There were upsets aplenty during the Major’s Swiss-system group stage
Last week, if you had told people you expected the likes of FaZe Clan, who had a pretty impressive resume before the Major (with multiple semi-final and grand finals showings) to fizzle out without having won a single game, you would have probably been labeled out of your mind. If you had also said you expected the burgeoning French super-team of G2 Esports and even a slumping, but still heavy on talent, Natus Vincere to not make it out of the groups, it would have been understandable, yet still unlikely – but here we are after five exciting rounds of Swiss – after plenty of upsets and surprising results, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive’s new set of eight legends have been crowned:
Hailed before the major as a “dark horse” – not a favorite to win, nor very highly ranked within the theoretical ‘top 8’ on most analyst articles, but expected to get out of the groups either way – the CIS squad have outdone themselves here at the Major and exceeded expectations, winning their first three games in a row and going to the playoffs unscathed. In their first game against mousesports, they won 16:10 on Inferno, in their second, against G2 Esports, they won with a dominating 16:6 score line on Cache, and on their final game of the Swiss stage, they won 16:11 on Train over Virtus.Pro. With such a strong performance on three different maps, and not even including their ‘specialty’ map of Cobblestone – Gambit may just take home this Major.
BIG (Berlin International Gaming)
Seemingly out of nowhere, the German squad of BIG have taken the second slot to the Krakow Major playoffs – and the competition they took down to get there aren’t anything to scoff at either. They won versus FaZe Clan 16:8, Cloud9 16:11, and SK gaming 16:14 – all matches played on Inferno, showing that perhaps, BIG are a map-specialist team, and that they might have some trouble in the playoffs, as there it’s all best-of-threes. BIG are already one of the biggest underdog stories to come out of the Major, but their true test of mettle will be in the playoffs.
As one of the favorites coming into the Major, what with multiple titles in various premier international tournaments earned during the months prior, SK making it to the playoffs was more of an expectation that had to be met than an achievement – the Brazilian squad is looking ready to take home another Major, making their way to the playoffs with a 16:13 win over PENTA on Inferno, 16:8 win over Astralis on Inferno, 16:9 win over Immortals on Overpass, and their single loss to BIG. However, due to the results of Swiss seeding, they will be facing the winners of the previous Major, Astralis, in the first round – SK certainly have their work cut out for them.
The Danish squad of North are the fourth team to the playoffs, recovering from their initial loss versus Cloud9, 12:16 on Mirage, by following it up with three consecutive wins: 19:16 on Mirage versus PENTA, 19:15 on Cobblestone versus mousesports, and 16:14 on Mirage versus Virtus.Pro. North seems to have overcome their disappointing 9-11th place result from ESL One: Cologne, and are looking to bounce back this Major.
Winners of the previous Major, Astralis are coming into this one still as strong contenders – maybe no longer as undisputed favorites, but still expected to make it deep in the tournament. They keep their legends spot thanks to a 19:17 win versus Immortals on Overpass, 16:14 win versus Fnatic on Nuke, and 16:6 versus G2 on Inferno – their single loss was the one to SK Gaming. Sporting one of the most well-rounded rosters in CS:GO and boasting some of the strongest clutches in the game, Astralis could definitely take home their second Major in a row if they show up strong in the playoffs.
As one of the longest-running five-man rosters in esports, Virtus.Pro prove that though they may have their highs and lows as a team, they can get through it without a roster swap, and show up when it counts the most. They are going to the playoffs with a 16:2 win over Vega Squadron on Nuke, 16:11 over Fnatic on Cache, and 16:10 over Cloud9 on Train – their losses were 11:16 to Gambit on Train, and 14:16 to North on Mirage. It’s going to be a rematch versus North in the first round of playoffs for them – and if we get the plow to show up in front of their home crowd, they can certainly take this Major.
It’s a good Major for Brazilian CS:GO, as a second team with an all-Brazilian roster has made it to playoffs. Immortals take their slot with a 16:6 win over Vega Squadron on Train, 16:10 over Na’Vi on Overpass, and 16:6 over FlipSid3 on Train. Their two losses were 9:16 versus SK on Overpass, and 17:19 versus Astralis also on Overpass. They will be facing fellow underdogs, BIG, in the first round of playoffs.
Fnatic’s impressive streak at the Majors continues, having made Legends since the very first: DreamHack Winter in 2013. Some of those rosters may have been different, but this year’s roster is a reunion of their Golden Era, and the team is looking for their renaissance. They book their ticket to the playoffs with a 16:12 win over FlipSid3 on Mirage, 16:12 win over Na’Vi also on Mirage, and 16:10 over G2 on Overpass. They drop a game to Virtus.Pro (11:16 on Cache), and Astralis (14:16 on Nuke). They will be facing Gambit in the first round.
KaLeRei usually can’t shut up about video games, so she writes about them instead. Single-player RPGs or empire-builders/strategy games are her usual cup of tea, but she’s also been an avid follower of the Dota 2 and CS:GO professional scenes for a while. She has a fascination for old pros trying to prove they’ve still got what it takes, and cats.
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