After one of the most exciting and unpredictable group stages in recent memory, we now know the eight teams that will be afforded “Legend” status for their exploits at the PGL Major Krakow 2017. The $1,000,000 event attracted all the top CS:GO teams to Poland for the last four days of action.
The group stage
The first four games of Round One pretty much went as expected: Gambit Esports, Fnatic, Virtus.pro, and SK Gaming came out on top against mousesports, Flipsid3 Tactics, Vega Squadron, and PENTA Esports respectively. However, things got a little more interesting in the fifth game when BIG took on the much-fancied FaZe Clan and emerged with a superb 16-8 victory over the “Legend” team.
Similar shocks followed as Cloud9 overcame North 16-12. The final two games were two close encounters: G2 Esports narrowly beat Natus Vincere 16-14, and then event favorites Astralis were pushed to the brink by Immortals. They eventually eked out a 19-17 victory.
The Round Two High Matches put together the eight winning teams in a random draw. BIG continued their fine form with a 16-11 win over Cloud9. In the second game, Gambit Esports looked surprisingly comfortable in a 16-6 upset win over G2 Esports.
Next up was the clash many felt could be the final matchup later in the tourney: Brazilian giants SK Gaming versus the Danish dynamite of Astralis. In the end, SK Gaming came away with a 16-8 victory. In the final game, Virtus.pro continued their winning run with a 16-11 win over Fnatic.
In the Round Two Low Matches, North, Natus Vincere, and Immortals all recorded much-needed (and expected wins), but there was a shock in store for FaZe Clan. They went down 19-15 to an inspired mousesports to leave them in real danger of being eliminated from the event with a 0-2 record (along with PENTA Esports, Flipsid3 Tactics, and Vega Squadron).
Round Three of the Swiss System is always a bit of a mish-mash: It’s the first point at which teams can qualify for the playoff stage and also be eliminated. Vega Squadron was eliminated fromthe tourney at this point and, much more surprisingly, FaZe Clan joined them, losing 16-10 to Flipsid3 Tactics.
The Mid-Matches in Round Three were hugely competitive. North overcame mousesports 19-15; Immortals defeated Natus Vincere 16-10; G2 Esports got a much-needed win in a classic 19-17 win over Cloud9; Astralis got back to winning ways, but only just, with an edgy 16-14 win over Fnatic.
Then, in the Round Three High Games, Gambit Esports nabbed a 16-11 win over Virtus.pro, and BIG continued their outstanding run of form with a huge 16-14 upset over SK Gaming. Two winners had qualified for the playoffs.
With the field now down to 12 teams, Round Four saw the teams with 2-1 records clash and the teams with 1-2 records face off. In the High Matches, Astralis, North, and SK Gaming confirmed their places as Legends, each recording wins. Conversely, PENTA Esports, Natus Vincere, and mousesports exited the tournament.
With just three places remaining in the playoffs, Round Five pitted all 2-2 teams together in a knockout round. Fnatic faced G2 Esports, and it was the former who came out on top 16-10. Virtus.pro defeated Cloud9 by the same score in the second game to nab the penultimate qualifying spot. In the final game of the round, Immortals came through 16-6 against Flipsid3 Tactics.
The playoff matchups
Looking ahead, the top two playoff seeds, Gambit Esports and BIG, are drawn against two of the three sixth-seed teams: Fnatic and Immortals respectively. This left three third-seeded teams and one sixth-ranked team. The draw once again ought to excite fans. North drew Virtus.pro, but two of the big favourites were drawn to face each other: SK Gaming against Astralis.
Oddly enough, despite being the two teams to have qualified from the Swiss System group section with undefeated records, Gambit Gaming and BIG are still the outsiders to win it all, rated at 14/1 and 16/1 respectively with Bet365.
The favorites remain SK Gaming now at 13/8, with Astralis now ranked as a 5/2 shot, despite the fact that these two teams will meet in the quarterfinals in a winner-take-all game with no second chances.
Virtus.pro and North are both 8/1, while Fnatic and Immortals are both 14/1 shots.
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