There may have been two LANs going on, but this still felt like a quiet week in the world of competitive Counter-Strike. The NA Minor seemed to be done and dusted before it even began, and if any of the teams from the CIS Minor manage to make it to the Major itself then we’ll be available to be knocked over by a feather all summer.
Outside of that, the only top-level online competition was the last week of ECS, and pretty much all the final placings were already confirmed, although the repercussions of GODSENT’s surprise victory over FaZe Clan did at least spice up the relegation battle.
And of course we’re still playing Operation Hydra, pounding through those Guardian Missions, while Valve, having shipped the operation, evidently has some time on its hands again, because this week also saw the return of the banhammer. And how!
Match of the Week – Virtus Pro vs G2 Esports
The matches on offer this week were a little disappointing, but there were still a few highlights. The best of the bunch was the final maps of ECS Season 3 in Europe, with Virtus Pro fighting for survival against ESL Pro League winners G2 Esports. VP came really close, especially on the second map, but ultimately the French team were just too strong.
Winners & Losers
Winner: Immortals and Cloud9
What’s that? Yep, we got our predictions for the NA Minor spot on, even down to the result of the winner’s bracket final. Cloud9 and Immortals made it through to the Major Qualifier in the end, with C9 taking the win, but shroud and company had to do things the hard way after Immortals easily dispatched them first time around with 16-8 and 16-9 victories on Train and Cache respectively. C9 then had to beat Counter-Logic Gaming to climb back up to a rematch against Immortals, which they went on to win 2-1.
It has been a rough year for Maikelele, but he finally seems to have found a team where he might last more than a few months. After surprising results across the PGL EU Minor open and close qualifiers, the Passions team was picked up by Red Reserve, and the org didn’t waste any time splashing the cash, as they have now signed Maikelele to a permanent deal. This is certainly a step down from his previous rosters, but it does give him a chance to work with an up-and-coming team to make it back to the top, which was probably his aim with Dignitas before that went south. This should be an interesting team to watch.
Winner: Na’Vi and Virtus Pro
These two teams have not had a good time in recent months. For VP it has been a rough ride since DreamHack Masters Las Vegas, but for Na’Vi their last real success was back at ESL One New York in 2016. Fortunately that success has made them a winner this week, as both these teams have been invited to the 2017 version of ESL’s annual Big Apple jamboree. Na’Vi won last time, beating VP in the final, which gave them both direct invitations. Chances are that another four teams will come in with invitations and the final two will come from qualifiers, but that is yet to be confirmed.
Our initial response to this news was just to laugh for a solid five minutes. Valve has brought out the banhammer, and they must have been working out a lot over the last few months because they just won’t stop swinging it. An estimated 5,000 people have been VAC-banned this week, and that seems to be a low estimate. Those using Linux to cheat the VAC system seem to have been the main target, but many other cheat providers have reported they too have been hit. This serves you all right for trying to cheat and ruin our fun.
Loser: VP, Dig, Ghost and Luminosity
VP may be in the winners column, but they are also a loser after they finished in the bottom two in the ECS Season 3 EU Division. It looked like they would be safe, but a surprise win for GODSENT against FaZe saw the Swedes jump above VP and force the Major runners-up to play in their second relegation tournament in as many months. Joining them in EU is Dignitas, while it was Ghost Gaming and Luminosity who propped up the NA division. We certainly wouldn’t be surprised to see a few new names in the league next season.
If there’s one thing not to do a week before the NA Minor, it’s swapping out a player because he wouldn’t attend a bootcamp at a day’s notice, but if you believe ShahZaM’s side of the story, that is exactly what Misfits just did…
Shahzam is benched permanently from the roster and we are trialing @caiozqk for the minor.
Time to focus and do our best.
— Luis Peacemaker (@peacemakercsgo) June 3, 2017
I said I would go some days before to bootcamp, but I couldn't drop everything and immediately go out for 2 weeks bootcamp with 1 day notice
— Shahzeb Khan (@ShahZaMk) June 4, 2017
As you probably guessed, this didn’t work out too well, especially as Sean Gares was also absent from the team. Misfits ended up losing to CLG, which isn’t that shocking, and paiN, which certainly is. The Brazilian team battered Misfits on Overpass 16-4, then took Train 16-14 to knock them out of the competition.
Play of the Week
This was a very late entry, coming in from the latter stage of the American Minor, but it is by far the best play of this week in a pro game. When this first starts out, the casters have already moved on to talk about another topic, assuming Skadoodle will be killed within a matter of seconds. It’s only after he picks up a couple of kills that they even consider the possibility of him winning the round.
The real Boome-oh-no was when PGL decided to play this clip during downtime at the American Minor. Oof. But as we like to stick to in-game fails, we went with this unfortunate player who received a two-hour matchmaking cooldown for hitting the wallbang of the century.
More soft drink sponsorship news this week as Mountain Dew announced they have sponsored SK Gaming, Team Dignitas and Splyce. The deal sees them get pride of place on all the teams’ jerseys and websites, and even gets some of the players to stream on the Mtn Dew Twitch channel.
It’s the end of an era as missharvey has left CLG Red. She and Klaudia “klaudia” Beczkiewicz have been replaced by Jennifer “refinnej” Le and Emma “Emy” Choe, as the team looks to move in a new direction with some up-and-coming talent. The team also picked up a new coach in the form of Cody “cubed” Thaw.
Here’s something fun to end with. DBLTAP managed to grab ScreaM and decided to get him to identify gun sounds. But it was a little harder than that as he had to remember a whole string of them at the same time as figuring out the new ones. We crashed out during the second round, but ScreaM totally bossed it.