LDLC has opened the new year just as they closed 2014, by winning a big tournament over their Swedish rivals.
The French squad proved unwilling to allow a letdown following their DreamHack Winter championship as they triumphed at the X Games Invitational in Apen, Colo., defeating Ninjas in Pyjamas in the grand final.
This was the second consecutive grand finals victory achieved by LDLC over Ninjas in Pyjamas, with the same matchup having bookended DreamHack Winter.
The win didn’t come easy for LDLC. The French team was forced to make a sizable comeback in the second half of the first game in the best-of-three series, which they would go on to win 16-11. LDLC trailed at the half in the second game as well, and this time came back just far enough to push the game into overtime. But Ninjas in Pyjamas would narrowly win the overtime period, pushing the series to a decisive third game.
That last game was played on Cobblestone, a map many teams are still adjusting to after it was introduced to the Counter-Strike: Global Offensive competitive map pool by Valve late last year.
Ninjas in Pyjamas were able to mount a solid defense as counter-terrorists, winning 10 of 12 rounds after losing the first three to put together their third consecutive halftime lead over LDLC. But the second half would be a very different story.
Powered by the stellar play of star player Richard “Shox” Papillon, LDLC swept the second half with 11 consecutive rounds won to win the match and the tournament.
It was the finishing touch on a great recovery for LDLC, who were upset in their first game by American side Counter Logic Gaming before recovering to defeat Fnatic and Team Liquid, sending them through the playoffs. There, they were able to best Dignitas two games to one in a semifinal series before matching up with Ninjas in Pyjamas.
Ninjas in Pyjamas will be heading back to the drawing board. The Swedish team has soundly recovered from their mid-late 2014 slump following the addition of sniper Mikail “Maikelele” Bill, but still hasn’t been able to overcome LDLC with the title on the line. Bill missed some notable shots during the squad’s X Games run, and it’s likely some fans will point to him for the team’s runner-up finish.
Meanwhile, the tournament was a sterling success for Major League Gaming, who were hosting their first major Counter-Strike: Global Offensive tournament at an X Games event. The final drew in the range of 200,000 concurrent viewers, even with it being broadcasted on MLG’s streaming platform which is lesser-known among Counter-Strike fans.
Screengrab via MLG