The tournament began with six qualified teams:
- Gambit Esports
- Vega Squadron
- 5Power Club
- Grayhound Gaming
They were drawn into two groups for the opening phase of the competition.
The group stage of the CSGO ROG Masters mirrored the format of the Dota 2 tournament taking place at the same time. The top team in each group was seeded into the semifinals of the tournament, with the two other teams entering the playoffs at the quarterfinal stage.
Group A pitted Gambit Esports, Splyce, and 5Power Club together. Gameplay unfolded pretty much as expected in the opening two games. Gambit and Splyce both won 2-0 against 5Power Club.
In the head-to-head between the winners, they finished 1-1. This required a tie-breaking single match, which was won by Gambit 16-10.
There were shocks aplenty in Group B. The little fancied Grayhound surprised everybody in the opening match by taking a 2-0 victory over their more experienced opponents in Vega Squadron. Vega then drew their next game 1-1 with China’s TyLoo. This meant the final game in the group was a first-place decider.
Once again, Grayhound proved the stronger team, earning a 2-0 victory and claiming top spot in the group. TyLoo and Vega Squadron then required a tiebreaker, which went the way of Vega 16-12.
The playoffs began with two best-of-three matches in the quarters and semis. The first game saw Vega register their second win in a row over the luckless 5Power Club.
The second quarterfinal ended up a much closer affair. Splyce won the opening game 16-13, but then TyLoo clicked into gear and won the second game 16-6 to set up a tense finale. That was another closely fought contest. In the end, TyLoo progressed with a 16-13 win in the decider. They moved on to face Grayhound in the semis.
In that first semi, Vega Squadron got off to a great start, taking the opening game 16-10 to put Gambit Esports on the back foot. From there, Gambit roared back to take the second game 16-12. Then, they utterly dominated on the final map, Cache, to record a thumping 16-1 victory and a finals spot.
There, they met TyLoo, who avenged their group stage loss to Grayhound in a comeback semis 2-1 win.
In the final though, it was all about Gambit Esports. TyLoo’s chances evaporated when Gambit snatched the opening game 16-14. That loss seemed to affect TyLoo on the second map, as Gambit came away easy 16-4 winners to put them just one game away from victory.
Fair play to TyLoo, however; they rallied well in the third game and pushed it into overtime on Train. But Gambit once again came to the fore to snatch another close game 19-16, and with it the $117,500 top prize. TyLoo consoled themselves with $58,800 for their second-place finish.
Gambit Esports are next in action at the World Electronic Sports Games Asia Pacific Finals in mid-January.
SK Gaming triumph at ESL Pro League Season 6 Finals
It is often said that form is temporary, but class is permanent, and for the last few major tournaments, SK Gaming have had to swallow their pride and accept some less than stellar finishes. However, they saved their best for the past weekend at the ESL Pro League Season 6 Finals, where some outstanding performances saw them once again victorious.
The 12 teams competing were drawn into two groups of six. Each team played the others team in its group once in a single, best-of-one match.
Group A saw FaZe Clan top the group with a better leg average over Fnatic, who both finished with a 4-1 record. HellRaisers, courtesy of a fine win over Fnatic, which denied them top spot, took third place and the final qualifying spot in the group.
In Group B, SK Gaming were the top dogs with a 4-1 record. They landed ahead of OpTic Gaming and Misfits, who both finished with 3-2 records to clinch the remaining qualifying spots.
The four second- and third-place teams from the group stage contested the quarterfinals. It was another solid display by Fnatic in their best-of-three quarter with OpTic Gaming. Despite losing the opening map 16-14, Fnatic bounced back to win the next two 16-10 and 16-14 to claim a place in the semifinal against FaZe Clan.
In the other quarterfinal, Misfits progressed in comfortable fashion with a 2-0 win over HellRaisers (22-18, 16-6). They moved to face SK in the second semi.
In the end, it was the two top seeds who prevailed. FaZe Clan and SK Gaming recorded very comprehensive wins to move into the final.
This promised to be a hugely exciting matchup between two teams that have dominated many of the top CS:GO events over 2017. SK shone early in the year, while the newly revamped FaZe Clan have done likewise more recently. FaZe Clan actually started this final as the favorites.
However, SK came out on top despite losing the opening map, Inferno, 16-13. That win only seemed to galvanize the Brazilian/German team, and they rattled off three successive wins on Overpass, Mirage and Train by scorelines of 16-11, 16-9 and 19-16 respectively to claim the title.