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Whether you’re a FaZe hater, a G2 hater or a FURIA hater, there’s just enough meat on the Major bone for all of you to enjoy a tasty meal. Yummy!
Across the planet, there are plenty of exclusive clubs. Yet none are as exclusive as the Paris Major’s “No Upset” Club. Not because the barrier of entry is high, but because only 2, arguably 3, teams could bloody hold their nerves.
Those amazing teams? Our Rio grand finalists: Vitality and Heroic. Congrats to them for actually beating the teams they’re supposed to beat. That’s a genuine compliment.
To be fair, Vitality didn’t exactly play underdogs in their first two games. For Christ's sake, they played G2 and ENCE. Though, any team is an underdog when ZywOo performs the way he did. Over their two maps, he had a 1.49 HLTV rating. If that doesn’t mean much to you, just watch this clutch, and you’ll understand. If CS were an art, ZywOo would be its Michelangelo. In that scenario, Spinx would be his apprentice. The young gun has started showing exactly why Vitality picked him up as he helped ZywOo sculpt their games into 16:13 wins.
Their Bo3 showed them the kind of mercy that the Bo1s didn’t by drawing Monte. Don’t take this as us discrediting Monte; clearly, they’ve been sick even to get here. But come on, Vitality just had the name value. So for the first time this Major, name value actually prevailed. Another ZywOo masterclass kept Vitality going against some tough Monte rounds, but in the end, a 2-0 is a 2-0 no matter how well-fought it was from Monte.
Heroic’s first game was against FaZe, which seemed hard on paper. Too bad paper isn’t life because FaZe was completely and utterly eviscerated. Apeks put up more of a fight than FaZe did. Still, they lost 16-10, but they tried. At least Liquid really gave it a go in the Bo3 decider.
The first two maps ended 16-11, with the teams taking each other’s picks. Ancient then was set up to be an epic decider, Liquid even won the first half 8:7 on their T-side. But the buzzkills at Heroic had to go and just be better, winning the map pretty comfortably in the end.
Again, congratulations to Heroic and Vitality, who now get to lean back in their chairs and watch their rivals get beaten by Into The Breach and Bad News Eagles.
Illustration by NovaH
Remember that coronation last week? Us neither.
The real kings are a few lads on a team known as Into the Breach and trust me, they can swing a sword. This tale of honour first got our attention at the RMR, in which ITB beat reigning major champions Outsiders (now back as Virtus.pro) in a tight-fought 16-13 victory. Spearheading the assault was CYPHER, who has continued to put some crazy numbers up, leading the team through to the Legends stage of their first major! (Thanks to some Swiss system silliness.)
The true test of mettle would be the major itself - and the road wasn’t all smooth — suffering a first-round loss to EU underdogs Apeks. Next up in the 0-1 bracket was FaZe — who limped through the LCQ to even qualify for the major. Still, FaZe is FaZe, and a battered beast is, well, still a beast. Pointless analogy anyway, as the Brits — along with their Polish, Dutch, and maybe Romanian comrades (Volt mate, make up your mind) — metaphorically shit on their opponents, with only broky posting a positive rating.
In a bid to reach the 2-1 bracket and to be in contention for playoffs, the true EU superteam ENCE stood in their way. Until they picked Vertigo. Which, given ITB’s performance in Brazy Party, was not a dumb decision. They lost the map twice against paiN and 9INE — I wonder how those guys got on at the major.
This time it was CRUC1AL’s turn to lead the charge, and he did just that. Jousting his way through Snappi’s soldiers - he died only 9 times. Finishing the map with a 1.60 rating and a 16-7 scoreline, he set the knights up for their 2-1 tussle against Team Liquid today.
They say a knight is only as good as his horse (apparently), and Liquid looked lacklustre throughout the Challengers stage. Yet since galloping into the Legends, it’s been a different story, taking a loss only to favourites Heroic. Their jobs aren’t done yet, and they have two chances to advance. But maybe, just maybe, water won’t rust this armour.
There we were. Ready to watch G2 and FaZe qualify for the Champions stage. Visions of them walking onto the stage… Ah, it's the 0-2 games.
Let's jump past the fact that they both lost their initial BO1s and get right into the important games.
G2 was staring down the barrel of FURIA, not an easy opponent by any means, and they would meet them on Inferno, Mirage, and Ancient. You can’t describe the first half of Inferno as a masterclass from G2, but they did make it an 11-4 half. Some might say it’s because of the saving meta on Inferno. But all that aside, they had a solid start, and after a little bit of pushback from the Brazilians, they were able to take it over the line with a 16-8 scoreline finalised by a swift 1v2 from m0NESY.
Heading onto Mirage with a small lead for Furia (4-1), G2 obviously decided they wanted to show their true potential and won the remaining 10 rounds of the half on the T side. Switching over to the CT side, the domination continued, picking up the pistol and converting the following 2 rounds, eventually closing it out at 16-7. The games weren’t flashy, but they got the job done.
FaZe would face 9INE, the last Polish hope. Surely they wouldn’t dismantle them with promises of Pasha cycling to Paris?
Map 1 - Inferno. Now, for those more dedicated 9INE fans, you’ll know that Inferno is their instaban. This was the first time they had played it. Maybe it would remind you of something that happened in the past… But it was decided now, and they had to play. From a team that has never played the map, you might expect them to have a rough time. But no, they put up 10 rounds against a pretty formidable opponent.
Crossing over to Anubis and the first half was pure dominance from FaZe, who took 13 of the 15 rounds. After picking up the pistol and anti eco it left 9INE with 0 room for error to try and make it to overtime. They managed to pick up 6 rounds before it all proved too much, and FaZe would take their final round needed knocking 9INE out of the running in Paris.
It’s not over for FaZe and G2, and they’ve shown they have all the potential to lose. I wonder how good the airport food is in France…
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