The most lucrative major in Counter-Strike history kicked off yesterday, and after just one day of matches we already have our fair share of excitement, drama, and upsets. Let’s take a look at the key results from day one.
In the game of the day, we saw the rebirth of Virtus Plow. In a result no one expected, the Polish Virtus Pro downed G2 Esports … by a margin of 16 rounds to one. The French team’s form heading into MLG Columbus made them the favorites, but sometimes form just doesn’t translate into performance when it really matters. Virtus Pro dismantled G2 on train, with three players achieving more than one kill per round on average, while only two on the side of G2 even made it to double figures.
Ninjas in Pyjamas, meanwhile, should have been favorites by a large margin in the opening match against Flipsid3 Tactics. But Jacob “Pyth” Mourujärvi, the team’s fifth player, ran into problems with U.S. immigration, meaning the team was forced to field coach and 1.6 legend Bjorn “Threat” Pers. Threat did well considering his lack of practice coming into the tournament, even contributing a tidy triple kill into a defuse. Patrick “Forest” Lindberg stole the show, however, with 36 frags. Flipsid3 did manage to force the game into overtime, but the Ninjas closed it out 19-17 and progressed to the winners match to face Luminosity today.
One of the major storylines coming into the tournament was how North America would fare against Europe in the first major on American soil. In the first NA versus EU matchup, Team Liquid bested FaZe Clan. Despite the star studded lineup, the European side hasn’t looked in shape recently. Surprisingly the now benched Eric “adreN” Hoag was the one putting in a performance for Team Liquid, alongside Nick “Nitro” cannella who topped the scoreboard at 25 kills. Joakim “Jkaem” Mybostad was one of the real let downs for FaZe, not even reaching double figures as the game ended at 16-9 in favor of the Americans.
In fact, it was a good day overall for North America (outside Splyce getting steamrolled by Fnatic). Counter Logic Gaming secured another winners match spot for the region by upsetting reigning major champions EnvyUs. Most of the talk going into day two will center around EnvyUs’s slump. But CLG did play well, especially Stephen “reltuC” Cutler who put in a performance of the highest calibre.
What’s to come?
Groups A and B should be fairly clear cut. NiP, with stand-in Threat, will take on heavy favorites Luminosity in the winners match, while F3 and Mousesports will battle to remain in the competition. Over in Group B it’ll be Team Liquid trying to avoid demolition via Fnatic and gain a place in the knockout stages, and Splyce will try to keep their major dreams alive against FaZe.
Group C could provide some interesting matchups. CLG and Astralis face off in the winners match, and that may not be as clear cut as you think. Astralis looked vulnerable against Gambit, while CLG were able to overcome an admittedly weak EnvyUs—who could themselves be in trouble as they look to try and stay in the tournament against a dangerous Gambit.
Finally, Group D will feature a classic battle between Virtus Pro and Na’Vi to decide who will progress through to the quarter finals. If we see the same Virtus as we did today, it’ll be very hard to bet against them. Cloud9 have a tough matchup against G2 to keep any sort of hope going to play in front of the live audience in the quarterfinals.
Image via Valve | Remix by Kevin Morris