The final group of ELEAGUE CS:GO Premier 2017, featuring Astralis, SK Gaming, Team Liquid, and Heroic, was supposed to be one of the toughest. When people talked about the ones most likely to make it out, SK Gaming, Astralis, and Team Liquid were overwhelmingly favored to succeed, while Heroic was mostly written off as a “dead team walking.”
That’s not how it turned out.
In the Initial Matches, Astralis played Team Liquid, while SK Gaming faced off against Heroic. Astralis met Liquid on Overpass. They started the map off as Counter-Terrorists and played very well, winning the half 12-3. Then, it was time for the teams to switch sides.
Team Liquid found themselves in a very difficult situation. They had to make up 9 rounds to just get even with their Danish opponents. They only managed to get 8 points before they lost the crucial four rounds which meant a loss, 11-16.
In the other initial match, SK Gaming were heavily favored to win against Heroic. It’s possible that SK Gaming believed in their own superiority too much themselves because when it came the time to show up, the Brazilians weren’t there.
The teams started their face-off on Train with Heroic playing the CT side. Gabriel “FalleN” Toledo and friends were completely out of it in the match and Heroic took full advantage, winning the half 11-4. It seems like the Brazilian superstars weren’t able to gather themselves in the time allotted to them inn the break between the halves. They lost it 1-5, making it 16-5 in favor of Heroic. That was not how this game and the group stage overall was supposed to go.
Strangely enough, the Winners’ Match featured Astralis and Heroic. The two teams played on Train. Having already blown away SK Gaming on the same map, Heroic probably went into the match optimistic about their chances to win against one more legendary team, but the Danish were having none of it.
They started the first half on the CT side and simply demolished their opponent 14-1. The second half was basically just a formality. Astralis won it 2-1 and took the map 16-2. This game was a huge stats padder for Astralis. Their best player in this game, Lukas “gla1ve” Rossander was in the lead with HLTV 2.0 rating of 1.85, but that didn’t mean very much, when their worst had 1.25 against Heroic’s best, Andreas “MODDII” Fridh, with 0.75.
The Losers’ Match wasn’t what we expected before the Group D battles started. Not at all. SK Gaming as the loser? That’s just plain weird. Team Liquid? Meh, okay, if they get matched against Astralis or SK Gaming, maybe.
Because of the importance of this match, it was a best of 3. Liquid banned Cache, SK took away Nuke, Liquid picked Inferno, while the Brazilians chose to play Overpass. Then, Liquid removed Train, while SK did the same with Cobblestone, leaving their old favorite, Mirage, as the deciding map of the series.
On Inferno, Team Liquid showed why they picked the map in the first place, going 11-4 in their T-sided first half. SK Gaming had a big deficit to make up for but weren’t successful, losing the second half 4-5 and the whole map 8-16.
On their own map, SK started as Terrorists and showed their power, winning the first half 10-5, following it up with a 6-3 second half, making it 16-8 in their favor and tying up the series, 1-1.
Then, the time to play Mirage came. Despite having the choice of the map and picking Mirage, SK Gaming weren’t dominating towards their US opponents. In fact, the map was completely even-sided. Liquid started as CTs and won the half 8-7, but SK did the same on their own CT side, forcing Overtime. In the added time, however, they managed to come out victorious 4-2, winning the map 19-17 and the series 2-1.
This was as even of a series as it can possibly get in Counter-Strike. Liquid won their map 16-8, SK Gaming won their own map 16-8, the decider was taken to Overtime.
The Decider Match
With Team Liquid out of the running and Astralis safely in the Playoffs, there was only one match left to be played: Heroic vs. SK Gaming. When the two teams met each other in the initial match of the event, Heroic embarrassed SK on Train, one of their better maps.
Now, the two teams met in a best of 3 series and the Brazilians hoped to take revenge. They removed Nuke, while Heroic got rid of Cache. Then, SK picked Overpass, while Heroic got themselves Inferno. After that, SK showed themselves to be unwilling to play on Train, while Heroic got rid of Cobblestone, leaving Mirage as the decider map.
The first half of Overpass, the map SK picked, was even, with the Brazilians barely winning it 8-7 on the Terrorist side. Once Heroic got to play as the bad guys, however, they crumbled, allowing SK to take eight rounds to their one, making it 16-8 in favor of SK Gaming.
Inferno was an entirely different story. While SK Gaming did try to resist on the CT side, Heroic more or less rolled through them, winning the first half 10-5 and 6-0’ing the superstar team in the second, tying up the series and bringing it to Mirage.
The last time SK Gaming played Mirage against Team Liquid, it was a close battle. This match against Heroic wasn’t. The Danes started on the CT side and delivered a very strong 11-4 performance in the first half. SK Gaming tried to come back in the second half, but weren’t successful at all, losing it 4-5, making the total score on Inferno 16-8 in favor of Heroic and 2-1 in the series.
With this win, Heroic made it where only their moms believed they could get to, the ELEAGUE CS:GO Premier 2017 Playoffs.
The Quarterfinals of the ELEAGUE CS:GO Premier 2017 are going to start on Tuesday, Oct. 10, with a match between Cloud9 and G2 Esports. Then, Astralis will play Fnatic on the same day. The Playoffs will continue on Oct. 11 with FaZe Clan vs. Team EnVyUs and North vs. Heroic. The Semifinals will be played on Oct. 12 and the Grand Final will take place on Friday, Oct. 13, which is just spooky, to tell you the truth.