After an 18-game qualifying tournament featuring 20 of the world’s best Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, the eight qualifiers for the ECS Championship Series Finals will descend on the SSE Arena in Wembley on Friday. Until the tournament concludes on Sunday, they will battle for the $250,000 top prize.
Four teams from each qualifying section have made the cut, so let’s take a look at how each made it here. The teams that qualified from each section are shown in italics.
European Qualifying Final Table
|5||Ninjas in Pyjamas||9||9||233-238||27|
The top four in Europe made it with relative ease. FaZe Clan qualified with the best overall record from the campaign.
North American Qualifying Final Table
|5||Counter Logic Gaming||10||8||252-215||30|
North American qualifying was a tougher process. Counter Logic Gaming, for example, missed out by one leg, despite having a superior leg difference to both the third- and fourth-place teams, Team Liquid and OpTic Gaming. Most teams had the benefit of recording at least one easy win over the qualifying section’s weakest team, Ghost Gaming.
ECS Finals breakdown
There is a total of $660,000 up for grabs in London this weekend — $250,000 to the winner, $120,000 to second place, and $65,000 apiece to those that reach the semifinals.
The eight teams have been drawn into four groups. The groups are as follows (seeding and qualifying section shown in brackets):
- FaZe Clan (1 EU)
- SK Gaming (2 NA)
- G2 Esports (3 EU)
- OpTic Gaming (4 NA)
- Cloud9 (1 NA)
- Astralis (2 EU)
- Team Liquid (3 NA)
- Fnatic (4 EU)
In both groups, the results of the first two games will determine the second matches. The two winners from the first two games will face each other and so will the two losers. The fifth and final game will then be between the teams with the 1-1 records, and the winner will earn the second semifinal spot behind the group winner (with the 2-0 record).
Bet365 is offering a large number of bets on the ECS Finals. These include on which teams will reach the final, the region of the winner, the group from which the winning team will come, as well as a number of other bets. However, the most interest is in the Outright Winner market.
In this market, Astralis are the 12/5 favourites, which is unusual as SK Gaming (7/2 second favourites) are considered the sharpest team in CS:GO at the moment. G2 Esports and FaZe Clan are both rated 4/1, while Fnatic are a 6/1 chance to lift this title.
Outsiders include Team Liquid (16/1), Cloud9 (25/1), and the rank outsiders are OpTic Gaming at 50/1.
SK Gaming juggernaut rolls on at DreamHack Summer
There is no doubt SK Gaming have been arguably the best and most consistent CS:GO team in 2017. The Germany-based team, which is made up of Brazilian players, has already won three events this year, including the Intel Extreme Masters.
Prior to this weekend’s ECS Finals, they were one of eight teams competing in Jonkoping, Sweden at the DreamHack Summer event, and they once again proved to be too strong for the competition.
The path to victory began with a 16-9 win over Team Singularity. In their second match against Immortals, SK suffered a rare defeat, which meant SK Gaming were forced into a best-of-three decider against Mousesports for the final semifinal spot. Their class showed once again with a 2-0 victory.
From there, SK engaged in a barn burner with Counter Logic Gaming. SK got the win by a sensational 31-28 scoreline in one of the best CS:GO matchups in a long time.
In a clash of diversion runners-up, SK met Fnatic in the finals. SK took the opening map 16-8, but Fnatic bounced back superbly to win 16-4. On the final map, Mirage, SK Gaming was dominant and nailed their fourth win in as many months to claim the $50,000 top prize.