After weeks of nonstop action, the last seven days gave us a bit of a break before we head into the final series of events before the Major. The most important games were in the ESL Pro League, where the group stage came to a close and some big names missed out on the LAN finals. Elsewhere, the HTC 2v2 Invitational offered a nice change of pace.
Match of the week – Shox/KennyS vs Cajunb/Aizy
There weren’t any classic matches this week, so we decided to go with something from the HTC 2v2 Invitational, which was incredibly entertaining. The format worked well, the teams were pretty evenly matched for the most part, and the action was tense.
The final came down to the G2 duo of shox and kennyS, who faced off against cajunb and aizy from North. The match was pretty close, and there were a ton of big plays. Sure, it isn’t going to be remembered in a few months’ time, but it’s something novel and proved that Counter-Strike has more versatility than we sometimes see.
Winners & Losers
Former Na’Vi coach and player starix announced he is joining Team Spirit as their new in-game leader. Starix hasn’t played in a pro-level team for some time, so the move was a little unexpected, but his shot-calling skills should make up for any rustiness with an AK. Spirit have struggled for some time so this move could be just what the team needs. Give them a few months and they could easily make it to a few of the big LANs.
Winner: VP and Astralis
This week ELEAGUE announced a $250,000 show match between Astralis and Virtus Pro, which will take place on June 16th and be broadcast on TBS. It’s a rematch of the ELEAGUE Major final, of course, which Astralis managed to win earlier this year. With ELEAGUE running a Street Fighter V competition at the moment, this one-off event will be all we get from them until the third season of Counter-Strike action this September. More info on the third season is expected in the coming weeks.
— ELEAGUE (@EL) May 6, 2017
Gambit player Zeus revealed he has decided to bring back the classic Pro100 organization. Initially Zeus didn’t announce any roster plans, prompting some to speculate he was going to leave Gambit to form a new team or bring the current roster across. But the next day the org revealed its roster, and it is full of names you probably haven’t heard, as it is very much an up-and-coming CIS team. Zeus said he is looking to expand the org and is already on the lookout for an academy team and teams in other titles outside CS.
Losers: FaZe Clan and Astralis
The last day of ESL Pro League group competition in the Pro League left a lot of possibilities open, but no one imagined FaZe Clan and Astralis, probably the two best teams in the world right now, would miss out. With all the games played, they both sit at 14 wins and 12 losses, but tiebreaker rules meant Na’Vi and EnVyUs qualified for the LAN finals at their expense. Astralis can at least take solace in achieving the unlikely feat of being a TLDW winner and loser in the same week though, right?
Loser: Former Winterfox team
Things were finally starting to look up for the former Winterfox team, but they have been brought crashing back down to earth. With no new org in sight and down one player, they decided to forfeit their remaining ESL Pro League games. This led ESL to disqualify them, void their results and ban them from receiving prize money. This also meant auto relegation, so they can’t even fight for a chance to make it back into the competition next season.
We’ve really started to enjoy the CS reality show Gamerz, but the show landed in hot water this week and was banned from Twitch for 24 hours after one contestant was caught on camera using racist language twice. The show continued on other streaming platforms, and the player was suspended for two days, but now everything seems to be back to normal.
Play of the Week
There weren’t too many top-level plays this week. In fact, we almost went with this play from shroud, which isn’t really a good play at all. However, our old buddy NiKo decided he hasn’t been featured for a while, so busted out this nice 1v2 at the HTC 2v2 Invitational. Do you still need to be reminded that NiKo is probably the best player in the world?
Chances are you’ve seen a clip like this before, but that doesn’t make it any less funny. Here in a FaceIt tournament a player is banned for cheating mid-game, and gets called out for it on stream. While we never like to hear of cheating, seeing the perpetrators get their comeuppance live on stream is a pretty good punishment.
With both FaZe and Astralis missing out on the Pro League finals, many people have called for ESL to change their LAN spot distribution, reducing the number of teams coming from NA and adding more slots to Europe. It remains to be seen whether ESL takes notice.
Every season of EPL ever:
"Wonder which top EU team won't make it?"
"Wonder which joke NA team will make it?"
— Thorin (@Thooorin) May 11, 2017
After leaving yet another team, the conversation around Maikelele again turned to his supposedly toxic nature. But this time instead of keeping quiet as he usually does, the man himself decided to release a blog post explaining the situation and basically telling people to stop calling him out. Fair enough.
Okay so maybe it isn’t fully back, but it did make its return for this clip and it may just be the finest usage of this meme ever.