There were many interesting narratives coming into the million-dollar Counter-Strike: Global Offensive major that ran this past weekend in Columbus, Ohio, but few would have expected it to be such a dramatic event. From a huge upset to an impressive display by NA teams, the first major on North American soil was a wild ride.
Team Liquid goes ham
The North American superteam Team Liquid was in a strange place entering qualifiers. The team recently kicked former IGL awper Eric “adreN” Hoag in favor of Kenneth “Koosta” Suen from Enemy Esports. However, due to Valve’s competitive rules, TL could not use Koosta for the Major since they had already used adreN in the online qualifiers. That meant using adreN after kicking him off the team.
Making matter more stressful, adreN’s removal was thanks in part to the team’s newest addition of Oleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev from the Ukraine. S1mple is a strong personality, and the team has even gone on record about the differences between the two players.
(Image: Evan Campbell)
So it’s safe to say adreN really took one for the team playing in this qualifier. Not only did he volunteer to play with his former teammates after being kicked, but if he leaves the team as expected after the event, he will not be eligible to play in the next major qualifier (this is the same reason Mohamad “m0E” Assad did not initially stand in, as he would not have been able to participate in the next qualifier with his own team, Echo Fox).
In the main event, the seemingly awkward team dynamic turned out to be the most fruit-bearing of all four American teams in attendance. Not only did TL defeat EU team FaZe clan and the undisputed kings of Counter-Strike, Fnatic, they also managed to forcibly remove CLG from the playoff bracket 2-0. Despite their drama, TL is the first North American team to reach a semi-final in a major since the very first one, Dreamhack Winter 2013.
TL provided plenty of excitement during play, too. One of the best games of the entire tournament was the semi-final match up between Liquid and the Brazilian team Luminosity Gaming. The pro-TL crowd was absolutely lit, chanting the names of all the players, “I believe that we can win”, and, naturally “U-S-A,” while the small sections of Brazilian fans would answer with soccer rally cries and other retorts.
(Photo: Evan Campbell)
Luminosity overcomes home crowd
Despite Liquid’s home field advantage, Luminosity proved their resilience, winning through multiple sudden death match points in a row on both maps. The team showed astounding focus and determination, especially with nearly 10,000 people cheering for the opposition.
Luminosity would go on to face Na’Vi in the grand finals. After a very close first map that LG squeaked out in overtime, they completely bodied Na’Vi on map two, 16-2. Marcelo “coldzera” David from LG was dominant; the 21-year-old managed the most kills per round, the most headshots, the highest kill death differential, and the most kills of the tournament (he was the only player to break 200, racking up 235). He was deservedly awarded the MVP trophy.
And Luminosity will be awarded $500,000 and the title of the best team in the world. LG’s in-game leader Fallen told Yahoo Esports that he plans to buy his family a house with his share of the prize money.
Luminosity and Na’Vi will joined by the six other top-placing teams at the next major: Team Liquid, Ninjas in Pyjamas, Counter-Logic Gaming, Fnatic, Astralis, and Virtus.Pro. The upcoming stops on the pro circuit include Dreamhack Malmo, the ESL ESEA Pro League finals in London, and the beginning of the Turner Eleague, which will be based in Atlanta.
Dylan Walker is on Twitter @dyluuxx.