ELEAGUE: The highlights of Group B
The last match within the Group B was finished yesterday, so it's high time to make a final postmortem. For four tournament-days, two American (OpTic and Selfless), one French (G2) and one Swedish (NiP) team had been fighting for a seed in the Playoffs of ELEAGUE, but only one of them was destined to become its full owner.
Turner Broadcasting Studio, hosting the group stage of ELEAGUE
According to the final results, the European region has once again proved its superiority over the North American one, ranking the first and the second line of the tournament table. However, it's worth mentioning that the strongest line-ups of the North America were gathered in Group A, and OG and Selfless Gaming don't have the same level of experience, as is inherent for Luminosity, Cloud9 or Liquid. Let us bring to your attention some more details about the participating teams and analyze what was the cause of their triumph or fiasco.
The NiP's «magic» has worked out again
The champions of DreamHack Masters Malmo — Ninjas in Pyjamas — have pleased their fans with another victory, fantastically defeating G2 in the final match. Most crucially, the Swedes have become the first team to interrupt the winning run of the Frenchmen, which had lasted since the completion of ESL Pro League S3 LAN-finals and evenly until the decisive battle.
NiP ultimately got their own back
Hardly anybody had expected that after the series of not credible results from NiP, they would manage to not only overcome G2.Kinguin, but to simply defeat their opponent. The uncertain game, shown by Swedish squad in the semifinal match against OpTic made many fans lose hope for the comeback of Ninjas in Pyjamas. Moreover, in the previous confrontation against G2, the enemy had easily defeated the Swedes, gaining the status of a favorite up to the last meeting.
The line-up under the direction of Björn «THREAT» Pers has surpassed the rival in all aspects of the game: both on the team's and individual level. The French team was not prepared for the fact that they would have to face NiP in the struggle for the access to the Playoffs. It's quite possible, that G2 had just underestimated their opponent and started the match with the expectations of an easy victory. But Ninjas in Pyjamas, by all tokens, had analyzed the errors of the past clash with the Frenchmen, and came to the finals, being ready for anything.
Nevertheless, one shouldn't underestimate the achievements of G2. Before giving the way to NiP, the French team had won 16 maps in a row, each time showing virtually infallible Counter-Strike. Matches among the «tier 1» squads, are always unpredictable, and the last game between the Ninjas in Pyjamas and G2.Kinguin has proved it. Therefore, if the French succeed in the LCQ (Last Chance Qualifier) bracket, they will have all the chances to avenge NiP in the final stage of ELEAGUE.
G2 turned out to be not strong enough
Despite the continual incredible performance, shown by the team led by Richard «shox» Papillon, it failed to get the latest and most important summit, losing in the final match to the Swedes from NiP. Staying a footstep away from the desired victory, G2 has also broken their winning streak, which certainly had been adding confidence to the French actions.
Players of the French team didn't manage with the increased tension
Nothing was foreboding any troubles for G2.Kinguin. The French had easily passed through the enemy's teams in the group stage, winning each of them with the final score of [2:0]: firstly, they had conceded Selfless, then NiP, and at the end it was the OpTic's turn. As a part of the next stage of the tournament, G2 had dealt with the US-team once again in the match between the 1st and the 4th seeds, thereby securing a part in the final battle with the winner of the match NiP vs OpTic. In order to finish the started, G2 should have only re-defeated Ninjas in Pyjamas.
However, G2 didn't cope with the task and lost out to the Swedes, not even showing their viewers the game, which was inherent to them before. [9:16] on the enemy's and [3:16] on their own pick - not the best result for the team of the «tier 1» class. However, analyzing the previous achievements of the French, it was a shame for their efforts, which, in the end, fell short of the expectations. After the musings, we should ask: « Is the system of ELEAGUE's guiding effective and even just? ». In any case, the incident can't be changed and G2's fans can only wait for the rehabilitation of their idols during the qualifying at the LCQ.
OpTic Gaming and their horizons
The second team of Group B, which will continue their performance in the tournament already in the framework of the LCQ, became OpTic. Recently, the Canadian line-up has taken leave of Shahzeb «ShahZaM» Khan, inviting on his place a young and promising player from Spain — Oscar «mixwell» Canellas. This change benefited the OG, and in a short period of time the team managed not only to express their serious intentions for the future, but also to achieve a new successes, including: the 1st place at MLG American Minor Championship, getting to the LAN-finals of CEVO Gfinity S9, ESL Pro League S3, ECS S1 and, of course, ELEAGUE.
The move to the North American region opened up new horizons for the mixwell
It's worth mentioning that the way of the Canadians through the tournament in Atlanta ran through the qualifying stage of ELEAGUE: Road to Vegas, where OG had finished the first in the US, and then in the overall qualification, beating the Polish from ex-CSGL in the finals. Once on the championship, it took some time for OPTIC to demonstrate their strength so, as expected, they gave way to NiP and G2. However, in the match for third place among the Group B, the team from Canada got the confident victory against the Americans from Selfless and thus, met the Swedes from Ninjas in Pyjamas once again, but already in the semi-final confrontation.
It was the game, during which the audience was witnessing a really strong CS, performed by OpTic Gaming. Instead of a quick and boring fight with the final result in a favor of NiP, we’ve got some exciting «bo3-series», where a fight took place on all of the three maps, up to the last round. After defeating each other on the enemy's picks, OpTic and Ninjas in Pyjamas came to a decisive de_train, where the long-term experience of Swedes surpassed the talent and ambitions of the Canadians. The ticket to the Grandfinal slipped from the hands of OpTic Gaming, but this defeat still has some advantages.
Besides that OG don't stop their performance in the tournament, they also have a unique opportunity to learn from their mistakes and come back again, but this time stronger and more prepared. Hardly anyone would deny the fact that OpTic have the capacity to enter into the «top 10» of the worldwide ranking of CS: GO-teams. And if they continue in the same pace, we will be able to see them at the next major-tournament in Cologne, which will be held next month.
Selfless didn't create a sensation
On the last line of the tournament table appeared the Selfless Gaming, who has followed in Team Liquid's footsteps, not winning a single victory in the group stage of ELEAGUE. We'd like to remind you that before the start of the tournament, Connor «Connor» Gloverjoined the team, thereby staffing the American roster before the confrontation.
The Relyks individual skills weren't enough
Despite the long list of results that consists only of defeats, the Skyler «Relyks» Weaver's team was fighting with dignity against each of their rivals. Firstly, in the «bo1-matches» against G2, NiP and OpTic, where each map is accompanied by a hard struggle, and then again with the Frenchmen, but in Playoffs of the group stage. It is likely that it was the lack of teamwork with a new player, which led to a disastrous performance of Selfless.
Nevertheless, we shouldn't exaggerate the role of a newcomer Connor «Connor» Glover, because the problems of the Americans were caused by totally different reasons. Anyway, at the moment, the line-up doesn't have any prospects, and there is hardly a guarantee that they won't fall apart after a couple of days or months. But now Selfless Gaming are taking the 19-24th places on ELEAGUE, receiving a cash prize of $ 30,000.
The tournament is starting to pick up steam
So these are the highlights of the Group B. Not quite sensational, but not without any surprises. Next week, starting from the 7th of June, will begin its struggle the Group C, which consists of: SK, NRG, CLG and Astralis. Who will take the 5th slot in the CLG's line-up? How will NRG perform, having recently added to the active roster FugLy and tabseN? Which of the two Danish teams will demonstrate a more high-class game? Stay tuned to starladder.com, because this is where you will learn the answers to these questions.
the photos were taken from the site hltv.org