Rolling back the months - a mid-season recap

As the off-season is slowly coming to a close, we take a look back at the first seven months of 2017. Read on as we roll back to the start of the year and turn the calendar, delving into the biggest stories from January to July.

January - Astralis become ELEAGUE Major champions

2017 was set to start with a bang at the Major in Atlanta, which was this year's first event featuring most of the big names. Astralis returned to action on the back of their first victory with Lukas "gla1ve" Rossander at ECS Season 2 Finals, and looked like the favorite to claim the title.

The Danes' triumphant journey was a tough one. A 3-2 record in the group stage, in which Nicolai "device" Reedtz's men notably got off on the wrong foot with a shocking loss to GODSENT, earned Astralis a tough quarter-final tie in the form of Natus Vincere, who had cruised through the groups without breaking a sweat.

Astralis started the year on a high note

Astralis clinched the series 2-1 and went on to add a swift 2-0 victory over fnatic to reach the final, in which they would meet Virtus.pro.

After each team grabbed one narrow map to their name, the Poles enjoyed a 13-7 lead on the Counter-Terrorist side of Train, but the Danes mounted a near-impossible comeback to clinch their first Major title, with Markus "Kjaerbye" Kjærbye picking up the MVP award.

BIG come to life

While most of the focus in January was on the Major, BIG's creation at the start of the year flew under the radar. Little did we know then that Fatih "gob b" Dayik's squad would go on to qualify for the next Major and reach the playoffs within six months of existence.

February - NiKo joins FaZe

The $450,000 DreamHack Masters Las Vegas, where Virtus.pro triumphed over the João "felps" Vasconcellos-infused SK in the grand final, was the biggest event of February. However, Nikola "NiKo" Kovač joining up with FaZe was the prevalent story in hindsight, seeing as he would proceed to elevate the European mixture to new heights.

Throughout the next four months, the Finn "karrigan" Andersen-led team reached four grand finals in a row. The first, IEM Katowice, went Astralis' way, but then FaZe had the edge over the Danish powerhouse and took revenge in the next final, clinching their very first trophy at StarSeries.

SK woke up in the meantime and snatched the next two titles away from karrigan and company, IEM Sydney and ECS Season 3 Finals.

NiKo elevated FaZe to new heights

G2 form French superteam

Another significant shift in the scene came when the results of the third French shuffle came to light after months in the works as G2 announced their lineup, featuring a trio of EnVyUs players. Their beginnings were slow, but the Frenchmen seized the opportunity at one of the big event of the year so far, the ESL Pro League Season 5 Finals.

fnatic roll back mid-2016 changes

In 2016's off-season, fnatic went through a rather unfriendly split, when Jesper "JW" Wecksell, Robin "flusha" Rönnquist, and Freddy "KRIMZ" Johansson left Olof "olofmeister" Kajbjer and Dennis "dennis" Edman behind to join GODSENT. The changes came to no fruition for either team, and KRIMZ returned in October, before the remaining duo followed suit in February of this year, bringing back the roster that had won six tournaments in a row in late 2015 to early 2016.

March - SK's struggling period begins

felps' addition to SK looked seamless in February, when the Brazilians grabbed a runners-up finish at their offline debut in Las Vegas and came within rounds of the trophy, which was snatched by Virtus.pro in the end.

That was one of the reasons why it came as a surprise that SK went out in last place at IEM Katowice, for which they had been considered one of the favorites. Struggling for form, Gabriel "FalleN" Toledo went searching for the right play style with the immensely aggressive felps, which he was unable to do ahead of the next event, StarSeries.

FalleN's form took a big hit during the first few months

In Kiev, the AWPer and in-game leader hit his lowest point, as did the team, who once again went out in the group stage, after facing tough opposition in G2, Astralis, and FaZe in the last three rounds of the Swiss format.

April - "Virtus.pro show up on big stages" comes into question

Alongside SK, Filip "NEO" Kubski's side also hit rock bottom at the beginning of April. It started with a rough exit in Katowice, at the start of March, where the Poles lost Nuke (their best map) to Heroic in the last round of the round-robin, which cost them a spot in the playoffs.

While the Katowice disappointment could have been swept under the rug on its own, StarSeries proved that VP were in trouble. Wiktor "TaZ" Wojtas's squad beat only Korean side MVP Project in Kiev while conceding extremely one-sided matches to three struggling teams, SK, NiP, and fnatic.

The Poles plummeted from fourth to 15th place within two months

Combined with the ELEAGUE Clash for Cash two months later, where things quickly took a turn for the worse for Virtus.pro after winning Nuke 16-7 over Astralis, and ESL One Cologne in July, when VP went 0-3, the Poles' future was unclear.

Of course, now we know that talks of changes being necessary may have been premature, as TaZ's squad proceeded to clinch a semi-final finish at the PGL Major just before the off-season began.

May - FalleN recovers, SK are back to winning ways

By May, FalleN had been able to come up with a recipe for success, not only for himself as an individual player but for SK as a team, who decided to play at some smaller events, like cs_summit, to get used to their new system.

On their path back to greatness, cs_summit at the end of April marked the new SK's first victory, which they would follow up with another success at IEM Sydney, where they beat two of the world's best teams, Astralis (in groups) and FaZe (3-1 in the grand final) en route to the title.

FalleN was awarded the MVP at ESL One Cologne

Marcelo "coldzera" David hit a bump on the road with a conspicuously below-average performance at Pro League Finals, which perhaps cost SK a chance to win another event, but the Brazilians bounced back by winning DreamHack Open Summer, ECS Season 3 Finals, and ESL One Cologne. As you can see from the graphic above, FalleN was back to his old self throughout that period, which ended with him holding an MVP award from Cologne.

North hit long-time low

North had clearly lost their mojo from the final months of 2016, when they won EPICENTER: Moscow under dignitas, but in the first four months of 2017 they were always able to advance from the groups, even after letting go of Ruben "RUBINO" Villarroel to make way for Philip "aizy" Aistrup.

After a couple of early playoff exits despite favorable draws, IEM Sydney saw Denmark's second-best team go out in groups with losses to SK, FaZe, and Chiefs, which further fueled talks surrounding North's issues when they're in the position of a favorite.

June - NiP's freefall leads to core changes

NiP had been in trouble since their infamous exit at the ELEAGUE Major Main Qualifier, which eventually led to Jacob "pyth" Mourujärvi's departure shortly after the Swedes bombed out in groups at IEM Katowice, in March.

William "draken" Sundin's addition didn't seem to be enough to fix the issues. His debut at StarSeries ended with the squad going 2-3 in the groups, and NiP would also fail to impress at the lower-tier cs_summit, conceding series to Liquid and Cloud9 to finish 5th-6th.

friberg's tenure in NiP lasted nearly five years

Faced with another blow in the form of a failure in the Europe Minor's closed qualifier, the legendary team decided to disrupt the four-man core that had stood since the organization's reincarnation for nearly five years, relieving Adam "friberg" Friberg of his duties to bring in another Epsilon player, the up-and-coming Fredrik "REZ" Sterner.

Since then, the fresh NiP showed promise at ESL One Cologne, winning Cache three times in the groups to go 3-0 before falling short to Cloud9 in the quarter-finals (which included their fourth Cache win), and clinching a small title at DreamHack Open Valencia in July.

July - Gambit triumph at PGL Major Krakow

What better way to finish the season than with a Major?

PGL Major Krakow was perhaps the craziest of them all. Looking at just the groups, the likelihood of all of these predictions coming true equals the chances of there being zero trolls in HLTV forums for a whole day: BIG and Gambit went 3-0, FaZe bombed out 0-3, and neither Na`Vi nor G2 made it through. And we had yet to see the biggest surprises.

Immortals had changed their lineup only two months prior to the Major, adding Vito "kNgV-" Giuseppe to fill the gap left by Lincoln "fnx" Lau, and had just came off a group stage exit at ESL One Cologne. Gambit had looked awful online, with their players admitting that practice had gone awry. And yet, both of them made the grand final in Krakow.

The crazy Major ended with this moment

Admittedly, the Brazilians' route to the final was favorable, as the best teams they had to beat throughout the event were Natus Vincere (in groups) and Virtus.pro (in the semi-finals), in part thanks to Astralis and SK meeting each other in the quarter-finals on the other side of the bracket.

That's where Gambit had been drawn as well, facing fnatic in the quarters before meeting Astralis in the semis. Danylo "Zeus" Teslenko' quintet passed their toughest challenge, Astralis, and went on to grab the Major title with another 2-1 win over Immortals, a series that began with Cobblestone going the way of the Brazilians, 16-4.

Astralis keep their top four streak with gla1ve

Astralis defeating SK in the quarter-finals of PGL Major Krakow also meant that they kept their record of deep finishes since gla1ve took the reins. Excluding ELEAGUE Clash for Cash for obvious reasons, the Danes have reached the top four at 10 events in a row, seven of which have taken place this year.

Thanks to their achievements, which include two titles and a runner-up finish in 2017, Astralis were able to keep their first place in the ranking for 162 days in a row, earlier this year.

Brazil Marcelo 'coldzera' David
Marcelo 'coldzera' David
Age:
25
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.19
Maps played:
1079
KPR:
0.80
DPR:
0.61
APR:
0.12
Brazil João 'felps' Vasconcellos
João 'felps' Vasconcellos
Age:
22
Team:
No team
Rating 1.0:
1.06
Maps played:
731
KPR:
0.75
DPR:
0.71
APR:
0.16
Germany Fatih 'gob b' Dayik
Fatih 'gob b' Dayik
Age:
32
Team:
No team
Rating 1.0:
0.85
Maps played:
975
KPR:
0.56
DPR:
0.67
APR:
0.13
Sweden Jesper 'JW' Wecksell
Jesper 'JW' Wecksell
Age:
24
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.06
Maps played:
1597
KPR:
0.74
DPR:
0.68
APR:
0.14
Bosnia and Herzegovina Nikola 'NiKo' Kovač
Nikola 'NiKo' Kovač
Age:
22
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.17
Maps played:
1134
KPR:
0.81
DPR:
0.67
APR:
0.13
Denmark Philip 'aizy' Aistrup
Philip 'aizy' Aistrup
Age:
23
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.03
Maps played:
1308
KPR:
0.70
DPR:
0.67
APR:
0.14
Poland Wiktor 'TaZ' Wojtas
Wiktor 'TaZ' Wojtas
Age:
33
Team:
Rating 1.0:
0.98
Maps played:
1786
KPR:
0.67
DPR:
0.67
APR:
0.13
Poland Filip 'NEO' Kubski
Filip 'NEO' Kubski
Age:
32
Team:
No team
Rating 1.0:
0.97
Maps played:
1681
KPR:
0.66
DPR:
0.67
APR:
0.17
Sweden William 'draken' Sundin
William 'draken' Sundin
Age:
24
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.08
Maps played:
960
KPR:
0.72
DPR:
0.63
APR:
0.10
Denmark Nicolai 'device' Reedtz
Nicolai 'device' Reedtz
Age:
24
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.17
Maps played:
1403
KPR:
0.79
DPR:
0.62
APR:
0.13
Brazil Lincoln 'fnx' Lau
Lincoln 'fnx' Lau
Age:
29
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.06
Maps played:
502
KPR:
0.73
DPR:
0.66
APR:
0.17
Denmark Finn 'karrigan' Andersen
Finn 'karrigan' Andersen
Age:
29
Team:
Rating 1.0:
0.93
Maps played:
1538
KPR:
0.64
DPR:
0.68
APR:
0.13
Sweden Fredrik 'REZ' Sterner
Fredrik 'REZ' Sterner
Age:
21
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.04
Maps played:
887
KPR:
0.70
DPR:
0.66
APR:
0.14
Denmark Markus 'Kjaerbye' Kjærbye
Markus 'Kjaerbye' Kjærbye
Age:
21
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.06
Maps played:
1325
KPR:
0.72
DPR:
0.66
APR:
0.15
Norway Ruben 'RUBINO' Villarroel
Ruben 'RUBINO' Villarroel
Age:
25
Team:
Rating 1.0:
0.98
Maps played:
965
KPR:
0.67
DPR:
0.68
APR:
0.13
Ukraine Danylo 'Zeus' Teslenko
Danylo 'Zeus' Teslenko
Age:
32
Team:
No team
Rating 1.0:
0.92
Maps played:
1400
KPR:
0.63
DPR:
0.69
APR:
0.17
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
Brazil Gabriel 'FalleN' Toledo
Gabriel 'FalleN' Toledo
Age:
28
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.09
Maps played:
1154
KPR:
0.71
DPR:
0.60
APR:
0.11
Brazil Vito 'kNgV-' Giuseppe
Vito 'kNgV-' Giuseppe
Age:
27
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.15
Maps played:
532
KPR:
0.79
DPR:
0.64
APR:
0.10
Sweden Freddy 'KRIMZ' Johansson
Freddy 'KRIMZ' Johansson
Age:
25
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.06
Maps played:
1377
KPR:
0.71
DPR:
0.63
APR:
0.15
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 Robin 'flusha' Rönnquist
Robin 'flusha' Rönnquist
Age:
26
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.07
Maps played:
1502
KPR:
0.73
DPR:
0.65
APR:
0.18
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
Sweden Olof 'olofmeister' Kajbjer
Olof 'olofmeister' Kajbjer
Age:
27
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.08
Maps played:
1329
KPR:
0.74
DPR:
0.65
APR:
0.13
Sweden Dennis 'dennis' Edman
Dennis 'dennis' Edman
Age:
28
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.03
Maps played:
1087
KPR:
0.72
DPR:
0.68
APR:
0.13
nice read
2017-08-13 21:18
#5
f0rest | 
Russia XyetoN 
Can't wait for new tournaments
2017-08-13 21:19
#49
s1mple | 
Sweden Anders1 
malmo bout to be lit with the way nip will be on stage, new faze, maybe sk will dominate, new navi, new gambit, new mouz :) gonna be so gud
2017-08-14 03:13
#10
 | 
Norway tumblevalley 
nice read
2017-08-13 21:19
#11
 | 
United States ldKuKluxKlan 
Nice
2017-08-13 21:19
#13
 | 
Brazil Peluzin 
nice
2017-08-13 21:20
"PGL Major Krakow was perhaps the craziest of them all. Looking at just the groups, the likelihood of all of these predictions coming true equals the chances of there being zero trolls in HLTV forums for a whole day" :D
2017-08-13 21:20
That's pretty damn unlikely if you ask me :P
2017-08-13 21:21
nice one Striker
2017-08-13 21:37
#38
 | 
Croatia DNM_ii 
Great job on the article!
2017-08-13 22:54
#56
 | 
Malta Trance_Lover 
Always bang-on with the articles!
2017-08-14 09:07
They know too much
2017-08-13 22:03
lul n1
2017-08-14 08:23
nice recap
2017-08-13 21:21
#16
 | 
Spain SaileSamkaed 
Why you dont talk about the next top 10, Dignitas?
2017-08-13 21:21
#46
kaas | 
Netherlands ImKuru 
Lol
2017-08-14 01:35
Astralis is back to semi-finals where they belong.
2017-08-13 21:25
#20
 | 
Norway felt 
with only two majors the season feels already finished not "mid-season" fuck valve
2017-08-13 21:25
#21
 | 
Macau FAZE_DISBAND 
nice article thnx
2017-08-13 21:25
#22
 | 
Sweden 133665 
Striker is love striker is life
2017-08-13 21:26
dunno this article feels indeed like a midseason filler 5 lines about g2, big, couldve basically just leave it out..why don't you write proper articles with interviews etc. about "team big" or "the new nip"
2017-08-13 21:36
anything else we can do to please you, my Lord.
2017-08-13 22:56
because big is a onehit wonder.
2017-08-13 23:07
#54
 | 
Denmark Xipingu 
Cry is free.
2017-08-14 07:18
#27
 | 
France Kanti 
"mid season" and there is no more major this year :DDDDDDD.
2017-08-13 21:45
#29
 | 
Bulgaria TEDDSENN 
gud mid season
2017-08-13 21:49
Cant wait to see nip at malmo
2017-08-13 22:03
#33
 | 
Malaysia phyzell 
Ugliest season in Counter Strike history by far, no consistency from top teams, soul-searching roster changes, frequent MVP changing hands plus bug abuses. Probably caused by tight schedules and poor sleep.
2017-08-13 22:09
nice
2017-08-13 22:14
#37
 | 
Switzerland dilophosaur99 
nice thread
2017-08-13 22:45
#41
rain | 
Colombia nezzy_s 
"G2 form French superteam" ROFL i keked
2017-08-13 23:21
astralis still bestest team of the year #RUNASTRALIS #MAJORCHAMPIONS #BESTTEAM2K17
2017-08-13 23:55
#45
 | 
Brazil Collee 
"G2 form French superteam" lol no
2017-08-14 00:25
VeryGames is French superteam
2017-08-14 03:25
this one is intristing seeson
2017-08-14 02:37
gyazo.com/ec4cb6ea9f8a8013265c21ca221886.. every time I see this, I lel'd at this.
2017-08-14 04:27
boring year, every team playing bad
2017-08-14 19:24
awesome recap, loved the "zero trolls in HLTV" part :P
2017-08-14 22:02
awesome recap, loved the "zero trolls in HLTV" part :P
2017-08-14 22:02
awesome recap, loved the "zero trolls in HLTV" part :P
2017-08-14 22:02
awesome recap, loved the "zero trolls in HLTV" part :P
2017-08-14 22:02
#64
 | 
Poland cGev 
Awesome season, thanks for the recap
2017-08-15 11:14
nice article :)
2017-08-15 11:34
#66
s1mple | 
Ukraine dav1dko 
It's gonna be a great year! All the teams shuffled. It's gonna be very interesting
2017-08-18 16:51
nice read
2017-08-23 02:30
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