ELEAGUE Major Boston 2018 group stage winners and losers
An elimination match between Cloud9 and Virtus.Pro has come to define why the ELEAGUE Major Boston has been filled with drama and turmoil.
It is always fun being a winner and despite a lot of doom and gloom, there was a lot to celebrate with the top eight headed to Boston. Not every winner was a particular team or a player, but we saw things such as certain regions break curses (France) and others have the upsets of their lifetimes (Quantum Bellator Fire).
The North American organization has been a staple of the scene and very successful at large tournaments, but unlike Team Liquid and CLG they have not been outside the group stage. For longtime player Tyler “Skadoodle” Latham this is a huge milestone and coming back from a 0-2 start further solidifies the achievement. The team drew G2 Esports in the round of eight, but have a very good history against the French team in best of threes which is a reason why C9 fans should be celebrating non stop.
While FaZe have been favorites to go at least as far as the grand finals in every event they attend, the last time they attended a major (PGL Krakow) the super team went 0-3 in groups. For the HLTV ranked #2 player in the world Nikola “NiKo” Kovacs it will be his first time in the top eight of a major and the team has been blessed with one of the best brackets possible. The opening matchup against Mousesports should go the distance, but FaZe has defeated Mouz in best of 3s in recent times (ECS Cancun) and a matchup against either Natus Vincere or Quantum Bellator Fire is a tantalizing prospect.
The region that came into the major much aligned for being gifted two qualifying spots at their regional minor has fired a warning shot right across the bow at all doubters with two teams in the quarterfinals and one guaranteed top four at the major. Despite some of their traditional powers and heavy hitters not making it far (FlipSid3 Tactics, Gambit, and HellRaisers) the region saw the runner-up of the CIS Minor make top eight at the major (Quantum Bellator Fire) and the rebuilding Na’Vi make top eight in fiery fashion. While the CIS won the last major with Gambit, the scene was criticized for having several teams (AVANGAR, Quantum Bellator Fire, FlipSide Tactics) that were competing in the Major while several European standouts (Ninjas in Pyjamas, Heroic, and OpTic Gaming) were on the sidelines, but it seems that the narrative has lost some (not all) legs to stand on.
It is a lot easier to talk about the winners then it is to talk about the losers, but this major saw a lot of losers emerge and their troubles will define the short offseason.
Normally a legend spot is easier to hold than gaining one, but this major saw six teams drop from legends. While some teams like Virtus.Pro and BIG were considered vulnerable, others had come into the event in good form (Astralis and Gambit). It is hard to imagine a world where the only returning legends are Fnatic and SK Gaming (who coincidentally are playing each other in the quarterfinals), but that world is real and it is almost sad. The quality of the matches feels reduced in a way because there are less great best of three teams and best of one upset built squads like QBF that have not proved themselves in a marathon. The only silver lining is that the next “New Challenger stage” will be extremely exciting.
While the Swedish region narrowly missed out on the loser list due to boasting a very good Fnatic in the quarterfinals, the Danish region has only the saving grace of Finn “Karrigan” Andersen which is extremely disappointing considering that Astralis and North were world class teams not that long ago. The Danish system was poised to become the best region of Counter-Strike with the rise of Astralis, North, and younger brother Heroic but with all three not present in the round of eight (Heroic were unable to qualify for the EU Minor) it might be time for a Danish shuffle that sees younger talent overtake some under-performing stars.
I was once a huge proponent of the Swiss System, but recent tournaments have shown the massive flaws from a broadcast and format perspective that makes me pine for the days when we had a group of death. The group play of the major lacked best of threes and due to the long hours and days, it made results feel anti climactic at times. Frankly, the Swiss system killed the mood and grandeur of an event that should be one of the best of the year and that is extremely dissapointing.
Do you agree with our winners and losers? Come back later for a peak at our predictions for the quarterfinals!