SK Gaming have kicked off a month full of Counter-Strike leading up to the Krakow Major with a win at DreamHack Summer in Jönköping, Sweden—defeating Fnatic, a team with home-field advantage, in a best-of-three during the grand final.
Both Fnatic and SK earned their places in the grand finals by placing second in their groups, with 2-1 records. To reach the grand finals, SK played fundamental Counter-Strike against CLG (Train 16-7; Cobblestone 16-9). Fnatic easily topped Immortals in three maps in the other semifinal (Overpass 16-9; Mirage 16-1).
Fnatic chose Inferno as their map pick in an attempt to make a statement, while SK selected Overpass. Mirage was the leftover map decider from the map veto process.
SK’s rock-hard versatility on A site gave them an early advantage over Fnatic on their map pick. Fnatic finally adjusted to SK’s defenses with explosive Terrorist executes on both sites, picking off straggling SK players for later man-advantages on SK’s retakes. SK maintained a slight lead at halftime, 8-7.
Standard Terrorist fragging from SK helped the Brazilians increase their lead little by little. A nutty one-versus-three AWP clutch from Gabriel “FalleN” Toledo put Fnatic on economic and psychological tilt at 12-7. Olof “olofmeister” Kjabjer answered FalleN’s clutch with an AWP 4K of his own on A, but it wasn’t enough for Fnatic to complete the comeback. A late double AWP setup cost the Swedes their economy and their Inferno map pick as SK ended the game 16-8.
The Brazilians’ initial aggression towards middle map and B site was met with equal counter-aggression from Fnatic, giving the Swedes a dominant 12-1 lead. Pushes from SK were either stopped or taken down upon retake, as Fnatic ended the first half at 13-2.
A pistol round win in the second half solidified SK’s fate on Overpass, as Fnatic flexed their Terrorist strategies with ease over an anxious SK Gaming. Fnatic limited them to two rounds for the second half in a row to force a map three on Mirage. Glimpses of the Fnatic of 2015 could be seen, as the iconic team played extremely comfortably around Overpass on both sides. The map concluded at 16-4 in Fnatic’s favor.
Although Dennis “dennis” Edman earned a Terrorist 4K in the first pistol round win for Fnatic, SK railed every Swedish attempt to take middle map control, regardless of their mixed economy. A short tactical pause helped give a few rounds to Fnatic, as olofmeister finessed three SK players alone on B site to keep his team in the game. Fnatic closed the gap with a few B executes, trailing SK 7-8 at the half.
SK won the second pistol round with ease and ran away with an extremely healthy Terrorist economy. Fnatic’s struggling Counter-Terrorist defenses weren’t enough for them to come back because of SK’s typically intelligent executes. The Brazilians only dropped one round on their Terrorist side before winning Mirage 16-8.
SK Gaming take home their third championship title of 2017 and $50,000 thanks to their win over Fnatic. Their playoff victories over Fnatic and CLG are a testament to their potential in the coming weeks, especially in competition at the ECS Season 3 Finals next week and the PGL Krakow Major next month.