SK Gaming have won IEM Sydney after defeating FaZe 3-1 in the title decider (16-12 on Train, 16-7 on Cache, 13-16 on Inferno and 16-11 on Overpass).
The series kicked off on Train, FaZe's map pick, but it was SK who looked the livelier right from the start as they got out to a 3-0 lead after winning the pistol round with an A split, with Marcelo "coldzera" David picking up three kills.
FaZe then won the first gun round thanks to two key frags from Håvard "rain" Nygaard, cutting off the rotation from the CTs, but then they had to deal with a hard reset as SK took the next round. That would be the pattern for the rest of the half as every time FaZe won a round they were instantly countered by the Brazilians, who took a commanding 12-3 lead.
The second half began with FaZe winning a messy pistol with a defuse through a smoke grenade. After planting the bomb while on eco, SK got their first round of the half, but they were instantly reset as FaZe won the next round thanks to three quick kills from Nikola "NiKo" Kovač.
Finn "karrigan" Andersen then went huge, picking up back-to-back triple kills, with Fabien "kioShiMa" Fiey following that up with a 1v2 clutch. With a trio of kills, João "felps" Vasconcellos powered SK to hit 14 rounds, but FaZe regained control of the game and brought the deficit to just two rounds.
SK Gaming win IEM title
The momentum was now firmly with FaZe, but SK were not going to let a comeback happen, winning two rounds in a row, the second of which in a 2v4 situation, to lock down the map and take the lead in the series.
Next up was Cache, which saw FaZe get out to a 3-0 lead on the CT side after denying SK's A push in the pistol round. However, once we reached the gun rounds the impetus of the game changed completely: they won 11 of the next 12 rounds as FaZe simply could not keep up with their blistering pace.
Now playing on the CT side, SK further added to their lead by taking the pistol round, but then FaZe hit back on a force buy thanks to a fantastic Desert Eagle shot from NiKo, which opened up the map for them.
FaZe followed that up with two more rounds, bringing the scoreline to 7-13, but SK tightened up their defence, winning four rounds in a row to take the map at 16-7.
FalleN was on fire on Cache
FaZe got off to a flying start on Inferno, winning the opening six rounds to put SK in danger of getting blown out. After getting their economy in order, SK won their first round of the map thanks to three AWP kills from coldzera, with Fernando "fer" Alvarenga winning two 1v1 situations against Aleksi "allu" Jalli in the subsequent rounds.
Money remained low on SK's side after two close rounds, so when FaZe got their seventh round on the board, the Brazilians had to eco. The scoreline bloomed to a 9-3 advantage for FaZe, forcing SK to call a tactical pause. The short break allowed the Brazilians to halt FaZe's momentum and they picked up two much-need rounds to bring the scoreline to 5-10.
SK got out to a fantastic start on the Terrorist side, winning eight of the first ten rounds to take the lead for the first time on this map. It looked like SK had the game in the bag, but a 1v2 clutch from rain helped FaZe to swing the tides back in their favour, with the European team following it up with three more rounds to seal a 16-13 victory.
rain's 1v2 clutch turned the game on its head
Map four, Overpass, began with SK taking the pistol round but failing to capitalise on that win as FaZe hit back on a force buy, with rain and NiKo getting two frags apiece. After giving up the next two rounds to build up their bank, the Brazilians got a second round on the board, but a massive blunder on their part prevented them from tying the game at 3-3 as karrigan pulled off a ninja defuse with three opponents still alive.
The rest of the half was highly contested as neither team could string rounds together, with FaZe taking a narrow 9-6 lead into the break.
With the sides swapped, SK's defense flourished. They won the first five rounds to bring the scoreline to 11-9 and force FaZe to call a tactical pause. With their economy in shambles, the European team went for a force buy, but they s till managed to win the round thanks to a 1v3 clutch from rain. It was starting to look like a repeat of the Inferno game, but this time around SK did not let their lead slip away, winning five of the next six rounds to lock down the map, 16-11.
|SK||K - D||+/-||ADR||Rating 2.0|
|Marcelo 'coldzera' Davidcoldzera||91 - 62||+29||83.3||1.32|
|João 'felps' Vasconcellosfelps||90 - 76||+14||92.1||1.30|
|Fernando 'fer' Alvarengafer||78 - 68||+10||81.0||1.23|
|Gabriel 'FalleN' ToledoFalleN||73 - 63||+10||67.7||1.07|
|Epitacio 'TACO' de MeloTACO||57 - 69||-12||63.9||0.88|
|FaZe||K - D||+/-||ADR||Rating 2.0|
|Håvard 'rain' Nygaardrain||80 - 70||+10||85.7||1.17|
|Nikola 'NiKo' KovačNiKo||84 - 75||+9||86.5||1.12|
|Finn 'karrigan' Andersenkarrigan||61 - 83||-22||64.4||0.84|
|Fabien 'kioShiMa' FieykioShiMa||57 - 84||-27||74.1||0.82|
|Aleksi 'allu' Jalliallu||55 - 77||-22||46.4||0.71|
IEM Sydney final standings