Envy reassert claim at top of Counter-Strike
The top Counter-Strike: Global Offensive team in France made clear this weekend that they weren’t yet prepared to relinquish their claim as the world's best.
Team Envy were triumphant at Gfinity's first Masters event of the year, defeating Ninjas in Pyjamas in the final by a margin of three games to one. The result was a bit of revenge for the French side, who were ousted by Ninjas in Pyjamas in the semifinals at ESL Katowice.
The Ninjas got off to a promising start in the final, winning the first map on the final round of regulation, 16-14. But Envy came back in dominant fashion in the second game, allowing only five rounds en route to victory. The third and fourth games were more competitive, but Envy were in control throughout, playing even first halves before running away with both games in the second.
Veteran Nathan “NBK” Schmitt led the finals charge for Envy, while Ninjas in Pyjamas trial player Aleksi “Allu” Jalli continued his good form from the ESL Katowice final in the loss to Envy.
The victory will remind fans that Envy remains a candidate for the top spot in any set of world rankings, though their victory was marred by the absence of newly crowned ESL Katowice champions Fnatic, who are widely considered the world's best team today.
Virtus Pro and Cloud9 rounded out the top four placing teams. Virtus Pro will likely be left wanting for more after falling in a close semifinal series to Ninjas in Pyjamas, though the Polish team being forced to use a stand-in, Michal “Michu” Muller.
Results were mixed for Cloud9. The Americans twice outclassed Team Orbit to make the playoff stage, but were only able to take one game from Virtus Pro in two series played and had few answers for Envy in their semifinal clash.
For British fans hoping to see a domestic team perform against the top level of competition, local side Infused had a disappointing showing, losing each of the four games they played. Polish team Gamers2 also disappointed, going winless despite recent signs that the team might be capable of pulling off an upset.
Before play had even begun, spectators were upset with event organizers. The first day of play featured several hours of delays before any matches had gotten underway. Even when play did begin, audio issues marred early broadcasts. Fans will have to hope that future tournaments in the series will benefit from the rough experience had by organizers this time around.