Ghost Gaming overcame favorite FURIA to claim a spot for the World Finals. It was a hard fought, and well deserved victory. It was their second match of the day, and they performed incredibly. Let’s take a look at what happened on Sunday.
Sharks vs. Ghost Gaming
Sharks eSports was coming off a thrilling victory over Swole Patrol the day before. A double overtime and sextuple overtime win led them to the semis. Ghost Gaming had yet to play in the tournament. Expectations were up in the air for how the match would play out.
Ghost Gaming showed everyone why they were invited to the tournament. They held nothing back in an onslaught against Sharks. By the half-time mark of the first map, they were up 12-3. It was a powerful performance, and one that Sharks could not overcome. Ghost took the first map, Shark’s choice, decisively.
Sharks would make the second map more interesting. With the map being Ghost’s choice, they ended up leading at half. The score was eventually at 14-7, with Ghost needing two more wins to secure their series victory. Sharks had other things in mind, however. They made the series interesting, going on a run that saw them behind one, 14-13. Sadly, this was as close as they’d get. Ghost rallied behind their loosing streak, and shutout Sharks to win 16-13. They destroyed hopes of an all Brazilian final, but they created a hype for their dominant play.
No one had dominated quite like Ghost in this tournament. They had the minor scare in their second game, but were in control the whole match. Most of their losses came in 1v1 situations. Although it wasn’t quite the finale everyone expected, it was thrilling from start to finish.
To Steel a Victory
Speaking with Steel after the Ghost Gaming’s victory, I asked him about his team’s pension to win unfavorable matchups. When asked about his own, Steel credited his game mechanics and reactions. In one, a Sharks player had Steel dead to rights. Behind him for up to five seconds, the Sharks player decided to shoot. Steel not only survived the encounter, but was able to take down the Sharks player. It was a moment that left the crowd in awe, as they cheered and laughed at the Sharks misfortune.
Another encounter helped to seal the deal on Ghost’s victory. Once again, a Sharks player should’ve had Steel dead to rights. However, once again, Steel proved he wouldn’t go down easy. Hit with a shot from an AWP, Steel finished out the 1v1 and led his team to a victory and Grand Finals matchup.
Next up was the charity match. The charity match cemented one of the ideals of the tournament. That profits were to benefit the children. The charity match saw two teams face against each other. Every three rounds, the team that had received the least donations would receive a penalty. For example, on the sixth round the Children’s Hospital of Orange County was forced to use pistols and Zeus cannons. It was a bad draw, and they suffered a round loss because of it.
Consequently, the Children’s Hospital of Orange County were forced to buy Nova’s across the board. On a map such as Dust II, the short-range weapon could spell a death sentence. However, the team was able to pull off a surprising upset and take the round, at an 8-7 ratio.
Broadcasters for the main event, Blue and Dust, were on the Children’s Hospital of Orange County team. Blue decided that he wanted to show the fans that he wasn’t merely a caster. On a round that saw the UCLA Mattel Children’s Hospital forced to group up, Blue took advantage. Acing the opposition, he landed five kills in a single round. From the casters’ dominance, the Children’s Hospital of Orange County won the charity match. However, both hospitals raised a fair amount of money. The advantages and disadvantages given out based on donation, were constantly fluctuating between teams.
Chatting with Dust after the charity match, I was able to gain his perspective on the weekend. He stated that he really enjoyed what ZOTAC was able to put together, and that it was well formed. He found that the location and fans were great in Santa Ana. He also expressed his love in not only playing on the charity team, but for fundraising for it As most people fundraising, Dust only wished that more could have been done to raise awareness for the charity.
A Favorable Cause
The charity of course, was Gamers Outreach. Gamers Outreach focuses on providing children located in hospitals, unable to fully interact and enjoy interactions with other children. They bring gaming and gaming karts to children to help them through treatments. Creating environments that allow children to be themselves, to have some fun, is worth the world. Gamers Outreach helps to achieve that, and everyone who participated in the charity match furthered that goal.
It was great to see that the charitable effort came throughout the event. Fans, players, casters and volunteers gathered to raise money for the children. When asked about the victory, Dust ensured that nothing mattered more than the money the two teams raised. He said that if his performance translated to more donations, then he was happy to play.
Americas Grand Finals
Once the charity match had finished, it was time for the grand finals. Ghost Gaming versus FURIA eSports. The first map is quite even at half-time, standing at 9-6 FURIA. The match continues to even out as Subroza from Ghost Gaming makes an incredible play. Ghost completes the comeback and takes the match 16-13. FURIA loses its own map choice, and Ghost gives everyone a glimpse at their dominance.
For the second map, Ghost started on an absolute rampage. Wardell, their AWP specialist, started their map at 13 kills to zero deaths. Ghost led 6-0 due to Wardell’s strong play. FURIA did not want to go down so easily on the second map, but could not avoid their disadvantages. Ghost went up 14-1 in the half before they snatched the victory to win the America Finals.
On to Grand Finals
Ghost Gaming showed that they have everything at their disposal with the ZOTAC CUP. The breakout performances came throughout the lineup for Ghost. Steel was the master of 1v1’s, while Wardell was the clear AWP king. Pollo also laid out consistent kills and damage to lead his team to victory. Because of this, Ghost gaming was able to lift the ZOTAC CUP MASTERS Americas Final trophy. They’ll be going to the grand finals with a shot for the majority share of $300,000 USD.
Photos provided by Dalton Jewell and Esports Arena
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