Intel Extreme Masters Oakland, the CS:GO tournament visited by most of the game’s best teams, is halfway through the Group Stage, where every Group A team played best of ones against the other teams in the group. Before the tournament started, Natus Vincere was expected to win the group with the other two teams likely to make it into the single elimination playoffs much more up in the air. Did everything go as expected? No.
After the marathon of 15 best of one matches, Astralis is the team standing at the top with a 4-1 record, only losing to G2 Esports 12:16, winning against everyone else. It seems as if the Danish player-owned org is gaining steam on their way to the ELEAGUE Major. This should make their fans happy, because it looks as if their decision to get Lukas “gla1ve” Rossander not only guaranteed them a spot in the major, but made them play better as well.
Next up, also with a 4-1 record but worse won/lost rounds differential, is the Brazilian Immortals, which only lost their match to Astralis. Over the last several months, Immortals have been performing quite well in some events and worse in others. It seems like Oakland is one of those where we see the strong Immortals.
The final team to make it into the single elimination stage from Group A is, somewhat surprisingly, G2 Esports, especially in face of criticism levied against their AWPer, Edouard “SmithZz” Dubourdeaux, who found himself in the iris of controversy, when Gabriel “FalleN” Toledo decided to comment on the way casters at Northern Arena talked about SmithZz play, pointing out his mistakes and making fun of his worse than usual in-game form. The player himself stayed silent on the matter. It seems as if the player used his energy for practice instead of worrying about what people on the internet are saying, because he performed better than usual in recent months. G2’s result mirrored this too, the team went 3-2 and got into the Round of 6. Of course, it’s not like SmithZz was hard carrying his team. He just did his job without hilarious mistakes, which is all you can really ask of a player. Good job, SmithZz.
Finding themselves below the red line were Team Liquid, Natus Vincere, surprisingly, and TyLoo. While the new Na’Vi lineup with Oleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev started out strong, winning ESL One New York 2016, it seems like the honeymoon phase is over for that team. It might be the case that the strategic simplicity from the Valve and ESL-enforced ban on coaches acting as in-game leaders is finally hitting Na’Vi hard. The CIS superteam was always supposed to be the team to suffer the hardest from that ruling, because they had their coach, Sergey “starix” Ischuk, calling the shots. With no world-class in-game leader, Na’Vi’s game might have become… s1mple, allowing their opponents to figure out how to win against them.
Finally, if you don’t live under a rock and follow CS:GO twitter and the CS:GO subreddit, you might have noticed numerous pros complaining about the appalling conditions at the tournament. After watching the pictures of monitor stands, held down by BRICKS and the insufficient room on the table… we have to agree. What the hell was ESL thinking? As a reddit user “MikeTheAverageReddit” pointed out, “WESA really should look into this, maybe sanction the event to standards & maybe even fine them. So the question is would the fine be paid by WESA themselves or would the ESL WESA directors just fine themselves 7 pay out of pocket?”