What we learned from ELEAGUE

ELEAGUE came to a close with OpTic lifting the trophy following a five-week long Season 2. Here's a quick recap, some of the best matches, and several lessons we should take away from the $1.1 million event going forward.

Recap

The GSL group stage spanned four weeks. Each week four teams travelled to Atlanta, starting with Group A featuring mousesports, Cloud9, FaZe and Immortals. That was perhaps the closest group of all, as after the initial round, several maps went past 30 rounds.

mousesports ended up clinching first place there, while Cloud9 missed out on the opportunity to advance, losing to both European squads in narrow fashion. It was the first event for FaZe with Finn "karrigan" Andersen - back then the team still played with Joakim "jkaem" Myrbostad, not Fabien "kioShiMa" Fiey - and they managed to secure their first playoffs finish at a big event this year.

Group B went more or less expectedly; Virtus.pro finished first with two quick wins and NiP got second place after they defeated G2 on three different maps, leaving Echo Fox in last place with a total of six rounds won in three maps.

In Group C, Astralis debuted with Lukas "gla1ve" Rossander and managed a great win over SK for first place. The Brazilians then faced Natus Vincere in the decider, which saw them getting two 16-8 wins for the other spot in playoffs.


OpTic got their first huge title at ELEAGUE

fnatic had to play with Jimmy "Jumpy" Berndtsson instead of Dennis "dennis" Edman due to personal reasons, but still defeated OpTic in the first match of Group D before they dropped the winners' match to Dignitas. Envy lost to the Danes and OpTic, who then took revenge on fnatic on their way to playoffs.

The quarter-final match-ups were all exciting beforehand, and three of them delivered great Counter-Strike; each went to all three maps, aside from OpTic and mousesports where the former got a comfortable 2-0 victory. SK defeated Dignitas after a great turnaround on Overpass late in the match, while Astralis broke their 14 months-long streak of losses on LAN to NiP on the same side of the bracket. On the other side, FaZe bested Virtus.pro despite an awful start on Nuke, winning Overpass 16-10 and Cache 16-14.

Both semi-finals also delivered their own storylines. Astralis broke SK's seven-months long winning streak on Train on their way to the grand final, and OpTic exceeded all expectations against FaZe by crushing them on Train and taking Overpass narrowly.

The North American squad didn't stop there. Most had Astralis winning the grand final, but it was OpTic who surprised again. The Danes won Train convincingly but dropped Cobblestone after letting it through instead of Cache, and Keith "NAF" Markovic then put up a massive performance on Overpass (34-14 K-D, 1.85 rating, 113.3 ADR) for OpTic's first title at a big event.

Best maps

Group stage
Europe mousesports  19-16 United States Cloud9 Dust2 Group A initial round
Brazil Immortals 19-17 Europe FaZe Train Group A elimination (M2)
Europe FaZe 22-20 United States Cloud9 Mirage Group A decider (M1)
United States Cloud9 19-17 Europe FaZe Train Group A decider (M2)
Denmark Astralis 16-13 Brazil SK Overpass Group C winners' match
Sweden fnatic 19-17 North America OpTic Cache Group D initial round
 



Playoffs
Brazil SK 16-14 Denmark Dignitas Overpass Quarter-finals (M3)
Sweden NiP 16-13 Denmark Astralis Cobblestone Quarter-finals (M1)
Europe FaZe 16-14 Poland Virtus.pro Cache Quarter-finals (M3)
Denmark Astralis 16-12 Brazil SK Train Semi-finals (M2)

What did we learn from ELEAGUE?

ECS and ELEAGUE Major's Main Qualifier got one level harder

The North American squad defied all odds at ELEAGUE. The most impressive part of their victory was the fact that their main stars, Oscar "mixwell" Cañellas and Tarik "tarik" Celik, weren't their best players in the semi-final and grand final.

Both of them played well at different times in the playoffs, but two other players were in the limelight this time: William "RUSH" Wierzba earned the MVP for his great showing at the entire tournament, while NAF's superb performance in the grand final, especially on the decider, gave OpTic the title. 

With OpTic joining the extraordinarily big pool of teams who have recently won a significant event, ECS Season 2 Finals and the next Major's Main Qualifier, which are taking place on the next two weekends, have got even harder.

At ECS, Peter "stanislaw" Jarguz's team will face FaZe and Astralis again in the groups. Given the result at ELEAGUE, that group will become highly unpredictable, especially when we have Cloud9 thrown in there, who have had a lot of success against OpTic in the past few months.


With OpTic winning ELEAGUE, the unpredictability will continue

ECS Season 2 Finals will give us a good idea of who can maintain their form during all the travel, as multiple attending teams have been on the road for a while now and will have to endure for another week. 

The Main Qualifier became an even bigger question mark now. The next Major's last stepping stone will see six of the top ten teams of our ranking in play, plus three more who are sitting between 10th and 15th place.

It will feature NiP, two-time champions since the off-season, Dignitas, Cloud9, and OpTic, and those are just the recent winners. There will also be a few more improving teams as of late, such as FaZe and Immortals, and other heavy-hitters like G2. That's one formidable list of participants. Given the recent results and the scene's instability, we can't predict who will go through to the Major; no one is safe.

ELEAGUE can't afford to choose the wrong format for their Major qualifier. The best option is the Swiss system, where improper seeding inherited from the previous Major cycle and qualifiers doesn't hurt much, compared to other options.

Astralis are still rising

Astralis' rise actually began at ELEAGUE, their first showing with gla1ve, where they bested SK on the way to first place in their group. However, they attended IEM Oakland before playoffs and got a solid semi-final finish there, losing to the Brazilians in narrow fashion.

With those two results, Astralis have already shown promise with the new in-game leader. The team then travelled back to Atlanta for ELEAGUE playoffs, where they broke their losing streak on LAN to NiP in quarter-finals, which was another sign of their improvement.


Astralis are getting closer and closer to a big title

Somehow gla1ve's team ended up on the same side of the bracket with SK despite facing them in the group stage, but this time they finished Train off to break another long streak of wins and took the victory after another win on Overpass against the Brazilians.

After the disappointing grand final with OpTic, where the Danes were heavily favored, it seems they still have some kinks to work out before they get their first big victory in nearly a year and a half. However, it's not about the if anymore, it's about when. And the answer to that could come very soon, at ECS Season 2 Finals where Astralis will be facing similar competition to the one at ELEAGUE.

(Post) off-season lineup changes keep paying off

OpTic are yet another team who clinched a big title soon after making a significant lineup change. tarik was brought into the team and OpTic decided to bring back stanislaw instead of Damian "daps" Steele at the beginning of September.

Since then they've got an important win over G2 to win Northern Arena Montreal, and now a big title at ELEAGUE. That's very similar to most other teams who have clinched trophies or improved significantly at events following the off-season.

The list of teams who have won an event following recent changes grows bigger and bigger. Natus Vincere, Dignitas, Cloud9, Gambit, and now OpTic, each of them brought in a player who was pivotal in their victory.

If we are to continue adding more teams to that list, we again have to point to Astralis as the most likely candidate, with FaZe being a solid contender as well.

NiKo continues to struggle with form

Since ESL One Cologne, where Nikola "NiKo" Kovač put up his worst ever performance statistically, the Bosnian player has not been himself. He had a great showing at Gfinity CS:GO Invitational, an event no elite teams attended, but his form since has been average at best.

Average at best. Those are words we've never used before when talking about the 19-year-old. His performances in the losses in São Paulo (to Cloud9) and Atlanta (to OpTic) were far below average, and at IEM Oakland he pushed his worst rating at a LAN event to a 0.91 when mousesports finished 0-5 in their group.


With NiKo unable to carry mousesports to greater heights, changes could be coming

It seems the European mixture can no longer rely on NiKo to be the amazing player we've known him to be. If mouz fail at the Main Qualifier, which is not an unreasonable assumption given the competition there, we'll likely see more lineup changes from them.

Unless they want to bring Tomáš "oskar" Šťastný back and the Czech is open to the idea, they have a few other options due to jkaem leaving FaZe and ALTERNATE aTTaX and PENTA breaking down. A player like Kevin "keev" Bartholomäus, who was the MVP at ESWC and played well at the PGL European Minor, is a possibility, even though he would have to take over AWP duties and we've seen that fail before with Chris "chrisJ" de Jong taking a step back.

The five-week schedule is still too long

ELEAGUE's first season spanned ten weeks, which the organizers decided to cut in half for season two. However, even the five weeks are too much given the current volume of events.

Each group week collided with at least one other event, a small one in the better scenarios, a big one in the worse (EPICENTER: Moscow ending during Group A). That drew a lot of attention away from the group stage of one of the biggest tournaments we've had this year.

As the teams haven't started prioritizing much yet, it forced some of them to travel back and forth between Atlanta and other events, which also disrupted storylines within ELEAGUE.

While it makes a lot of sense for the organizers to have as much televized action as possible exposure-wise, the format doesn't seem to be working as the Counter-Strike scene currently stands. Things could change in 2017, when teams realize they'll have to start declining invites to make the biggest events a priority, though ELEAGUE should consider making their next season a few weeks shorter once more.

You can follow Milan "Striker" Švejda on Twitter

Canada Keith 'NAF' Markovic
Keith 'NAF' Markovic
Age:
21
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.09
Maps played:
1143
KPR:
0.73
DPR:
0.64
APR:
0.16
Canada Damian 'daps' Steele
Damian 'daps' Steele
Age:
26
Team:
Rating 1.0:
0.87
Maps played:
906
KPR:
0.58
DPR:
0.66
APR:
0.15
United States Tarik 'tarik' Celik
Tarik 'tarik' Celik
Age:
23
Rating 1.0:
1.05
Maps played:
1195
KPR:
0.73
DPR:
0.67
APR:
0.15
Sweden Jimmy 'Jumpy' Berndtsson
Jimmy 'Jumpy' Berndtsson
Age:
32
Team:
No team
Rating 1.0:
0.84
Maps played:
165
KPR:
0.56
DPR:
0.68
APR:
0.15
Bosnia and Herzegovina Nikola 'NiKo' Kovač
Nikola 'NiKo' Kovač
Age:
22
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.17
Maps played:
1141
KPR:
0.81
DPR:
0.67
APR:
0.13
Czech Republic Tomáš 'oskar' Šťastný
Tomáš 'oskar' Šťastný
Age:
28
Team:
No team
Rating 1.0:
1.13
Maps played:
977
KPR:
0.77
DPR:
0.66
APR:
0.11
France Fabien 'kioShiMa' Fiey
Fabien 'kioShiMa' Fiey
Age:
25
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.01
Maps played:
1258
KPR:
0.68
DPR:
0.64
APR:
0.15
Germany Kevin 'keev' Bartholomäus
Kevin 'keev' Bartholomäus
Age:
28
Team:
No team
Rating 1.0:
1.08
Maps played:
594
KPR:
0.73
DPR:
0.66
APR:
0.09
Netherlands Chris 'chrisJ' de Jong
Chris 'chrisJ' de Jong
Age:
29
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.04
Maps played:
1466
KPR:
0.70
DPR:
0.66
APR:
0.11
Denmark Finn 'karrigan' Andersen
Finn 'karrigan' Andersen
Age:
29
Team:
Rating 1.0:
0.93
Maps played:
1540
KPR:
0.63
DPR:
0.68
APR:
0.13
Spain Oscar 'mixwell' Cañellas
Oscar 'mixwell' Cañellas
Age:
24
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.10
Maps played:
836
KPR:
0.75
DPR:
0.66
APR:
0.13
Denmark Lukas 'gla1ve' Rossander
Lukas 'gla1ve' Rossander
Age:
24
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.01
Maps played:
1246
KPR:
0.68
DPR:
0.65
APR:
0.17
Norway Joakim 'jkaem' Myrbostad
Joakim 'jkaem' Myrbostad
Age:
25
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.03
Maps played:
890
KPR:
0.72
DPR:
0.69
APR:
0.14
Sweden Dennis 'dennis' Edman
Dennis 'dennis' Edman
Age:
28
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.03
Maps played:
1089
KPR:
0.72
DPR:
0.68
APR:
0.13
Canada Peter 'stanislaw' Jarguz
Peter 'stanislaw' Jarguz
Age:
25
Rating 1.0:
0.99
Maps played:
1006
KPR:
0.66
DPR:
0.66
APR:
0.14
United States William 'RUSH' Wierzba
William 'RUSH' Wierzba
Age:
25
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.01
Maps played:
993
KPR:
0.69
DPR:
0.67
APR:
0.15
ez
2016-12-05 18:06
#16
 | 
Ireland Mackey91 
we learn don't trust monkey fallen
2016-12-05 18:06
Nice
2016-12-05 18:07
nice
2016-12-05 18:21
I agree with this
2016-12-05 18:57
#55
 | 
Sweden Madrigals1 
Only pussies agree with this.
2016-12-05 19:03
agree
2016-12-05 20:20
1st
2016-12-05 18:06
#26
 | 
Germany Bier 
that optic is trash and won with luck and mouz lost because they were to tired (jetlag)
2016-12-05 18:07
Lol, if you aren't baiting you're retarded, mouz is trash and optic are explosive, good yet inconsistent
2016-12-05 18:15
Agreed
2016-12-06 03:59
explosive? you say that because Tarik is on the team uh? You racit fuck xD
2016-12-06 06:44
k
2016-12-05 18:06
NO FUCK I GOT SECOND OMFG FUCK ME OMFG FUCKING SCROLL SHIT LONGEST POST EVER FUCK SHIT FUCKING FUCK SHIT
2016-12-05 18:07
It's not hard to get first, you just gotta type something more than k
2016-12-05 18:08
#3
 | 
Bulgaria kr9ptonn 
nice read
2016-12-05 18:06
#4
 | 
Germany hitlur 
Congrats to Optic!!
2016-12-05 18:06
s
2016-12-05 18:06
#6
 | 
Poland Aseryo 
xd
2016-12-05 18:06
#7
Croatia Snypa 
nice performance from optic in this tournament
2016-12-05 18:07
nice performance from optic in this tournament
2016-12-05 18:07
nice performance from optic in this tournament
2016-12-05 19:30
#70
gas | 
Austria Phil_1337 
nice performance from optic in this tournament
2016-12-05 20:18
nice performance from optic in this tournament
2016-12-05 20:23
nice performance from optic in this tournament
2016-12-06 01:59
5
2016-12-05 18:06
nice
2016-12-05 18:06
#10
 | 
Lithuania Elv0n 
a
2016-12-05 18:06
nuffin
2016-12-05 18:06
#12
Yugoslavia GaRi 
1
2016-12-05 18:06
#13
 | 
Poland aleks2805 
2much4mah
2016-12-05 18:06
ez
2016-12-05 18:06
We learned that 2016 is the worst year of pro CS:GO
2016-12-05 18:06
+1
2016-12-05 18:19
It's actually one of the best, nothing can be predicted and thats what makes every big match exciting. The only dull thing is the actual meta and those slow rounds.
2016-12-05 18:29
Ofc when fnatic wn every tournament was better
2016-12-05 21:08
Ex6TenZ kicked Fnatic and GODSENT shuffle kioshima kicked FaZe from top 10 to top 30 Clown9 without seangares allu kicked cajunb kicked nex kicked favelas winning tournaments SK singing luminosity etc. Fnatic wasn't always winning tho
2016-12-05 21:18
How many team goes to the major?
2016-12-05 18:06
16 in all. 8 from the qualifier.
2016-12-05 20:19
#72
 | 
World Vidua 
16. 8 from the qualifier. 8 legends.
2016-12-05 20:19
hi
2016-12-05 18:06
What we learned from ELEAGUE thorin pls dont give more predict, ty
2016-12-05 18:06
#22
 | 
Russia xtkjdtr01 
What
2016-12-05 18:06
tldr
2016-12-05 18:07
#29
kNgV- | 
Brazil brzcsgo 
Sk is back
2016-12-05 18:08
back to losing in semis :DD next event = losing in quarters next major = out in groups
2016-12-05 18:19
#54
Frankie | 
United States lybrel 
Getting out of groups with the glock dropper? I aren't think that
2016-12-05 19:01
#56
 | 
Sweden Madrigals1 
The very most besterest glawk dropper in da world.
2016-12-05 19:05
#32
 | 
Namibia nawledge 
stop making these stupid fkn posts that doesnt even matter, we didnt learn shit from eleague, chokestralis always chokes in semis/grand finals, people could expect optic to win even tho they play 4v5 because m1xwell is carrying them.
2016-12-05 18:10
Mixwell is carrying them? check their stats for the event buddy. He was third best on the team.
2016-12-05 20:19
#33
 | 
Indonesia de_insertion 
What we learned from ELEAGUE? I got the answer give me a second YOU GUYS SHOULD DO ANOTHER SHITTY RANKING UPDATE THAT SK IS STILL NUMBER ONE EVEN THEY KICKED FNX.
2016-12-05 18:13
Fnx learnt how to have fun kek
2016-12-05 18:13
a 5 week season is too long? How short do u want it to be? Seasons that last less than a month sounds incredibly stupid...
2016-12-05 18:14
Right? I thought it was the perfect length. Anything shorter than 5 weeks and the schedule would be jammed packed and oversaturate with games
2016-12-05 18:59
#75
 | 
World Vidua 
If ELEAGUE season takes too long we should immediately kill everybody handling ECS and EPL. HLTV thinks that teams prefer to play 18 games from home between real tournaments than go for a single weekend to Atlanta in first class flight.
2016-12-05 20:20
+1, 5 weeks is perfect. The organization has the word "league" in its name for a reason. Any shorter and you might as well just make it a week long tournament. ELeague is one of the most important projects in CS:GO due to the amount exposure it's giving gaming. Shortening it is one of the last things that should be done.
2016-12-05 22:21
eleague will always be terrible until half of it isnt just TV only..
2016-12-05 18:20
Or you'll just buy A cable Connection
2016-12-05 18:43
or ill not have access to TBS and therefore its impossible. . .
2016-12-05 18:48
I have access to tbs and I am in germany
2016-12-07 15:05
TIL Germany = UK.
2016-12-07 18:18
Optic fluked this tournament expect them to bomb major groups
2016-12-05 18:21
"With NiKo unable to carry mousesports to greater heights, changes could be coming" Niko and lowel have to play for all team...and others can`t do anything....
2016-12-05 18:24
Except they both didn't show up
2016-12-05 18:27
#43
 | 
Denmark creepv 
That the pay and view thing is fucking SHIT!!!!!!!!!
2016-12-05 18:27
#47
 | 
Denmark Notallama 
agree Pay per view is an American abomination that should have been aborted at birth. Don't let the cancer spread.
2016-12-05 18:43
agreed
2016-12-05 18:53
#79
 | 
Denmark creepv 
I don't see why twitch even wanted to sell the rights to TBS... Twitch is free and thats how it should be.. Im just thinking, ELEAGUE is allso hosting the next major... sooooo -.-
2016-12-05 20:29
#51
kNgV- | 
Brazil vicTHOR 
we learned it's dangerous to bring your gf to the same house where fnx is sleeping
2016-12-05 18:58
#58
 | 
Sweden Madrigals1 
+1 IMO threesome or even gangbang would be much better for SK, but still gj FNX. I hope we form a new team with fnx, and we will hang with the hottest chicks.
2016-12-05 19:09
lmaooo bruhhhhhhhhhh
2016-12-05 19:28
easy for navi I think.
2016-12-05 18:59
nice post, especially the niko segment
2016-12-05 19:07
we learned that sk cant win any tournament and they are overrated af.
2016-12-05 19:13
What I learned from ELEAGUE : -Thoorin is shit and he went 0-7 on predictions -CSGO is dying and even the best games has very few views -SK apparently is also shit -I need to study
2016-12-05 19:15
#61
 | 
France StickyRice 
It sucks that ELeague is organizing so many tourneys because the atmosphere is not what we (at least it's my opinion and i guess it's what most people think) want to see for eSPORTS. What most people want in sports and it's the same for eSports is Katowice or Epicenter type of stadiums. Organize as affordable (for the crowd) events as possible in Western EU/NA as it's possible to make in Russia/Poland/Ukraine + obviously make CS more global with events all over the world. But the full sellout NA style with premium TV channel or tickets for a single day starting at 55$ (to see video games events that you can watch for free on Twitch) is not what i want to see for CS. But i guess these business are there to make money so it will go full sellout more and more like Valve with skins/gloves + the gambling and such. Sorry for the bad english.
2016-12-05 19:17
Tickets are free for eleague, Agree with rest of post though.
2016-12-05 20:21
#80
 | 
France StickyRice 
Thank you, yes that's what i thought (i guess i read during the season 1 on Eleague) about the free tickets but tickets starting for example at 55$ for the DH Las Vegas (i think it was that tourney) is (IMO) too expensive for just a day of watching video games. (Especially for the final day when only the BO3 final is played, not even a BO5 or the semis played the same day.)
2016-12-05 20:37
#63
 | 
Sweden godname 
CSGO is dying cuz too many Lan Matches and online matches and league´s... that need change´s in 2017
2016-12-05 19:27
#66
 | 
Finland Smoonah 
-denis tha fkin baddie EDIT: or -spiidi +keev
2016-12-05 19:49
nothing.
2016-12-05 19:52
#68
 | 
Oceania Bumperer 
Lol look at NAF, he ksnt excited, also dig can make some comebacks and magisk is ridiculous with SG553
2016-12-05 19:55
#69
Europe bueR 
We learned. EVERYONE AND THEIR MOM AIMLOCKS.
2016-12-05 20:04
what we've learned: ELEAGUE has no hype at all, since the tournament organisers couldn't even be bothered to book a decently sized venue for it, which adds huge amounts of hype to any good tournament. All the biggest and best tournaments this year: EPICENTER, ESL NY, IEM Katowice etc were all in big stadiums and had great crowds which are a huge factor as to the apathy shown by viewers to tournaments; 250k+ people were watching the big matches at all the tournaments mentioned whereas ELEAGUE only got 175k at best for the grand finals because of the incredibly shitty crowd.
2016-12-05 20:28
#84
 | 
Argentina GlobalBlur 
nice
2016-12-05 21:29
learn more
2016-12-05 22:16
that mouz lineup would be sick tho
2016-12-05 22:16
E-League's production was second to none, but the TBS-only thing was a bit of a bummer. Not too worried about the lack of a larger crowd. Depending on how TBS feels the first season panned out, I could see them move to larger venues for the playoffs in the ensuing seasons.
2016-12-06 04:06
We learned , rather confirmed to be honest , that THORIN is one of the worst analysts in the game. 0 / 8 ... Epic fail. Also , the finals event was underwhelming big time. Crowd , if you can call crowd just few people , no hype at all like other finals weve seen in other events. It felt like a 10k $ LAN event.
2016-12-06 11:35
#95
allu | 
Canada iloveallu 
Optic will be Eleague Major, heard it hear first
2016-12-07 02:42
we learned that optic is from us not canada
2016-12-07 08:07
we have learned that every team can use aimlock trigger hack to make more money for valve and gaben. thank you so much valve
2016-12-08 07:13
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