ECS Season 4 Finals winners and losers
FaZe Clan came away with the win, but a close best of three against Mousesports was not expected from the once dominant FaZe Clan.
FaZe Clan won the event, but they were not the only ones who should walk away from Cancun, Mexico with something to be proud about.
Despite a relatively weak field of competition compared to ESL Pro League Season 6 Finals, ECS Season 4 had eight top-25 ranked teams and FaZe took home first place. The group stage saw FaZe take a small dip in the losers bracket, but it only gave Nikola “NiKo” Kovac more chances to try to get 40 kills in regulation like he did against Team Liquid on Mirage. FaZe Clan ran through Fnatic in the semi-finals and proved they can run a marathon against Mousesports in the grand finals. All the players on FaZe popped off at one point or the other proving the FaZe experiment of getting the best position players in the game strategy is working.
This team has flirted with greatness post PGL Major, and Cancun was the showcase for why. When the team is not solely reliant on Tomas “oskar” Stastny to hard carry them they become a “mini FaZe” for a lack of a better analogy. Miikka “sunNny” Kemppi dropped 37 kills on FaZe’s home map of Mirage in regulation (41 total) and players such as Robin “ropz” Kool played extremely well under pressure. This event Mousesports defeated OpTic Gaming, Astralis, and FaZe Clan on Nuke establishing themselves as one of the few teams that can be considered “elite” on the map. While Oskar was not a complete hard carry for Mouz comparable to NiKo on Mouz, he still outfragged the next Mouz player by almost 20 in the grand finals. Look out for Mousesports at the ELEAGUE New Contenders section of the Major.
When Fnatic promoted Maikil “Golden” Selim from their Academy team, it looked like the team would take a serious step back compared to the rest of the world. After a few events the team is consistently making playoffs and unfortunately meeting FaZe Clan in the semi-finals. They have proven to be superior over teams such as OpTic Gaming and have shown to be a very smart team with occasional flashes of brilliance. Look for Fnatic to make a statement at the major.
There was a minor uproar over ECS having the finals in Cancun, Mexico because there would be no sellout crowd to enjoy the high level Counter-Strike. Despite the complaints, ECS did a fantastic job with production and ancillary content so that it was almost unnecessary to have a crowd despite the prize pool ($750,000) suggesting otherwise. The laid back atmosphere was like the CS_Summit held early this year, and the players seemed to enjoy themselves despite the high stakes in the Hard Rock Cafe.
Not everyone came away from Mexico a winner and some looked worse than others.
Yes, FaZe Clan won the event, but the team has not looked as “scary” as they did during ESL One NYC. On the last map of Mirage, Mousesports looked as if they had a real chance of defeating FaZe, but late round heroics stopped that dream from coming to fruition. Saying that FaZe Clan should have feared the former HLTV fifteenth-ranked Mousesports is not a good sign. FaZe played extremely predictably on Mirage and it seemed as if Mousesports figured out how FaZe’s CT side worked. FaZe cannot rely on NiKo or Ladislav “GuardiaN” Kovacs to bail them out every map (look at IEM Oakland against NiP) or to draw favorable matchups in events like the major. FaZe Clan should have no issues making the second stage of the major, but they will need to address their map strategies to find some new and deeper tactics to form more consistency.
North American consistency
Speaking of consistency, the once flourishing North American scene is crumbling before our eyes. Team Liquid could not win a single map at ECS Season 4 Finals despite having plenty of opportunities, even while looking like they are just around the corner from finding that sweet spot. Cloud9, the “NA super team”, continues to struggle against FaZe Clan in B03s and could not defeat Astralis in a B01 despite having a lead. OpTic Gaming were considered “North American” for this event because of the uniqueness of changing their roster, and lost to the event runner ups which can be excused, but Luminosity Gaming continues to show improvement despite roster turmoil. Ever since Peter “stanislaw” Jarguz left OpTic Gaming, North America has yet to produce a true world contender outside of teams producing two to three event runs (Cloud9 and Team Liquid), which can only be attributed to poor practice opportunities. Hopefully, NA can figure out their issues for the ELEAGUE Major.
B01 group stages
It is understandable why events use the best of one group format that DreamHack has made very popular with their ASTRO Open events, but it is an extremely flawed one that produces less than great results. Having best of threes throughout the group stages or at least for the winners finals (losers is already best of three) would be an acceptable compromise, because oftentimes group winners will lose in the semifinals due to it being easier to engineer upsets with a best of one. Each event is different, and it is understandable for some to have all best of ones due to time constraints or amount of teams in groups, but best of ones produce worse results because both teams do not have a chance to play on their best maps.
Who were your winners and losers for ECS Season 4 Finals? Comment below!