ESL One New York has come to a close, with several storylines playing out over the weekend. The event was somewhat of a toss-up, with the Swiss group play system creating some interesting matchups, granting each team the chance to bounce out of slumping performances, or cruise right into playoffs.
Perhaps the most surprising showing over the weekend at ESL One New York was that of G2 eSports. Now holding the French-CS crown, G2 have been considered one of the best in the world as of late; no-one could have predicted the 0-3 performance that would see the French stars become the first team eliminated from the tournament.
Dropping a close first match to Astralis, G2 were never able to pull themselves together as they would follow with disappointing losses to both Liquid and OpTic on Train and Cache respectively. Of course, both of the North American hopefuls played some sound Counter-Strike to topple the French giants, but observers will be shaking their heads at this outcome for some time.
OpTic Gaming have been a team on the brink for quite some time. Finally being able to utilise the new-found firepower that Tarik “tarik” Celik brings to the table, ESL New York was an empty wall waiting to be painted green. Given that it was even somewhat surprising to see OpTic outmatch Cloud 9 to qualify for the tournament, losing early to both SK Gaming and Fnatic was not unexpected by any means. More importantly for the Greenwall was their performance on Day 2, with nothing left to lose, the team at their lowest showed the greatest resolve and put together an amazing run that just barely fell short of the finish line.
They knocked out G2 in swift fashion and stole Overpass from the grasps of Astralis, sending both the French and the Danes packing. OpTic now need to find a way to translate the resilience they showed on Day 2 into long-term motivation as they continue to develop as a group.
Virtus Pro have been one of the only static elements in the Counter-Strike universe as the eSports community expands. They opened their tournament with a strong performance on Cobblestone against the unproven ranks of the new Fnatic lineup before stumbling against the eventual champions, dropping their second match to Na’Vi.
After regrouping, they would find a win against Liquid, and finally ink themselves a spot in playoffs after an absolutely nail-biter against OpTic. In playoffs, Virtus Pro looked to be in the form we’ve all seen in the past, as they played their hearts out to take down SK 2-1 in a thrilling three-map affair featuring two overtime showdowns.
Unfortunately, this inspiring performance would not be enough to take down Na’Vi. The Grand Finals certainly did not disappoint though, as this one could stretch all three maps once again and come to a close with a well-timed smoke defuse from Na’Vi in overtime on Mirage:
Na’Vi’s hero would come in the form of a late-blooming Oleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev, as after a rather quiet start to the tournament he would end up finishing with a 1.29 rating to top the tournament’s participants. Now that it’s all said and done, it is fair to say that Na’Vi have muzzled many of those sceptical of the teams new talent.