EPL Week 9 Recap & Season Awards
With the ninth week of ESL Pro League Season 3 now behind us, the regular season has come to an end, and it is time for us to take a look at both this week and all the previous ones to reward the best of the best.
Starting the final week the top four teams in each division were anything but decided and all 24 teams played two matches each to end the season, with only NiP and Luminosity already having enough points to qualify. The eight teams that managed to qualify are going to be travelling to London, United Kingdom to compete in the $512,000 LAN finals.
First off was the European division. Astralis and fnatic faced off on Overpass and Train. The first map was a blowout as the Danish side won it 16-5, with Peter "dupreeh" Rasmussen having a 1.80 rating and a 24:10 score. They guaranteed themselves a spot at the LAN finals after this result.
GeT_RiGhT & NiP make their marks in the regulation
Astralis were also threatening to run away with Train as they got a 12-3 lead on their T-side but fnatic came back to win it in overtime and book their tickets to the LAN finals. Jesper "JW" Wecksell was huge throughout the second map, posting a 1.23 rating and a 35:30 score.
The last spot in the European division was contested by G2 and Natus Vincere as both teams had the same amount of points before their last two matches. Natus Vincere played mousesports and got off to a good start by winning Dust2, where Ladislav "GuardiaN" Kovács had a 1.68 rating.
The score on Cache was the same but this time the winning side was mousesports. Johannes "nex" Maget and Nikola "NiKo" Kovač led the charge with 1.53 and 1.48 ratings respectively. Egor "flamie" Vasilyev's efforts with his 24:21 score were not enough.
G2 snatch the last spot in Europe
Just like their rivals Natus Vincere, G2 managed to win their first map against NiP and remained level on points with the CIS team. Winning Dust2 would guarantee the French team a spot at the finals, but they were not able to get the victory.
In the end, G2 and Natus Vincere were tied in terms of points and as they each got one map win in their head-to-head matchups, the second tie-breaking condition came into effect. Because G2 had won more rounds than Natus Vincere throughout the season, the Frenchmen ended up getting the number four seed.
Across the Atlantic, all Cloud9 had to do in order to qualify was to beat KKona, who only had one win to their name. Despite using Andrew "Irukandji" Timmerman instead of Alec "Slemmy" White, Cloud9 did not have any trouble closing it out as they won 16-9 on Train and 16-4 on Dust2.
The third seed was clinched by OpTic, who managed to get one map off of NRG. Although NRG were able to win Cache with Nikola "LEGIJA" Ninić's 1.49 rating performance, Damian "daps" Steele and Keith "NAF" Markovic took the stage on Overpass and led OpTic to a 16-8 victory. With this result NRG finished the season with 42 points.
Liquid also ended up having 42 points after exchanging map wins with Splyce. This created a two-way tie between NRG and Liquid as both teams had 14 wins and 8 losses. Their head-to-head record being 1-1 meant the team with most round wins in the season would get the fourth spot, and that was Liquid.
ESL PRO LEAGUE SEASON 3 AWARDS
Most Valuable Player (EU): Christopher "GeT_RiGhT" Alesund
His lowest rating in 22 matches was 0.92 and he only fell below a 1.00 rating four times. In other words, he had a positive showing in 18 out of 22 games. He averaged a rating of 1.29, leading his division, and did the most damage per round at 95.2.
Totte is satisfied
His dominance did not end there though, as he led Europe with 0.87 kills per round and 0.20 assists per round. He survived, had a kill or an assist in 71% of the rounds.
With this kind of a dominant performance, it's not surprising that NiP managed to dominate the season. We showed you his numbers and his stats but to truly observe his impact, you have to watch their games. His presence on the map opened up many possibilities, and the team's coach, Björn "THREAT" Pers, was able to use him effectively.
Most Valuable Player (NA): Marcelo "coldzera" David
The otherworldly player from Brazil recently won the MVP award at MLG Columbus 2016 and is getting used to being rewarded. Luminosity closed out the season at the number one position in North America with a 18-4 record and two of those losses were forfeits.
coldzera posted a 1.36 rating in Season 3, the highest in his division. His 0.89 kills per round ratio and 56.2% 1+ kill round ratio all contributed to him winning the MVP award. He had 0.56 deaths per round which was the second lowest in the season.
coldzera is making daddy proud
Both with their Major result and their showing in Season 3, Luminosity are the undisputed champions of the Americas and their reign over the New World is sure to stay with their teamplay, their leader Gabriel "FalleN" Toledo, and their superstar coldzera.
Breakout Player of the Season: Aleksandr "s1mple" Kostyliev
s1mple's literal breakout from the foreign lands wasn't the reason we decided to give him this award. This prize is to honor a newcomer to the ESL Pro League, and s1mple was the the most outstanding player among the rookies.
Despite their semi-final run at the Major, the Ukrainian player felt homesick and left his team before the last six games of the season, but his performances were so good that we had to overlook that fact. He had a 1.25 rating, only trailing coldzera in North America, and got 0.89 kills per round to lead all players alongside coldzera.
Comin' Home Baby
He averaged the most 1+ kill round ratio (56.3%) and got 0.18 opening kills per round. This explosive youngster could have improved even further but he is now back in Europe and currently has no team.
It will be intriguing to see if he'll be competing in the upcoming season of the ESL Pro League and how he'll be handling the European competition. s1mple is the top free agent and the hottest property for teams that are looking for replacements, so he might be back to win another award next season.
Most Improved Player: William "RUSH" Wierzba
In the second season of ESL Pro League RUSH only had a 0.96 rating, but he improved massively in the third season as he posted a 1.12 rating. With his and daps's improved performances, OpTic finished the season in the third place, qualifying for the LAN finals.
Highlight Play of the Season: Nikola "NiKo" Kovač
As his team was down 16-18 against Envy on Inferno, NiKo did what he does best. With this round win, mousesports would go on to win the map in overtime and NiKo would once again save the day. The incredible AWP ace by NiKo is the Play of the Season.
Follow HLTV.org writer BenjaCS on twitter.