What we learned from ECS and ESL Pro League Finals

A busy couple of weeks of top-tier action have come to an end as ECS Season 8 Finals and ESL Pro League Season 10 Finals found their champions, so let's reflect on the two big events to see what we learned.

Taking place at the end of November and early December, the eighth season of ECS went more or less according to expectations, with all of the top-four teams in attendance making it to the playoffs and Astralis winning their second consecutive event after a dominant run featuring another episode of their long-standing rivalry with Liquid, leaving fnatic and Evil Geniuses in third-fourth place.

ECS went as expected, but Pro League gave us plenty of surprises

Things took a surprising turn when the aforementioned quartet crossed the Atlantic immediately after the Texas event to join a stacked competition in Odense, Denmark. Although all of them made a repeat showing in the playoffs stage at the ESL Pro League Season 10 Finals, none were able to hoist the trophy, as mousesports came out of nowhere to clinch their first Big Event title with the current roster.

ECS S8 Finals
1. Denmark Astralis
2. United States Liquid
3-4. Sweden fnatic
3-4. United States Evil Geniuses
5-6. Brazil MIBR
5-6. Sweden NiP
7-8. Brazil Sharks
7-8. Kazakhstan AVANGAR
ESL Pro League Season 10 Finals
1. Europe mousesports
2. Sweden fnatic
3-4. Denmark Astralis
3-4. Russia Natus Vincere
5-6. United States Liquid
5-6. United States Evil Geniuses
7-8. United States ATK
7-8. Australia 100 Thieves
9-12. France G2
9-12. Australia Renegades
9-12. Europe FaZe
9-12. Brazil MIBR
13-16. Denmark Heroic
13-16. Denmark North
13-16. Brazil Sharks
13-16. China TYLOO

mousesports break out of plateau period

When the ESL Pro League Finals kicked off, the main teams in consideration for the title were the elite quartet who had come over from the United States, with some perhaps putting their hopes in Natus Vincere as still quite a fresh lineup that had yet to reach their peak and looked capable of doing so on the back of a long period of preparation leading up to the Danish tournament.

Even though all of the chief contenders made it far, it was shockingly mousesports who came out on top, in the end, after they had seemingly plateaued on the edge of the top-ten, unable to break the barrier of title contention for months before. Of course, Finn "karrigan" Andersen's side had just come off a triumph at CS:GO Asia Championships, but they had mostly gone up against equal or inferior competition in China and only had to pull off one significant upset against Evil Geniuses.

mousesports enter the top five on the back of the EPL triumph

ESL Pro League presented much more of a challenge in the form of every single one of the top-six teams that it looked near-impossible for the European mixture to break through. But they managed to do so against the odds, taking down the Peter "stanislaw" Jarguz-led squad again before adding the scalps of Astralis and fnatic to their tally during a spectacular playoffs run, having just missed out on another big takedown in Liquid, who were the only top-four team to beat karrigan's side, albeit in a very close series.

It was far from only about the names they left behind, as well. For quite a young team, mousesports showed some incredible resilience from start to finish, finding themselves on the back foot and coming back on several occasions. Most will remember their most exciting turnaround from 8-14 on Dust2 against Astralis in the semi-finals, but mousesports also recovered from being down 0-6 on Nuke versus ATK, 3-7 on Vertigo against Liquid, and 11-14 on Train against the Danes, all the while pulling off some other impressive streaks like a 14-2 run facing Renegades, the 16-0 Nuke thrashing of Evil Geniuses, as well as 10-2 and 10-1 second-half runs in the grand final against fnatic, prompting Chris "chrisJ" de Jong to post the following:

EG have run out of steam

A little over a month ago, Evil Geniuses became the second North American team to stand atop the rankings on the back of their triumphs at ESL One New York and StarSeries i-League Season 8, but it was a position they only managed to hold on to for two weeks, making way for Astralis to reclaim the throne after IEM Beijing saw stanislaw's squad exit the event in the group stage at the hands of FaZe.

By the time the ECS Finals rolled around — just a few days after another early exit from EG, this time at the CS:GO Asia Championships —, it had become apparent that the team's peak was gone. We only got confirmation of that fact in Arlington as well as at Pro League the following week.

EG have slowed down as the year is coming to a close

Having rollercoasted from a big win to a last-place exit to another win and two more early eliminations inside a two-month window, Evil Geniuses were at least able to stabilize with a couple of playoffs finishes at the league finals, but they couldn't contend for titles anymore as they fell to Liquid and Astralis in America and to Natus Vincere and mousesports in Denmark.

That doesn't necessarily mean that their peak period was a fluke, however. It's important to note that EG have been exceptionally busy in these last two-and-a-half months, during which they have often gone from event to event, amassing a staggering eight tournaments since joining their new organization. That is something the team has fairly noted as a hindrance when it comes to preparation, and things won't improve until after the Christmas break, with EPICENTER set to close out 2019 for Evil Geniuses next week.

fnatic are here to stay

When fnatic made their lineup changes back in September, many expected the move to lead nowhere — yours truly included — as the Swedes recycled older players again with the addition of Robin "flusha" Rönnquist and Maikil "Golden" Selim instead of going according to the originally-advertised plan of adding at least one of the younger talent, missing out on the likes of GamerLegion's Tim "nawwk" Jonasson.

Needless to say, it was a huge surprise when they went on to win the first event they went to at DreamHack Masters Malmö and added a runner-up finish at StarSeries, and it was understandable to have doubts about the sustainability of those results after such a massive spike in team performance, which at the very least resembled a honeymoon-like period.

fnatic's new lineup ends 2019 with three grand final appearances in four events

The new fnatic is now almost three months into existence and they still have yet to falter, having added qualification for ESL Pro League S10 Finals, a respectable semi-finals finish at ECS Season 8 Finals, and the third grand final appearance in four events in Odense on top of the aforementioned resumé. With that, they have now jumped to second place in the ranking, and when you consider that this roster was sitting on the 28th spot after the changes on September 16, that is an unbelievable feat.

It's clear that fnatic are to stay in the elite, where they have earned their place not only thanks to improvements in leadership from Golden, flusha's smarts, and consistent standout performances from Ludvig "Brollan" Brolin, but also through an upgraded mentality and a better team spirit; an aspect that Jesper "JW" Wecksell & co. have often highlighted as the key difference from previous lineups.

Liquid's year is on the line

After Liquid went on the massive streak of six Big-Event titles in a row in the first part of the season, they began making a case for themselves as the team of the year despite missing a Major title in that period, an area in which Astralis already had the advantage at that point due to winning IEM Katowice.

Not only have Nick "nitr0" Cannella's squad lost the No.1 spot since that run, they have stopped winning tournaments altogether, going from six consecutive triumphs to six consecutive Big Events without a title following the off-season. Meanwhile, Astralis clinched another Major trophy in Berlin and brought their total Big-Event count to five in 2019 with IEM Beijing and ECS going their way, threatening the North American side's claim to the team-of-the-year accolade.

From six consecutive big event titles to no titles in six events

With the rivals about to meet again and potentially for the last time in 2019 in the opening round of the BLAST Pro Series Global Final in Bahrain, we will reserve arguments for one or the other for after the tournament when it comes to whose year was better, but Liquid need to step up and finish the season on a high note if they don't want to hand the status over to the Danes.

The competition between the two big rivals has recently resurfaced and Lukas "gla1ve" Rossander's team are definitely back on top at the moment, not just in current overall standings but also in the matchup itself, which Astralis have now won five times in a row in the second portion of the season and across two series in December alone, beating Liquid in the grand final of ECS and in the match for the top spot in Group B at ESL Pro League Finals.

Jury is still out on FaZe

The new FaZe's victory back at BLAST Pro Series Copenhagen immediately raised what I will now coin as flukespicion (noun, 1. suspicion that a result may have been a fluke) among fans and pundits, as the format of the tournament series is infamously prone to upsets and the previous version of Nikola "NiKo" Kovač's team had gone on a similar run once before in Miami, which remained the organization's only big-event title in 2019 before November's stop in Denmark.

And, in fairness, FaZe have since dipped when you look at their final standings alone, as they ended up 3rd-4th at IEM Beijing and 9th-12th at ESL Pro League Season 10 Finals, which clearly shows a downward trajectory. But, on the other hand, Marcelo "coldzera" David's side would have probably been praised for the former result thanks to their two series wins over Evil Geniuses, who had just come off a win at StarSeries, had it not been for the thrashing they received from Astralis in the semi-finals that came after.

olofmeister had a terrible tournament in Odense

It is the Odense tournament that is a bit more worrying because Olof "olofmeister" Kajbjer looked in terrible form again and coldzera's only two maps rated above 1.00 came in straightforward wins against TYLOO, as FaZe dropped a map to a struggling MIBR, another to the Chinese, and lost a winnable matchup to 100 Thieves — all three being far from the best teams at the tournament.

With how inconsistent they've been since the Copenhagen triumph, it is difficult to know where the European mixture stands at the moment as they head into their last tournament of 2019, so we will have to wait to see where they end up at the last BLAST stop of the year in Bahrain, where there will be no best-of-ones.

Brazil Marcelo 'coldzera' David
Marcelo 'coldzera' David
Age:
25
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.19
Maps played:
1103
KPR:
0.80
DPR:
0.61
APR:
0.11
United States Nick 'nitr0' Cannella
Nick 'nitr0' Cannella
Age:
24
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.02
Maps played:
1234
KPR:
0.69
DPR:
0.66
APR:
0.14
Sweden Jesper 'JW' Wecksell
Jesper 'JW' Wecksell
Age:
24
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.06
Maps played:
1631
KPR:
0.74
DPR:
0.68
APR:
0.14
Bosnia and Herzegovina Nikola 'NiKo' Kovač
Nikola 'NiKo' Kovač
Age:
22
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.16
Maps played:
1158
KPR:
0.80
DPR:
0.67
APR:
0.13
Sweden Ludvig 'Brollan' Brolin
Ludvig 'Brollan' Brolin
Age:
17
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.07
Maps played:
605
KPR:
0.73
DPR:
0.67
APR:
0.13
Sweden Tim 'nawwk' Jonasson
Tim 'nawwk' Jonasson
Age:
22
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.12
Maps played:
536
KPR:
0.76
DPR:
0.63
APR:
0.09
Sweden Maikil 'Golden' Selim
Maikil 'Golden' Selim
Age:
25
Team:
Rating 1.0:
0.93
Maps played:
582
KPR:
0.63
DPR:
0.69
APR:
0.14
Netherlands Chris 'chrisJ' de Jong
Chris 'chrisJ' de Jong
Age:
29
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.04
Maps played:
1520
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:
1593
KPR:
0.63
DPR:
0.68
APR:
0.13
Sweden Robin 'flusha' Rönnquist
Robin 'flusha' Rönnquist
Age:
26
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.07
Maps played:
1536
KPR:
0.72
DPR:
0.65
APR:
0.18
Denmark Lukas 'gla1ve' Rossander
Lukas 'gla1ve' Rossander
Age:
24
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.01
Maps played:
1271
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:
1353
KPR:
0.73
DPR:
0.65
APR:
0.13
Canada Peter 'stanislaw' Jarguz
Peter 'stanislaw' Jarguz
Age:
25
Rating 1.0:
0.98
Maps played:
1040
KPR:
0.66
DPR:
0.66
APR:
0.14
#4
 | 
Denmark QBE_ 
Cool
2019-12-10 01:02
#50
 | 
Indonesia lumayan 
Nope
2019-12-10 07:12
#77
 | 
Italy e2d 
Who is Jury?
2019-12-10 11:51
Lukas Bohm Rosenbauer
2019-12-10 21:38
#99
 | 
Indonesia N1tz_id 
OG not EG
2019-12-11 05:36
"Of course, Finn "karrigan" Andersen's side had just come off a triumph at CS:GO Asia Championships, but they had mostly gone up against equal or inferior competition in China and only had to pull off one significant upset against Evil Geniuses." full disrespect
2019-12-10 01:03
#12
 | 
Germany Shackrag 
true they make it seem like there were no other teams except mouz and evil geniuses. sometimes i think there are just people who love their numbers and dont look at anything besides the rating. number 9 went and beat number 2. upset of the century. everyone else ranked number 10+ were not even a competition... like that.
2019-12-10 01:20
Upset of the century? Are you high?
2019-12-10 04:44
#48
 | 
Romania decis1ve 
Pls read again
2019-12-10 07:05
Damn
2019-12-10 09:57
#55
 | 
Yugoslavia seeeed 
Pls read again
2019-12-10 08:24
Fuck
2019-12-10 09:57
#76
 | 
Denmark RUZUR 
Plz read one last time
2019-12-10 11:24
Shit
2019-12-10 15:05
+1 thats exactly my point when i copy pasted that.
2019-12-10 16:16
#13
 | 
Guatemala Nicaraqua 
China Numbah Wan
2019-12-10 01:20
0/8
2019-12-10 01:42
0/8
2019-12-10 02:37
#6
 | 
Portugal MR_CAL 
n1
2019-12-10 01:03
LetsGoFaZeUP!
2019-12-10 01:12
FNATIC ERA 2020
2019-12-10 01:12
#10
s1mple | 
Europe Sam2k 
NAVI ERA 2020
2019-12-10 01:16
#71
 | 
India VAMc 
If only guardian is looking to step up.
2019-12-10 10:17
He might step up in a game or 2, but he will never be the same Guardian he was before. He's been inconsistent for a long time now.
2019-12-10 14:44
#11
draken | 
Romania Obuz8 
astralis gay
2019-12-10 01:18
#14
 | 
United States 1nverse 
Ok
2019-12-10 01:20
"The new FaZe's victory back at BLAST Pro Series Copenhagen immediately raised what I will now coin as flukespicion" rekt!
2019-12-10 01:22
Interesting read! Great work.
2019-12-10 01:23
Wow I actually read an article
2019-12-10 01:32
#32
 | 
Pakistan MeMeMeisteR2 
Ikr , usually I read the fnatic parts only but I actually read this whole article. The cs scene is so interesting right now , every team in top 7 is a tier 1 team and has something to prove. Well written article too
2019-12-10 03:20
#98
 | 
Denmark GenericPilot 
-EG yeah
2019-12-11 00:02
"flukespicion (noun, 1. suspicion that a result may have been a fluke)" hauehuaehuaehuaehuae, rolf hard. Very good article!
2019-12-10 01:34
#24
Sonic | 
Germany SSimonL 
True! But they forgot to shit on mibr so i'll give it a 7/8!
2019-12-10 02:08
They don't have to, they shit on themselves every tournament :D
2019-12-10 08:41
+1
2019-12-10 09:50
We can say the same thing about big, g2, vitality, and I don't even know what is this flag from the guy in the middle hahahaha
2019-12-10 20:06
#19
 | 
Colombia MonstarX 
Liquid = From six consecutive big event titles to no titles in six events Do it meme men)))
2019-12-10 01:37
6/6/0/6. Oh shit. 666. Liquid are the devil!
2019-12-10 05:42
#43
 | 
Colombia MonstarX 
You summoned a goat in my room with
2019-12-10 05:46
#21
shrek | 
New Zealand is_love 
Mouz era 2020
2019-12-10 01:43
#22
shrek | 
New Zealand is_love 
flukespicion (noun, 1. suspicion that a result may have been a fluke) lol hltv
2019-12-10 01:54
#23
WARDELL | 
Canada ZHF 
flukespicion hahahah
2019-12-10 01:57
Great article until they mentioned FaZe. The team has the names and that's all they have. Haven't produced any decent results since NiKo took the helm. Some random Blast titles which to me holds no prestige. A bunch of Bo1 fest. Boring and uninspiring. I would rather see HLTV mentioning 100T or ATK for that matter.
2019-12-10 02:17
#92
 | 
South Africa tsarbae 
+1
2019-12-10 15:24
#26
 | 
Norway Dresno 
Good read
2019-12-10 02:24
lol amazing article
2019-12-10 02:37
#29
 | 
Spain Jonathan_N 
nothing
2019-12-10 02:38
Both tournaments were great fun and thanks to Mouz for such an explosive performance, GG, but still have to wonder if results of ESL would be different if some of the teams didn't have to travel cross the atlantic same day as a grand final.
2019-12-10 02:42
#33
 | 
Pakistan MeMeMeisteR2 
Xaxaxaxaxaxaxaza mad astralis fan , jetlagged till 1 week after their travel?
2019-12-10 03:22
Typical Pakistani fnatic troll :D
2019-12-10 03:27
#51
 | 
Pakistan MeMeMeisteR2 
Even Pakistan cs has.more young talent than Danish cs
2019-12-10 07:23
But can you play CT side?
2019-12-10 08:35
#59
 | 
Pakistan MeMeMeisteR2 
I'm not even gonna attempt to comeback. U win
2019-12-10 08:48
haha have a good day dude
2019-12-10 09:00
nt astralis fangay!
2019-12-10 06:25
says a fan of team that has never even played a match LMAO
2019-12-10 06:46
you will see . OG will rekt Chokestralis ! LMAO
2019-12-10 06:56
nt OG fangay!
2019-12-10 07:09
#93
 | 
Germany japanerkatana 
C u at 12.12.
2019-12-10 15:52
#31
 | 
Philippines LYrpz 
We learned that the danes suck at denmark. No offense cause theyre ny favorite team rn.
2019-12-10 02:54
plastic fan spotted LMAO
2019-12-10 11:52
#83
 | 
Estonia JackReacher 
flair doesnt check out
2019-12-10 14:06
#35
 | 
Ireland whocarsman 
Liquid's form is getting better yet article acts like they're still playing like dogshit
2019-12-10 03:43
#36
 | 
United States whatisthisban 
Getting better? They were better before not now, actually winning t1 tournaments now they can't make it on finals
2019-12-10 04:14
they were at peak at first n then dropped n now climbing slowly back up again
2019-12-11 14:36
I mean losing to fnatic was for me a upset. Considering Liquid had better individuals and play more tactics in a game
2019-12-10 04:47
#37
 | 
United States jay_320 
Agree on all points really. Except for the fact that Liquid is playing Astralis closer then they ever really have before. I mean if we want to have some make believe team of the year thing then sure give it to the danes but Liquid look better then they have in months. Also on Fnatic. I was totally wrong about the squad as well. I honestly thought they were going to be dog shit when Golden was announced to be coming back and I didn't know what to expect out of Flusha. They are definitely legit though and Brollan/Krimz are studs.
2019-12-10 04:23
#40
f0rest | 
China hzxhl16 
Nice red
2019-12-10 04:48
#41
 | 
China sunzhengcai 
really good article
2019-12-10 05:17
nice
2019-12-10 06:20
#52
 | 
Malta Yarrak 
mouz top1 men
2019-12-10 08:18
that's eu best region. uh we know it already
2019-12-10 08:20
#54
 | 
Denmark khalannz 
Its going to be interesting to see if Mousesports can continue their form next year. However, I would point out that the top 4 from ECS all had a long travel with minor recovery before playing in Odense. I think that, to an extend, has something to say as well.
2019-12-10 08:22
#64
 | 
Norway TheMushrix 
But still fnatic made it all The way to The finals, kind of a bad excuse
2019-12-10 09:37
#81
 | 
Denmark khalannz 
I'm not using it as an excuse, I'm merely pointing out that I think it had some influence in the teams' performance. Teams such as Astralis, EG and Liquid. Liquid did look quite strong in ECS imho and I'm sure they will be even stronger in 2020. For them too I think the travel and maybe jetlag caused them not to perform on their strongest? Regarding EG, they are not on their top right now, but their travel schedule has also been insane tbf. Asia, US then EU .. Regarding Astralis, I do cheer for them, however I think that mousesports was the better team in the semi finals, and they deserved the win. They simply wanted it more.. As for fnatic, kudos to themto be able to perform due to the travel. There's a reason they are ranked #2 in the world rn :) In any case 2020 will be exciting, and see if mousesports will be able to follow up on their recent form.
2019-12-10 13:42
#61
 | 
Japan Pingu_MOUZ 
i want to have a sexual relationship with every mouz players including the coach rejin <3
2019-12-10 09:03
#65
s1mple | 
Europe Sam2k 
wtfmens))
2019-12-10 09:43
#62
 | 
Finland 0lter 
I learned 2+2=4 wow im so smart
2019-12-10 09:09
#63
ceh9 | 
World mukas17 
Faze is trash. Should just pull the plug on this joke of a team. Niko will only be good if he plays under an iron fist.
2019-12-10 09:13
#68
 | 
Switzerland x676 
We learned Sharks is t3 and will be t5 after meyern leaves
2019-12-10 09:55
What we learned: NA CS OMEGALOL
2019-12-10 10:24
This
2019-12-10 10:54
gj striker
2019-12-10 10:51
Faze still needs time to set their frequencies with each other and broky needs to step up huge or else he'll the first one to get benched
2019-12-10 11:12
broky played fine here
2019-12-10 13:17
No he didn't coz look at brollan, he rekt every team except mouz in the final and he still played great in the final and broky on the hand didn't even played close to brollan so he needs to step up
2019-12-10 14:07
hmm, I guess I didn't realize how good broky can be
2019-12-10 14:15
they missed out, that we learned about shitty TOs, who dont use booths... and for the good of all tourneys there should be a Rule for big events to use those booths combined with noise cancelling headsets! Crowd cheating is the worst thing, cause you cannot even NOT do it.. when you are slow-peeking a corner and the croud is chanting, you instantly know, there has to be something going on round that corner!
2019-12-10 14:02
#85
 | 
World Beard43 
+1 This is a good point, it was really bad when Astralis were playing.
2019-12-10 14:14
#87
 | 
World Beard43 
"flukespicion" xD Probably won't mean much coming from a 100T fan here, but I think that whilst perhaps 'winnable' 100T are a tough opponent for FaZe (100T/RNG have won the last 4 Bo3's). 100T are by far the better team here, FaZe have some great players but are absolute, utter garbage as a team. I can't find a more polite way of saying just how damn bad they are considering the raw individual talent of their players, it's actually a joke.
2019-12-10 14:36
#89
 | 
World Beard43 
+ I hope Mouz can keep the run going, they played some awesome CS!
2019-12-10 14:44
#90
 | 
Sweden Akoulad 
what we learned: flukes still happens astralis still best team ever fnatic 2ns best team ever
2019-12-10 14:50
#97
mantuu | 
Senegal rageN1x 
i learned that brazils bots
2019-12-10 21:40
i learned that botvice gets his ass carried and wins mvps over and over.
2019-12-11 12:03
#101
 | 
Canada SoldatHeero 
Fanatic surprised me because Golden started playing way better
2019-12-11 12:06
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