Counter-Strike: Global Offensive’s latest premier tournament has rolled by this weekend, with Virtus.Pro maintaining its hotstreak and coming in first place to claim $200,000 of the $450,000 prize pool.
The group stage began last week ahead of the weekend, with many of the strongest teams – those most anticipated to progress to the finals – quickly showing their strength to come out on top.
The likes of Fnatic, OpTic Gaming and Cloud9 all struggled to make it out of the group stage, with Astralis and FC Copenhagen’s new hotness North topping Group A, Gambit Esports and Virtus.Pro on top in Group B, SK Gaming and Ninjas In Pyjamas for Group C and finally Mousesports and Na’Vi in Group D.
The finals themselves were largely a string of clean sweeps by the victors, though a couple of extended overtime games provided some early tension for those that were watching.
The first game between SK Gaming and Na’Vi, for example, ended at 25 rounds to 22 for SK Gaming after the team’s early lead was stifled by a surprise comeback by Na’Vi that held the team in the competition a while longer.
This was a similar story for North in its quarterfinal game against Gambit Esports, too, where the second match of the series looked as though Gambit was about to claim its first victory before North composed itself for a string of back-to-back round wins that ultimately gave them the game.
It was SK Gaming and North in the first semi-final of the tournament, while Astralis and Virtus.Pro fought one another in the second.
North wasn’t able to hold back the Brazilian squad, however, and was never really in control of either of the two games of the series, SK Gaming managing to take an early lead that it kept onto throughout the semi.
It was the Astralis versus Virtus.Pro match that promised to be the one to watch of the tournament, however. Astralis had just come off its first-place win at ELeague, while VP has brushed off its doldrums for a series of strong showings at key tournaments.
Rather than close games, however, what we saw was a ping-pong of strength. VP took the first game at 16 rounds to 3, then Astralis took the second game at 16 to 9. Virtus.Pro would not let up, however, and it found the composure and determination to hold back the ELeague champions for another incredible victory, 16 to 4.
The grand final between SK Gaming and Virtus.Pro was a little closer, though. SK Gaming took the first map on Cobblestone, after a strong early lead gave them the upper hand to go on to win with relative ease.
The second game saw a reignited VP side, taking the first half 9-6 before pushing on for the win. With all to play for in the third and final game, it first looked like SK Gaming would be the ones to win the final with the close first half only just going in their favour.
Virtus.Pro retaliated, though, and in the second half pushed on for 9 rounds to SK’s 5… ultimately pushing on for the win and the tournament itself.