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Esports Tournament Reviews and Previews — March 21, 2019

Gran Turismo 2019 World Tour – Paris

No delays! Let’s proceed with tournament headlines from this week in esports.

Windigo Gaming lands surprise win at WESG 2018

Boasting top CS:GO teams such as Fnatic, MiBR, G2 Esports, and TNC Pro Team, WESG 2018 saw little-known Ukrainian-based Windigo Gaming land a $500,000 top prize.

The win is far and away the largest prize the team has ever won. Its previous largest cheque was the $18,000 prize they pocketed for finishing 11th out of 15 in the Group Stage at the ESL Pro League Season 8 tournament in Europe. It is also their first ever victory at a Premier Level event. In fact, they have not even managed to win a Major tournament as yet. Their only previous wins came in Minor tournaments, the CSGOFAST.COM Cup #3 and the X-bet.co Invitational 2.

Tourney recap

Drawn into Group E, Windigo claimed the top spot with a victory over Riders and then a draw with Fnatic. That edged the latter, more established team into second in the group as they had also drawn their game with Riders. In the rest of the groups, things went pretty much as expected. The top teams in the tournament all made it through as either the first No. 1 or 2 teams.

In their opening playoff match, Windigo produced a fine display. They beat Furious Gaming 2-0. That said, many fans felt their journey would come to an end in the quarterfinals, where they were drawn against former CS:GO powerhouses MiBR.

This was a cracking contest, and after the first game where Windigo took initiative to win 16-8, MiBR showed their quality to bounce back and claim the second map 16-8. Then, in a tense decider, Windigo produced a fabulous display of teamwork on Overpass to earn a 16-13 victory and knock out one of the favourites for the tournament.

Things would not get any easier in the semifinals. There, another established top team, G2 Esports, lay in wait. After an epic opening game on Cashe, Windigo clinched an overtime 19-17 victory that really put the cat among the pigeons. With G2’s resolve broken, they wrapped up the win in superb style on Overpass once again by a 16-7 scoreline.

A surprise final

Many fans assumed it would be Fnatic, who had reached the other semifinal, that would await Windigo in the final, but they went down in their semi 2-1 to AGO Esports to set up a surprise final. In that final, AGO took the initiative. They won Inferno 16-14, and then in an epic second map contest, Windigo struck back to level things winning on Mirage 16-13. Dust II would be the map to decide the contest. And it was Windigo who used that to their advantage to win the third map 16-7.

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Windigo player SHiPZ was named the player of the tournament following a superb performance in Chongqing. Windigo will be in action next at the United Masters League tournament in Osnabruck, Germany, starting on March 30.

Dallas runs out of gas, misses OWL Stage 1 Playoffs

The fifth and final round of group stage games in the Overwatch World League Season 2 was always likely to be a close call. In the end, if one team can count themselves unlucky, it’s the Dallas Fuel.

The Pacific Division team finished their opening league campaign with a 4-3 record. That mark equaled Atlanta Reign, Boston Uprising, San Francisco Shock, and the Seoul Dynasty. But unlike those teams, Dallas will sit out the First Stage Playoffs. Their 15-15 overall record simply wasn’t good enough.

The full draw for the First Stage Playoffs is as follows:

  • Vancouver Titans vs. Boston Uprising
  • Philadelphia Fusion vs. Atlanta Reign
  • Toronto Defiant vs. San Francisco Shock
  • New York Excelsior vs. Seoul Dynasty

At the other end of the scale, there’s going to be a lot of soul-searching for the Los Angeles Valiant. They went 0-7 in an awful opening stage performance.

Nicolas Rubilar claims Gran Turismo Nations Cup

In the first Gran Turismo Nations Cup in Paris, Chilean driver Nicolas Rubilar became the first player to claim a prize as part of the 2019 World Tour.

After a fine performance, which saw him clinch pole position in the first semifinal group, he finished second to German driver Mikhail Hizal. But that was still enough to move him into the final, where all drivers would race using the same car, the Red Bull X2014 prototype.

After earning third place on the grid, Rubilar was always in the thick of the action at the front of the grid. And thanks to timing his pitstop later in the race perfectly, he was able to take over the lead from Hizal.

In an interview with Autosport, Rubilar revealed his dream is to be a real-life racing driver, and he sees his esports victories as a path to that end.

Image credit: Clive Rose / Staff / Getty Images

Ian John

About

A lifelong poker fan, Ian is also well-versed in the world of sports betting, casino gaming, and has written extensively on the online gambling industry. Based in the UK, Ian brings fresh insight into all facets of gaming.