The ESL Pro League Grand Finals came to an end with Team Liquid emerging as the victors. This tournament victory marks their third Intel Grand Slam victory, and they were consecutive victories. Team Liquid’s win at the following events put them on course to becoming the next Intel Grand Slam Champion.
- Intel Extreme Masters – Sydney
- Dreamhack Masters Dallas 2019
- ESL Pro League Season 9- Finals
Their victory at ESL Pro League Grand Finals puts Team Liquid just one win shy of securing the second season of the Intel Grand Slam.
Team Liquid needs just one win out of the next seven Intel Grand Slam tournaments to secure the $1 million prize pool.
The ESL Pro League Season 9 Grand Finals
The ESL Pro League Grand Finals saw a Best of Five series between the French team and the North American squad. The Grand finals was a Best of Five series, and Team Liquid were the overwhelming favourites to win the tournament. Currently the world’s best team according to HLTV rankings, Team Liquid’s rise to the top is due to the excellent skill and experience on the roster.
The Five maps for the Grand Finals were:
- Dust 2
The first map of Dust 2 started quite contrary to expectations. G2 picked Dust 2 as their first map; it is their comfort zone and a map on which they believe they are the strongest. And rightfully so, the map had a solid start for the French team. They secured a 7-1 lead over Team Liquid and everything seemed to go in their favour. It was only after this that Team Liquid appeared to find some life in their gameplay. The North American Squad managed to come back in the half and secure an 8-7 half, a huge comeback considering that they were down 7-1 at one point in time.
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The turn of the half did not seem to dampen Team Liquid’s performance as they carried on the same form from the first half. Team Liquid soon managed to secure a 14-9 lead, quite impressive considering that they were down 1-7 at one point in time.
G2 focussed their attack on the B bomb-site and Team Liquid was unable to have a decent reply to the G2 playstyle. However, Team Liquid has an abundance of performers and Twistzz stepped up on the 29th round placing Liquid on map point. His quad-kill boosted Team Liquid’s confidence. However, they were unable to stop G2 from tying the game and taking it into Overtime.
In Overtime, however, G2 seemed unable to present any formidable opposition to Team Liquid. Liquid won all the four Overtime rounds and secured a 1-0 lead in the Grand Finals.
The second map of Overpass was never going to be an easy one for G2. The French team is a decent team on Overpass; however, they had no comparison to Team Liquid. After the initial two rounds on the map, G2 simply did not have any answer to Team Liquid’s offence. The French team lost the map 3-16 and for them, the quicker they forgot about Overpass, the better the chances of a comeback.
For many analysts and the casters, this was a massive blow to G2’s CS: GO team. After all, KennyS and Shox are very emotional when it comes to their games. Losing two maps, and especially Overpass in that fashion would be a massive blow to the confidence of the team. The next map in the series was Nuke a reliable CT side map.
Unlike the first two maps, Nuke saw a constant struggle between the two teams. Up until the end of the first half, the two teams were within a one-round difference of each other. G2’s impressive T side performance saw Team Liquid always on the backfoot when it comes to their defence. While they did secure a round advantage at half-time, it was not enough on a map like Nuke.
The second half saw Team Liquid come out on the T side. However, this is when KennyS and his AWP were extremely lethal in the grand scheme of things. One could see KennyS’ confidence rise to the occasion.
KennyS had a significant impact on the map and each kill was an impact frag. The confidence of the former World’s Best Player was at a high and we can see how the team’s performance reflected on his performance.
G2 won Nuke and managed a comeback when many had counted them out of the series. The final score for Nuke was 16-12 in favour of G2. The score for the series was 2-1 ( in support of Team Liquid ) with Inferno and Vertigo as the next two maps.
Map 4: Inferno
The fourth map of Inferno has always been a map to decide tournaments. Inferno is a very comfortable map for both the teams and the final result reflects the same. Much like Nuke, the two teams went back and forth when it comes to the rounds. Inferno brought out the very best in the two teams and he back and forth brought around some quality Counter-Strike from the individual players.
G2 won the first few rounds in the second half. However, they were unable to hold down the Team Liquid attack post those initial rounds. G2 tended to stack the B bombsite and that often meant that the A bomb-site was lack of adequate firepower. G2 often ended up saving their weapons as they would be on the wrong side of the map.
We don’t know whether it was a particular read or a study of the Team Liquid’s performance on the map. However, G2 continued with their gamble stacks on one side of the map. It either worked out wonderfully, or G2 was forced to save.
Back and Forth, Inferno goes into Overtime
Towards the late end of the map, G2 managed to win crucial rounds to take the game into Overtime. There were multiple occasions when G2 won rounds they had no business to win Unforced errors by Team Liquid allowed G2 an inroad into the game. The map went into Overtime and Team Liquid looked much calmer and in control of the game. The overtime rounds saw Team Liquid secure two T side rounds, but the game went into another Overtime as G2 was able to win a total of three rounds for themselves.
The second overtime, much like the first one saw the two teams trade rounds and once again find themselves in another overtime. Surprisingly G2 was on match point when the score was 21-20, and Team Liquid still had a timeout left after 41 rounds. The timeout did help them as they were able to claw back into the game and cement another overtime.
The third overtime, however, did not work out well for G2. The French team lost all three rounds on the CT side. Losing three rounds on CT puts a lot of pressure on the team and they were unable to win the next three to force another overtime. The final score on Inferno was 25-22 and the map could not have been more intense and competitive when it comes to the gameplay.
Team Liquid secures their spot as the best team in the world
With this win, Team Liquid secures their spot as the best team in the world. They have won three consecutive Intel Grand Slam tournaments. These victories might be the beginning of the North American era in Counter-Strike.
This victory was the first time in CS: GO history that a North American team was able to win a premier CS: GO LAN event in Europe. It is a huge accomplishment for Team Liquid and more importantly, might signal the start of a new order in Counter-Strike.
The Grand finals saw KennyS and Shox show glimpses of their former selves. The two players have were considered to be the best players in CS: GO at some point in history. While their fall from grace coincided with the fall of French Counter-Strike, this event might signal a new era for French CS: GO. If Shox and KennyS can rise to their peak performance, it could signal the rise of a new force in EU CS: GO.
For now, they are more than content with their Grand Finals appearance at the ESL Pro League. Sure, they would have loved to win the entire event, but no one expected them to reach the Grand finals itself. It is a massive accomplishment for the team and we look forward to greater things from the roster in the future.
The victory was essential but not convincing
Team Liquid emerges as the best team in the world, but their victory over G2 was a tough one. Two maps into Overtime and one map went into Triple overtime before Team Liquid was able to close it out. G2’s performance put forth a strong opposition to Team Liquid, one that they had not witnessed in a long time.
We are in the post-Astralis era, an era which saw the Danish team dominate everyone in their path. The totality with which Astralis was able to win their matches was convincing and dominant. Very few, if any, teams were able to challenge the Danish roster then.
Team Liquid still has a lot to improve in their gameplay, especially on their communication. Yesterday’s Grand Finals showed multiple instances when Team Liquid was unable to execute correctly on Inferno. Team Flashes and lack of communication about the opponents’ position led to many disadvantageous situations for the North American team. Regardless, one cannot deny the exceptional skill on its players as two members crossed the 100 kill mark yesterday.
The roster has all the makings of a dominant superteam, but they still have gaps in their armoury.
French CounterStrike is on the rise.
ESL Pro League Finals took place in Occitanie, France. It was a fitting venue for the comeback of French Counter-strike as G2 managed to reach the Grand finals. For an event as stacked as the ESL Pro League, G2’s road to the Grand finals came despite the presence of other stronger teams. Teams such as Faze CLan, MiBr and Astralis were unable to make it so deep into the event and that is an excellent tribute to the French team’s resilience and skill.
What is especially encouraging in the French team’s success was the return to form of two key players. Shox and KennyS have been the pillars of French Counter-strike for many years and their return to form signals good news for French fans.
The two were the top scorers in yesterdays’ series and more importantly, KennyS was confident enough to keep pushing with the AWP. It was extremely aggressive and a high-risk with a high-reward type of play. Despite taking such risks, he was able to remain the most impactful player on G2. Team Liquid showed him respect by not taking direct fights, and even then, KennyS would find ways to take kills in the round.
We’re at a period, perhaps, shox and myself, in which we need consistency as a team to be able to play our best game individually.
Final Placements at ESL Pro League Season 9 LAN Finals
- Liquid – $250,000
- G2 – $80,000
- 3-4. NRG – $40,000
- 3-4. Mousesports – $40,000
- 5-6. Astralis – $20,000
- 5-6. FaZe – $20,000
- 7-8. Heroic – $17,000
- 7-8. MIBR – $17,000
- 9-12. Fnatic – $15,000
- 9-12. HellRaisers – $15,000
- 9-12. Cloud9 – $15,000
- 9-12. North – $15,000
- 13-16. TYLOO – $14,000
- 13-16. Grayhound – $14,000
- 13-16. DETONA – $14,000
- 13-16. Luminosity – $14,000
ESL One Cologne starts in a few days time and it will be the first opportunity ( out of seven) for Team Liquid to secure the Intel Grand Slam for themselves.