After a stunning performance at the recent CS Summit — where they took the £63,750 top prize with a 3-1 victory over Gambit Esports — SK Gaming once again confirmed their dominance as arguably the best CS:GO team in the world by winning the $100,000 top prize at last weekend’s Intel Extreme Masters XII Sydney event.
The multi-national team, which is based in Germany but which currently has an entirely Brazil-based lineup, claimed the victory after another hugely impressive performance. None of the event’s other seven competitors caused them many issues at any point in the event.
When the action got underway at the Qudos Bank Arena, the bookmakers had SK Gaming as the clear favourites to win, and their faith in the team was proven right as they came through the Swiss group stage top-seeded and undefeated.
In their opening Round One match, they comfortably defeated Vici Gaming by a 16-6 map score. Then, in the Round Two high matches, in arguably their toughest matchup of the entire event, they were pushed hard by North, who eventually went down in a 16-14 defeat. That saw SK Gaming into a Round Three high match and a 16-12 victory over Astralis.
Having already qualified, they could then sit back and preserve their energy as the other teams played at least one more round of games to decide the final seeding positions in the group stages and who would claim the crucial semifinal spots.
In the end, SK Gaming were drawn against OpTic Gaming in the first semifinal, and this was about as one-sided a contest in a semifinal as we’ve seen. SK Gaming swept the best-of-three matchup 2-0 (16-1 and 16-7 in map scores).
The second semifinal was a much more closely fought contest and saw FaZe Clan taking on Astralis. FaZe Clan won the opening map 16-13, but then Astralis came back to win the second map 16-11. In the end, it was FaZe Clan that earned the place in the final; they took the final map 16-9.
Given their total dominance in the event to that point, SK Gaming started the final as the red hot favourites. Initially, SK ran out to a 2-0 lead in the best-of-five final, winning the first map 16-12 and the second map by an even more comprehensive 16-7 scoreline. However, in the third map FaZe Clan put together an excellent performance to hand SK Gaming their only map defeat of the competition by a score of 16-13. It was a minor blip — in the fourth match, SK Gaming claimed the title with a 16-11 victory.
SK Gaming’s victory takes their earnings in the past two events to the £167,750 mark. Their total earnings have now reached $2,125,624.
SK Gaming will now focus on continuing their qualification for the ESL Pro League Season 5 Finals. They currently sit atop the North American qualification group table with a 17/4 record and have already earned a qualification spot. They have five single map matches still to play during the coming weeks before the finals get underway at the end of May.
Team SoloMid, Flash Wolves, and GIGABYTE Marines claim LoL Mid Season Invitational Spots
After GIGABYTE Marines and BAU SuperMassive earned their places in the MSI Play In Rounds Two and Three, they would face two of the big boys: Team SoloMid and Flash Wolves.
Flash Wolves made light work of Bau, cruising to a 3-0 victory in their best-of-five series to earn a direct qualifying spot in the group stage. The other semifinal was a considerably tougher game. TeamSolo Mid was put to the test and scraped through their clash with GIGABYTE Marines by a 3-2 scoreline.
The Round Three playoff was set between the two underdogs, and GIGABYTE Marines claimed a 3-1 victory to earn their place among the elite League of Legends teams in the Mid Season Invitational Group Stage.
They will start as rank outsiders in the six-team group that also includes the current world champions SK Telecom T1, as well as G2 Esports, Team WE, and the other two qualifiers from Round Two: Flash Wolves and Team SoloMid.
Bet365 doesn’t rank GIGABYTE Marines’ chances too high; they’re a 100/1 shot to win the MSI and a 20/1 shot to reach the final. However, most teams are ranked as outside chances given that SK Telecom T1 are the 1/5 favourites to win outright.
This is a massive event for League of Legends teams. The top four will qualify as the highest seeds for the 2017 World Championship Group Stage. The action continues through Sunday, May 14 when the four qualifiers will be known.