ECS Season 3 – Finals Recap

Esports Championship Series Season 3 has been one of our most successful editions of the tournament. A total of hundreds of thousands followed us live on stream during the weekend, and the arena was overcrowded by CS:GO fans as we sold out all tickets available at SSE Arena, in Wembley, London.

In the past months, a total of 20 teams battled in our European and North American leagues in order to earn a spot in the LAN Finals. If you missed any action during the qualifiers, we released detailed recaps for each week.

In order to offer our viewers the best experience possible, we hired some of the most renowned talents in the community, such as the analysts Duncan “Thorin” Shields and Tomi “lurppis” Kovanen. We entrusted the stage and desk host roles to Rachel “Seltzer” Quirico and Alex “Machine” Richardson respectively. The full list is available here.

The LAN took place from June 23rd to 25th and featured a total of eight teams, four for each region, and a grand prize pool of $660,000. All teams got split into two groups for the double elimination GSL Group Stage, with best-of-three matches in the lower bracket. The top four teams of each group advanced to the playoffs, where they faced a best-of-three single elimination bracket.

To ensure that you won’t miss any of the action, we will cover each game in order to provide a comprehensive recap. All replays are available on the FACEIT Youtube channel.

 

Group Stage – Group A – Day 1

  • FaZe vs. OpTic – Overpass 16:9 (8:7; 8:2)

FaZe Clan were the best team in the European league with a 14-4 score and as many as 42 points, while OpTic Gaming managed to conquer the top 4th in NA with 32. The performance of OpTic could drastically deteriorate due to the last minute change in their lineup: Jason “jasonR” Ruchelski, with which they played during the league, stepped down and has been substituted by James “hazed” Cobb. He isn’t new to the team, since he acted as a stand-in for two different events in the past, but the squad will have to adapt to his gameplay quickly.

The teams fought on de_overpass. FaZe had the upper hand in the first half with an 8:7 score, but they showed their real strength once on the CT-side, winning 8 rounds and claiming the game 16 to 9. Honestly, both Håvard “rain” Nygaard and Tarik “tarik” Celik deserve the title of MVP – they obtained a 1.63 and 1.67 rating respectively. De_overpass is one of OpTic’s worst maps in the past three months: considering also this game they have a 20% win rate, with 4 defeats over five games.

In the highlightRain’s teammates were all defending the bombisites, and he happened to be alone on the left side of the map. No help was necessary, as he secured the match point with a 4k.

  • G2 vs. SK – Cache 7:16 (3:12; 4:4)

G2 Esports and SK Gaming both had a solid score during the league. The Brazilians, in particular, have been exceptional in the past months, and right now they are the best team in the world according to HLTV’s rankings. The teams faced each other four times in 2017, and G2 won all the encounters with a convincing score – the last fights happened only three weeks ago.

The battlefield selected for today’s game was de_cache, where both squads had a positive win rate in 2017. SK dominated the CT-side, winning 12 rounds, and afterwards ended the game scoring 16-7. The duo Epitacio “TACO” de Melo plus Marcelo “coldzera” David were the main ones responsibles for this outcome, as they overwhelmed the opponents with 25 and 24 kills each, and a rating around 1.60.

In the video, TACO surprised G2 blocking their advance on the A-bombsite and obtaining a quadra kill.

Winner’s Match

We moved on to the Group A Winner’s Match to enjoy the conflict between FaZe Clan and SK Gaming. They fought each other already nine times in 2017, and overall SK are the winners, 6 to 3.

Today, they decided to duel on de_train. FaZe had a brilliant 70% win rate on this map in 2017, over more than 25 games, so they were confident about the choice. Instead, SK’s win rate here was below 50% in the past three months, but they have already defeated FaZe on de_train two times since the start of the new year.

SK abilities were indeed remarkable, as they conquered the first half 10:5, and then ended the game scoring the final 6 points as Counter-Terrorists. Fernando “fer” Alvarenga literally exterminated the opponent team with 26 kills and an impressive average damage per round of 115 – he also hit the highest rating in the Group A so far, 1.75. With this victory SK Gaming is the first team to earn a spot for the Playoffs!

In the highlight, Marcelo “coldzera” David won the force-buy round with a triple kill.

 

Group Stage – Group A – Day 2

Elimination Match

  • OpTic vs. G2 – Overpass 5:16 (4:11; 1:5)
  • OpTic vs. G2 – Inferno 6:16 (5:10; 1:6)

Decider Match

  • FaZe vs. G2 – Overpass 16:10 (7:8; 9:2)
  • FaZe vs. G2 – Train 16:11 (10:5; 6:6)

OpTic Gaming and G2 Esports opened day 2 with a best-of-three in the Group A Elimination match. They have not encountered each other in recent times, in fact the last seven games were played at the end of 2016, and overall no team drastically prevailed over the other.

The arena selected for the first game was de_overpass. G2 firmly dominated on both sides, acquiring 11 rounds as Terrorists and 5 as CT, winning the match 16 to 5. Nathan “NBK-” Schmitt and Richard “shox”’ Papillon were the leaders of the first game with a rating of 1.75 and 1.63. De_overpass is, without doubts, one of OpTic’s worst maps: in the past three months they won only one game out of six, obtaining a very poor 16.7% win rate.

The situation didn’t change on de_inferno, as G2 dominated on both sides once again, triumphing with a similar 16:6 score. Shox was in great form and earned again the best rating in the game, but overall the entire team worked as a well-oiled machine. Also on de_inferno OpTic’s win rate was feeble in 2017, only 33%.

An incredible AWP-shot by Kenny “kennyS” Schrub, almost impossible to predict.

The journey of OpTic Gaming ended, instead G2 Esports advanced to the Group A Decider Match to face FaZe Clan. During 2017 they engaged in battle for a total of eight times, and FaZe resulted victorious with a 5 to 3 score. The teams share almost the same spot in the HLTV rankings: FaZe holds the third place, while G2 – the fourth. The latter replaced three of their players in February, and the change had drastically improved their performance as they were only in the 13th position in that period.

For the first game, the squads decided to battle on de_overpass, a map where both teams shared a positive win rate in the past three months. FaZe’s approach as Terrorists was on point as they dominated the second half 9 to 2, and finally secured the match with a 16:10 score. Nikola “NiKo” Kovač was the star of the battle, he acquired a rating of 1.75 and 28 kills – also, considering both maps, he reached an outstanding 1.70 impact rating.

De_train was the battleground for the second and final game, as FaZe triumphed again. Considering their past encounters on de_train, G2 only had a win rate around 50%, while FaZe was above 70%. G2, on the CT-side, were not able to stop their push and lost the first half 5 to 10. Both teams were determined to give their best, and the second half ended with a 6:6 score. We can’t nominate a real MVP for this game: all members of FaZe obtained similar K-D and scores; the victory was a team’s effort!

G2 had to say goodbye to their dreams – FaZe Clan advanced to the Playoffs.

Group Stage – Group B – Day 1

  • Cloud9 vs. Fnatic – Train 16:8 (9:6; 7:2)

Cloud9 were the top team in our NA league, sharing the same 13-5 score as SK; Fnatic instead only made it to the top 4. The match history between the two teams is rather one-sided, as the Swedes won 9 games out of 12, but this comparison includes even very old matches. If we take a look at 2017 only, they faced each other just a couple of times – C9 triumphed in both of them. Currently, it isn’t easy to determine who is in a better shape, even if Fnatic have an higher placement in the HLTV rankings: 6th place opposed to the 15th of C9.

We saw a conflict on de_train, and here Cloud9 resulted to be the best team with a 16:8 score. They achieved 9 rounds as Terrorists, and once the sides swapped, their impenetrable defense granted them a 7:2 second half. Timothy “autimatic” Ta led his team to victory, scoring a 1.59 impact rating, a statistic composed of opening and multi kills, 1onX wins and more, in order to determine the “real impact” of one player in the match. Fnatic showed poor results on de_train in the past months, as they have a 37.5% win rate on this map.

Autimatic won an impossible round 1 on 3, with a smart use of a smoke that was deployed by his opponents. Replay available here.

  • Liquid vs. Astralis – Inferno 11:16 (7:8; 4:8)

In the second game of the Group B, Team Liquid went head on against Astralis. They had similar performances in their respective regional leagues, but Astralis is, undoubtedly, the best team. They held the 1st place on HLTV in the past months, and only recently SK Gaming have been able to undermine their placement. There aren’t many games on the record between the two teams, only one in 2017, where Astralis defeated Liquid on Mirage 16 to 3.

Today’s arena was de_inferno, and here we witnessed a balanced match in which both teams tried their best to advance. The first half ended 8:7 for Astralis, but their CT-side was better and they triumphed in the second half 8 to 4. The title of man of the match goes to Peter “dupreeh” Rasmussen with 22 kills and a 1.20 rating, but overall most of the team had similar results. With this victory, Astralis’ win rate on de_inferno improved to 68.4% in this year.

Dupreeh was literally on fire, as you can witness from the highlight below.

Winner’s Match

  • Cloud9 vs. Astralis – Mirage 19:15 (5:10; 10:5) (4:0)

In the Group B Winner’s Match, Cloud9 and Astralis clashed to determine who will obtain the first Playoff spot in their group. The two teams almost never encountered each other in the past as we just have two games in 2016 and the remaining ones in 2015, thus we don’t have enough info head to head to predict a victor.

The teams decided to battle on de_mirage, a map extremely favorable to the Danes. In 2017, Cloud9 scored a win rate below 50% on this battlefield, while Astralis boasts a 83.3%, with 10 victories out of 12 games. In spite of the stats, Cloud9 fought as lions and demonstrated their real worth. Each team wisely used the Terrorist side, winning 10 rounds each and moving into overtime. Here, Cloud9 demolished all Astralis’ hopes as they brought home the victory and the spot in the playoffs with a quick 4 to 0.

Today we had a God in CS:GO: Timothy “autimatic” Ta. After the stunning performance displayed against Fnatic, once again he earned the title of MVP. On de_mirage he scored 34-20 with 1 kill per round on average, 114.2 ADR and 1.59 rating – his impact was 1.62, and so even better than in the previous game. All his stats were stellar high!

In the video, autimatic obtained a triple kill and the third point during the overtime.

 

Group Stage – Group B – Day 2

Elimination Match

  • Fnatic vs. Liquid – Mirage 6:16 (5:10; 1:6)
  • Fnatic vs. Liquid – Train 16:12 (8:7; 8:5)
  • Fnatic vs. Liquid – Inferno 6:16 (5:10; 1:6)

Decider Match

  • Astralis vs. Liquid – Train 16:4 (12:3; 4:1)
  • Astralis vs. Liquid – Overpass 9:16 (6:9; 3:7)
  • Astralis vs. Liquid – Inferno 16:10 (8:7; 8:3)

On day 2 we had a furious fight between Fnatic and Team Liquid in the Group B Elimination match. The squads played against each other only two times in the past, in 2016, and Liquid won both matches. Normally, Fnatic would be considered the favorites: they maintained a higher rank in the past months and right now are rated the 6th on HLTV, while Liquid only hold the 14th position, but their performance recently has been lacking.

Fnatic were not able to penetrate Liquid’s defense on de_mirage, who won the first half 10 to 5, and the second 6 to 1. Jonathan “EliGE” Jablonowski scored the highest rating recorded so far in the tournament, 2.11, which proves he was in an admirable physical condition. He also claimed 28 kills and inflicted as much as 129.5 average damage per round. Both teams had a similar performance on this map in the past six months, with a win rate around 50%.

A mind-blowing ACE courtesy of Jesper “JW” Wecksell. The arena was on fire!

Afterwards they moved on de_train. Also here their win rate was similar, but Fnatic had more direct experience on this map as they played a total of 25 games in 2017. Russel “Twistzz” Van Dulken was a real monster and did all that was possible to secure the game, but it wasn’t enough, and Fnatic prevailed with a 16:12 score. The best player of the Swedes was JW with 23 kills and a 1.23 rating.

The final game took place on de_inferno. Team Liquid had an almost perfect game, only losing 5 rounds during the first half, and then winning the T-side 6 to 1, with a final score of 16:6. JW was again the best performer for Fnatic, while Nick “nitr0” Cannella defended Liquid’s honor with a 27-11 K-D and a 1.70 rating. Fnatic’s win rate on de_inferno was extremely high in the past three months, 76.5% out of 17 games.

Team Liquid stopped Fnatic’s run, and moved on to the Group B Decider Match against Astralis. We only have three games in the match history between the two teams, and Astralis won 2-1. The sample is too small to predict today’s result, but overall Astralis can be considered a stronger team, and they are undoubtedly the favorites to win today’s Bo3.

The skirmish started on de_train, where both teams had a positive win rate in the past three months. The match was completely one-sided: Astralis dominated the Terrorist side 12 to 3, and claimed the first game 16:4. Nicolai “device” Reedtz displayed a stunning performance with a 23-8 score, 104 ADR, and as much as 1.88 rating.

Also on de_overpass the win rate of both of them was positive, particularly for Astralis, as they boasted a 11-2 score in 2017, with a win rate above 80%. The situation was different this time and Liquid had the upper hand setting up a good defense as Counter-Terrorists, and showing off a superior T-side that they won 7 to 3 – the final score of the match was 16:9. Jonathan “EliGE” Jablonowski decisively contributed to the team’s victory and obtained 26 kills and a 1.55 rating.

In the highlight, Andreas “Xyp9x” Højsleth blocked Liquid’s advance on Long A.

De_inferno was the final and decisive playground for this Bo3. After a rather balanced first half, Astralis showed their prowess by triumphing with a well played 8 to 3 Terrorist side. De_inferno was indeed one of Liquid’s worst maps in 2017, as here they have a poor win rate below 40%; Astralis instead won 14 out of the last 20 games on this arena. Once again, EliGe was the best player of the NA team, while dev1ce was the champion of the Danes – the latter obtained 23 kills and a 1.31 rating. With this battle we end day 2 and we have our final team for the Playoffs: Astralis.

In the replay, dev1ce secured round 15 winning a 1vs2 clutch on de_inferno.

Playoffs – Semifinals #1

  • Cloud9 vs. FaZe – Overpass 5:16 (4:11; 1:5)
  • Cloud9 vs. FaZe – Mirage 15:19 (12:3; 3:12) (0:4)

The four teams that advanced to the Playoffs were SK Gaming, Astralis, Cloud9, and FaZe Clan. They engaged in battle in a Bo3 single elimination bracket to determine the victor who will bring home the grand $250,000 prize.

The first Semifinal saw Cloud9 against FaZe Clan. So far C9 amazed the crowd, defeating Fnatic in their first matchup, and then even Astralis in the winner’s match. FaZe also had a neat run, kicking off G2 Esports with a 2-0 score, and losing only a Bo1 versus SK Gaming. The two teams faced each other a total of nine times in the past, but all encounters took place in 2016: overall FaZe had the upper hand 5 to 4.

The first fight took place for de_overpass, and here FaZe demonstrated their superiority with a stunning 16 to 5 victory. They earned 11 rounds during the CT-side, and in the second half they only let a single round in the hands of C9. Finn “karrigan” Andersen obtained a 100% KAST, an often underestimated statistic that tells us the percentage of rounds in which the player either had a kill, assist, survived or was traded. This was the second time that C9 played on de_overpass in the past three months.

No tactic worked against FaZe, as they easily blocked all C9’s attempts on Overpass.

The teams moved on de_mirage, a map that brought bad luck to C9. Initially they dominated the first half, scoring 12:3, but once the sides swapped FaZe Clan proved the strength of their Terrorist side and brought the game to overtime. Here, they completed the work with a 4:0 score, earning the spot for the Grand Final! Cloud9 won’t easily forget the performance of Håvard “rain” Nygaard and Nikola “NiKo” Kovač as they were the main reason behind FaZe big comeback. They both obtained 32 kills and a 1.41 rating.

 

Playoffs – Semifinals #2

  • SK vs. Astralis – Overpass 12:16 (6:9; 6:7)
  • SK vs. Astralis – Mirage 16:14 (6:9; 10:5)
  • SK vs. Astralis – Inferno 16:12 (7:8; 9:4)

We headed to the second Semifinal, between SK Gaming and Astralis. SK obtained the first place in the Group A thanks to two consecutive victories, while Astralis had to earn the access to the Playoffs the hard way, fighting in the Group B up to the decider match. The past encounters between the two teams show a balanced record: in 2017 SK won two games out of three, while in the second half of 2016 Astralis prevailed 5 to 3.

Today’s series was literally breathtaking, and we suggest all our readers to watch the entire replay because it is totally worth any fan’s time. Astralis’ win rate on the first map, de_overpass, was absurdly high: they won 11 matches out of 14 here in 2017 – SK were positive but below 60%. The Danes had a small edge on the Terrorist side, winning it 9 to 6, but it was enough to secure the game, that ended 16-12 for them. Four players of Astralis acquired a similar rating and number of kills, about 1 and 20 respectively.

The athletes relocated to de_mirage, ready for another hard-fought battle. Both teams displayed a spectacular CT-side: Astralis earned 9 rounds, SK 10, but this small gap was sufficient to assign them the match 16 to 14. All players of SK Gaming killed at least 20 opponents – Marcelo “coldzera” David and João “felps” Vasconcellos obtained the highest ratings, 1.24 and 1.19. Considering the past three months, SK had an almost impeccable performance on Mirage, winning 14 out of 16 games.

De_inferno was the last map selected for this grand battle. Both teams played at least 15 games here in 2017, and shared a win rate above 60%. The first half ended 8:7 for Astralis, on the T-side, but their strategy as Counter-Terrorists was weaker and SK claimed the second half 9 to 4, winning the last match of the series 16:12. On this map we witnessed an extraordinary performance by Gabriel “FalleN” Toledo, that led his team to victory scoring 22 kills and acquiring a 1.23 rating.

Considering all maps, Fernando “fer” Alvarenga was the overall most efficient player; we witnessed his influence behind numerous actions of the team in all games. SK Gaming triumphed, but they had little time to rest, as the Grand Finals followed shortly after.

 

Playoffs – Grand Finals

  • FaZe vs. SK – Mirage 16:11 (10:5; 6:6)
  • FaZe vs. SK – Inferno 17:19 (6:9; 9:6) (2:4)
  • FaZe vs. SK – Train 17:19 (2:13; 13:2) (2:4)

After the previous Semifinal, SK Gaming and FaZe Clan had to deliver impossible games in order to provide us with an even better viewing experience. In the Grand Finals they amazed the audience with three very close matches, two of which even went into overtime! Considering the whole 2017, SK prevailed over FaZe with six victories out of nine games, and in the past Major they defeated them three to one.

The first game of the Bo3 took place on de_mirage, where Nikola “NiKo” Kovač and Håvard “rain” Nygaard contributed to the team’s result with 27 kills each, and a rating of 1.45 and 1.35. FaZe’s T-side was better as they won 10 rounds in the first half, yet SK didn’t give up and came back in the second one, obtaining 6:6, but ultimately the former triumphed 16 to 11. Overall, SK achieved great results on de_mirage in 2017, playing a total of 26 games and earning a win rate above 80%.

The teams moved on de_inferno for the second match. Both of them played more than 15 games on this battlefield in 2017, and scored a win rate above 60%. They scored 9 rounds each as Counter-Terrorists, and brought the game into overtime, where SK had the upper hand with a 4 to 2 score. The MVP was Fernando “fer” Alvarenga with a 31-20 score and a 1.42 rating – Gabriel “FalleN” Toledo was slightly behind with 29 kills.

Below, you can witness one of Fallen’s best actions as he obtained a triple kill via AWP while the enemies were completely covered by a smoke. An unreal performance!

The battleground selected for the third and final clash was de_train. FaZe had better results on this map during 2017 with 18 wins and 8 losses, while SK scored 9-10. Both of them knew how to properly execute on the CT-side, as they obtained 13 rounds during their respective turns. In overtime, SK Gaming triumphed once again – 4 to 2 – winning the title of champion and the $250,000 prize!

Fer obtained again the award of best player, not only on this last map, but also overall through the entire Bo3. He had an impact of 1.52, which is explained by his constant presence whenever the team was acting, and an average damage per round of 90.3

 

Prize Pool Breakdown

  • 1st — $250,000 — SK Gaming
  • 2nd — $120,000 — FaZe Clan
  • 3rd-4th — $65,000 — Astralis; Cloud9
  • 5th-6th — $45,000 — G2 Esports; Team Liquid
  • 7th-8th — $35,000 — OpTic Gaming; Fnatic

We thank everyone who followed us during the weekend, and hope you enjoyed as much as we did – all the amazing CS:GO games that took place at SSE Arena, in Wembley, London. If you missed the action, don’t forget that all replays are available on the FACEIT Youtube channel.

We wish the best of luck in their future endeavours to the champions of Esports Championship Series Season 3, and we hope to see them again in the next edition of our grand tournament!

 

 Credits: Header Picture courtesy of @domallinson – Oddshot highlights courtesy of HLTV