The first day of the ELEAGUE Season 1 Quarterfinals had legendary rivals, Fnatic and Team EnVyUs, writing yet another page in the history of their struggle against each other and a battle between the struggling Goliath, Natus Vincere, vs. the upstart American David, Cloud9, who were trying to live up to the high standards set by the other best known American squad, Team Liquid, in ESL One Cologne 2016.
Team EnVyUs vs. Fnatic
Before the teams entered the server, analysts, fans, and, well, I predicted that Fnatic should win this time. Of course, you can predict all you want, but everything goes out the window when the match starts. Keeping that in mind, let’s put our preconceived notions on the shelf and look at the matches with an open mind.
EnVyUs banned Overpass, Fnatic responded with a Nuke ban. EnVyUs picked Cobblestone and Fnatic went for Dust2. Then, the French banned Train, while the Swedes got rid of Mirage, making Cache the map to play in the deciding match of the series. Cobblestone, Dust 2 and Cache were favorable maps to EnVyUs. Apparently, Fnatic went into the match confident that they could beat their opponents without trying to put them in unfavorable positions map-wise.
Map One: Cobblestone
The Swedes put their opponents on the back foot starting with the pistol round. Not willing to turtle and play hard eco, EnVyUs got a couple of Deagles and three Five-SeveNs against Fnatic’s AKs, a shotgun and an SMG. It didn’t go well at all, EnVyUs lost one more round, no miracles there. Fortunately for the French, they managed to win the first gun round. Following that, the teams swapped points, until EnVyUs broke Fnatic’s economy, forcing them to go for Tec-9s and used it to equalize the score. That was the boost the French needed to finally get a lead in the match. Their fortune was short-lived. Fnatic tied the score in the next round. 5:5 and kept on rolling, only giving up one more point for the rest of the half.
Fnatic started the half with a pistol round win once again, this time as CTs. The rest of the early game in the second half played out the same once again, Fnatic won the anti-eco, only to lose the first gun round. Hurt, but not broken, their eco allowed them to buy an AWP, a couple of M4A1-Ss and a Shotgun for JW with an UMP-45 for flusha. That wasn’t enough to stop EnVyUs’ full buy. The French came in within 4 points, with Fnatic having to save. EnVyUs managed to take advantage of Fnatic having to save to get within one point of their opponent, 11:12, only to see the Swedes save up enough for a decent buy of the AWP and Rifles and use it to pull ahead once again, 11:13. Olofmeister and the Goonies weren’t about to give the match away. While they did lose a couple of rounds after that, the Swedes emerged victorious, 16:13.
Looking at stats, Vincent “Happy” Schopenhauer was the best player on the server. He had 90 ADR, while his closest challengers, Olof “olofmeister” Kajbjer and Dennis “dennis” Edman had 80. His HLTV rating was obviously the best at 1.17. Fnatic’s Freddy “KRiMZ” Johansson and olofmeister had 1.13. As it often happens in team shooters, you can play your heart out, but if your team lags behind, there’s not much you can do. Unless you’re NiKo.
Map Two: Dust2
With their backs against the wall following their defeat on Cobble, EnVyUs rallied to win the first pistol round as CTs on Dust2. Fnatic weren’t in the mood to save, however. Using their pistols, they actually defeated EnVyUs anti-eco SMGs to tie the score and kept rolling, pulling out ahead of the French. The Swedish steamroll continued until the end of the fifth round, when EnVyUs managed to get a point to tie the score once again. Then, they started dominating Fnatic a little bit, making it 7:3 in their favor, before giving up a point. Unfortunately for EnVyUs, Fnatic took full advantage of their win on Round 11, going on winning streak and closing out the first half with the score of 8:7 in their favor.
With the possible crisis averted, Fnatic went out for blood in the second half of the match. They won the pistol round, got their SMGs (dennis even bought a P90). The armorless/semi-armorless pistol + Scout setup, cobbled together by EnVyUs didn’t really stand a chance. Fnatic just went choo choo and rolled over the French, with only JW dying. Even then, he managed to get a triple kill before going down. For the rest of the match, Fnatic choked EnVyUs out, forcing them to save, winning anti-eco, and then choking their opponents out once again in gun rounds. Altogether, Fnatic won 13 rounds in a row and destroyed EnVyUs, ending their run at the ELEAGUE.
The strongest showing statistically belongs to Jesper “JW” Wecksell, who had a staggering 111.4 ADR, with 1.47 rating. Dennis “dennis” Edman wasn’t far behind, with the same rating, even though his ADR was much lower, 86.7. EnVyUs didn’t have a hero to try and save them this time. While Kenny “kennyS” Schrub topped his team’s rating with 0.96, his ADR was a pitiful 72.4. He also had 1 less kill than deaths. Of course, it’s hard to put up good numbers when you got smashed for 13 rounds.
Natus Vincere vs. Cloud9
Prior to entering the server to face off for their right to play in the Semi-finals, most people thought that Na’Vi should win easily. While Natus Vincere are in a bit of a slump, Cloud9 have prejudice against NA CS:GO and underperforming Alec “Slemmy” White to deal with.
Whatever the case may be, Na’Vi removed Cache, C9 responded with Nuke. Then, the CIS team chose to play the first game on Overpass, while the Americans picked Dust2. Then, Na’Vi removed Mirage, while C9 got rid of Train, meaning that the decider map was going to be Overpass.
Map One: Overpass
Cloud9 started the game off well, winning the first pistol round and the customary two rounds after that, before Na’Vi took back control of the match, winning 4 in a row. C9 responded in kind, bringing the match to a tie, 4:4. Then, both teams got a point each, before the Americans went into high gear, gaining a 3 point advantage before Na’Vi could win a point. Once they did, however, they took everything they could, catching up to their opponents, trailing by 1 point at the end of the first half, mostly due to Ioann "Edward" Sukhariev’s efforts. The veteran had 19 kills to 8 deaths at the half.
Trying to not repeatedly lose pistol rounds, Na’Vi won this one, bringing the match to a tie. Cloud 9 gracefully took the defeats which followed, getting ready for the first gun round of the half. Their patience paid off, they won. Na’Vi weren’t all that bothered, however. They just won the next one, keeping their lead and even increasing it to 5 points, 14:9. That is when Na’Vi threw the game a little bit, allowing C9 to win 5 rounds straight, before FINALLY bringing the game to match point, 15:14. Their victory wasn’t meant to be at that time, however. C9 won the last round of the regular time and brought the match to Overtime. Na’Vi didn’t mess around after that. They won 4 straight maps in a row, clinching the first match in their favour. It was too close for comfort, however.
The best player in the game was Ioann “Edward” Sukhariev, who had a 1.40 rating and +11 Kill – Death ratio. Egor “flamie” Vasilyev and Ladislav “GuardiaN” Kovács also did well, with ratings of 1.25 and 1.19 respectively. The only player on C9, who kinda matched Na’Vi’s ratings was Mike “shroud” Grzesiek with a rating of 1.32.
Map Two: Dust2
Down by a point, C9 had to win the next match in order to have any hope of getting to the Semi-finals. Fortunately, the map to be played was the one they themselves picked, Dust2. Starting on T side in the first half, they lost the pistol despite their best efforts and continued losing eco rounds, as is expected by this point. They repeated their performance on Overpass, however, winning the first gun round of the map and the one following it, before Na’Vi got a point, only to be defeated by C9 in the next one. The CIS veterans didn’t panic, pulling ahead, but the Americans showed themselves to be serious, going on a rampage and ultimately winning the first half, 8:7.
The second half, with C9 playing as CT, definitely didn’t go as Na’Vi wanted it to. It all went wrong for Na’Vi starting with the pistols, which were won by Na’Vi. The following the eco, Na’Vi didn’t even manage to pick up their first win of the half in the first gun round of the second half. When C9 were in a similar situation to the one experienced by Na’Vi in the previous map, where the team in yellow had 14 points only for the Americans to come back, C9 didn’t allow it to happen, winning their chosen map 16:9.
Statistically speaking, the only player to do well on Na’Vi’s side was Denis “seized” Kostin, who had a +6 Kill – Death differential, 112 ADR, and an HLTV rating of 1.26. On the C9 side, the MVP was Mike “shroud” Grzesiek, with a rating of 1.53, ADR of mind-boggling 132.2, and a Kill – Death difference of +12. Jake “Stewie2K” Yip also contributed with a rating of 1.44, 104.7 ADR, and a +10 differential.
Map Three: Cobblestone
Before the teams entered the server, not any would have bet that it would come to three maps in a match between Na’Vi and C9. I certainly wouldn’t have. Well, it did.
C9 got a better start winning the pistol and the consequent anti-eco rounds, as well as the all important gun round. In fact, the score was Na’Vi 3:6 C9 after 10 rounds, in the midst of a Na’Vi comeback from a 1:5 slump. It was mostly successful. GuardiaN’s team got to 6 points, however, C9 did manage to win the first half, 9:6. It was a somewhat close affair, with Na’Vi getting to a tie after 12 rounds, only to have C9 take off for the next 3.
The second pistol was won by Na’Vi playing on the CT side. They won the following anti-eco rounds and then kept on going to pull out ahead for the first time in the match. One more win for Na’Vi later C9 finally hustled down and won a round, making it 11:10 in Na’Vi’s favor. The European veterans got back to business in the next round, 12:10. The next couple of rounds went in Na’Vi’s favor too, however, at 14 points, C9 won one. When that happened, I was getting flashbacks from Overpass. They only got stronger when C9 won the next two rounds. I was preparing for an Overtime once again. Fortunately for Na’Vi, they managed to win the following two, winning their Quarter-finals matchup 2:1 and moving to the Semis, where they will try to get one over Fnatic. I ask myself, if they had trouble with C9, will they get beat by Fnatic? I think they might.
Looking at stats, Jordan “n0thing” Gilbert’s performance immediately stands out above the rest. A +14 Kills – Deaths difference, 114.4 ADR, whooping 1.60 HLTV rating. Mike “shroud” Grzesiek had +2, 85.8, and 1.19, which was actually higher than anyone on Na’Vi, in terms of rating. Egor “flamie” Vasilyev showed up with +4, 85.1, and 1.15, while Denis “seized” Kostin had +1, 78.3, and 1.11.
Yes, Na’Vi won the match, just as expected, however, I found myself actually wishing that C9 would win. Maybe then, Na’Vi would accept that Oleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev is their future and finally sign him, making the ancient prophecy about the coming of The One Who Pwns Noobs come true. Seriously, though, Na’Vi needs to fix their shit if they want to stay as one of the best teams in the world. S1mple might not be the way, though. Na’Vi players have been playing together for a long time. The distracting influence of s1mple might actually be detrimental, even though his skill is obvious to anyone with eyes.