It’s been another busy week of esports events, with more planned for the forthcoming seven days. Join us as we take a look back at some headline results, including a surprise result at the CS:GO iBUYPOWER Masters in Los Angeles, plus the latest from the first Chongqing Major.
CS:GO – Astralis stunned in iBUYPOWER Masters
2018 was the year when Danish CS:GO team Astralis moved into the stratosphere. An incredible run of six victories in 2018 Premier events saw the team land a $1,000,000 bonus for the Intel Grand Slam Season 1.
Their first outing in 2019 came at the iBUYPOWER Masters IV event in Los Angeles. Astralis were expected to be victors and take home the $100,000 share of the $200,000 prize pool. Drawn into Group A of this eight-team event, Astralis progressed from the group as the top seeds. They earned dominant wins over compLexity Gaming and Cloud9 at that point.
In the semifinals, they faced the second seeds from Group B, Ghost Gaming. They had produced an upset in the tournament during the group stage when they defeated FaZe Clan. However, there was to be no repeat of that shock in the semifinal. Astralis dominated the first game in the best-of-three matchup 16-2 before Ghost Gaming came back in the second game, but still went down to a 16-14 defeat, losing the semi 2-0.
The other semifinal was more closely contested with Team Liquid and Fnatic clashing. The first two maps were shared, which saw a third and deciding map contested. That one ended in a win for Team Liquid and the unenviable task of taking on Astralis in the final.
The upset final
Most experts and commentators expected the Danish side to romp to an easy win. And things seemed to be well on course when Astralis landed the opening map comfortably 16-4.
However, whether complacency set in or Team Liquid were inspired, the second map saw Team Liquid produce a superb display to stun onlookers and claim a 16-11 victory. In the deciding match, Team Liquid produced a sensational performance again to claim another 16-11 victory. They’d taken not just the title but the coveted scalp of the world’s best CS:GO team.
Astralis won’t have too long to wait for revenge. Neither team will take part in this weekend’s ELEAGUE Invitational, but the Danish team and Team Liquid will be competing together, along with 22 others, in the $1,000,000 IEM Katowice Major 2019 on Feb 13.
Dota 2 – Latest from the Chongqing Major
After EHOME claimed the last qualifying spot for the Chongqing Major in last week’s Bucharest Minor, the 16 teams have played through a group stage and most of the playoffs over the past week. There are still eight teams left in with a chance of claiming the $350,000 and 4,950 Dota Pro Circuit points.
The group stage of the tournament didn’t provide us with any great shocks. Virtus.pro, PSG.LGD, Fnatic, and Team Liquid won their groups.
In the first round of Upper Bracket games, however, there were a couple of surprises. PSG.LGD and Virtus.pro began things as expected, each earning comfortable wins over their opponents to set up a mouth-watering clash between the two in the next round. However, in the other two games, Fnatic were defeated by the improving EHOME, while Group C top seed Team Liquid lost out 2-0 to Team Secret.
Team Secret then showed that win was no fluke with a 2-0 win over EHOME in the second round to clinch a place in the Upper Bracket Final. There, they will face Virtus.pro, who defeated PSG.LGD 2-0 to earn the other spot in that final.
Lower Bracket recap
In the Lower Bracket, six teams remain in with a chance of progressing. Vici Gaming face Evil Geniuses, and Fnatic take on Team Liquid in the Lower Bracket Round 3 games, and the winners of these two matches will go on to face EHOME or PSG.LGD in Round 4. The two winners of those Round 4 games will then face each other in Round 5, with the winner moving on to take on the loser of the Upper Bracket Final in the Lower Bracket Final.
Finally, the competition will close on Jan. 27 with the Grand Final between the two winning teams from the Upper and Lower Brackets.
The bookmakers now have Team Secret and Virtus.pro as the 6/5 joint favourites to win the event. Both are some way in front of PSG.LGD at 15/2. The remaining five teams are ranked as the outside bets with EHOME 16/1, Evil Geniuses and Team Liquid 33/1 shots, and both Fnatic and Vici Gaming are rated as 50/1 chances to win.
There is a slight hiatus in the Dota 2 season following this event. The next big outing with the top teams in action is the Mars Dota League tournament in Macau starting on Feb 20. A number of top teams will also be competing at the ESL One Katowice 2019 event starting on Feb. 22.