CS:GO ESL One New York 2016

This past weekend, ESL One New York brought eight Counter Strike: Global Offensive teams and thousands of fans into the Barclays Center in Brooklyn for an intense and stressful few days.

SK Gaming, Na’Vi, Virtus.pro, G2 Esports, Team Liquid, Fnatic, OpTic Gaming and Astralis battled it out for spots in the semifinals Sunday and the world cup. The stakes were high even from the first match.

Match One: OpTic Gaming Vs. G2 Esports

Coming in with two losses each, OpTic Gaming and G2 Esports went head-to-head to continue in the tournament. OpTic came out strong, shutting down G2 at every corner.

OpTic destroyed G2 16-7, sending the French team home and giving G2 getting another chance at making it to the finals.

Match Two: Fnatic Vs Astarlis

In the second match between Fnatic and Astralis, Fnatic was looking good with its three new players, Wenton, Lekr0, and Tw1st. They definitely added to the teams overall success, but the true stars of the match were the veterans: Olofmesiter and Dennis. Between the two, the rounds came easy for Fnatic, sending Astralis to the ‘losers’ group with a 16-9 win.

Match Three: SK Gaming Vs. Na’Vi

The third match was a battle of titans: SK Gaming vs. Na’Vi. SK Gaming was in full force with the return of Fer. Where as, Na’Vi was looking to show off its latest player, S1mple. Na’Vi swept the floor with SK Gaming, beating them in a fast 16-6 match and securing the first spot in the playoffs. This gave SK a spot in the lower brakes to face off against someone else later.

Match Four: OpTic Gaming Vs. Astralis

Back in the bottom brackets group, OpTic Gaming was on the brink of being knocked out again but was able to pull off a close win against Astralis.  OpTic dominated the first half but were having a tough time in the second half, which gave Astralis some breathing room and a great comeback. That is until a smoke-filled match put OpTic back at the top, winning 16-12. Unfortunately for Astralis, this match sent them home.

Match Five: Team Liquid Vs. Fnatic

For match five, and probably the most epic to watch, Team Liquid made its weekend debut against Fnatic, as this was their first match for the day on Dust2. Liquid started off with an pretty great early 7-1 lead but Fnatic got on a roll and took the first half. Fnatic kept the momentum going in the second half, going up 14-7 run until Team Liquid turned it around on them and went on an unstoppable streak. nitr0 taking the last match with a triple kill. The salt in the air was palatable, the crowd chanting in support, and tensions were high between family and friends. Liquid went on an 8-0 run to take the match to take the game at 16-14.

Match Six: Virtus.pro Vs SK Gaming

One of the more anticipated matches of the night because fans were able to watch TACO’s skills and perfect eyelashes go up against the brotacular biceps of PaschaBiceps. This match was super important since it would send Virtus.pro or SK Gaming into a spot in the semifinals. The first half was neck and neck for most of the match but SK got a 9-6 lead on VP. In the second half VP didn’t let up, but weren’t able to secure the win. SK winning 16-8 and securing their spot on Sunday’s semi-final, sending VP to the final round of play.

Match Seven: Team Liquid Vs. Fnatic

Once again these two teams met on Dust2 for one of the last two spots in the Semi-finals. Team Liquid started off strong with the crowd behind them once again, racking up another big 7-0 lead until Fnatic thwarted a move on bombsite B, shifting the momentum to the Swedish team which looked hopeful for them.

Unfortunately, it didn’t last long, as Team Liquid pulled the game back in their favor with a big 12-3 lead going into the second half. The second half started with one of the most exciting pistol rounds. Tw1st taking out nitr0 almost immediately in the B site. But Fnatic fakes out and plants in the A site after Tw1st gets taking out by Pimp. In the end, Liquid takes it with a smokey distraction. Olof couldn’t quite kill jam in the smoke while he defuses the bomb.

Fnatic got on a roll after that, winning several rounds until a molotov that just missed its mark allowed Elige to mow down half of Fnatic to put Liquid up 14-8.

The rest of the match was close as Fnatic pulled closer to Liquid but it wasn’t enough. Liquid took the match 16-12, heading to semifinals and sending Fnatic home.

Match Eight: Virtus.Pro Vs. Optic Gaming

The final match of Saturday night was Virtus.pro against OpTic Gaming for the seat in the Semi-finals. It started evenly but VP pulled ahead. The match stayed close the entire match, but Virtus.pro managed to squeak by and secure their spot in the semifinals with a 16-14 win.

The Semifinals

With only four Counter-Strike: Global Offensive teams left on the final day of ESL One New York, everything was on the line in every match. They were all Best of 3 so each match was definitely longer but with way more at stake.

Match One: Na’Vi vs. Team Liquid

Team Liquid came into the semifinals riding the wave of the hometown crowd. As the only North American team left in the tournament, the fans came out in full force, cheering for literally every kill and round victory.

Na’Vi had been looking hot in the tournament with no losses so far, beating Team Liquid and Virtus.pro on the first day and then dominating SK Gaming on Saturday for a spot in the semifinals. Everyone on Na’Vi had been playing well,and they looked like the favorite going into the first match of the day.

But Team Liquid had something to prove, and they pushed hard right off the bat on Cobblestone. Liquid’s Pimp was showing off his homegrown skills, with an ADR hitting 140 in the seventh round. Na’Vi didn’t stand a chance on the terrorist side, getting bowled over by everyone on Team Liquid.

After dominating the first half, Na’Vi managed to grab a few rounds with the counter-terrorist side advantage, but Team Liquid couldn’t be stopped, winning the first game 16-7 and heading into map two.

Map two took place on Train, and Na’Vi came out aggressively on the pistol round, grabbing that, much needed, early economy advantage and winning the next couple rounds, but losing to Team Liquid in round four, getting outplayed and shifting the momentum back to Team Liquid.

Rounds were close, coming down to many 1v1s, but Team Liquid continued barrel through in a win streak. Na’Vi pulled it right back though, outsmarting Team Liquid on bomb plants and playing carefully.

Na’Vi used the economy advantage and won round after round to take the half 8-7. The game stayed even in the second half, both teams inching up toward the win. Each round was intense and occasionally explosive as teams met each other with guns blazing on the bombsites.

Flamie was on fire, getting an insane amount of kills and helping to push the team into a victory. Na’Vi took Train, sending the match into the final map: Dust2.

Na’Vi started out on the CT side, winning the pistol round and pretty much steamrolling Team Liquid from there, with five wins on their side. Then on a fantastic show of skill, Na’Vi’s S1mple was up against Nitr0 on bomb site B. S1mple completely mind-trolled Nitr0 by tossing his AWP over the wall and then dropping down on Nitr0 with a pistol kill.

Team Liquid couldn’t get a good streak going after that until deep into the second half. After Na’Vi reached match point with 15 wins, Liquid started amping it up, winning round after round, crushing Na’Vi when they were down to pistols and outplaying them with rifles and AWPs. Pimp and Nitr0 taking most of the kills.

The streak was broken in the 26th round and Na’Vi won 16-10 thanks to a quad-kill from Seized, pushing Na’Vi into the finals.

Match Two: Virtus.pro vs. SK Gaming

Coming into the semifinals, both teams already losing to Na’Vi, so whoever made it through would have a tough match in the finals. But this was still one of the best matches to happen all weekend.

Starting on VP’s favored map, Mirage, the teams stayed pretty even for most of the game, neither one pulling out too far ahead of the other. Taz had several good rounds mowing down SK and grabbing clutch wins.

The teams traded wins back and forth, and at match point for SK, Virtus.pro managed to win two close rounds and send the map into overtime.

The teams traded the first two rounds, but SK pulled out and won 4-1 in overtime, finishing with an mind-bogglingly close call in the last round.

On map two, Overpass, SK Gaming won the pistol round and took the next several rounds which really boosted their economy, getting a comfortable 6-0 lead on Virtus.pro before its first loss. With that win, VP went all out, taking the lead 7-6 with some amazing plays from Byali and Neo. Virtus.pro was looking great, ending the first half 8-7 and winning the pistol round in the second.

SK lost the next two rounds before turning the tide and beating back VP for a much-needed win. To bring it even closer, SK’s FalleN outplayed PashaBiceps for a clutch win, putting them down 10-11 and in a good position to take the map and move on to the finals.

SK then tied it up 11-11 and the next rounds were close and intense as VP fought to push the match into a third map. The teams traded wins, tying it up 12-12. The next round went to SK Gaming as VP were completely dominated across the board.

Things were still intense when SK took the next two rounds, bringing them to match point at 15-12, but VP didn’t let them take it easily, decimating SK to make it 15-13 and then taking the next round to make it a close 14-15.

When VP managed to win the next round, too, this sent  the teams into their second overtime in two maps. SK came out hot once again, winning the first two rounds handily and grabbing the third by the skin of its teeth.

Virtus.pro managed to keep SK from planting the bomb in the next two rounds, putting the score at 3-2 and stopping the Brazilian squad from sweeping overtime. With one last chance before going into a second overtime, SK was mowed down by VP, sending the teams into another best-of-six.

In the second overtime, Virtus.pro flipped the narrative and took the first two rounds, forcing SK to take a tactical pause.

It looked like Virtus was going to take the third round for a game point lead, but SK managed to squeak by and take out VP after planting the bomb. Virtus.pro took the next round in a close pinch, going up 3-1 and inching closer toward sending the match into a third game thanks to Byali’s 1v2 clutch.

Then SK got two big wins in the next rounds, sending the teams into triple overtime on Overpass.

Virtus.pro got the first blood and the first round on the terrorist side, using that momentum to take the next round and forcing SK to head into round three with some pistols. VP quickly went up 3-0 with only one win needed to take Overpass.

Both teams went into round four cautiously. Byali was the first one taken out, followed by Pasha. But it wasn’t enough as Taz tore through SK Gaming

After a long battle on Overpass, VP took the map to tie the series 1-1. This tired out both the audience and the teams but VP sent both teams to map three: Nuke.

In the third map and extremely long fourth hour match of Virtus.pro vs. SK Gaming, VP started out with the lead, racking up a 5-0 advantage over SK before narrowly losing the sixth round, giving SK a solid economy to trade rounds with VP. In a series of close rounds, Virtus.pro took the first half 9-6.

VP won the pistol round in the next half, and then traded wins with SK to put the score at 11-7. Unfortunately SK couldn’t hang on, and VP mowed them down with a VP win of 16-7. This sent SK Gaming home.

The Grand Final: Na’Vi Vs. Virtus.Pro

ESL One New York came down to two teams Sunday night fighting for the biggest piece of the $250,000 prize pool: Na’Vi came into the match undefeated, already beating Virtus.pro earlier in the tournament. Meanwhile Virtus.pro made it to the finals after one of the closest and longest CS:GO matches against SK Gaming.

Map 1: Cobblestone

Na’Vi kicked off the finals match on counter-terrorist side of Cobblestone, and Virtus.pro took the first pistol round by the skin of their teeth, gaining that much needed early economy advantage.

With better weapons, VP easily took the next couple rounds and kept the streak going to a 5-0 lead. In the sixth round, VP’s Neo found himself in a 1v2 situation, but he took out one Na’Vi defender and was left in a tense 1v1 against Edward, and ultimately getting a crazy kill with a picked-up AWP.

Na’Vi grabbed the next round to make it 6-1, putting a small dent in VP’s economy but VP wasn’t going to back down. Snax was caught in a 1v3 against Guardian, Edward and Seized, but was able to tap into the gods of war to push his legendary AWP skills to take down all three in a massive triple kill while peaking out from behind cover.

Virtus.pro was unstoppable, stunting Na’Vi’s economy over and over, steamrolling through rounds with superior weapons, utilities and strategies. Round 11 finished in 30 seconds, putting VP up 10-1.

The rest of the half was all Virtus.pro, they just mowed through Na’Vi, only giving up the last round to head into the second half with a 13-2 lead.

With Na’Vi on the advantageous terrorist side but Snax shut down their dreams with a mind-blowing quad kill in the pistol round.

VP took the next few rounds with ease, winning Cobblestone 16-3.

Map 2: Train

Starting off on map two, Na’Vi came out energetic and were looking like a different team. They took the pistol round fast and won the next two rounds easily, going up 3-0. When weapon buys were even in round four, it was a little tougher for Na’Vi and Virtus.pro took their first Train round.

Na’Vi didn’t let them get a streak going though and got the momentum back to their favor. All of Na’Vi was playing eerily well this match (compared to the last one), nearly shutting out VP in multiple rounds, racking up a 10-1 lead.

Between S1mple, Flamie and Guardian, Na’Vi couldn’t be stopped. They were attacking efficiently and effectively, shutting down every defensive strategy that VP threw at them.

Na’Vi took the half 12-3, putting them in a solid lead to take Train from VP and tying the series 1-1.

After winning the pistol round in the second half, Na’Vi was going to take Train easily. Except Virtus.pro won stuck up some defense to win the pistols round two and went on a streak, moving the score up to 13-6 before losing another round to Na’Vi. S1mple pulled out all the stops, pulling off a jaw-dropping quad-kill clutch with a Desert Eagle against rifles.

After that round, VP regrouped and pulled off an aggressive, fast win to keep Na’Vi away from the victory, putting the score at 14-7. They kept that momentum going in the next round but lost the next two rounds as Na’Vi tied up the series and pushed the game into map three.

Map 3: Mirage

Starting just after midnight est the third and final map took place. Tensions were high and players were exhausted. Mirage was the playing ground for these two team to battle it out.

The first pistol round of Mirage went to Na’Vi, giving them the advantage to take the next couple rounds, but VP stopped their streak in round four.

From there, it was a tight game with wins going back and forth between the teams, VP staying taking one- or two-point leads occasionally.

Virtus.pro pulled out of the first half with a tight 8-7 lead.

In the second half, Na’Vi won the pistol round again, giving them an advantage that PashaBiceps nearly shut down alone with a triple pistol kill.

Na’Vi continued to win rounds, beating back VP left and right, although the rounds stayed relatively close. In the 20th round with Na’Vi up 11-8, both teams played some amazing CS with a mind-boggling few rounds from Neo and then perfect shots from S1mple.

Na’Vi continued its win streak against VP. VP found themselves in a difficult place with a totally drained economy and a widening score gap. VP nearly pulled out a win while down 13-8 but Guardian was unstoppable.

Virtus.pro finally managed to win their first round of the second half after Na’Vi’s devastating seven-round streak. With two AWPs, VP used that win get a streak going with Papa on the AWP and Snax cleaning it up.

After those two wins, Na’Vi’s economy was disrupted and VP with Snax, started to really do a lot of damage. With an economy advantage, VP was looking great, although a little late, in the second half, making great plays and closing in on Na’Vi. VP tied it up 14-14.

Both teams had money going into the 29th round on Mirage, and both teams picked off a single player to start the round. Na’Vi managed to plant the bomb and defend, putting them up 15-14 at match point.

With a slight economy disadvantage, VP came in with AKs and managed to take it with aggressive, tactical plays, sending the map into overtime thanks to a much needed kill from Pasha.

In overtime, Na’Vi pulled off a close win in the first round, keeping VP’s economy slightly stunted. VP pulled off an even closer win in the second overtime round, with an impressive triple-kill play from Taz.

 The score moved up to 17-17 as the teams traded wins. Na’Vi took the next round, putting them in a match point position and putting VP in an economy disadvantage.

Teams traded kills but Na’Vi managed to pull it out, defeating Virtus.pro and becoming ESL One New York champions!

Johnny and his beard live in NY where he obsesses over breakfast cereals and Bob’s Burgers. You can find him on Twitter spouting nonsensically @SomeBeardy2Love