The big casualtiesI’m going to focus more on the unexpected exits of these high-profile teams as their results were actually far more surprising than the teams that made it through to the playoffs.
G2 EsportsThe first big name team to bomb out early in the competition was G2. After a closely contested 22 - 20 double overtime loss to Cloud 9, they were dismantled by their French countrymen EnVyUs. Even with their recent roster woes, they would have still been bitterly disappointed by the 16 - 7 loss and an early exit at their home event on day one.Cloud 9’s Tarik “tarik” Celik pulled off this amazing flank with a Zeus on an eco, to help steal the round from G2 in their matchup:
The Brazilian double Major-winners have been looking off their game of late. This precipitated the departure of Epitacio “Taco” de Melo in favour of former Cloud 9 captain Jake “Stewie2K” Yip. Sadly for SK, their first hit out with their new signing did not go well at all. A close opening 16 - 13 loss to Ninjas in Pyjamas, followed by an easy victory over newcomers Valiance set them up for a deciding BO3 matchup versus current world number two team Mousesports. A clean 2 - 0 victory for Mousesports made SK look rather ordinary and sent them packing.
The current best team in North America, Liquid have been incredibly consistent in making the playoffs in events post Major. The replacement of Lucas “steel” Lopes with SK’s Taco created optimism within the team of a good result in France. The optimism was however misplaced with a lack of practice with Taco causing them to have a rather inconsistent LAN. An early 16 - 7 win over Gambit would have made them hopeful before they suffered defeat to Astralis. The Astralis defeat was far worse than the 2 -1 result would indicate with the two map losses to Astralis being big blowout defeats to the Danes. In the BO3 elimination match, Gambit overturned the earlier result to win 2 -1 and send the Americans home early. Gambit’s AdreN and HObbit managed to clutch a sensational 2v4 to close out the match against Liquid:
Here are some of my favourite moments from the group stages. Nikola “NiKo” Kovač of FaZe Clan with a heroic 1v4 clutch in their loss to Cloud 9: A stunning 1v4 clutch from Astralis’ Nicolai “device” Reedtz to help bury Team Liquid: Fnatic stalwart Freddy “Krimz” Johannson stamps his authority on the tournament with yet another quad kill versus Renegades: You can catch all the action in the playoffs here.