With the somewhat surprising end to the first day of IEM Oakland, the second was somewhat likely to the same way. While Group A was surprisingly won by Astralis, Cloud9, SK Gaming and Ninjas in Pyjamas stood to make it into the Playoffs, in no particular order.
Surprises started with the first match of the day, when Heroic not only played SK Gaming close, but were actually winning on Cobblestone as CT. At the end of the match, the score was Heroic 16:13 SK Gaming in the first upset of the day. Next, the FaZe Clan rumble through the opposition started. They defeated Cloud9 19:17 in OT on Mirage, absolutely demolished Heroic 16:3, spanked around NiP 16:5. Trudging on in force now, FaZe were met by SK Gaming and managed to win on Nuke, 16:11. After defeating the final team on their way directly to the QF, mouz, the seriously underperforming team, led by Nikola “NiKo” Kovač, gave FaZe the last of their wins. With that, FaZe Clan became the only team to go to the Playoffs with a perfect record.
The second team to make it into the Playoffs, the once upon a time undisputed best team in the world, SK Gaming, got there with a 3-2 record, losing a match against Heroic in an upset and their game against the undefeated FaZe Clan. As for the rest, SK won against mousesports 16:10, C9 16:10, and NiP 16:9. Finally, the last team to make it out of the group, leaving C9, Heroic, and mousesports behind, was Ninjas in Pyjamas and their once again complete roster with Jacob “pyth” Mourujärvi back after having carpal tunnel problems for months.
The Ninjas made it out with a 3-2 record, winning against mouz, C9, and Heroic, losing against SK and FaZe. Looking at statistics, pyth’s performance was stable. He wasn’t the statistically worst player on the team, but there was still nothing to write home about. Of course, with Adam “friberg” Friberg, Patrik “f0rest” Lindberg, and Christopher “GeT_RiGhT” Alesund on the team, the NiP squad has enough firepower to not require pyth to play out of his mind in order to win. He just needs to do his job and that is precisely what he did in most cases.
All in all, the Group Stage of IEM Oakland is starting to show us that the roster upheaval on Astralis and FaZe Clan is starting to work out. In the Playoffs, both teams are awaiting their opponents in the Semifinals. Trying to earn their ticket to the match against Astralis, SK Gaming and G2 Esports are going to play on Saturday. FaZe Clan, on the other hand, is going to play against the winner of the matchup between Immortals and Ninjas in Pyjamas. This Round of 6 match will be played just after the SK vs. G2 match is over.
If the world made sense, SK Gaming would defeat G2, NiP would spank around Immortals and the spot in the Finals would be totally up for grabs in the matchups between Astralis and SK and FaZe and NiP. CS:GO is a game where anything can happen, however. We will just have to wait and see.