Winners and losers of StarSeries i-League Season 5

With Natus Vincere's victory in Ukraine behind us and the next big event just around the corner, it's time to take a good look at the tournament and examine who the winners and losers of StarSeries i-League Season 5 were.

As is usual for group stages, especially those in which you can lose three BO3s before getting eliminated, some of the biggest names at the tournament had a slow start in Kiev. SK were 16-1'd by VG.Flash in the opening map, but managed to take the series by squeaking out a win on Inferno and closing it out on Train, while Natus Vincere fell flat to TYLOO, who 2-0'd them at the start of the tournament.

Season 4 grand finalists met in the semis this time, with Natus Vincere getting revenge

As the group stage progressed, we saw the favorites getting into the groove of things, with most of them advancing to the playoffs in the end. The biggest positive surprise of the group stage was AGO, who not only made it to the arena, but did it with a 3-0 record, while Gambit were the unpleasant surprise, not claiming a single victory at the tournament with their new addition Nikolay "mir" Bityukov.

The first day of the playoffs, which took place in the Palace "Ukraine", featured four BO3s that all went three maps, resulting in a long, but exciting day of CS. The bracket did feel somewhat imbalanced, though, with four top 10 teams sitting on one side—mousesports, Natus Vincere, SK and NiP—, and only Liquid on the other one. To make it more surprising, Liquid were knocked out early, losing to domestic competition in the form of NRG. In the end, NRG got to the final where they met Natus Vincere, but the North Americans were not able to contest the local heroes, with Aleksandr "s1mple" Kostyliev and co. walking over them in two maps to claim Natus Vincere's first title in 2018.

Winners

Natus Vincere

Finally, Natus Vincere were able to convert an otherworldly performance from s1mple into a title, winning StarSeries i-League Season 5. Things didn't start perfectly, as an opening blunder against TYLOO and a group stage loss to mousesports raised doubts about Natus Vincere's form, but just like champions often do, the Ukrainian-Russian squad looked better and better as the tournament went on.

Come playoffs, Natus Vincere were able to take down SK in three maps, fairly convincingly overall, before facing mousesports in the semis. In a rematch of the StarSeries i-League Season 4 grand final, we saw mousesports taking the first map, Inferno, comfortably, and looked on route to taking the series as clutches from Tomáš "oskar" Šťastný and Miikka "suNny" Kemppi combined with the second round pistol win gave the international team all the momentum they needed. However, a magical 2v5 won by Denis "electronic" Sharipov and Ioann "Edward" Sukhariev with just pistols turned the tide of the map around, allowing Danylo "Zeus" Teslenko' team to win Mirage and then claim the series on Nuke.

s1mple lifted his first trophy in 2018

With the way the rest of the bracket played off, Natus Vincere did all of the heavy lifting before reaching the grand final, where they had to defeat NRG to take the StarSeries i-League S5 title—and they did it with no slip-ups. The match was controlled by Natus Vincere from start to finish and closed out 2-0, giving the Ukrainian organization their first trophy since DreamHack Open Winter 2017, as well a as their first ever $250,000+ title with this roster.

Overall, Natus Vincere's run since adding electronic can be seen as a successful one, as they displayed an impressive level of consistency in their placings, finishing at least top four at all six events they attended since adding the Russian to their ranks. However, there is still a feeling that with s1mple's form, that sees him boast a 1.38 LAN rating over the last three months, Natus Vincere should've won more tournaments, perhaps even ones featuring all of the top teams, unlike StarSeries i-League S5.

NRG

Earlier this year, NRG made a name for themselves by going on a tear in online leagues and qualifiers, earning spots at four LAN events and even outplacing teams like SK and Liquid to do so. However, at their first two offline events, IEM Sydney 2018 and ESL Pro League Season 7 Finals, the North American side didn't really impress, finishing 9-12th at both tournaments.

The start to StarSeries i-League Season 5 was no different, NRG went down 0-2 after uninspired performances against Liquid and North, but they managed to turn it around. It's impossible to know what ended up being the key to NRG showing up much improved from that point onwards, but in interviews, members of the team pointed out that Epitacio "TACO" de Melo's criticism, Chet "ImAPet" Singh's coaching and the series they lost against North all helped them change their approach to LAN play and improve massively over the course of the week.

NRG managed to turn it around in Ukraine, having their best offline performances to date

Damian "daps" Steele and co.'s biggest feat must be the victory over Liquid, who were looking like one of the favorites for the title coming in, while beating North in the semis allowed them to reach a historic result for their organisation—reaching a grand final of a $250,000+ event. With NRG being such a "green" squad, both in terms of age and experience, this result will be a great foundation on which to build and most likely find more success in the coming months.

AGO

The Polish posse AGO came together mid-2017, breaking out a couple of months later as they qualified for the European Minor for the ELEAGUE Boston Major. Spearheaded by Dominik "GruBy" Swiderski and Damian "Furlan" Kislowski, AGO placed fourth at the event—narrowly missing out on a place at the Major Qualifier. Since then, AGO has made strides forward, earning a spot in the ESL Pro League and playing a number of smaller LAN events, but wasn't able to break into the higher tier of competition. Even at the smaller events, such as the StarLadder Invitational Chongqinq 2018 and the Qi Invitational, the Poles couldn't claim the titles, while at the same time struggling to earn a place at premier tournaments such as ESL One Katowice and DreamHack Masters Marseille.

AGO finally earned a chance to show how they play on LAN against the best by beating Heroic and North online and qualifying for StarSeries i-League Season 5. To open the event, AGO played no one else but Virtus.pro, their Polish rivals. With Michał "snatchie" Rudzki and Tomasz "phr" Wójcik leading the fragging for their side, AGO managed a 2-0 win in the first offline match between the two sides, and also leapfrogged Virtus.pro in the rankings the following day.

The Poles made their first big playoffs under Furlan's leadership

Taking the victory over Filip "NEO" Kubski and co., and at least temporarily, the title of the best Polish team, invigorated AGO and saw them pull off two impressive wins over the next two days. NiP fell to Furlan and co. in two maps, while mousesports pulled of a massive comeback on Train but couldn't beat the Poles either, losing 2-1 in the end.

With a remarkable 3-0 record in the group stage and only one map dropped, AGO managed their first playoff outing at a big event, a step forward for the team. Unfortunately for them, their main man of the group stage, snatchie, wasn't able to continue performing at the same level in the quarter-final match against North and the Poles fell to Mathias "MSL" Lauridsen and co., 2-1. Despite an underwhelming showing against the Danes, the 20-year-old AWPer still ended the tournament as the second highest rated player overall, but he will need to find more consistency in playoff matches if AGO plan to build their game around him.

North

MSL's squad has been struggling to live up to expectations for so long, with their last roster changes which saw them snatch away Markus "Kjaerbye" Kjærbye and promote Daniel "mertz" Mertz from the academy team not having paidgse off in the short term. At last, North managed to have a good result at DreamHack Open Tours two weeks ago, a tournament which had a fairly weak field of competition, but still showed that the Danish squad was moving forward.

A similar trend continued in Kiev last week, where North had some bright moments and earned a decent placing overall, but didn't show anything that would imply they are closing in on the elite teams or a top 5 world ranking—where they certainly aim to be.

mertz had a great tournament, finishing as one of the EVPs

Looking at their group stage, North did what was expected of them based on their current status; they beat NRG, HellRaisers and GODSENT, while losing to mousesports and NiP, with one of the two losses being a fairly contested one. In the quarter finals, MSL and co. were fontrunning throughout the series against AGO, but struggled closing out maps, something that could end up being an issue for the squad moving forward. NRG, who, in all honestly, showed up looking much better than the first matches, were too much for North to handle in the semis, leaving them with a 3rd-4th finish in Ukraine. Summing it all up, StarSeries i-League S5 is a step in the right direction for North, but potentially still a too small one, considering the team's appetites.

Losers

Liquid

Fresh off a notable second-place finish at the ESL Pro League Season 7 Finals, where they beat both mousesports and Natus Vincere in BO3 series, Liquid was one of the main favorites to win StarSeries i-League Season 5. And it all started according to plan, Nick "nitr0" Cannella's squad handled NRG comfortably, didn't look threatened by GODSENT despite dropping a map and then played SK for a place in the playoffs and a perfect 3-0 record.

That's where problems started for Liquid, TACO struggled against his former teammates while on the other side Jake "Stewie2K" Yip shined for SK, resulting in a victory for Gabriel "FalleN" Toledo's side. Liquid then played AVANGAR and ended up losing Mirage, the same map they dropped to GODSENT, but Wilton "zews" Prado managed to rally the troops and Liquid secured a victory to advance to the playoffs, hoping for stronger showings on the stage.

Liquid still have some figuring out to do

The playoff draw saw Liquid land on the side bracket that seemed almost too good to be true, as, at that moment, no top 10 teams stood on their way to the grand final. However, instead of claiming at least another second place finish, Liquid would end 5-8th after being upset by NRG 2-1, with daps's forces blowing them out on both Nuke and Train, 16-6.

Losing against rivals in form of SK and underdogs such as NRG—with the latter being in such a dominant fashion—, combined with their weakness on Mirage against puggy teams such as AVANGAR and GODSENT, spells a bit of trouble for Liquid and shows that they still have some holes to fill before being able to contest for titles regularly.

Gambit

The downwards spiral for last year's Major winners continues, as the IGL hot potato is passed back to Mihail "Dosia" Stolyarov and mir is added, on trial, in hopes of fixing the team's issues with more firepower. Moves like this often work in the short term, during the honeymoon period, but for Gambit, StarSeries i-League Season 5 was just more of the same issues.

mir didn't impress in his offline debut for Gambit

Gambit were eliminated with a woeful 0-3 record, not even facing the favorites for the tournament but challengers such as AVANGAR, Virtus.pro and Renegades, winning only one map over the course of those three BO3s. Abay "Hobbit" Khasenov's 1.11 rating is a small positive, as the 24-year-old looks rejuvenated, following series of poor individual performances that came as a result of taking on the in-game leader role.

With a premier CIS talent such as mir slotting alongside Hobbit and Dauren "AdreN" Kystaubayev, Gambit have three very good players in their squad, and Rustem "mou" Telepov is far from a poor AWPer, albeit a somewhat inconsistent one. The core of those players alone, despite limited practice, should see them finish higher than the 14-16th place they earned last week. Things will probably look a bit better with time as this seems like the lowest Gambit can go, but the main issue, leadership, still seems like too big of a hindrance for Gambit's success.

Brazil Epitacio 'TACO' de Melo
Epitacio 'TACO' de Melo
Age:
24
Team:
Rating 1.0:
0.94
Maps played:
969
KPR:
0.62
DPR:
0.64
APR:
0.12
Kazakhstan Rustem 'mou' Telepov
Rustem 'mou' Telepov
Age:
28
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.05
Maps played:
989
KPR:
0.72
DPR:
0.66
APR:
0.12
United States Nick 'nitr0' Cannella
Nick 'nitr0' Cannella
Age:
24
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.02
Maps played:
1198
KPR:
0.69
DPR:
0.66
APR:
0.14
Poland Damian 'Furlan' Kislowski
Damian 'Furlan' Kislowski
Age:
24
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.01
Maps played:
1409
KPR:
0.70
DPR:
0.69
APR:
0.14
Canada Damian 'daps' Steele
Damian 'daps' Steele
Age:
26
Team:
Rating 1.0:
0.87
Maps played:
899
KPR:
0.58
DPR:
0.66
APR:
0.15
Denmark Markus 'Kjaerbye' Kjærbye
Markus 'Kjaerbye' Kjærbye
Age:
21
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.06
Maps played:
1301
KPR:
0.72
DPR:
0.66
APR:
0.15
Kazakhstan Dauren 'AdreN' Kystaubayev
Dauren 'AdreN' Kystaubayev
Age:
29
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.01
Maps played:
1408
KPR:
0.70
DPR:
0.68
APR:
0.16
Kazakhstan Abay 'Hobbit' Khasenov
Abay 'Hobbit' Khasenov
Age:
25
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.06
Maps played:
614
KPR:
0.73
DPR:
0.67
APR:
0.14
Brazil Wilton 'zews' Prado
Wilton 'zews' Prado
Age:
31
Team:
No team
Rating 1.0:
0.80
Maps played:
142
KPR:
0.53
DPR:
0.69
APR:
0.13
Russia Nikolay 'mir' Bityukov
Nikolay 'mir' Bityukov
Age:
23
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.07
Maps played:
470
KPR:
0.74
DPR:
0.67
APR:
0.13
Russia Denis 'electronic' Sharipov
Denis 'electronic' Sharipov
Age:
21
Rating 1.0:
1.11
Maps played:
796
KPR:
0.76
DPR:
0.66
APR:
0.14
United States Jake 'Stewie2K' Yip
Jake 'Stewie2K' Yip
Age:
21
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.04
Maps played:
1096
KPR:
0.72
DPR:
0.68
APR:
0.14
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
Russia Mihail 'Dosia' Stolyarov
Mihail 'Dosia' Stolyarov
Age:
31
Team:
Rating 1.0:
0.99
Maps played:
1396
KPR:
0.68
DPR:
0.66
APR:
0.15
Ukraine Ioann 'Edward' Sukhariev
Ioann 'Edward' Sukhariev
Age:
31
Team:
No team
Rating 1.0:
1.00
Maps played:
1414
KPR:
0.69
DPR:
0.67
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
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
Poland Michał 'snatchie' Rudzki
Michał 'snatchie' Rudzki
Age:
21
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.04
Maps played:
812
KPR:
0.72
DPR:
0.68
APR:
0.09
Brazil Gabriel 'FalleN' Toledo
Gabriel 'FalleN' Toledo
Age:
28
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.09
Maps played:
1131
KPR:
0.71
DPR:
0.60
APR:
0.11
Denmark Daniel 'mertz' Mertz
Daniel 'mertz' Mertz
Age:
21
Team:
No team
Rating 1.0:
1.10
Maps played:
622
KPR:
0.75
DPR:
0.66
APR:
0.10
Finland Miikka 'suNny' Kemppi
Miikka 'suNny' Kemppi
Age:
25
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.08
Maps played:
1034
KPR:
0.75
DPR:
0.69
APR:
0.15
Poland Tomasz 'phr' Wójcik
Tomasz 'phr' Wójcik
Age:
23
Team:
Rating 1.0:
0.97
Maps played:
916
KPR:
0.66
DPR:
0.67
APR:
0.13
Denmark Mathias 'MSL' Lauridsen
Mathias 'MSL' Lauridsen
Age:
24
Team:
No team
Rating 1.0:
0.91
Maps played:
1530
KPR:
0.64
DPR:
0.72
APR:
0.15
United States Chet 'ImAPet' Singh
Chet 'ImAPet' Singh
Age:
23
Team:
No team
Rating 1.0:
0.00
Maps played:
0
KPR:
0.00
DPR:
0.00
APR:
0.00
Poland Dominik 'GruBy' Swiderski
Dominik 'GruBy' Swiderski
Age:
24
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.02
Maps played:
1218
KPR:
0.69
DPR:
0.68
APR:
0.15
Ukraine Aleksandr 's1mple' Kostyliev
Aleksandr 's1mple' Kostyliev
Age:
22
Rating 1.0:
1.23
Maps played:
1049
KPR:
0.85
DPR:
0.66
APR:
0.10
Ez 4 simpel
2018-06-06 21:11
#5
kioShiMa | 
France neibaf 
expect
2018-06-06 21:11
respect
2018-06-06 21:12
#10
smooya | 
Austria shaakeh 
expected
2018-06-06 21:12
#19
 | 
Palestine zwe 
expected
2018-06-06 21:16
respected
2018-06-07 05:18
#12
 | 
Netherlands Jonasio 
exact
2018-06-06 21:13
ez 4 1.38...
2018-06-06 21:27
Where is VP in losers
2018-06-06 21:35
Too much shame
2018-06-06 21:36
Lost to Renegades in their LAN form and to Na'Vi is real shame cuz they had a chance if they would pick Dust2
2018-06-06 21:41
They lost to the future winners there is no shame
2018-06-06 21:42
I think VP will do the same as NiP Gaming they will change their Rifler which is byali (Or NEO) and they will bring better one which is mouz or innocent they will fail at Major Qualifies and after that they will change Snax for Furlan/TOAO/TaZ to bring or 1.6 player (TaZ) CS:GO era player (Furlan) or young Talent (LTN)
2018-06-06 21:47
It's a shame that orgs dont cut the fat away first, when bringing in, young up and coming talent. Keep the oldies on retainer, have them mentor the newbies and then bow out gracefully.
2018-06-06 23:28
#42
 | 
Chile furpU 
they win a match, I would put them into winners xd
2018-06-06 22:24
#2
 | 
Malta WATSKy 
BERY GOOD INDEED
2018-06-06 21:11
#41
Thorin | 
Netherlands RafV 
TOO EZ FOR AGO
2018-06-06 21:56
#3
Ukraine 6obby 
3 but nice try
2018-06-06 21:11
Rip and nice
2018-06-06 21:11
#7
 | 
Sweden RaketHopp 
rip gambIT
2018-06-06 21:12
#8
United Kingdom WgS99 
GG
2018-06-06 21:12
damn
2018-06-06 21:12
#11
 | 
Brazil Botzera__ 
winners - navi, losrers - all other
2018-06-06 21:13
Im fast
2018-06-06 21:13
Hope Mouz will step it up soon
2018-06-06 21:14
#15
 | 
Poland foolxd1 
VP?
2018-06-06 21:14
#16
 | 
Poland trancemeister 
Losers : + VP
2018-06-06 21:14
they dont deserve even to be mentioned, thrash team
2018-06-06 21:19
#35
 | 
Ukraine leg0_0leg 
how can you say it after their awsome history in cs (and it even doesn't matter we speak about cs 1.6 wether cs go).
2018-06-06 21:41
trash team now, i dont think they can fix their game and be again tier1 team
2018-06-06 21:42
at this point it is their normal result xD it's sad
2018-06-06 23:15
+1
2018-06-07 13:04
ez for god s1mple
2018-06-06 21:15
winners : Navi losers : all other teams whats the point of making an article over something so simple lol..
2018-06-06 21:16
because its s1mple :D and fnatic wont even qualify...
2018-06-06 21:18
#24
 | 
United Kingdom galaxzy 
because quite obviously godsent/ago/nrg etc arent going to win the fucking event
2018-06-06 21:21
u underestimate brollan, soon to be top 3 in the world
2018-06-06 21:22
#21
 | 
Poland kRAMERO 
VP is even out of loosers :D
2018-06-06 21:19
That's what happens when you don't have anything to lose anymore.. No one expect them to do well anymore so can't really be disappointed LUL
2018-06-07 13:04
#60
 | 
Poland kRAMERO 
true
2018-06-08 05:15
simpul so good
2018-06-06 21:20
gg nrg but s1mple too good
2018-06-06 21:29
#29
Belarus SLab 
Zeus was not a problem.
2018-06-06 21:29
North listed under winner? Really? They played atrocious cs. They would have never made it that far in a tournament that was more stacked.
2018-06-06 21:30
#40
 | 
CIS eddie42 
+1. Seeing North playing is hurting my eyes. #freevalde
2018-06-06 21:49
Yeah, they really benfited from the draw..
2018-06-07 13:03
#31
 | 
Hungary saxxo 
Where is HR from the losers part?:(
2018-06-06 21:31
-dosia +seized
2018-06-06 21:34
#45
Kane | 
Ukraine Aklis 
"Liquid was one of the main favorites to win StarSeries i-League Season 5" Ahah who said this???
2018-06-07 00:53
So final in Dallas and good form are not make them a favorite on tournament without faze ,fnatic and Astralis?
2018-06-07 01:10
Everybody
2018-06-07 13:02
North will win ESL One Cologne. Mark my words
2018-06-07 01:08
lets be honest - they only won because Astraliz and Faze - didtn show up. not impressed
2018-06-07 07:49
You're unbelievable insane S1mple, wish you the best of luck with your teammates, thank you for all.
2018-06-07 08:53
Kick Dosia in a few weeks if he can't level up and hire a real IGL please. Having him doesn't make any more sense if he has both the worst stats of the team ( also the lowest skill ceiling ) and can't IGL properly..
2018-06-07 12:59
it's 15-16th not 14-16th
2018-06-07 13:12
#58
 | 
Canada Spadeyus 
- DosiaXGod, + Ange1XGoodIGL
2018-06-07 19:24
#59
Kane | 
Ukraine Aklis 
Winners: Nav'i -bcs won NRG-bcs unexpected reach final
2018-06-07 21:46
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