A wild first day of play at the X-Games Invitational has given way to the favorites coming out on top.
The first day of Major League Gaming’s first big Counter-Strike: Global Offensive event at the X Games in Aspen, Colorado was equal parts exciting and unexpected. Upsets came in droves, kicked off by the new Counter Logic Gaming team defeating LDLC in the final round of regulation.
The standings were also thrown into chaos, with unpredictable results such as Kabum easing past Cloud9 only for Cloud9 to turn around and cleanly outplay Ninjas in Pyjamas—just after the Swedes had beaten Dignitas in overtime. And of course, Dignitas was then able to manhandle Kabum.
The other group was just as chaotic. Counter Logic Gaming’s upset of LDLC was followed by the team getting blown out by Team Liquid, who had themselves endured a lopsided defeat to Fnatic to kick the tournament off.
As a result, each of the eight teams in attendance standing at one win and one loss. And that meant that each of the four group stage games today would act as elimination matches to determine who would move on the playoffs and who would go home.
Sadly for fans, those climactic matches wouldn’t quite live up to the excitement of the previous day.
None of the four games were competitive. Ninjas in Pyjamas, Fnatic, and LDLC all won their games in which they were considered heavy favorites . The match that was the most difficult to call, played between Cloud9 and Dignitas, turned out to be biggest blowout, with the Danes winning by a 16-2 margin. In total, the losing teams managed only 18 rounds, compared to 64 for the winners.
Balanced efforts from the winning teams ruled the day, with players such as Patrik “Forest” Lindberg of Ninjas in Pyjamas and Fabien “Kioshima” Fiey of LDLC leading the charge for their respective squads.
There were few standouts among the losing teams, though credit is deserved for Nick “Nitro” Cannella. The American playing for Team Liquid turned in respectable performances even as his team was soundly beaten by both Fnatic and LDLC, even managing an even ratio and a better frag total than all but two LDLC players in the latter 16-6 loss.
The results of the day may have been underwhelming, but they do leave fans with two attractive playoff matchups: top Swedish teams Fnatic and Ninjas in Pyjamas will duel, while LDLC will look to hold off frequent challenger Dignitas.
Each match can be found on MLG’s streaming platform this evening.