An explosive end to the 2015 Majors season last weekend in Cluj-Napoca saw a thrilling conclusion to the series of tournaments, and what a thrill it was.
We saw the defeat of Fnatic, who have been dominating tournaments the entire year; the rise of newbies setting out and making their mark before the winter hibernation as well as a triple overtime semi-final which could have gone either way and kept everyone on the edge of their seats.
And here a few highlights of the season:
No treble for Fnatic
Although there are still a few more big tournaments to reassert their dominance before the year is out with DreamHack Winter and IEM San Jose coming at the end of the month, denying them the treble is a big blow for them to a year that could have been sealed with a big Fnatic logo. And the matter of who helped that come about is also of great relevance for this year’s narrative.
As a known champion in the CS: GO arena you can tell that they weren’t in their best of form as soon as Fnatic didn’t come sailing through the early stages at the top of their group. They looked positively mewling compared to the period of May to July whereby after winning March’s ESL One Katowice – Fnatic took first in five out of seven premier tournaments.
Having gone through a spate of name changes, rebrands, squad swaps and whatever other transformations you can think of for a CS:GO team, G2 eSports are making headway. Whether the evolution from Team Kinguin, through Gamers2, to their current incarnation has anything to do with it is secondary to the simple fact that this team can go the distance.
Making it to the semi-finals against eventual winners, and current CS:GO juggernauts, EnVyUs is an achievement in its own right. But going up an early match in the BO3 raised more than a few eyebrows, not least of which were those of their French opponents. G2 then did a stellar job of staving off the inevitable comeback from arguably the strongest team of this late season, by pushing them to triple (count’em) overtime on the second map. If this is what they are capable of at season’s end, we can’t wait to see what 2016 has in store for G2.
NiP had lost their touch
A time last year when you could find NiP not necessarily on the top of every results sheet, but at least on the second rung, is now most definitely over. Despite never having been the overwhelming favourite at a title run, the Swedish team always managed to find their way into the finals, even if they didn’t make it over the final hurdle.
But now as 2015 turns to 2016, the first places have dried up and turned to third or fourth, and the rash of second place consolations are now fifth or sixth place struggles. The cycle of teams performing and underperforming is natural but nevertheless sad. Still, through one team’s fall comes another’s rise.