Fnatic’s CS:GO team didn’t have wait long to follow up their victory at the Intel Extreme Masters XII World Championship in Katowice. Just two weeks after that superb win in Poland, the Swedish/UK-based team landed their biggest-ever cash prize. They stormed to first place at the World Electronic Sports Games 2018 event in Haikou, China.
Unfortunately, the tournament began on something of a sour note with five of the 32 teams scheduled to compete unable to do so for a variety of reasons. New4, NOREG, EMC, Viva Algeria, and Team Ukraine failed to attend and each defaulted with 0-3 records.
That made something of a farce of Groups E and H in the opening round. Team EnVyUs and Bravado in Group E and ORDER and Team MAX in Group H simply went through to the Group Stage 2.
That must particularly irk SK Gaming, who played in a very tough group along with BIG and Team Russia. SK lost both their games to BIG and Russia and suffered first-round elimination from the event.
After the initial group stage, 16 of the 27 teams that did compete made it through to Group Stage 2. The pared down crew included some familiar names: Fnatic, Cloud9, GODSENT, MVP PK, and Space Soldiers.
Group Stage 2 sees shocks aplenty
The second Group Stage saw the 16 qualifiers drawn into four groups of four. The top two in each group progressed into the playoffs. This proved to be a very interesting section.
The small change from best-of-one matches to best-of-two led to plenty of drama, particularly in Group C where Fnatic scraped through with one win and two draws. Plus, AGO Sports shocked BIG by taking the second qualifying spot in the group by virtue of a better head-to-head record against their more famous opponents.
Team EnVyUS were another big name to head out at this stage, defeated by Russia and MVP PK in Group A. Only one team, Cloud9, qualified with a perfect record of three wins.
Surprises continue in the playoffs
The draw for the playoffs pitted group winners against group runners-up, and the first shock came in the second quarterfinal after Fnatic had beaten MVP PK 2-0.
In the second game, Cloud9 started as favourites against Team One, but it was Team One who took the win by a 2-1 scoreline. That was a real shock for the fans watching. The other two quarterfinal games went the favourites’ ways with Space Soldiers defeating GODSENT 2-0 and Russia progressing 2-1 against AGO Esports.
In the first semifinal, Fnatic took full advantage against the underdog Team One, running out comprehensive 2-0 victors. In the second semifinal, Space Soldiers caused something of a surprise in defeating the very strong Russian team 2-0.
A third-place match between Russia and Team One followed. Russia emerged as 2-0 winners, a victory worth $80,000 more for their team. They pocketed $150,000 for a third-place finish, ahead of the $70,000 Team One took home for finishing fourth.
The final promised to be an exciting encounter and it didn’t disappoint. Fnatic began strongly, taking the first map, Cobblestone, 16-12, before Space Soldiers clawed back level by winning an enthralling second map, Inferno, 19-16.
That set up a tense final game on Mirage. Fnatic just held off their opponents to earn a 16-14 win and that $800,000 prize. Space Soldiers had to console themselves with $300,000.
Russia Claim Top Prize at the Dota 2 WESG 2018
In their only previous appearance as a national team, Team Russia earned $2,000 for second place at the ProDotA National Cup event in Romania back in February 2016. This past weekend, they earned 400 times that amount by taking top prize at the Dota 2 World Electronic Sports Games event in China.
The Dota 2 event followed the same format as the CS:GO event listed above. Only two teams, Team Ukraine and Eximious Esports, were missing from this event.
A rocky road to Russian revelry
Russia’s path to the final wasn’t the most straightforward. They lost their opening game to Germany and then had to defeat Peru and Entity Gaming to earn top spot in the group ahead of Peru on head-to-head record.
Drawn in Group D of the second phase, Russia won just one of their three matches, drawing the other two. That was enough to finish second in the group behind paiN Gaming, ensuring they would be a No. 2 seed in the playoffs and face a tough route into the final.
At this point, Russia started to find their top form. In their quarterfinal, they dispatched SG-esports 2-0. Then, in a semifinal, Team Hellas were no match for them.
The final pitted Russia against paiN Gaming. They split the first two maps before battling it out over a third and deciding map. Russia wrapped up a 2-1 win and netted the $800,000 top prize, while paiN Gaming took home $300,000.
Other big winners at the WESG 2017 event included Maru, who claimed the $200,000 top prize in the StarCraft II tournament. Finally, Fujitora won the WESG Hearthstone tournament, earning a prize of $150,000.