This weekend brought about the beginning of the qualifiers for the final 16 teams of the ELEAGUE CS:GO Boston Major. Starting on Friday, 16 teams from across North America, Europe, CIS and Asian regions diverged on Atlanta to decide the final nine spots. Coming into this, G2 Esports, FaZe Clan, and Cloud9 were all clear favorites to go through this round and didn’t fail to live up to that with Cloud9 and G2 going 3-0 and advancing convincingly. FaZe dropped a map in quite in upset to Vega Squadron but still advanced with a 3-1 record. Vega Squadron and Space Soldiers, two teams who despite having decent rosters have yet to truly perform at majors. Space Soldiers were making their major debut and with the talent of Xantares and Calyx it was hard to write them off as going out in this stage and unsurprisingly they showed that they came not for experience to but to win something, putting up a 3-1 record after dropping a first day map to Sprout Esports. With Cloud9 moving on easily, North American hopes lied in Team Liquid and Misfits. Team Liquid are quite an experienced and talented roster, Elige, Nitro and Jdm were all apart of the the finalists of ESL Cologne 2016, whilst new additions Twistzzz and Steel have shown quality but due to roster change rules, Steel could not play with Liquid in Atlanta. Liquid resided in the 2-2 deciders after beating Flipside and Renegades and started their ninth spot qualifier against Natus Vincere, an experienced and talented roster who dispatched of Liquid in a convincing manner and put them in a last chance qualifier against Avangar, another very talented young roster from the CIS region making their major debut. Despite making it seem like they were going home Liquid pulled it back in overtime in a thriller on Mirage, 19-16.
With a weekend full of great CS came some obvious stand out moments, but none bigger than Quantum Bellator Fire and their path to qualifying for the final stages of the major. A debuting team from the CIS region, it featured the youngest roster in the major and so many people wrote them off as being a 0-3 team. In an interview with waterfaLLZ he made it clear that “We’re not here for experience, we came here to make the major and we did that.” The team saw victories against Flash Gaming, EnVyUs, and Avangar with a 3-2 record to end the weekend. Lastly Flash Gaming… A team who was added to the major on very short notice, didn’t neccessarily surprise anyone by going 0-3, but they did surprise with the way they played. All matches for them finished close, or rather closer than expected with a 16-11 on Inferno against G2, who were down 9-6 at half going onto the T side. The other matches for Flash included two 16-13 loses against EnVyUs and QB Fire. For a team added to the major at the last minute they did about what most people expected. They could’ve pulled realistically pulled two maps off QB Fire and EnVyUs but lacked that closing firepower and composure.
People can say what they want about them, and that Tyloo (the Chinese team who had to withdraw) would’ve done much better but in all fairness would they really have? The Swiss format (which implicates best-of-1’s for the early stages of the major) almost favors these smaller teams but if you go off that principle alone then yes Tyloo would’ve done better but Flash came in and realized that they’re pretty lucky to be here and that they should simply do it for the experience. Not only was this a major debut for the organization but also the players. Many of the debuting teams had players who have at least played at a major before.
The weekend can be summed up by the dominance of the CIS region. Four CIS teams came into this weekend with the ambitions of making it five CIS teams in the final stage, the other being Gambit Gaming. Despite three of the four CIS teams ended up in the 2-2 deciders, two still emerged from it, only Avangar didn’t make it through only after losing in overtime of the very last match. This weekend showed that this could be the year of the CIS region, the deep of quality emerging is remarkable and people can only be excited for what there is to come.
The ELEAGUE Major continues this coming weekend with the New Legends Stage of the tournament being played in Atlanta, Georgia at the Turner Studios and the elimination stages being played in Boston.
For ticket information visit: https://www1.ticketmaster.com/event/01005351B55240B8?dma_id=220&artistid=2258528&majorcatid=10005&minorcatid=0#efeat4211#efeat4212
You can also watch the matches live on the ELEAGUE Twitch: https://www.twitch.tv/eleaguetv
You can also watch live on the TBS channel.