It was a rough first day for American teams at the final Counter-Strike major of the year.
Each of the three American teams in attendance at DreamHack Cluj-Napoca went down with losses Wednesday, setting the stage for a series of tense elimination games when play resumes on Thursday.
Of the three losing teams, the most surprising was Cloud9. The unquestioned kings of the North American region squared off against Brazilian side Luminosity Gaming. Cloud9 had bested the Brazilians in three consecutive games coming into the event, including a 16-6 thrashing at ESWC.
DreamHack proved a different story. Luminosity’s latest addition, Marcelo “coldzera” David, proved his worth by collecting more than 30 frags and dominating the game. Combined with a lack of production from Cloud9’s star players, David’s stellar play sealed the fate of the Americans. Cloud9 strategist Sean Gares was the team’s only player to post a positive K/D ratio.
Other losses were more expected, but also much closer. Team Liquid pushed Polish powerhouse Virtus Pro to the very brink on Cobblestone, sending the game into overtime. Virtus Pro’s experienced proved the difference in those most crucial rounds, as Liquid was swept in the overtime period for a 19-15 loss.
The play of Janusz “Snax” Pogorzelski is already standing out for Virtus Pro at this early stage of the event. More will be expected from him as the tournament progresses and the competition ramps up.
Regional hopes were then pinned on Counter Logic Gaming, who put up a fair fight against Natus Vincere before they also fell. Each team’s star sniper was front and center in the match, with Ladislav “Guardian” Kovacs keying Na`Vi while Josh “jdm64” Marzano topped the scoreboard for CLG and won a late clutch round to keep his team alive. The effort was for ultimately for naught however, as Na`Vi were able to close out the game and secure the 16-12 win.
Disappointing as the results were today, the American sides still stand a chance of moving on to the playoff round. Cloud9 will be heavily favored Thursday against Vexed Gaming, and many fans will similarly favor CLG when they play Dignitas.
Fans will also be hoping for a bit more variety in map selection when play resumes. Five of the eight games played Wednesday took place on Cobblestone, including each of the final four.
Cloud9 will begin the next day’s matches against Vexed.
Screengrab via Jamiew