Winners and Losers of ESL Pro League S5 Finals
The $750,000 finals of ESL Pro League Season 5 came to a close last weekend with G2 lifting their first big trophy on Sunday. Here is a quick recap and the winners and losers of the Dallas event.
Following the IEM format, the Pro League Finals started with a round-robin group stage consisting of two groups of six, with the winning teams skipping to semi-finals, while the second and the third-placed sides advanced to the quarter-finals.
In Group A, four teams ended up with a 3-2 record, with G2 grabbing first place due to head-to-head record (having defeated all of the other three teams with whom they were tied ). SK, Envy, and fnatic played mr3 tiebreakers for the remaining two spots, and it was the Swedes who went out in fourth place after losing both of their matches.
Group B avoided the tiebreakers after North placed first with four wins, followed by mousesports, who only lost to the Danes, and Liquid, who snatched the third spot with a win over Mathias "MSL" Lauridsen's team in the last round.
The Brazilians' journey ended in the semi-finals, with G2 clinching their first playoffs win over an elite team after two narrow maps, while North ended Liquid's run with Mirage going the distance. G2 continued their fantastic run, defeating North in the final's best-of-five after only dropping Overpass, where they nearly made a massive comeback, and picked up their first big title.
|Group stage||Map (VOD)||Stage|
|North||16-13||Natus Vincere||Mirage||Group B|
G2's triumph at a smaller event like DreamHack Open Tours was just the start, it turns out, as the Frenchmen were finally able to turn what they had in firepower into results on the big stage.
Over the course of the last prolonged weekend, Kenny "kennyS" Schrub showcased nearly vintage form en route to his third MVP award this year (after WESG and Tours), backed up by Alexandre "bodyy" Pianaro, who perhaps had his true breakout event in Dallas as an exceptionally consistent player. As Nathan "NBK-" Schmitt has also been putting up good numbers lately, G2 seem to have so much to fall back on when some of their supposed stars aren't lifting most of the weight, with Richard "shox" Papillon and especially Dan "apEX" Madesclaire being far from their peak form at the finals.
It took G2 months to contend for big titles with their new lineup, but they're certainly there now after beating SK on three different maps. With the other two elite teams, Astralis and FaZe, missing, of course we're left wondering what would have happened had the competition been at its absolute highest, but there's no denying that the team dubbed super is beginning to live up to their name.
Whether they'll rise higher will be answered the next month, as they're locked in for the ECS Season 3 Finals (where all top four teams in the world will be present), the PGL Major Main Qualifier and ESL One Cologne.
mousesports are another team who impressed at DreamHack Open Tours and continued to do so at ESL Pro League Season 5 Finals last week, placing fifth-sixth following a tough SK rendezvous in the quarter-finals.
Their newest player, Robin "ropz" Kool, is shaping up to be the European team's star of the future, as he transformed from an average player at best in Tours into a solid performer oozing confidence in his plays across the pond. Still being a very inexperienced player, he had a few mishaps at the event, but it was a huge step up from the shaky newcomer we saw in France, all in a matter of weeks.
If he continues to improve at this rate and mousesports manage to fix their CT sides, which they had immense problems with at Pro League Finals, Chris "chrisJ" de Jong's team could turn their fortune around after losing Nikola "NiKo" Kovač earlier this year. With three events ahead of them in the next 30 days and potentially a spot at the Major mid-July, they have enough chances to do so.
It was like they flipped a switch in Dallas, starting with a narrow loss on Nuke to G2 plus another on Inferno to fnatic, before breaking their losing streak with a win over Cloud9 and proceeding to demolish Immortals and SK on their journey to quarter-finals.
Although he somewhat anti-climactically dropped off in the Liquid series, Cédric "RpK" Guipouy played amazingly in groups, as did Adil "ScreaM" Benrlitom, who got over his poor form from the early period of this lineup. We've seen streaks like this before from RpK, but it never seemed sustainable. Things may have changed now, as, according to ScreaM, his long-time teammate has been getting a lot of attention from the coach, Damien "maLeK" Marcel.
Unlike the previous two teams, Envy can't afford to misstep, as the only event they're confirmed at for the time being is the Europe Minor, from June 15-18.
Considering their previous offline results (5th-6th at cs_summit, 7th-8th at DreamHack Open Austin), Liquid's fresh lineup exceeded expectations in Dallas with their semi-final finish.
At the Pro League finals, Jonathan "EliGE" Jablonowski continued to prove his worth to support his claim as one of America's best, with Josh "jdm64" Marzano getting back to form following months of struggle, and Russel "Twistzz" Van Dulken joining in at times.
Their success at the $750,000 event comes as a huge confidence boost ahead of three important tournaments for Liquid: ECS Season 3 Finals, PGL Major's Main Qualifier, and ESL One Cologne.
Our list of losers at Pro League is short, but yet again we see Na`Vi earn their spot here, continuing their turbulent period with another group stage exit after DreamHack Open Tours.
It is still baffling to see how poorly a lineup containing this much individual potential can do, and it only proves that more than just five individuals make up a team. It also doesn't look like the change in coaching is making any real difference, be it due to coaches not having as much impact or because the issues are outside of Andrey "Andi" Prokhorov's capabilities.
Either way, this confusing period has been going on long enough for Na`Vi to start considering other options, even though changes will not be possible until after the PGL Major. Until then, Ladislav "GuardiaN" Kovács's squad can try to regain confidence in this lineup at Adrenaline Cyber League, ESL One Cologne, and the Major itself.
The expectations we have for Cloud9 continue to drop with every event they attend, this time following a last-place finish at the ESL Pro League Finals, with just one win in five matches.
For the time being, the team decided to appoint Stewie2K the in-game leader again, who also said that the team is in need of a break to regain some motivation.
However, that won't be possible any time soon, because Cloud9 have loads to play for in the near future, starting with the Americas Minor, followed by DreamHack Open Summer, ECS Season 3 Finals, PGL Major's Main Qualifier (provided they qualify), and ESL One Cologne.