UKCS might just be the worst on the planet, but at least we know how to put on a show. ECS Season 3 was without a doubt one of the greatest tournaments we have seen for some time. All the best teams in attendance, action packed games and an entertaining crowd. What wasn’t there to love about it?
SUMMER IS COMING
One of the biggest talking points was that we finally got Astralis, FaZe, SK and G2 all in the same arena. However, the fact that the North American teams came to play added extra spice into the mix.
Team Liquid and CLG both reached the semi-finals of the most recent international LANs, but this tournament cemented their return to summer form.
Liquid had to take down Fnatic to stay in the tournament. A task that should have been more challenging considering their recent run at Dreamhack Summer. Youngsters Jonathan ‘EliGE’ Jablonowski and Russel ‘Twistzz’ Van Dulken proved too menacing with the former racking up a 92.8 ADR. They won the series 2-1 beating the Swedes 16-6 on Mirage and Inferno. Map two saw heroics from Jesper ‘JW’ Wecksell secure Fnatic Train, but ultimately it was not enough to see a series win.
Liquid would then go on to play Astralis for a spot in the semi-finals. Although the team lost the series 2-1 there were many positives to take from the games. The North American side managed to best the Danes on one of their best maps, Overpass, 16-6.
Cloud9 advanced to the semi-finals straight from the group stage after beating Astralis in overtime on Mirage. The team was swept by FaZe in the first map, however, they rebounded and jumped out to 12-3 lead back on Mirage. Cloud9, in true NA fashion, allowed the map to go to overtime where FaZe took four straight rounds sealing the win and their place in the final.
Similarly to Liquid, Cloud9 can head to Cologne with many positives. Mike ‘shroud’ Grzesiek looked revitalized and won a number of important clutch rounds. If Jake ‘Stewie2K’ Yip and Timothy ‘autimatic’ Ta play to their usual level adding Shroud into the equation will make any opponent quiver.
LOVE US OR HATE US
Loves us or hate us, Brits are known for their outlandish behavior and provided much entertainment throughout the weekend. There were a number of ridiculous signs on display, some of the funniest I have seen in Counter-Strike.
Even though the endless ‘dabbing’, flipping off and fidget spinning was exhausting, the audience still cheered and gasped at some of the best plays.
The arena only added to the atmosphere. ECS did a wonderful job of setting the stage up and the tight-packed crowd increased the noise levels.
TWO GRAND FINALS
On Sunday we were treated to two amazing series in the forms of SK vs Astralis and then the actual final, SK vs FaZe.
The first series was unlike what we have seen from Astralis in the past. It was a real scrappy affair with the team straying from their usual calculated style to more risk orientated play. It provided a real treat for the fans as it was backward and forwards all the time with individuals stepping up to secure rounds.
Astralis won map one 16-12 on Overpass with SK then going on to win Mirage 16-14 and Inferno 16-12. Inferno was a true thriller with Astralis breaking SK’s economy late on only for Marcelo ‘coldzera’ David to pick up an AWP and end the match by anchoring the A bombsite.
The grand final built on the high standard already set by the semis. FaZe were in control for the majority of the first map, Mirage and eventually won 16-11 thanks to Håvard ‘rain’ Nygaard stopping SK’s momentum.
Maps two and three were the real highlights with both going to overtime. On the last map Train, SK showed their former mastery of the map and looked as if they were heading for a complete shutout. They ended the half with a 13-2 lead. The second half had me reminiscing of the ELEAGUE major final in which Astralis made a huge come back against Virtus.pro.
FaZe actually managed to bring it back to 15-14 only for the Brazilians to take it to overtime. FaZe took the first two rounds and looked poised for victory only for MVP Fernando ‘fer’ Alvarenga and the rest of SK to take three in a row and win their second title in a row.
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