Fnatic back on top as Ninjas and Virtus Pro struggle
One of 2014’s most dominant Counter-Strike teams has reasserted itself at the top of the scene.
Swedish team Fnatic successfully defended their home turf over the weekend, winning the Inferno Online Stockholm’s Pantamera event.
The event was attended by six of Europe’s best teams in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. Titan won the opening group stage, posting likely their best performance since former player Hovik “Kqly” Tovmassian was banned for cheating. Fellow French team Envy also managed to qualify for the three-team playoff bracket alongside Fnatic.
Fnatic were able to best Envy in a tight best-of-three series that continued the growing rivalry between the two squads. In the final, Titan’s Kenny Schrub put on the performance of the tournament, posting 76 frags in just two games, both of which were losses for his team.
But in spite of Schrub’s efforts, Fnatic won while being led by Jesper “JW” Wecksell, 16-13 and 22-20. The second game required multiple overtime periods to complete and turned the grand final into an endurance affair for players who'd been competing throughout the day.
Things have been rocky for Fnatic since cheating accusations were leveled against the team, with Robin “Flusha” Ronnquist in particular taking the brunt of outcry. Further controversy occured at DreamHack Winter, where the team forfeited in the quarterfinal round following controversy over Fnatic's decision to use a previously unknown map exploit.
A fourth-place finish at MLG’s X Games Invitational brought the team’s ability to remain at the top of the game into question, but consecutive tournament victories at IOS Pantamera and Clutch Con should quell any doubts for the time being.
Ninjas in Pyjamas and Virtus Pro notably struggled at the event. The Ninjas produced their first disappointing result since the acquisition of Mikail “Maikelele” Bill, with the only win coming against tournament underdog LGB Esports.
Virtus Pro produced an even worse showing, failing to produce a single victory until their final match of the tournament against Titan. Even then, the win was a hollow one, as the game was rendered meaningless by both teams having already decided their fates prior to the match.
Long-time pro Wiktor “Taz” Wojtas struggled mightily in a number of the team’s losses and will likely be a focal point for fans looking for a place to lay blame for the poor performance.
Screengrab via Clutch Entertainment/Twitch.tv