What we learned from StarSeries

As the dust settled at SL i-League StarSeries Season 2 Finals, it is time for us to look back at what we learned from the $300,000 event.

SL i-League StarSeries Season 2 Finals is behind us, as NiP lifted the trophy following numerous upsets and exciting matches. Before we get to what we learned from the five-day event, here's a quick recap for those of you who haven't been able to keep up with the tournament:

StarSeries was the first big offline event since ELEAGUE's playoffs. That makes it more than a month-long gap in between, during which we had the first official off-season before Pro League began in the third week of August.

Combined with the fact that numerous attending teams changed rosters or had to attend with a stand-in — GODSENT, Natus Vincere, FaZe, Cloud9, NiP and Envy —, the event was inherently hard to predict.


Dust has settled in Kiev

One of the aforementioned teams and perhaps one of the presumed favourites, Natus Vincere, shockingly finished in last place, while another favourite in Virtus.pro also failed to deliver, as both teams kicked off their disappointing run with a loss to one of the Chinese and fell to the elimination match into a hard best-of-one match-up.

In the meantime, the last of the big three favourites, G2, stormed through the tournament on the back of Richard "shox" Papillon without losing a map up until the final, even though both of their previous playoffs matches were extremely close. The other finalist wasn't quite as expected however, as it was NiP who pulled off a miraculous run without coach Björn "THREAT" Pers while fielding Mikail "Maikelele" Bill instead of Jacob "pyth" Mourujärvi.

The 16-team tournament brought us many nail-biting moments in matches that went down to the wire and are definitely worth re-watching. We've put together some of the most entertaining maps and big upsets with links to VODs:

Group stage        
CIS Natus Vincere 9-16 China TYLOO Mirage BO1 Initial round
Poland Virtus.pro 7-16 China VG.CyberZen Mirage BO1 Initial round
CIS Natus Vincere 16-19  Denmark Astralis Dust2 BO1 Elimination
Denmark Astralis 10-16 China TYLOO Overpass BO3 Decider
Denmark Astralis 16-12 China TYLOO Mirage BO3 Decider
France Envy 16-14 China VG.CyberZen Dust2 BO3 Decider
Ukraine FlipSid3 16-12 Europe FaZe Nuke BO3 Decider
Ukraine FlipSid3 16-14 Europe FaZe Cache BO3 Decider
         
Playoffs        
Sweden NiP 16-12 Denmark Astralis Dust2 Quarter-finals
France G2 16-14 France Envy Dust2 Quarter-finals
France G2 16-13 France Envy Cobblestone  Quarter-finals
Sweden NiP 22-18 France G2 Overpass Grand final

Off-seasons add a new layer to competition

The off-season is an amazing addition to CS:GO's competitive scene. We have praised it before and theorized about what it offers, but during StarSeries we got to see hard evidence of what it brings to the table.

First of all, it obviously gave teams the chance to make changes they would otherwise be reluctant to do, be it strategical or player adjustments, given the usual volume of offline events and leagues.


It's peculiar to see how much can change in a month, given certain conditions

It created a sizable gap between big events, more importantly any offline events — over a month since ELEAGUE came to a close at the end of July. That month-long pause, combined with the roster changes, produced a very unpredictable setting, allowing for huge upsets and making StarSeries so much more exciting.

It also gave us time to regain our appetite for top-tier competition. I didn't realize it up until the nail-biting last map of the grand final, which naturally fueled the emotions, but the event built my excitement up to a level I haven't experienced while watching Counter-Strike for quite a while.

GODSENT and Na`Vi need more time

While we're on the topic of unpredictability, we have to address the two debutants that failed to live up to the expectations. In the last week, Natus Vincere and GODSENT became an example of how changes, even smaller as was the case with Na`Vi, can break a working machine.

That's not saying "if it ain't broke, don't fix it". I totally understand why the changes were made and had to be made  to become the best. And that may take a little more time.

Many had Natus Vincere as one of the favourites, and for good reason, but I imagine no one had accounted for Aleksandr "s1mple" Kostyliev putting in one of his worst offline performances ever. It's hard to say where the problem lies after just two maps, even if one explanation presents itself, which is that there are too many stars on one team.


GODSENT have to go back to the drawing board

GODSENT may not have been that high on the list, but they were still expected to at least advance from groups fairly comfortably and possibly reach as high as semi-finals, depending on the quarter-final match-up. The core has always been based on confident play, but we haven't seen any of that in Kiev, the Swedes often played more slowly than ever before, even when Markus "pronax" Wallsten was still in fnatic.

In both of these cases we'll just have to wait and see how the teams develop and figure out where to go from here. It was their LAN debut and after a lot of time off, after all.

We should treat online form very carefully

This is no groundbreaking discovery, but in many cases we only had online form to look at prior to StarSeries and a lot of it turned out to be misleading to say the least.

FlipSid3 made it out from Major groups for the first time ever at ESL One Cologne, but their online form afterwards was atrocious. Andrey "B1ad3" Gorodenskiy's roster came into the $300,000 event with an awfully long losing streak, but once again managed to advance from groups despite being down 4-11 on the second map of the decider against FaZe.


FlipSid3 overcame online results and made another top eight

The in-game leader admitted the online results caused arguments and discontent within the team, but FlipSid3 believed they'd be able to do better in an offline setting nonetheless and proved just that.

Virtus.pro had been the ultimate example for a while now, having gone far at big events on countless occasions despite poor online results. It was interesting to see them fail in Kiev after a solid showing in the first few weeks in Pro League, but it's true that the Poles have always performed better when under pressure. This time that wake-up call came on LAN, which is the worse option of the two.

The other side of the coin are Heroic and Cloud9, who had done very well online prior to the event and showed up on LAN as well, reaching quarter-finals and semi-finals, respectively.

The Chinese deserve spots at more events

We've only seen Chinese teams at four big events thus far, beginning with VG.CyberZen's first appearance at StarSeries in January, followed up by TYLOO's showing at DreamHack Masters Malmö.

Both of those times, and now at StarSeries, the Chinese proved they have a lot to offer, giving us a new perspective on how CS:GO can be played, and yet we haven't seen much development on the organizers' part, barring the last Major cycle (provided TYLOO were at fault for not making it to the Major itself) and StarSeries.

Na`Vi and Virtus.pro 


Two of the favourites, Na`Vi and Virtus.pro, fell to Chinese opposition

Before 2016 comes to a close it seems IEM Oakland will be the only time we will see an Asian team in attendance at a significant event, depending on what WESG will look like, which makes it five to six events this year in total, roughly once every two months. That doesn't seem to be enough.

What's great is that all of the aforementioned events are huge, significant tournaments, but some of the organizers should start considering TYLOO and VG.CyberZen for the smaller ones hovering around the $100,000 mark to add some more depth to the competition.

G2 are still huge contenders, but...

shox carried his squad to the grand final, reaching godlike form up until the second map of the Dignitas semi-finals, with Adil "ScreaM" Benrlitom having his say in the journey as well.

When he dropped off to below-average numbers, Alexandre "bodyy" Pianaro picked it up against the Danes and played well on Overpass versus NiP, while the Belgian also showed up in the latter, but it wasn't enough to get the title.


shox and ScreaM can move mountains together, but their backbones can only bear so much

It really does seem that StarSeries was all but a confirmation of what we had already presumed from G2's Summer run, which is that they heavily rely on both shox and ScreaM to perform at their best to win big series.

Both are consistent enough to get them deep in playoffs, but they'll need more of what bodyy showed this last week, or Cédric "RpK" Guipouy to be the tank he was during Summer, to add some much-needed failsafes, because they can't rely on the wildly inconsistent Edouard "SmithZz" Dubourdeaux.

GeT_RiGhT and f0rest are back on track

NiP's stars, Christopher "GeT_RiGhT" Alesund and Patrik "f0rest" Lindberg had both been very quiet these past few months, which was in part the reason why they had been unable to replicate some of their success, finishing last at ECS Season 1 Finals and exiting groups in Cologne.

Overall f0rest has been a more stable player than his long-time teammate lately, and during StarSeries that trend continued.


We haven't seen NiP in such form for a very long time

GeT_RiGhT joined him in most of the matches as well and recorded his first rating over 1.10 this year, while f0rest became the MVP following his superstar performance in the grand final.

However, NiP's win has to be accounted to everyone, because Maikelele and Richard "Xizt" Landström were both very stable contributors as well and Adam "friberg" Friberg came alive in the final map versus G2.

It's been a very long time since we've seen NiP collectively push through an event in such a fashion, and it'll be interesting to see how they progress when and if pyth comes back into the picture. One thing is clear, the legendary Ninjas are here to stay for a while longer.


If you'd like to see more about individual players at SL i-League StarSeries Season 2 Finals, you can look forward to our next article where we analyze the best players of the event.

You can follow HLTV.org's Milan "Striker" Švejda on Twitter

France Cédric 'RpK' Guipouy
Cédric 'RpK' Guipouy
Age:
30
Team:
Rating 1.0:
0.98
Maps played:
1248
KPR:
0.67
DPR:
0.68
APR:
0.13
France Edouard 'SmithZz' Dubourdeaux
Edouard 'SmithZz' Dubourdeaux
Age:
30
Team:
No team
Rating 1.0:
0.96
Maps played:
1161
KPR:
0.65
DPR:
0.67
APR:
0.14
France Richard 'shox' Papillon
Richard 'shox' Papillon
Age:
27
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.10
Maps played:
1580
KPR:
0.75
DPR:
0.66
APR:
0.12
Sweden Mikail 'Maikelele' Bill
Mikail 'Maikelele' Bill
Age:
28
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.02
Maps played:
966
KPR:
0.68
DPR:
0.64
APR:
0.14
Ukraine Andrey 'B1ad3' Gorodenskiy
Andrey 'B1ad3' Gorodenskiy
Age:
33
Team:
No team
Rating 1.0:
0.83
Maps played:
899
KPR:
0.58
DPR:
0.73
APR:
0.16
Sweden Patrik 'f0rest' Lindberg
Patrik 'f0rest' Lindberg
Age:
31
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.12
Maps played:
1627
KPR:
0.77
DPR:
0.65
APR:
0.12
Belgium Adil 'ScreaM' Benrlitom
Adil 'ScreaM' Benrlitom
Age:
25
Team:
No team
Rating 1.0:
1.09
Maps played:
1425
KPR:
0.74
DPR:
0.66
APR:
0.12
Sweden Björn 'THREAT' Pers
Björn 'THREAT' Pers
Age:
31
Team:
No team
Rating 1.0:
0.80
Maps played:
50
KPR:
0.53
DPR:
0.67
APR:
0.14
Sweden Christopher 'GeT_RiGhT' Alesund
Christopher 'GeT_RiGhT' Alesund
Age:
29
Team:
No team
Rating 1.0:
1.10
Maps played:
1611
KPR:
0.75
DPR:
0.64
APR:
0.15
Sweden Jacob 'pyth' Mourujärvi
Jacob 'pyth' Mourujärvi
Age:
26
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.00
Maps played:
734
KPR:
0.69
DPR:
0.69
APR:
0.13
Sweden Markus 'pronax' Wallsten
Markus 'pronax' Wallsten
Age:
28
Team:
No team
Rating 1.0:
0.89
Maps played:
1199
KPR:
0.60
DPR:
0.67
APR:
0.14
Sweden Adam 'friberg' Friberg
Adam 'friberg' Friberg
Age:
28
Team:
No team
Rating 1.0:
0.99
Maps played:
1509
KPR:
0.68
DPR:
0.67
APR:
0.16
Sweden Richard 'Xizt' Landström
Richard 'Xizt' Landström
Age:
28
Team:
No team
Rating 1.0:
1.00
Maps played:
1549
KPR:
0.68
DPR:
0.65
APR:
0.17
France Alexandre 'bodyy' Pianaro
Alexandre 'bodyy' Pianaro
Age:
22
Team:
No team
Rating 1.0:
0.96
Maps played:
762
KPR:
0.65
DPR:
0.67
APR:
0.14
Ukraine Aleksandr 's1mple' Kostyliev
Aleksandr 's1mple' Kostyliev
Age:
22
Rating 1.0:
1.23
Maps played:
1060
KPR:
0.85
DPR:
0.66
APR:
0.10
#2
 | 
Denmark Lassy 
I like this thread 0.01 sec from the #1 fak
2016-09-13 15:11
#1 is edited anyway, so it lost its value, gg
2016-09-13 15:25
#4
LOGAN | 
France LeLoup 
Why i am never the first ? :(
2016-09-13 15:11
#20
MEZi | 
Finland Sukrami 
coz I'm better than u
2016-09-13 15:11
#22
 | 
Denmark Lassy 
we were even in secs ezpz
2016-09-13 15:12
#23
MEZi | 
Finland Sukrami 
ez af
2016-09-13 15:12
1q
2016-09-13 15:10
1
2016-09-13 15:10
#7
Romania Agora 
7th
2016-09-13 15:10
#8
2016-09-13 15:10
nice read
2016-09-13 15:10
ez
2016-09-13 15:10
#11
ableJ | 
Portugal mannyh 
h
2016-09-13 15:10
nothing
2016-09-13 15:10
Švejda
2016-09-13 15:10
Mom told me I can
2016-09-13 15:13
hi
2016-09-13 16:08
#14
 | 
Iceland 29heldeg 
eh no
2016-09-13 15:10
#15
 | 
Sweden lagcats 
GODSENT needs more time to find their team synergy for sure.
2016-09-13 15:11
+1
2016-09-13 15:13
Salty after friberg rekt the pastry-eating nubs?
2016-09-13 18:02
hltv.org/?pageid=173&eventid=2325&player.. OMG FRIBERG REKT EVERYONE AND DIDNT GOT CARRIED LIKE ALL THE LANS IN THE LAST 2 YEARS BEFORE! FRIBERG IS BACK!
2016-09-13 18:04
I didnt say he was back but he proves that he can play very well qt LANs
2016-09-13 18:08
not really
2016-09-13 18:09
Did you watch the final?
2016-09-13 18:15
Yes. The only match where he was good. I hate people like you who are freaking out because something happens in one of 100 matches.
2016-09-13 18:19
Stfu im not freaking out haha. Im simply telling you to stop flaming and making your sole purpose in life to criticize a player 100x better than you
2016-09-13 18:22
I am not flaming him. I am just telling everyone that he should get cut because he is too bad for a tier 1 team. Who cares if he is better than me? Am I not allowed to criticize ANY player who is better than me? Also I dont get money for playing CS:GO - friberg is.
2016-09-13 18:26
#16
 | 
Indonesia CoronaHypeZ 
Nice
2016-09-13 15:11
1
2016-09-13 15:11
#19
 | 
Czech Republic monosak 
ez
2016-09-13 15:11
#21
 | 
Brazil BuddyINSANE 
a lot!
2016-09-13 15:11
#24
 | 
United Kingdom MansNotHot 
chetko
2016-09-13 15:12
#26
 | 
France Pr0pheTh 
Good post
2016-09-13 15:13
#27
 | 
Hungary dream1ehu 
ez nip
2016-09-13 15:14
what about the lag issues, bruh? :-) #unpro and not to mention the _engrish_ of our presentator, oh c'mon will ya....
2016-09-13 15:17
What we learned from StarSeries? 1. VP is the most inconsistent team from competitive scene. 2. It was too early for NaVi. 3. Swedish shuffle made more harm than good. 4. NiP should reconsider maikelele in their roster. 5. Chinese teams can be dark horses if they will practice with EU teams more often. 6. Astralis reach as always playoffs and "game over".
2016-09-13 15:18
#38
 | 
Lithuania disesion 
7. Smithzz is shitbag
2016-09-13 15:26
You learned this in kiev? First tournament you watching ?XD
2016-09-13 15:57
#82
 | 
Lithuania disesion 
Nah, just confirmed 2375th time
2016-09-13 17:48
7. Danish team always choked
2016-09-13 15:32
#35
 | 
Hungary lemusz 
i learned that VP & Navi sucks
2016-09-13 15:24
What I learned, NiP were lucky
2016-09-13 15:26
Obvious b8 m8 u have to do better
2016-09-13 15:33
#61
 | 
France t3r4byt3 
Lol no they werent
2016-09-13 16:11
that godsent is shit?
2016-09-13 15:39
yep
2016-09-13 15:41
agree. specially about NaVi
2016-09-13 15:44
The chinese do not deserve more spots. If they get more spots, everyone should get more spots. There are a ridiculous amount of opportunities in Asia alone for those people, compared to how people are treated and paid in NA or EU as a pro gramer. Research.
2016-09-13 15:45
Opportunities in Asia give teams like VG and TyLoo no advantage now. At least TyLoo are way above the level of everyone else, they have nothing to learn there anymore. This is not about salaries or prizemoney, it's only about the competition.
2016-09-13 16:14
yes but all the matches prove that VG and Tyloo are the only ones worth inviting. There are lots of countries out there.
2016-09-13 18:09
The problem is that those Asian teams such as VG and Tyloo can not develop tactics or to learn from their opponents. Especially on the map like nuke, train and cobblestone.
2016-09-13 18:23
So the next step would be relocating rather than giving more spots.
2016-09-13 18:49
I think spots should be based on the Asian Team performance in tournaments. If TyLoo or VG or other march to major or top-8, then spots could be increased to 3 or 4. TyLoo and VG shows good shape in SL i-League, while MVP performed poorly, but this was their first lan, and they would definitely learn a lot in this lan (can practice with top-level team, NiP, etc.) This proves that Asian CS:GO is improving, and they should be provided more chance to compete in big tournaments.
2016-09-14 04:43
+1
2016-09-14 05:13
#48
 | 
Turkey Diacryses 
n0thing LUL
2016-09-13 15:48
#49
 | 
Sweden s!d_xaxa 
nice article
2016-09-13 15:53
Navi need more time and practice, it's true.
2016-09-13 16:01
"if" pyth comes back? They've only replied about a billion times that he's coming back and that Maikelele was a last-minute sub due to disco's contract issues.
2016-09-13 16:01
Yes more chinese teams please! they definitly deserve the spot and i much rather see tyloo and VG than tsm or splyce or whatever in a big event
2016-09-13 16:04
+1 they playstyle is really entertaining and u can see they are coming prepared with lots of set plays and new strats
2016-09-13 16:20
Tyloo and VG are the only 2 asian teams that can show some tactics against eu or na teams. Mvp project is pretty good in asia, but at this point they still have a lot to do
2016-09-13 16:05
We learned that there're some shitty casters
2016-09-13 16:06
Striker, how do you know an asian team will be at IEM Oakland, has that been announced?
2016-09-13 16:09
#73
 | 
Italy 1nf3rn4L 
lol you ignore completely maikelele job in this tournament, considering the fact he was out of pro scene for like 5 months and he left faze cuz he wanted to awp and they didn't believe in him, Now he prove everyone wrong was a good point to talk. I think the question that everyone is asking NiP should reconsider maikelele in their roster ????
2016-09-13 16:58
ahh i missed that, an asian qualifier for Oakland, thats what i wanna see!. Thanks for replying with the info Striker!
2016-09-13 17:11
#67
 | 
Sweden X-rAy 
TRUST THORIN so much hype around simple dat would make navi much better.... and yet they underperformed. tyloo proved to be a great team. and they came prepared for europe's top teams. homework done. now u wonder why they beat luminosity.
2016-09-13 16:25
#68
 | 
China angle409 
if CSGO really wants to develop big, Chinese teams should be involved more. China has a hugh potential fan base , the market is too big. Besides, watching EU/NA teams playing each other all the time is just boring.
2016-09-13 16:30
#75
kNgV- | 
Brazil vicTHOR 
+1 my xing ling friend
2016-09-13 17:07
#79
 | 
China angle409 
:)
2016-09-13 17:22
agree. mad respect to tyloo they played great at this event want to see more "exotic" teams.
2016-09-14 13:59
i learn 2 shit throwing team ,vp navi :)
2016-09-13 16:34
We learn that local teams like Ukraine and Russian make poor performance a big disaster, you can't lie
2016-09-13 16:47
#72
Hungary powi 
we learnt that pronax and znajder are not good enough for top competition. simple has anxiety problems, he cant perform when the team needs him NIP is reaching the top again despite playing with [bot]makelele G2 needs a top awper to win finals
2016-09-13 16:50
#104
 | 
Spain akproxx 
hltv.org/?pageid=247&playerid=1045 NIP is reaching the top again despite "playing" with [bot]makelele Actually he made better u can check his stats with nip
2016-09-13 18:34
#74
 | 
Portugal dracø 
We learnt that bo1s are amazing for upsets, and that they suck for groups. nah, this is known for years.
2016-09-13 17:05
1. Asian teams are not as bad as we thought 2. SmithZz 3. SmithZz 4. SmithZz 5. SmithZz
2016-09-13 17:50
Tldr but agree with "The Chinese deserve spots at more events"
2016-09-13 18:15
#96
France SiiC 
We haven't seen NiP in such form and thread " what we learned" for a very long time (+ no words on team #2 rank)
2016-09-13 18:18
We learned that maikelele should stay in nip.
2016-09-13 18:17
I learned nothing
2016-09-13 18:26
#103
 | 
Spain akproxx 
shox and ScreaM can move mountains together, but their backbones can only bear so much SAVAGE
2016-09-13 18:31
we need 128 tick servers, online is too fucking random.
2016-09-13 18:41
What we really learned: NiP should pick up Maikelele. Shox is the best player in the world currently. f0rest is getting back into shape as well. smithzz, or whiffZ as we should call him, is still a big reason why G2 can't be the best team. VP and Na'Vi need to get their shit together.
2016-09-13 18:53
I mainly learned that valde is a beast
2016-09-13 18:55
i learnt Fxyo wants to give 10k$ to valve for staying banned
2016-09-13 18:57
——————————————————
2016-09-13 18:58
Zeus Was the Problem
2016-09-13 21:15
4 aimers + brain > 5 aimers
2016-09-14 14:01
I'm surprised there wasn't a mention of C9's performance outside of one half-sentence affirmation. I'm not even a C9 fan, but I feel that their run was (until their final series) surprising to most people. The problem for them moving forward is that people might actually consider them a threat again, which was generally their trump card here.
2016-09-13 21:26
lol ikr...but still interesting read
2016-09-13 23:42
#114
 | 
Russia Aggramar 
-Na'Vi BibleThump
2016-09-13 21:27
Just providing some data: While SL-i League broadcast in ImbaTV, the viewers in China are 300,000 v.s. 150,000 within Chinese team and without respectively. Even the match started at 2:30 am in China (TyLoo v.s. Heroic, VG v.s. EnVyUs), there were still 200,000 - 250,000 watching. Chinese teams need to be provided more chance to compete with EU/NA teams. CS:GO has a big potential to expand its affect to China.
2016-09-14 04:36
Agree. Chinese teams would really help to expand CSGO. + It was really entertaining to watch Tyloo playing.
2016-09-14 14:03
I heard many people became TyLoo's fan after Dreamhack Malmo, is that true?
2016-09-16 10:31
imho yes + after starseries they have even more supporters. when they won navi whole hltv.org was on Tyloo hype.
2016-09-16 17:36
f0rest goat!
2016-09-14 05:09
#120
 | 
Luxembourg alex24 
what we learned ? favela CS is ruining the scene, with their blatant players no favelas playing = cs is enjoyable to watch i enjoyed the china teams playing some crazy cs style i enjoyed the french teams playing some nice clutches... next big lan event where favelas will play, they will have under 300k viwers like starseries had on this lan final
2016-09-14 11:07
A writing recommendation for your next article: if you are giving an specific part of your article to talk about the Chinese deserving more spots you should put a picture of the Chinese, not the teams that lost to them...
2016-09-14 17:45
f0rest looks like a terrorist
2016-09-15 18:57
Great read, Striker!
2016-09-16 08:56
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