This list is a completely opinion-based one. This is not necessarily a list of the best frag performances, or the most tactical games, but a list of the games that I found to be extremely hyped and exciting for lack of a better term. This is not a perfect list, and everyone’s opinions are different. Feel free to discuss what you think were the five best matches at the event, and maybe even why you think so!
#5 – Fnatic vs. Mousesports, Dust 2
Fnatic started out this map very strong, and nearly silenced the entire Mousesports lineup, putting themselves at a 6-1 lead. They didn’t stop there, and they ended the half with a 10-5 lead going into the second half. Sounds pretty standard, right? No.
Every other round ended with only one or two players alive. There were a multitude of clutch plays and mental wins. Not only was Fnatic doing what they do best, but Nikola “NiKo” Kova? was also performing incredibly well for a player who is losing 5-10. Even while his team was down, he singlehandedly won a decent amount of his team’s victories. We haven’t even reached the climax of this game.
In the second half, NiKo did NiKo things, whether it meant getting inhuman headshots with the Desert Eagle or bringing his team back into the round despite being at a man disadvantage, NiKo could do it. In a game that seemed lost at one point, Mousesports managed to pull a Fnatic against Fnatic, and bring a once-lost game to overtime, nearly winning the game outright in the 30th round.
Unfortunately for the predominately German squad, they lost 19-17 in the end. It was such an exhilarating match, though, between the close rounds, the comeback, and NiKo being NiKo. This game has been a prime example of why I, like many others, consider him to be one of the players to watch in 2016; not many players can perform at this level against a team like Fnatic on a stage like the Spodek Arena.
#4 – Natus Vincere vs. Tempo Storm, Cobblestone
While Na’Vi has a history of having exciting games with a certain Brazilian team, this game was against different Brazilians but it was a memorable match nonetheless. As someone who tends to root for the underdogs, I was ecstatic when I saw Tempo Storm finishing the first half with a lead of 12-3. This lead was most likely a combonation of Tempo Storm living up to their name when it came to going into sites, Guardian’s relatively benigne showing, and Tempo Storm’s incredible ability to close out close rounds in the first half.
The second half was a very different game from Na’Vi’s side, with the Eastern Europeans going on a 8-2 streak at the start of their terrorist side. Tempo Storm then went on a short run of their own, getting to match point. Na’Vi was able to somehow come back from the trenches and bring the game to overtime. At one point, Tempo Storm’s lead was in double digits, and now the game was entering its 31st round. The underdogs fan in me was becoming worried, but the Counter-Strike fan was ready to scream in excitement and jump up at even a simple grenade throw or semi-successful flashbang.
Overtime was quite underwhelming, with Luminosity winning four rounds in a row to end the game. This was still a map that I may not remember forever, but it was an incredible way to kick off the playoffs of IEM Katowice 2016.
#3 – Fnatic vs. Luminosity Gaming, Inferno
It’s Map 3 of the IEM Katowice 2016 Grand Finals. Fnatic, who have won 5 LANs in a row prior to this one, are winning 2-0 in a Bo5 against Luminosity Gaming, the Brazilian team who have captured the hearts of thousand of fans across the world with their difficult journey from a broken scene full of scammers and cheaters to a top-5 team who even have a secondary squad in Tempo Storm that was talented enough to get to IEM Katowice themselves. Luminosity has to win all of the three next maps in order to win the tournament, and one of Fnatic’s stronger maps had to be the first of the three. The game didn’t even start and my heart was pumping in excitement.
Luminosity played the first half extremely strong, with a 12-3 lead against Fnatic. While leads like this may seem game-ending, Fnatic will never be out of the game, even if the score is 14-1. Earlier in the same series, on Overpass, the Brazilians were winning by 10 points, and Fnatic still managed to somehow win the game by crawling out of a 3-13 situation. While it shouldn’t have surprised anyone, Fnatic were able to stay mentally stable and bring the map to overtime. They continued to steamroll Luminosity in overtime quite convincingly and defended their title as the CS:GO champions at Katowice.
#2 – Fnatic vs. Luminosity Gaming, Overpass
The CS:GO Grand Finals at IEM Katowice 2016 have just begun. The stadium is loud and full of fans, many of whom want vengence on Fnatic, who knocked out the home team in the Quarterfinals. One can only imagine how loud the crowd must have been, how much energy was trapped in that enclosed area. Simply put: the place was hype, and the day hasn’t even started. It’s the perfect setting for a Grand Finals of this scale, and Map 1 definitely delivered.
It was Overpass, and the Brazilians were off to a strong start. Epitacio “TACO” Pessoah, who has been under the watchful eye of those who say that he is lagging behind the rest of his team in terms of skill, proved his haters wrong in the first half. He, along with his teammates, drove themselves to a major lead of 12-3 against the best team in the world. It was looking good for Luminosity, but even they must have known that Fnatic was going to wake up before the match was over. Lincoln “fnx” Lau, of Luminosity, was able to win a 1v2 clutch with low HP in the second pistol round of the day in a highlight-worthy fashion, extending the lead to 10 points and reminding everyone why fnx is considered to be Luminosity’s clutch-man.
The rest of the second half didn’t go so well for the underdogs, and Fnatic brought the game to a tie, forcing an overtime in the classic Fnatic style. Nothing much to say about that, just Fnatic doing what Fnatic does best: winning.
Overtime commences. LG is looking strong at the start, like they are ready to take back the lead they once had, which was merely a memory at that point due to Fnatic’s dominant second half. The Swedes won’t let them do that and Fnatic starts off the day with a 19-17 win on the map that is basically synonymous with Fnatic, even being called “Olofpass” from time to time in honor of the multiple achievements that Olof “Olofmeister” Kajbjer has done on that map, from game-breaking boosts to some of the hottest bomb defusals ever.
#1 – Luminosity Gaming vs. Natus Vincere, Overpass
This is a match that I may remember for as long as I play Counter-Strike, or even the rest of my life. There was action throughout the entire match, even though Ladislav “GuardiaN” Kóvacs, who was arguably the best sinper in the world, was slightly underwhelming. That doesn’t matter, though, since two of the most tactical teams in the game showed us why they have titles as such. There are no words that can give justice to this match, and I have been trying to find any way of describing it that can even scratch the tip of some of the tricks in this game.
I urge everyone who hasn’t watched the game yet to watch it before they continue reading. Please watch it now, then come back.
Now we can talk about those triple boosts that Na’Vi whipped out for us. The first one on Long A, and it allowed GuardiaN to see into A-Site, letting him know where almost everyone on the bombsite was, and he even was able to do some serious damage as well. The second boost was at Party, and it looked at a popular AWPing spot on Long A, where GuardiaN was able to quickly pick off an unsuspecting Gabriel “FalleN” Toledo.
There aren’t many more things that one can say about this game. This will definitely be in history besides games like NiP vs. Fnatic on Inferno at ESL One Cologne 2015, and Team EnVyUs vs. G2.Kinguin (now FaZe Clan) on Inferno at Dreamhack Cluj-Napoca. A game like this either deserves an entire article about it, or hardly anything at all besides a link to the VOD.