The ELEAGUE Major Boston 2018 brought together the cream of the CS:GO crop during the past three weekends. Despite a global gathering, it was the “home” team, Cloud9, that emerged with a stunning victory.
As one of Krakow’s Fallen, Cloud9 didn’t begin this event as one of the eight Legend teams. However, they gave a hint to their quality by coming in joint-top of the New Challengers Stage alongside G2 Esports.
A rocky road to the final
That finish qualified them for the New Legends Stage the weekend before last. At that point, things did not go too well for Cloud9. Early defeats to G2 Esports and, perhaps more surprisingly, Space Soldiers, left Cloud9 on the verge of elimination. They faced a crucial must-win match against Virtus.pro if they were to remain in the competition at all.
However, on Mirage, they defeated Virtus.pro to remain alive. In the next match, on Train, they produced a stunning display to defeat the much-fancied Astralis 16-6 to move forward into the Round 5 matches. There, they faced Vega Squadron. Cloud9 delighted their many supporters in the US by coming through with a massively impressive 16-4 victory to claim a place in the Champions Stage and a coveted Legend status going forward.
After nearly falling out in the last round, Cloud9 were not fancied by the bookmakers at this point. Most favored FaZe Clan, SK Gaming, or G2 Esports. As one of the lower seeds, Cloud9 faced the prospect of taking on G2 Esports in the quarterfinals of the Champions Stage. That match ended in a very comfortable 2-0 victory (16-8, 16-7). That put them into an intriguing semifinal clash with one of the favorites for the tournament, SK Gaming.
Despite their massive improvement in form, Cloud9 once again started this game as the heavy underdogs. Nevertheless, they put on a masterclass in the first map (Mirage) and winning 16-3. On Cobblestone, SK Gaming showed their class by leveling the series at 1-1 thanks to a 16-8 victory. That set up a final map for a place in the final. Cloud9 rose to the challenge earning a 16-9 victory.
The mountain top
FaZe Clan waited in the ultimate showdown. They had waltzed through the quarterfinals and semifinals with 2-0 victories over mousesports and Natus Vincere to enhance their reputation as the clear favorites for the event. If Cloud9 were going to delight their home fans, they were going to do so the hard way against the best of the best.
In a pulsating first game on Mirage, FaZe Clan earned a narrow 16-14 victory to put them on the brink of another major title win. Cloud9 needed to win both remaining maps to lift the title and take the $500,000 first prize.
On the second map, Overpass, Cloud9 fought back to claim a 16-10 win and push the series to a deciding game. Inspired by Skadoodle and Tarik, arguably the best player in the tournament this year, Cloud9 came through an epic contest 22-19 to claim the top prize.
After the teams tied 15-15 in the standard game, Cloud9 took a 3-0 lead in overtime, but FaZe Clan superbly bounced back to win the next three games to tie things up at 18-18. In the second overtime, Cloud 9 won twice in both rounds to clinch the victory in sensational fashion.
Tarik sounds off
When asked by HLTV following the game, newly crowned MVP Tarik magnanimously professed he wished all his teammates could take home MVP medals.
However, he also revealed that at certain points in the final, things didn’t always go to plan.
“I was really frustrated after Mirage … it was our game. I screwed up on CT [Counter Terrorist] side on B [losing] countless times, and I made mistakes that I usually don’t. And I really thought that was our map, but I didn’t let it get to me. After the game we told ourselves, ‘They got lucky; that was our game; we played better’ and we’ll get them next map and thankfully we started off really strongly on Overpass.”
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Cloud9 will begin a busy month at the World Electronic Sports Games North America Final in February. They’ll aim to be one of the five seeds to qualify for March’s main event. They will then round out a busy month competing in the cs_summit 2, ESL Pro League Season 7 – NA, SLi-League StarSeries Season 4, and the IEM XII – World Championship.