TSM faced stiff competition throughout the event. The squad was forced to twice defeat a strong Natus Vincere team after being swept by Virtus Pro during the group stage. In the playoffs, TSM faced down Sweden’s powerhouse teams, Fnatic and Ninjas in Pyjamas. And just as they did in Bucharest, Romania, TSM managed to defeat them both.
A two games to none semifinal victory over Fnatic was hard-fought, but the final against Ninjas in Pyjamas was harder. The Ninjas had failed to win a big event since August of last year, in spite of five finals appearances in various tournaments. The Faceit League final would be their sixth, and the team was determined to break through again.
TSM were dominated in the first game, taking only a single round for themselves in the loss. But the Danes came back strong and proved their newly-found resilience, winning a second game in overtime before taking the third and final game on Cache by a score of 16-12.
Andreas “Xyp9x” Hojsleth topped TSM in frags during the final series, but it was the clutch play of Finn “Karrigan” Andersen that pulled the team through down the stretch. Andersen’s impressive use of the AWP is all the more remarkable considering his role as in-game leader, a position traditionally occupied by a team’s lesser-skilled players.
Andersen’s recent play, combined with the ascendency of EnvyUs’ in-game leader Vincent “Happy” Cervoni, seems to be shifting what is expected from the position in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. As the competition continues to increase at the top of the game, leaders who can’t hold their own statistically are likely to become less relevant.
For SoloMid, a second consecutive significant victory in as many weeks shows just how far the team has come in a relatively short period of time. Long considered to lack the fortitude required to win at the highest level, the squad has thoroughly broken free of that reputation and now stands among the world’s best.
The tournament also served as evidence of the continued struggles of the North American region. Representatives Elevate and Team Liquid failed to net a victory in London, with the only map win going to Liquid over Australian team Immunity, whom they were favored to beat. Liquid went on to lose the series two games to one.