StarLadder i-League StarSeries Season 3 - Group stage over
The last day of the group stages has come to a conclusion, deciding six additional teams to pass through to the playoffs of the tournament.
The final day of the playoffs saw some very close matches and some that weren't so close at all. All eight participants of the playoffs have been established, with surprising exits for SK Gaming, Virtus.pro and Ninjas in Pyjamas. The table below outlines team standings as of the conclusion of the group stage:
|Qualified for playoffs||Eliminated|
|Counter Logic Gaming||SK Gaming|
|Fnatic||Ninjas in Pyjamas|
The schedule for the playoff matches:
The first match saw Immortals take care of the final Asian representative in the tournament. Initially it seemed the Brazilians were out of answer, as the Koreans secure the pistol round, followed by a four round streak, however the team was only able to add a single additional round to that record over the remaining course of the initial half. The remainder of them fell in favour of Immortals, the pivotal point being a 0-5 deficit. The second half saw MVP Project secure the second pistol round, allowing an equaliser in terms of score at 9:9. This equality was short-lived, as the Brazilians focus up and smash round after round, all the way to a spectacular 16:9 finish and a placement in round 5 of the Swiss group stage.
An incredibly close encounter between the North American and CIS representatives, where Gambit slipped up right at the end, conceding the crucial series to their opponents. Kicking off on the T side, Gambit picked up the pistol round, following up with an additional two, extending the lead to 3:0. The first gun round fell in favour of CLG, however no further developments were seen thereafter, as Gambit snatched a further three. The streak was cut once again on round eight, as CLG dispatched the entire team to produce their second round of the first half. Re-focused, CLG manage to close out the final four rounds of the half, closing the round gap at a 9-6 deficit. On the CT side the North American roster showed a dominant stint, absolutely beasting Gambit in all imaginable ways. A whopping nine consecutive rounds fell in favour of CLG, pistol round included, leaving the team a single round away from victory at 15:9. Gambit despaired not and started slowly grinding out the rounds. With five in their favour the score was at a nail-biting 15:14 in favour of CLG. There was no overtime, however, as the 30th round fell in favour of the T-sided North Americans, closing out the map ever so close.
Yet another disappointment from Virtus.pro was seen in their match against Fnatic. The plow was unable to initiate on the heavily T-sided map, with morale as low as ever. Fnatic kicked off on the preferred side, grabbing the pistol with a double round follow-up. The gun round was taken by Virtus.pro, however this did not affect very much on the side of Fnatic, as the team proceed to pummel the defence and go on an eight round winning streak, that was eventually halted by the Poles after the team secured their second, and final round of the map on round thirteen. The second half saw a cull from the Swedes, as they grab the pistol round, followed by two more rounds to close out the map at an incredible 16:2.
A strong performance from the Danes meant the team would secure its placement in the playoffs of the tournament, whilst FaZe would have to go on to face another team in round 5. The Danes kicked off on the CT side where they were able to grab the five initial rounds. FaZe managed to produce a round of their own on the 6th, however resurgence from the Danes meant that the exchange would be mutual. The two teams play push and shove, up until the 15th round where a 9:6 score in favour of North was seen. On the T side the initial streak didn't quite reach five rounds, nevertheless North were able to secure the pistol, followed by two more rounds. FaZe follow up the gun round victory with a triple streak of their own, producing a 10:12 score line. Despite monumental efforts from all members of FaZe, the team was unable to equalise in the end, falling to a very close 16:13 score. North are through to the playoffs, whilst FaZe prepare for their round 5 match-up.
A strong performance from the European mix allows the team a spot in the playoffs over the Swedish roster of NiP. Off to a strong start the CT side of HellRaisers secured the pistol round, followed by the complimentary two. The Ninjas follow up with a gun round and an additional two, producing an equaliser at 3:3. The remainder of the half was the HellRaisers show, as the team picks up seven rounds to NiP's two, cutting the first half at 10:5. The performance proceeded on the T side for the European mix, as the team picked up the pistol and the following two rounds, further extending their lead. This was a pivotal point for the Ninjas, as the team mount a comeback, plowing through eight consecutive rounds, bringing the score to 13:13. Unfortunately the effort was wasted, as HellRaisers cut the cards after securing three more rounds, closing the series at 16:13.
Astralis outperformed SK Gaming on de_Train, securing a spot in the playoffs of the tournament. Overall quite a weak start from the Danes, as they conceded the initial three rounds to SK, allowing the Brazilians to develop some confidence. This was countered immediately come the gun round, as the T side of Astralis ran away with not only the buy round but also the following three, amassing a 4:3 lead. The teams exchange a round each prior to SK taking ownership of the initial half by slamming six consecutive rounds in their favour, lining up a strong 10:5 lead on the Danes. Astralis' CT side proved to be more than a challenge for SK Gaming, as the Brazilians fell face flat down on all but two occasions against the major title holders. Round six and ten saw an addition of two to SK's round score, the rest of which dropped into the hands of Astralis, at 16:12.
The kings of Train are dethroned as FaZe Clan demolish the Brazilian roster, securing their placement in the playoffs of the tournament. FaZe kick off to a strong start, securing four rounds off the bat. SK Gaming manage to clock in round 5, only to conceded a further three following the victory. Finally the Brazilians seemed to have woken up on the T side of the map, as they manage to secure six rounds to one in the latter stage of the initial half, culminating in a single round deficit for the team at 7:8. The start of the second half was a pivotal moment in the match, where FaZe Clan elevated themselves way above the level of play SK Gaming were able to pose a threat to. An incredibly eight consecutive rounds were accrued by the European mix, utterly shutting out any ambitions the Brazilians had of making it to the playoffs.
Brazil was not having the best of evenings as the second representative departs from the race in consecutive fashion. It all kicked off on a rather level playing field during the initial half, where it seemed that Immortals would be able to produce more of a fight. Whilst CLG were able to land the pistol round, a force buy from the Brazilians shut down the opponent, allowing momentum to be developed by the Brazilian side. Five rounds followed, placing Immortals at a 5:1 lead. The North American representatives didn't let the first half get entirely out of hand, accruing a total of seven rounds prior to its end. The score was a close 8:7 favouring Immortals. The latter half saw complete domination from CLG on the T side, where they conceded but a single round over its entirety.
The final match of the day saw a Swedish clash for survival in the tournament, the victor of which would be sole. A commanding performance was seen from Fnatic's CT side, as the team consistently shuts down NiP's aggression. Four initial rounds were secured by Fnatic, only to be shut down by NiP on the fifth. Despite this setback the economy was flourishing and the Swedes continued pushing the score line. Ninjas in Pyjamas managed to grab their second round in round eleven and unfortunately for the team that was all she wrote. Fnatic continue their domination all the way through to a 13:2 finish, placing the team ever so close to a spot in the playoffs. In the latter half NiP managed to secure the three initial rounds prior to Fnatic crawling up a round at 14:6. Round 21 saw the final victory of NiP as Fnatic followed up with two rounds to close out the series at 16:7.
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