At the conclusion of one the year’s biggest and most controversial esports tournaments, it was the sole remaining French team that would emerge victorious.
LDLC triumphed over home favorites Ninjas in Pyjamas in the grand final of DreamHack Winter’s Counter-Strike: Global Offensive tournament. And the final could hardly have been closer.
After splitting the the first two maps in the best-of-three series, LDLC would mount a stirring second-half comeback in the third and final game. The efforts of the French squad, who were led in the series by emerging star Vincent “Happy” Cervoni, were enough to push the game into overtime.
LDLC would run away with the match in the second half of the overtime period, winning 19-16 and taking home both the DreamHack trophy and a check for $100,000.
The win was a relief for the team. A dramatic controversy had preceded the final, as LDLC and Swedish team Fnatic were involved in a dispute regarding a boosting tactic Fnatic had used during the decisive game of that series.
The game, originally won by Fnatic, was eventually ordered to be replayed by DreamHack officials. Rather than accept the rematch, Fnatic decided to withdraw from the tournament, allowing their new French rivals to move on.
LDLC then disposed of Natus Vincere in the semifinals before triumphing over Ninjas in Pyjamas in the final.
For Ninjas in Pyjamas, the results were a mixed bag. The team had clearly emerged from the extended slump that saw them part ways with Robin “Fifflaren” Johansson. His replacement, Mikail “Maikelele” Bill, performed admirably in his new role, leading the team statistically in the final series and providing the Swedes with a dedicated sniper.
But there’s no getting around the disappointment of making it all the way to a major final only to fall short.
The coronation of LDLC as the latest Counter-Strike major winners has nearly been trumped by discussion of what will now happen to Fnatic. Rumors abound of a potential dissolution following the team’s withdrawal and a series of accusations leveled against their players, most notably Robin “Flusha” Ronnquist, following the recent cheating scandal that overshadowed the game leading up to DreamHack.
Fnatic are currently scheduled to attend the ESEA final in Dallas next week. They would be joined by fellow DreamHack participants Virtus Pro, Cloud9, and iBUYPOWER.