ELEAGUE Major: Boston 2018
|Sport||Counter-Strike: Global Offensive|
Atlanta, Georgia, United States |
Boston, Massachusetts, United States
|Dates||January 12, 2018–January 28, 2018|
Two 16 team swiss-system group stages |
8 team single-elimination playoff
|Teams||23 teams |
|1st runners-up||FaZe Clan|
|MVP||Tyler "Skadoodle" Latham |
ELEAGUE Major: Boston 2018, also known as ELEAGUE Major 2018 or Boston 2018, was the twelfth Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Major Championship and second organized by ELEAGUE. The group stage was held in Atlanta, Georgia, United States from January 12, 2018 to January 22, 2018 and the playoffs took place at the Agganis Arena in Boston, Massachusetts, United States from January 26, 2018 to January 28, 2018. It featured twenty-four professional teams from around the world. All sixteen teams from last major, PGL 2017 Kraków Major Championship, directly qualified for the major while another eight teams qualified through their respective regional qualifiers as ELEAGUE and Valve Corporation agreed to expand the major to 24 teams. ELEAGUE Major is the fifth consecutive major with a prize pool of $1,000,000. This was also the first time a CS:GO major took place in two cities.
SK Gaming and Fnatic were the only returning Legends, as it was the fewest number of returning Legends in major history; the two teams ended up being the only remaining teams to make the playoffs out off all the majors both teams attended, with Fnatic's run starting at 2013 DreamHack Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Championship and SK Gaming's run starting at ESL One Katowice 2015, in which the Brazilians were with the organization Keyd Stars. FaZe Clan, G2 Esports, Natus Vincere, Quantum Bellator Fire, Cloud9, and mousesports were new Legends. Defending champions Gambit Esports, 100 Thieves (formerly Immortals), Astralis, BIG, North, and Virtus.pro were out as Legends after five teams were knocked out in the New Legends stage and 100 Thieves not making the major due to visa issues. This marked the first time Astralis's core three – Nicolai "dev1ce" Reedtz, Peter "dupreeh" Rothmann, and Andreas "Xyp9x" Højsleth – did not make the playoffs for the first time in Global Offensive major history, leaving just Olof "olofmeister" Kajbjer of FaZe Clan and Freddy "KRIMZ" Johansson of Fnatic as the only two remaining players to become Legends at all twelve majors.
The grand finals featured FaZe Clan, which was the favorite to win the tournament, and Cloud9, which was the second North American team to reach a major final. FaZe defeated mousesports and Natus Vincere to reach the finals, while Cloud9 pulled off two upsets with wins against G2 Esports and SK Gaming. In what is being called one of the greatest finals of all time, Cloud9 etched out the win over FaZe Clan to become the first ever North American team to win a major. It would also mark just the fourth time in CS:GO history in which a North American team won a premier international event, behind iBUYPOWER winning the ESEA Global Finals Season 15, Cloud9 winning ESL Pro League Season 4, and OpTic Gaming winning and ELEAGUE Season 2.
- 1 Background
- 2 Format
- 3 Regional qualifiers
- 4 Broadcast talent
- 5 Teams competing
- 6 New Challengers stage
- 7 New Legends stage
- 8 New Champions stage
- 9 Final standings
- 10 Pro-Am Showmatch
- 11 References
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) is a multiplayer first-person shooter video game developed by Hidden Path Entertainment and Valve Corporation. It is the fourth game in the Counter-Strike series. In competitive play, the game pits two teams against each other: the Terrorists and the Counter-Terrorists. Both sides are tasked with eliminating the other while also completing separate objectives. The Terrorists must either plant a bomb or kill the entire Counter-Terrorist team, while the Counter-Terrorists must either prevent the bomb from being planted by killing the entire Terrorist team or defusing the bomb. At the end of each round, players are rewarded based on their individual performance with in-game currency to spend on more powerful weapons in subsequent rounds. Winning rounds results in more money than losing, and completing objectives such as killing enemy players gives cash bonuses. However, the more consecutive rounds a team loses, the more money the losing team earns, with the loss bonus capping after five rounds; once that team wins a round, the loss round bonus resets to the minimum amount each player could earn after a round.
There are six categories of purchasable categories, five being weapons – rifles, sub-machine guns (SMGs), heavy, pistols, and grenades – and the sixth being utilities, which includes armor and a taser. All guns have different states and all grenade types have different in-game effects. The highly explosive grenade deals damage in a small radius, the smoke grenade places a smoke screen for fifteen seconds so that nobody can see through the placed smoke, the decoy grenade emulates the player's primary gun, the flashbang temporarily blinds players who look at it explode, and the Molotov cocktail and Incendiary Grenade set a small radius of the map on fire for seven seconds. Alongside all of these weapons, the Zeus x27, a taser, can also be purchased. For most professional players, the main choice of weapons are two rifles – the AK-47 for Terrorists and the M4A4 or the M4A1-S for the Counter-Terrorists – and the AWP. However, if limited on money, players tend to choose pistols – such as the Desert Eagle, CZ-75 Auto, and the P250 – the UMP-45 – which is considered to be simply a weaker M4A4 or AK47 despite being an SMG – and the SSG 08 – which is a much inferior AWP. If players know the opposing team has a weaker inventory, then players may choose to use lesser weaponry such as the MAC-10 or the MP-9 as the SMGs give twice as much money as rifles with each kill and give players more money going into further rounds. Heavy weapons are rarely used, with the MAG-7 being the most used, as players need to be very close range in order to get an accurate shot. The Kevlar is an important part of CS:GO as having armor allows a player to have more accurate aim when while getting hit by bullets and decreases the amount of damage taken. A helmet can also be bought; the helmet does not allow certain weapons to give a one shot, one kill potential, like the M4A4. Counter-Terrorists can also buy a defuse kit, which decreases the amount of time to defuse the bomb from ten seconds to five, which saves a lot of time as the bomb explodes forty seconds after the Terrorists planted the bomb.
In the game, there are two bombsites where Terrorists can plant the bomb. Counter-Terrorist must defend the bombsites from the Terrorists. Each half starts with a pistol round, in which players can only buy utility, grenades, or pistols. Most teams tend to have three or four players buy Kevlar armor and one or two players who buy grenades and/or a defuse kit; on the Terrorist side, a player sometimes buys an upgraded pistol and gives that pistol to a teammate who as Kevlar in order to give the Terrorists a better chance to win the round, as the default Terrorists pistol, the Glock is inferior the default Counter-Terrorist pistol, the USP-S. Most teams tend to go for a force buy in the second round if they lose the pistol round; a force buy is in which a team uses up its money despite having lesser weaponry than the other team in an attempt to win the round. Other teams go for a save or economy round, in which the teams intentionally do not buy many weapons or utility to have more money to buy more ideal weapons in the following round. Teams then go into a gun round, in which both teams have decent guns, but not necessarily the ideal round, as one team may have a player who has a less than ideal gun or the team does not have many grenades. Each half consists of fifteen rounds and a regular game has a maximum of thirty rounds. The first team to reach sixteen rounds wins the game. If teams are tied at fifteen, the games goes to overtime, in which each overtime is a best of six rounds, making each half three rounds. If teams are still tied at the end of overtime, the game will go on to another overtime until a winner is decided.
The defending champion was Gambit Esports, which became the first Asian team and CIS team to win a major and just the second non-European team to win a major. The Swedish team Fnatic won three majors to be the most decorated CS:GO team in history, and SK Gaming from Brazil coming in second with two majors.
On December 13, 2017, the general manager of ELEAGUE Christina Alejandre announced a partially new format designed by Valve and ELEAGUE. The offline qualifier would now be part of the main stage and would be rebranded as the "New Challengers stage." In addition, the teams in this qualifier would also receive in-game stickers. Stickers are items in the game that have the logo of the team and the autographs of the players that those playing the game can put on their weapons. In the grand scheme of things, the format was virtually the same.
There are four regional qualifiers – Americas, Asia, CIS, and Europe. Two teams from each qualifier move on to the New Challengers stage that will take place in Atlanta from January 19, 2018 to January 22, 2018. Each minor will feature eight teams. Eight teams qualify from the closed qualifier to the minor. Each minor has two groups of four and the top two teams from each group move on to the bracket stage. There, the four teams play in a four team, double elimination, best of three and the top two teams move on to the major.
The "New Challengers stage," formerly known as the offline qualifier, features sixteen teams: the bottom eight teams from the last major, PGL 2017 Kraków Major Championship, and the eight teams from the minors. These teams play in a sixteen team, Swiss-system format. The top eight teams from this stage move on to the next phase of the major.
The group stage, now known as the "New Legends stage" will feature the sixteen teams that are normally a part of the main stage. These teams include the top eight teams from the PGL Major and the top eight teams from the New Challengers stage. Like the Challengers stage, the Legends stage is a sixteen team, Swiss-system format. The top eight teams from this phase move on to the top eight.
In the playoffs, now known as the "Champions stage," eight teams will play in a single elimination, best of three bracket. Teams will play until a winner is decided in the finals.
Each regional qualifier, called "Minors", featured eight teams, whether through direct invitation or through qualifiers. Each minor featured two groups of four teams; these groups were in GSL double elimination formats, which was the format used at every major until the ELEAGUE Major, with the initial matches and winners match being best of ones and the losers and decider series being best of three. Two teams of each group qualify for the bracket phase, which is a four team, double elimination, best of three bracket. Two teams qualify for the major qualifier from each minor.
Each minor also had a US$50,000 prize pool with first place receiving US$30,000, second place taking in US$15,000, and third place raking in the last US$5,000.
The Asia Minor took place shortly after the major announcement. Eight teams were invited to the qualifier in Seoul, South Korea and no online, open, or closed qualifier took place. This caused some controversy as minors were intended for all teams to be able to qualify and had no chance to prove themselves; top Asian teams such as Recca eSports, Grayhound Gaming, and Risky Gaming had more success than the likes of The MongolZ and other teams in the minor but were not invited. The Asia Minor took place on October 26, 2017 to October 29, 2017. The dates also caused some controversy as TyLoo and AVANGAR and Team Spirit from the CIS qualifier of EPICENTER 2017, a premier tournament, were forced to drop out of the tournament due to the dates of the minor and EPICENTER running into each other. TyLoo opted in anyways and lost to FaZe Clan in the Wild Card phase, so the Chinese team did not have much conflict. Similar events happened in the past, including Renegades forced to drop out of the ESL Pro League Season 4 Finals to play in the ELEAGUE Major 2017 Asia Minor. In addition, many players could not obtain visas in time between the time Valve announced the major and the qualifier dates, causing some teams to drop out of the qualifiers. ViCi Gaming was invited to the minor, but visa issues forced the team to pull out. B.O.O.T-dream[S]cape from Singapore was named the replacement.
The Commonwealth of Independent States Minor took place on the same dates as the Asia Minor in Bucharest, Romania and used the same format as the Asia Minor. It had a 283 team open qualifier, in which six teams make it to the minor. Two teams were invited, Team Spirit and Tengri. Originally, Klan FONTAN and Fantazeri qualified for the minor as both teams placed fifth in the open qualifier, but visa issues for a player for each team did not allow the team to travel to Romania. Nemiga Gaming replaced Klan FONTAN. The other team that placed seventh in the open qualifier, WEPLAY, could not obtain visas in such a short amount of time, so the last spot was settled in a last chance qualifier, which was won by forZe.
The Europe Minor took place on November 2, 2017 and ended on November 5, 2017. No team was invited to the minor, but eight teams – GODSENT, HellRaisers, Heroic, Ninjas in Pyjamas, OpTic Gaming, Space Soldiers, Team EnVyUs, and Team LDLC.com – were invited to the closed qualifier. Another eight teams qualified through an open qualifier, which was a 512 team bracket. There, the sixteen teams played in a Swiss group stage, with all matches played online. The final eight teams went on to go to Bucharest to determine which two teams would move on to the New Challenger stage.
The open qualifiers were played on the platform CEVO, as opposed to the more popular ESEA, which is run by ESL, and FACEIT as both had been used for the qualifiers in the past. However, ELEAGUE's decision to use CEVO spurred controversy in the community as CEVO's anti-cheat system was not as well developed as ESL or FACEIT, leading to many players, particularly in the Europe open qualifier, to play with cheats on. Many of these cheaters were banned mid-match, causing many forced forfeits in the 512 team bracket.
The Americas Minor will take place on the same dates as the Europe Minor and took place in Toronto, Canada. Two teams were automatically invited to the minor: Team Liquid and Counter Logic Gaming. One team from the South American open also qualified for the tournament. The remaining five spots went to the top five teams in the North American open qualifier. There, eight teams were invited – compLexity Gaming, Ghost Gaming, Immortals, Luminosity Gaming, Misfits, NRG Esports, Rogue, and Splyce – and another eight teams qualified through an open qualifier. FRENCH CANADIANS initially qualified for the minor, but one of its players had visa issues, so the spot went to one of the teams that placed 6th at the qualifier. In the end, Misfits defeated Immortals and SoaR Gaming to claim the last spot.
|B1||Counter Logic G.||1|
|B1||Counter Logic G.||0|
The broadcast talent of the Boston major was announced on the same day as the preliminary group stage.
Master of Ceremonies
The casters also served as analysts when not casting
1100 Thieves announced that it would not be able to attend the major due to visa issues.
Between the end of the PGL Major 2017 and the beginning of the Boston Major 2018, changes took place.
Several problems arose from the major. The most common was the announcement of the major was announced very late that several players were not able to obtain visas to their minors or the major itself. In addition, Valve did not allow Luis "peacemaker" Tadeu and Wilton "zews" Prado to have their own stickers despite peacemaker standing in for Hansel "BnTet" Ferdinand, who had visa issues, and zews standing in for Lucas "steel" Lopes. peacemaker said on Twitter that he was unhappy with the way ELEAGUE and Valve were handling player locks and the sticker situation – as player situations, handled by ELEAGUE, amounted to teams having to play with their original rosters and fifty percent of sticker sales went directly to the players and organization – and the team was considering to forfeit its spot in the major since peacemaker's role was a coach and not a player. In addition, peacemaker left TyLoo to become the coach of the Danish organization Heroic. TyLoo later confirmed its absence at the major as Flash Gaming, the third-place finisher from the Asia Minor, set to take its place as peacemaker and TyLoo could not work out a deal together.
Another big complication in the major was the rules on roster locks. ELEAGUE rules stated that players that competed in any minor or the Americas closed qualifier cannot compete on a team that would participate in the major. The roster locks themselves were not the issue; the main issue was why the roster locks were placed months in advance of the major. SK Gaming had placed João "felps" Vasconcellos on the inactive roster by his own request and brought in Ricardo "boltz" Prass in October, Nicolai "dev1ce" Reedtz of Astralis had medical issues in late November, and Team Liquid brought in Lucas "steel" Lopes in place of Peter "stanislaw" Jarguz in mid November, but these teams had to be forced to play with stand-ins. Most of the community and players were dissatisfied with the situation. This raised the question as to why Joakim "disco doplan" Gidetun was allowed to play with Epsilon eSports during the European qualifier and then played with Fnatic at the last ELEAGUE major, but that situation doesn't comply with a few teams at the Boston 2018 major. Shortly after losing to SK Gaming at ESL Pro League Season 6, FaZe Clan’s Ladislav "GuardiaN" Kovács said that the major would be devalued if teams such as SK Gaming would have to play with a stand-in rather than their complete rosters. SK Gaming's Epitácio "TACO" de Melo said the rule was "ridiculous" and went on to say that "I don't think majors are a big deal in CS:GO anymore." Journalist Jarek "DeKay" Lewis said that he tried to reach out to ELEAGUE in an effort for an explanation "to try and find out when and why the roster lock rule changed" but the organization never responded. A couple of weeks later, SK Gaming's captain Gabriel "FalleN" Toledo wanted an explanation as to why ELEAGUE won't say anything about the roster locks, but ELEAGUE continued to stay quiet. Journalist Richard Lewis, who works as the host for ELEAGUE, said in one of his podcasts with Duncan "Thorin" Shields that roster locks are necessary in order for teams to not make changes before the major to benefit them for the tournament. According to SK Gaming's analyst Jan "Swani" Müller, SK Gaming's captain Gabriel "FalleN" Toledo, and SK Gaming's entry fragger Epitácio "TACO" de Melo, SK Gaming said that the major has had a massive drop in prestige, as the team had not been practicing with felps, the player the team would be using for the major, and had rather been practicing with boltz, felps's permanent replacement after the major. After defeating SK Gaming in the semifinals, Cloud9 lurker Timothy "autimatic" Ta also claimed that the system wasn't fair.
In the New Champions stage, the continuing argument of why the fourth quarterfinal series was played on the same day as the two semifinals, as the first team in the second semifinals was much more rested than the second team in the semifinals, who only had a few hours of rest. After Cloud9 defeated SK Gaming, SK's captain FalleN, SK's entry fragger Fernando "fer" Alvarenga, Fnatic's coach Jimmy "Jumpy" Berndtsson, and Cloud9's support player Will "RUSH" Wierzba all said that the system was unfair to the team who had to play two series in a day compared to the team who only needed to play one. Out of the seven majors in which the fourth quarterfinal match was played in the same day as the semifinals, the winner of that quarterfinal lost five times in the semifinals.
HLTV.org rank teams based on results of teams' performances. The rankings shown below reflect the January 8, 2018 rankings.
The HLTV world ranking ranks the best teams in the competitive field of the game. The world ranking is based on teams' achievements over the past year (with severe decay in points throughout each month), recent form over the last 2 months, and performance at the last 10 LAN events. All of that is predicated around a 3-man core each team is required to have in order to retain their past points. Points cap at 1000 points. The rankings started with the ELEAGUE Major 2017, in which Astralis defeated Virtus.pro for its first major title, and DreamHack Masters Las Vegas, in which Virtus.pro defeated SK Gaming. The rankings concluded with the ESL Pro League Season 6 Finals, in which SK Gaming defeated FaZe Clan, and the ECS Season 4 Finals, in which FaZe Clan defeated mousesports.
Teams that are in the top 30 but failed to qualify for the major include Ninjas in Pyjamas (#4, Sweden), OpTic Gaming (#12, Europe), Heroic (#16, Denmark), AGO Gaming (#18, Poland), HellRasiers (#19, Europe), NRG Esports (#21, United States), GODSENT (#25, Sweden), Luminosity Gaming (#26, Brazil), Grayhound Gaming (#28, Australia), and Valiance (#30, Serbia).
The following list shows the relevant tournaments to the rankings. From top to bottom, the tournament becomes more relevant to the rankings. Those in gold indicates the tournament was a Major, meaning Valve, the developers of the game, sponsored the tournament to host a CS:GO major. A premier tournament means it offers an outstanding prize pool, is frequently played offline, and features the best players from all over the world. A major tournament simply means the tournament features a large prize pool and a good number of top teams; the major tournaments that are shown below are only shown because a team from the major participated in the event. This list also shows where the tournament took place, the number of teams at the tournament, the winner and runner-up, prize pool, and – if applicable – HLTV's most valuable player of the tournament.
Top twenty players in the tournament
The top 20 players of 2017 were ranked by HLTV.org. Below is the list of players in the top 20. One player made the top twenty list, but did not play at the major; Ricardo "boltz" Prass (#18, Brazil, Immortals/SK Gaming) was ineligible to play at the major due to roster lock rules. Players who dropped out of the top 20 from 2016 include shox (#6, France, G2 Esports), f0rest (#7, Sweden, Ninjas in Pyjamas), ScreaM (#9, Belgium, Team EnVyUs), flusha (#10, Sweden, Fnatic), flamie (#12, Russia, Natus Vincere), Magisk (#14, Denmark, North/OpTic Gaming), GeT RiGhT (#18, Sweden, Ninjas in Pyjamas), fnx (#19, Brazil, Immortals/100 Thieves), and dennis (#20, Sweden, Fnatic/GODSENT).
Most achievements have whether the player was the most valuable player of the tournament (MVP) or an extremely valuable player in the tournament (EVP).
New Challengers stage
The Challengers stage, also known as the Preliminary stage and formerly known as the offline qualifier, will be a sixteen team swiss tournament: after the randomly-drawn Day 1 games, teams will play other teams with the same win-loss record. Every round will consist of one game. In addition, teams will not play the same team twice unless necessary and teams will be randomly chosen. Any team with three wins would qualify for the major, and any team with three losses would be eliminated. The Challenger stage will be played in Atlanta, Georgia, United States at the Turner Studios.
In the first round, teams from pool one will be matched up against teams in pool four. Teams in pool two will play teams in pool three. One team from a pool is randomly decided to face off against a randomly decided team in another pool. Cloud9, FlipSid3 Tactics, G2 Esports, and Natus Vincere (Na'Vi) were in pool one based on Cloud9, FlipSid3, and G2's ninth-place finish and Na'Vi's eleventh-place finish at the PGL Major; Na'Vi had the higher seed over Sprout Esports and mousesports as Na'Vi was already a Legend going into the PGL Major. Sprout, mousesports, FaZe Clan, and Vega Squadron were in pool two based on the eleventh-place finish or the last place finish at the PGL Major. Renegades, AVANGAR, Space Soldiers, and Team Liquid were in pool three based on winning their respective minor qualifiers. Flash Gaming, Quantum Bellator Fire, Team EnVyUs, and Misfits Gaming were in pool four based on being the runners-up in their respective minor qualifiers.
In the second round, the winners in the first round will face each other in the "high" matches, in which teams with a 1-0 record will play against each other; the losers will face each other in the "low" matches, in which teams with a 0-1 record will play each other.
In the third round, the winners of the high matches (teams with 2-0 records) from round two will face each other. The winners of these two matches will qualify for the major. The losers of the high round and the winners of the low round (teams with 1-1 records) will face each other in the "mid" matches. The losers from the previous low matches (teams with 0-2 records) will face each other in round three's low matches. The losers of these low matches are eliminated. Twelve teams remain in the Challengers stage.
In the fourth round, the losers of the high matches and the winners of the mid matches (teams with 2-1 records) will face each other in round four's high matches. The winners of those high matches qualify for the major. The losers of the mid matches and the winners of the low matches (teams with 1-2 records) will face each other in the low matches of round four. The losers of these matches are eliminated from the major. Six teams remain.
In the last round, the remaining teams will face off (teams with 2-2 records). The winners of these matches will qualify for the Legends stage and the losing teams will be eliminated from the major. In the most ideal of situations, the Swiss format should allow teams to have a harder time each time they win and have an easier time each time they lose.
The first round matchups were announced on January 9, 2018. The New Challengers stage took place from January 12 to January 15.
After the conclusion of the first day, ELEAGUE and 100 Thieves, the runners-up of the last major, announced that the Brazilian roster would not attend due to immigration issues. To complete the sixteen team group stage for the New Legends stage, ELEAGUE decided to have one of the three ninth place teams take the open spot. The two teams with the easiest schedule from the three would face off in a best of one and then the winner of that match would go on to face off against the team that had the hardest schedule. The strength of schedule was determined by which how many wins the teams' opponents got. In the event in which the strength of schedule is the same, the tie breaker would be the head-to-head game. If the teams never played, then a random draw would take place.
Renegades and AVANGAR faced off in the first match after round 5. Karlo "USTILO" Pivac had a back and forth major performance, but as he stepped up, Jame bettered the Renegades with a 30 bomb as AVANGAR pulled off yet another upset despite a last minute heroic play from NAF. AVANGAR went back to Mirage. Jame went stale against the Americans, but buster and qikert were able to step up to shoot down Liquid. However, Liquid made it close late into the game as the Americans were able to punish the aggression of the Kazakhs on their Terrorist side and Liquid defeated the underdogs in overtime.
New Legends stage
The Legends stage, formerly known as the Group stage, used the same format as the Challengers stage. This took place from January 19 to January 22.
Gambit Esports, Virtus.pro, Astralis, BIG were teams in pool one based on their top four placement at the PGL Major; BIG was in pool one because of its first-place finish in the Swiss stage last major. Fnatic, North, SK Gaming, and Cloud9 were teams in pool two based on their quarterfinals finish at the PGL Major; Cloud9 was randomly chosen between it and G2 Esports based on its first-place finish in the Challengers stage. G2 Esports, Vega Squadron, Space Soldiers, and FaZe Clan were in pool three. mousesports, Natus Vincere, Quantum Bellator Fire, and Team Liquid were in pool four.
New Champions stage
The New Champions Stage is a best of three single elimination bracket. Teams play into overtime until a winner is decided. This stage is taking place at the Agganis Arena between January 26 and January 28.
FaZe Clan vs. mousesports
FaZe and mousesports previously squared off at the ECS Season 4 grand finals. The rematch in the Boston 2018 quarterfinals took place on January 26. NiKo met up with his former teammate chrisJ, and both had their long streaks of missing out on a major top eight broken at this tournament. At ECS, FaZe needed to go into overtime games to close out the last tournament of 2017. Despite being the underdogs, mousesports had a 7-7 record against the European superteam. FaZe had to scrape by SK Gaming to take a top spot in the quarterfinals, while mousesports survived a scare against Space Soldiers after chocking away an eleven-round lead to Quantum Bellator Fire. These two teams met at a major once before. In 2017 at the PGL Major, mousesports upset FaZe in overtime.
Casters: Sadokist & HenryG
Game one started with a thriller on the rarely-played Nuke. It started off with the pistol round, where rain took down STYKO and ropz and NiKo took down suNny to give FaZe an immediate 5 vs. 2 advantage. oskar was able to kill karrigan and chrisJ was able to take down rain, but immediate trades from NiKo and GuardiaN gave FaZe the first round of the Boston 2018 playoffs. FaZe took a 3-0 lead, but mousesports later 7-4 lead. FaZe was able to take a few rounds here and there, but mousesports's Terrorist side proved to be stronger. In round 15, GuardiaN started strong in a round FaZe needed to win, as Nuke tended to be a very Counter-Terrorist sided map, as he took down STYKO, but suNny was able to trade. olofmeister followed suit onto ropz before chrisJ planted the bomb. suNny then went huge as he took down rain, NiKo, and olofmeister to virtually secure the round for mousesports. karrigan was able to kill oskar, but another kill from suNny gave him the ace and mousesports a strong Terrorist side. In the second half, FaZe showed that it could also perform on the Terrorist side. After take the pistol round and the following two anti-economy rounds, mousesports took one back. In the 20th round, FaZe ran all over mousesports. rain killed oskar, NiKo downed STYKO, olofmeister took down chrisJ and then followed up onto ropz, and rain finished it off with a kill onto suNny to reset mousesports's economy. FaZe's roll came to a stop as mousesports went up to a 14-12 lead before FaZe made it 14-13. However, mousesports was able to save itself by winning the following round, putting FaZe's economy at a low point. Despite this, karrigan's squad had a lucky situation. In round 29, karrigan took down STYKO with an upgraded pistol. ropz took down rain and suNny and oskar followed up onto karrigan and NiKo, respectively. However, suNny accidentally jumped to his death, suddenly giving FaZe a small chance to win the round and stay alive in the map. GuardiaN took out oskar before olofmeister planted the bomb. olofmeister then took down chrisJ and there was no time left to defuse the bomb, forcing ropz to back away, giving FaZe the round. The last round of regulation had some more FaZe magic to show off. In a 2 vs. 4 situation, karrigan planted the bomb with only he and NiKo left alive. karrigan then killed oskar and NiKo followed up onto chrisJ to quickly make it a 1 vs. 2. STYKO then took down karrigan. suNny then threw a molotov towards NiKo's position to try to deny access the Bosnian as mousesports were trying to defuse the bomb. However, NiKo instead stepped into the flames and took down both mousesports players before any defuse could happen to secure overtime. Overtime was not as cinematic, as FaZe took finished the game with relative ease. suNny went massive with 40 kills and ropz did well with 27, but NiKo's 36 and olofmeister's 27 showed up to shut down mousesports.
FaZe's Terrorist side on Cache was too much for mousesports as the normally Counter-Terrorist sided map leaned heavily towards FaZe's offense. In the 15th round, FaZe proved to be relentless. NiKo killed suNny early on near the A bombsite. When FaZe decided to head to the B bombsite, NiKo caught chrisJ at just the right time. STYKO was able to kill karrigan, but ropz and STYKO fell to NiKo and NiKo finished off the ace by taking down oskar in the middle area. In the 20th round, after mousesports won the first three rounds of the half and FaZe winning the first gun round, ropz fell to rain in the early stages of the round. As mousesports creeped into the A bombsite, olofmeister killed STYKO before being traded out by suNny. mousesports didn't expect NiKo to be nearby, as the second best player in the world took down his former teammate chrisJ and oskar before being downed by suNny. However, NiKo did enough as karrigan cleaned up suNny to win a twelfth round. In the 24th round, mousesports lost the 23rd round and went for a bizarre buy with a shotgun – which only is useful close range – a submachine gun, two upgrade pistols, and one weak, unideal pistol. However, rain was able to shut four of them down and FaZe got match and series point. The favorites then easily won the last round to move on to the semifinals. NiKo had 24 kills and olofmeister and GuardiaN had 19 each. ropz had 18, but it was not enough.
Natus Vincere vs. Quantum Bellator Fire
Both teams were not expected to be in Boston, as Natus Vincere was in a massive struggle and Quantum Bellator Fire wasn't even supposed to be in the New Legends stage. However, Na'Vi pulled together after a bad loss to Gambit Esports and ran away with three wins in a row to clinch a spot in the playoffs. Many doubted QBF because it faced weak opponents in the New Challengers stage, but wins over Gambit and mousesports secured their spot in the finals. These two teams had never met prior to this tournament, but Na'Vi did easily defeat QBF in the New Challengers stage. Na'Vi's international experience and star players made them favorites in this match. Kvik of QBF not only became the first Lithuanian to play at a major, but also was the first Lithuanian to be in the top eight of a major.
Casters: James Bardolph & ddk
Na'Vi had an eventful map on Mirage. QBF took the pistol round, but Na'Vi bounced right back and went on a massive streak of 13 unanswered round before QBF took the last round to make it 2-13. In the 19th round, QBF had a great chance to extend the game. Boombl4 took down Zeus and Edward and waterfallZ took out electronic and QBF had a 5 vs. 2. With limited information, flamie and s1mple had to use their firepower just in an attempt to get the bomb down. flamie killed balbina and waterfaLLZ and then s1mple got a triple kill onto Kvik, Boombl4, and jmqa to pull off a miracle round win. QBF never recovered and Na'Vi easily took the first map. flamie took the reins over s1mple and dropped 39 kills. waterfaLLZ was supposed to show up as he had before the playoffs, but the QBF in-game leader only had 7 kills. flamie set a new record for most kills in a half.
Na'Vi continued its stride on Inferno. With Na'Vi up 10-3, QBF needed the next two rounds to have a decent chance to win the game. waterfaLLZ caught out s1mple early in the round and jmqa followed onto electronic. waterfaLLZ took down Edward as Na'Vi were going to the A bombsite. Boombl4 was able to kill Zeus to leave flamie alone against five. flamie tried to take away as many guns as possible, but jmqa didn't allow that and QBF acquired a fourth round. However, Na'Vi took the last round of the half despite QBF garnering a decent amount of information, leaving QBF to have a mountain to climb. In the first gun round of the second half, Edward started with a kill onto Boombl4 with the help of a plethora of grenades. However, flamie died to the bullet of waterfaLLZ to even the playing field. jmqa tried to pull a fake, but Edward killing jmqa allowed Na'Vi to know that QBF was actually going to the A bombsite. electronic killed Kvik before being traded by waterfaLLZ. Zeus took down balbina and waterfaLLZ took down Zeus, but the QBF in-game leader was unable to pull off a 1 vs. 2 as Edward charged in to secure the round. Edward had a vintage performance with 23 kills and flamie had 22 kills. QBF's star Boombl4 had only 10 kills. Natus Vincere went on to face FaZe Clan and QBF's Cinderella story came to a quarterfinals end.
G2 Esports vs. Cloud9
G2 Esports took a new approach to the game as shox allowed his team to have more freedom in the game rather than managing his players, allowing himself to perform at the level he was capable of. Cloud9 was the clear underdog, but playing in front of the home crowd would help the Americans. Historically, Cloud9 has the edge over G2 with an 8-7 head-to-head record, but G2 cruised past Cloud9 in the New Legends stage. G2 did have a perfect 6-0 record coming into the playoffs, but many of those were against teams that were not in contention for a playoffs spot. Meanwhile, Cloud9 had to fight from a 0-2 record to pull itself back up to three wins to clinch a playoff spot. These two teams have met once at a major – at the PGL Major, G2 defeated Cloud9 in overtime in the group stage. Cloud9 was the first North American team to make the playoffs at a major since ESL One Cologne 2016, where Team Liquid placed second. However, G2 was expected to make the finals by defeating Cloud9 and SK Gaming or Fnatic.
Casters: Anders Blume & moses
The most anticipated quarterfinals matchup started on Mirage, Cloud9's pick. The match started with G2 winning the pistol round, but heroics from autimatic allowed Cloud9 to win its economy round. With Cloud9 leading 3-2, tarik started off by heading into the middle area with a kill onto G2's kennyS, but autimatic fell to apEX. RUSH then killed bodyy and then apEX followed up onto Stewie2K. RUSH then took down apEX after Skadoodle planted the bomb, but shox was there to trade. Skadoodle then took down shox; NBK- was able to take down tarik and tried to get away as the bomb was too late to defuse, but Skadoodle was able to chase him down to give Cloud9 the round. Cloud9 went up 8-2 before G2 took the last five rounds as the French started to get aggressive and started to get rounds on the board. Cloud9 was up 13-7 in the 21st round as G2 had another gun round. Skadoodle started with a kill onto NBK-. shox took down autimatic and then apEX planted the bomb. Stewie2K later took down shox before being traded by bodyy. apEX found two onto RUSH and tarik. Skadoodle found apEX, but kennyS traded to give G2 the round. However, Cloud9's defense was too strong and won the game. RUSH quietly lead the way with 26 kills. shox had 21, but bodyy only had 8 at the end.
Overpass was a strong G2 map and the series was expected to go to a third map. Cloud9 was up 5-2 when bodyy started off with a kill onto Skadoodle. Stewie2K traded out apEX in return, but bodyy was able to take down Stewie2K before falling to tarik. shox followed up onto tarik and then planted the bomb. On the retake, autimatic started strong with kills onto NBK- and shox. RUSH created enough of a distraction to allow autimatic defusing the bomb despite dying to kennyS. autimatic defused the bomb and then circled around to take down kennyS, leaving nobody alive on the French side. G2 won the 12th round, but its economy was reset after Cloud9 won the next. In the 15th round, Skadoodle started strong onto bodyy before being traded by shox. tarik found a double kill onto NBK- and kennyS, but shox came in with kills onto tarik and Stewie2K. shox tried to plant the bomb, but autimatic had the backstab before being traded by NBK-. RUSH finished things off with a kill onto NBK- to give Cloud9 a 12-3 halftime lead and a huge chance at the upset. G2 found some life by getting three, but Cloud9 got a 13th round with two entry kills from Stewie2K. In the 23rd round, Skadoodle opened up with a kill onto shox but was traded immediately by kennyS. NBK- took down autimatic in the B bombsite but was traded by tarik. Stewie2K caught a flanking apEX. kennyS and bodyy took down RUSH and tarik, respectively, but Stewie2K pulled off the 1 vs. 2 to clinch a semifinals spot. bodyy turned things around with 19 kills and shox had 16, but other G2 members could not pull through. tarik went big with 22 kills in the win as North America's best defeated France's best.
SK Gaming vs. Fnatic
The two most decorated CS:GO teams faced off in the quarterfinals. Historically, Fnatic has the head-to-head lead at 11-8, but Fnatic had suffered a downfall from the best team in the world since mid-2016, which was when SK Gaming just started its rise to become the best team in the world. However, Fnatic has two relatively inexperienced players and SK is playing without its regular lineup. Despite Fnatic's historical record, SK has a 4-1 record in 2017. These teams met twice at previous majors. At ESL One Cologne 2015, Fnatic swept SK (known as Luminosity Gaming back then) in the quarterfinals; at Cluj-Napoca 2015, Luminosity pulled off the upset of the tournament by defeating Fnatic. The young rookie in-game leader Golden had to go against whom many are calling the best in-game leader in Global Offensive, FalleN.
Casters: James Bardolph & ddk
This game started similar to all the other New Champions stage games as Fnatic took the pistol and SK Gaming took the following round. However, Fnatic had a force buy of its own in the next round. Despite TACO taking down three in Lekr0, JW, and flusha and coldzera downing Golden early on, KRiMZ had to ace for this team and needed a 1 vs. 3 clutch to spray down fer, TACO, and FalleN to give Fnatic a third round. Fnatic was able to overrun SK and took ten rounds. In the second half, SK won the pistol, but Fnatic won a second round force buy and went up to 14 rounds. SK was able to get two more before Fnatic's last buy before it was forced to take an economy round. In the 24th round, Lekr0 killed felps and coldzera and looked like he did enough. However, FalleN took down flusha, TACO killed KRiMZ, and FalleN followed up onto Lekr0. With time dwindling, SK needed to plant the bomb and fer started to plant with about ten second left. JW tried to deny the plant, but TACO caught him out and SK secured the round. Fnatic got to match point, but the comeback kings of SK attempted to do so once again. In the 28th round, felps entered with a kill onto JW, but KRiMZ and Lekr0 took down three together. However, FalleN took out Lekr0 and coldzera saved the day with a kill onto KRiMZ to open up the A bombsite. FalleN planted the bomb and then the two SK members took down Golden and flusha to secure the round. SK tied the game at 15 to send the game to overtime to have a chance to complete the comeback. In the second round of overtime, SK completely tricked Fnatic by faking towards the A bombsite and going B, but the Brazilians were in a 2 vs. 4. felps created enough time for TACO and TACO's kills onto flusha and KRiMZ delayed Fnatic by one second, and Fnatic was too late to defuse the bomb; had SK lost that round, Fnatic would have had a 3-0 half in overtime. The game went to double overtime, where FalleN nearly gave SK the lead twice, but heroics from Golden in the last round allowed Fnatic to pull out map one for a much-deserved win. Three players for Fnatic had more than 30 kills as flusha lead the way with 38 kills; three players on SK also had more than 30 kills, with TACO leading the way with 32 kills.
The next map went to Overpass, a map SK is heavily favored on. The rounds went back and forth early on. In round six, with the game tied up 2-2 and Fnatic had just won the previous round after the two teams kept trading one for one, it looked to be the end of trading as JW took down coldzera and Lekro downed TACO. Lekr0 also took down felps after fer killed Golden. FalleN continued to perform as he tagged down Lekro with his SSG, the inferior sniper rifle, and then hit a ridiculous shot onto flusha while trying to move the bomb to the A bombsite. fer killing JW made KRiMZ move towards the A bombsite, but FalleN moved back to the B bombsite and planted the bomb. KRiMZ was able to kill fer, but the bomb was too late the defuse and KRiMZ died to the explosion. SK was the first team to string two rounds together by winning the next round to go up 4-2. SK went up 5-2, but Fnatic was barely able to steal away rounds to take the lead. SK retook the lead and ended the half at 9-6. The pistol round went to Fnatic, but SK had a force buy and the less favored team won the second round once again. SK went up 13-7 before Fnatic picked one up. In round 24, with SK up 13-10, KRiMZ had a massive round with four kills, including a 1 vs. 2 clutch against TACO and coldzera and SK's money was at a low point again. With the score tied 13-13, SK pulled out a miracle from an economy round and stole a round away. In the 30th round, SK was up 15-14, but had a weaker buy. FalleN punished KRiMZ, but JW traded him out. JW ran into the A bombsite while his teammates executed to the B bombsite and JW took down felps. coldzera traded and then everything toppled for the Swedes, as TACO took down flusha and Golden with a weaker weapon and fer finished things off on Lekr0. felps topped the server with 24 kills and Lekr0 had 22, but virtually every player had some sort of big impact in the game.
The final map went to Mirage, a map in which both teams are historically great on and arguably Fnatic's best map. Based on the first two maps, the game went back and forth in the start as expected. In the 13th round, the score was 6-6. There, fer went aggressive to get KRiMZ and coldzera caught out JW. However, Golden and Lekr0 traded some seconds later and then had the man advantage with a kill onto TACO. Golden tried to plant the bomb, but felps killing flusha forced Golden off the plant. Lekr0 traded and Golden tried to plant again. This time, a low FalleN tried to take down Golden, but Lekr0 used his body to partially block the shot, allowing Golden to plant the bomb. Golden took advantage of the low health of FalleN and killed him to secure the round. The teams traded the last two rounds and Fnatic took a 8-7 lead into the halftime break. Fnatic had an 11-9 lead going into the 21st round. There, coldzera caught out a flank from KRiMZ, but three consecutive kills from Fnatic before the bomb was planted from SK allowed an easy retake as the Swedes swept up the felps and fer. However, the Brazilians tied the game again at 12. The turning point came the round after in which SK pulled off a risky and massive play. FalleN threw a standard top mid smoke, which blocks off the sight of the counter-terrorist looking threw the window area, which is at the end of the middle area and has a sightline to the top middle area. At the same time, coldzera threw a smoke intended to block off the window area, but the smoke missed. Meanwhile, the other three SK players were nearby the B bombsite and once the smoke grenades bloomed, FalleN and coldzera joined their teammates and then executed a quick B bombsite rush that overwhelmed Lekr0 and flusha and the living Fnatic players had to save their guns for the next round. After the match, analyst Sean "seang@res" Gares theorized that coldzera missed the window smoke on purpose to keep the player in the window area, JW, so that JW could not support his teammate on the B bombsite. Losing sight of the middle area would mean JW would back off the support his teammate somewhere else since he could not see; however, JW could still see the middle area, so he stayed there in an attempt to pick off a player. In addition, JW had communicated to flusha that the window smoke was missed, so flusha went near the middle area as well to also potentially kill a player, leaving Lekr0 all alone in the B bombsite. This fake was later confirmed by FalleN and SK Gaming analyst Swani. As SK gained traction, Fnatic lost steam and SK got map point first. In round 28, fer took down flusha and felps followed up onto KRiMZ. JW traded felps, but Golden fell and then JW and Lekr0 followed suit. fer, FalleN, and coldzera had big games despite Lekr0's 23. SK Gaming moved on to face Cloud9 in the semifinals as the Brazilians took down a vintage performance of Fnatic in a series worthy of a grand finals.
FaZe Clan vs. Natus Vincere
FaZe Clan survived a mousesports opposition after nearly dropping the first game of the playoffs while Natus Vincere cruised passed Quantum Bellator Fire with the help of flamie's massive performance. On LAN, FaZe has a 2-0 advantage over Na'Vi while the overall record holds at 3-3. Zeus was the only member of the champion winning team in Krakòw and looked to repeat it with a new lineup.
Casters: Sadokist & HenryG
FaZe started strong with an 8-1 lead and Na'Vi needed a 1 vs. 2 s1mple clutch just to get a second round. In the next round, Zeus died to GuardiaN with less than 40 seconds to go, but s1mple found olofmeister. flamie killed rain before being traded by GuardiaN, but s1mple took down the FaZe AWPer and in-game leader, forcing NiKo to back off to save as the bomb was ticking away. Despite FaZe's start, the Na'Vi that showed up against QBF showed up in the later stages of the half as Na'Vi brought it back to 8-7. In the 22nd round, with FaZe up 13-8, Na'Vi had weak pistols and a saved rifle tat Edward saved. rain took full control of the A bombsite, but he was downed by Zeus. GuardiaN traded, but flamie used his pistol to kill him. NiKo and olofmeister followed up, but the duo of electronic and s1mple somehow killed the remaining FaZe members and electronic defused the bomb NiKo planted. However, FaZe found the next round to reset Na'Vi's economy. Na'Vi tried a force buy but failed and FaZe finished up. NiKo and karrigan lead the way for FaZe while flamie topped the Na'Vi side. FaZe struggled, but managed to pull away with the win.
FaZe went with a risky choice of Mirage instead of Overpass, as FaZe dominated other teams other than SK Gaming. However, FaZe kept it close with Na'Vi on the map. With the score tied 5-5, s1mple tagged up karrigan with the AWP and Edward's incendiary grenade finished him off, but FaZe switched spots and headed to the A bombsite. Na'Vi rotated off after thinking it was going to be a B bombsite execute, allowing rain to plant the bomb. olofmeister died to electronic near the Counter-Terrorist spawn, but rain caught flamie on the flank. GuardiaN took down Zeus and Edward, but electronic and s1mple killed rain and GuardiaN, respectively. s1mple tried to defuse the bomb, but NiKo was in the same spot as GuardiaN and took down the Ukrainian start, leaving no time for electronic to defuse the bomb. FaZe had the lead at the end of the half 10-5 and was well on its way to the finals as Na'Vi only got two rounds on its offense. rain and olofmeister outplayed s1mple on the map as flamie and electronic struggled massively.
Cloud9 vs. SK Gaming
Cloud9 pulled off an upset against the inconsistent G2 Esports and looked to be just the second North American team to reach the finals at a major. SK Gaming pulled off a hard-fought win against Fnatic and was nearly taken down in the second game of its quarterfinals. These two teams stood atop of the North American scene and now they battle it out. The head-to-head record between the core of Cloud9 – Stewie2K, autimatic, and Skadoodle – and the core of SK Gaming – FalleN, fer, coldzera, and TACO – is 17-10 in favor of SK; on LAN, SK has a 10-2 record, but Cloud9 did win the most recent encounter at IEM Oakland 2017 with a 16-7 win. With SK Gaming's demon G2 Esports knocked out of the tournament, this match was expected to be close as Cloud9 was in the best form it had ever seen while SK was without its regular support player boltz.
Casters: Anders Blume & moses
Game 1 started out with a slaughter from Cloud9 onto SK Gaming, who had about a two-hour break between its marathon match against Fnatic and its semifinals match against Cloud9. Cloud9 dominated and SK struggled as the Americans took a 13-2 halftime lead after SK salvaged the fifteenth round. SK had a one-round to play with, but failed to convert much as Skadoodle and autimatic stepped up big as Cloud9's game plan prevailed against FalleN's tactics.
SK already did better than it did in the last map within the first within the first four rounds of Cobblestone as Brazil's number one started out with a 7-0 before Cloud9 took one of its own. In the tenth round, SK was up 7-2. SK ran the clock down late to about 20 seconds and Skadoodle caught out felps. autimatic flanked coldzera, but was traded by fer. However, tarik found a double onto FalleN and fer. TACO did take down RUSH, but Stewie2K was able to trade and Cloud9 made it a game again. Cloud9 brought it all the way back to tie the game at 7, but SK took an eighth round to take a slim lead. SK's defense in the second half held strong. In the 21st round, with SK up 13-7, Cloud9 started to the A bombsite. fer started with a kill onto RUSH but was traded out by tarik. TACO took out autimatic, but Stewie2K sprayed down FalleN and felps. coldzera also took two in Skadoodle and tarik. Stewie2K found a shot onto coldzera, but just barely missed a kill onto TACO and SK continued to go on its win streak. Stewie2K lead the way for Cloud9 with 19 kills, but fell much short of SK. fer finally showed why he was ranked the third best player in the world as he had 27 kills and TACO did well on the defense with 21. FalleN lead the way in the beginning, but fer, who had recently revealed that he played for years with no hearing in his right ear, showed why he was ranked as the third best player in the world.
The game went back and forth until Cloud9 strung consecutive rounds together and went up 7-3. In round 11, the two teams traded two for two, but Stewie2K and RUSH took down felps and TACO, respectively. RUSH then denied FalleN of a kill and Cloud9 had a strong lead and never gave up a round in that half after that. Cloud9 lead 14-7 in round 22. There, Cloud9 went to the A bombsite and got all the kills it needed to plant the bomb. A shut down of felps and fer allowed Cloud9 to get to series point. The Americans stifled an SK comeback and became just the second North American team to reach the finals at a major. tarik had the most impact with 26 kills and Cloud9 looked to continue to dominate.
GuardiaN and olofmeister were back in a major grand finals, as it was olofmeister's first since ESL One Cologne 2015, where he won the trophy against Team EnVyUs, whose core is now with G2 Esports, and GuardiaN's first since MLG Columbus 2016, where he lost to Luminosity Gaming, whose roster is now with SK Gaming. karrigan followed up with his former Danish teammates from a year ago and finally reached a major grand finals. NiKo and rain were also in their first major final. Meanwhile, all of Cloud9 was in his first finals and four of them were first time Legends. Upsetting G2 and SK, tarik's team looked to continue its form and win North America's first major in front of its home crowd. However, Cloud9 struggled against FaZe in the past, as FaZe has a clean 8-0 record against North America's best, and FaZe was able to avoid its demon in SK, in which karrigan had a 0-9 record against FalleN in any best of three or best of five series against the Brazilian in-game leader during karrigan's time in Team SoloMid, Astralis, and FaZe Clan and FalleN's time with Luminosity Gaming and SK Gaming. After Cloud9 knocked SK out in the semifinals, FaZe was the clear favorites to win the tournament.
Casters: James Bardolph & ddk
Cloud9 went up to an incredible start at 8-2. In round 11, Cloud9 executed to the B bombsite, where Skadoodle started with a kill onto rain. Meanwhile, Stewie2K and autimatic tried to trick FaZe into thinking Cloud9 was faking to A, but two FaZe members stayed at B. olofmeister killed tarik and RUSH and NiKo downed Stewie2K. autimatic took down GuardiaN and karrigan, but olofmeister secured the round with kills onto Skadoodle and autimatic. FaZe was able to avoid disaster with a 9-6 scoreline at the half after GuardiaN completely shut down Cloud9 in the last round of the first half. FaZe won the second half pistol round, but tarik and Skadoodle tagged down three FaZe players to low health and when FaZe executed to the B bombsite, autimatic and tarik were able to clean up all five FaZe players. FaZe and Cloud9 were later tied at 12 heading into the 25th round, the two teams were in a 3 vs. 3 and Stewie2K were right on the backs of FaZe after NiKo went down to RUSH on the A bombsite. FaZe planted the bomb on B and Stewie2K missed his shots onto GuardiaN. GuardiaN punished and then rain took down autimatic. RUSH looked to make a play, but his low health was a disadvantage and GuardiaN killed him to take the lead. FaZe got to match point and then was against a weak Cloud9 buy. Cloud9 nearly pulled the game to overtime, but after FaZe planted the bomb, olofmeister found the critical kills and FaZe just barely took map 1. Skadoodle lead all players with 27 kills, but Cloud9 never solved the problem of getting past GuardiaN, who had 26 kills. olofmeister was close behind with 25 kills as NiKo and Stewie2K struggled.
Mirage was supposed to be a must win for Cloud9 as Overpass was FaZe's strongest map. With the exception of SK Gaming, FaZe was 19-2 (two losses both against Astralis) with its current lineup and karrigan's teams were 42-13 on the map since FACEIT 2015 Stage 3 Finals at DreamHack Winter 2015 (FaZe was 0-10 against SK Gaming). Despite this, Cloud9 replicated its good start on Mirage. In round 8, Cloud9 was up 7-0, but FaZe looked to get its first round. NiKo had an early kill onto tarik but RUSH traded about ten seconds later. GuardiaN took down Stewie2K in the middle area and olofmeister caught Skadoodle trying to get aggressive, giving FaZe a 2 vs. 4 advantage. autimatic missed a shot onto olofmeister as FaZe was planting the bomb; olofmeister tried to chase autimatic down, but autimatic did not miss that time. autimatic then took down karrigan after the FaZe captain shortly planted the bomb before. RUSH then got the backstab onto rain and autimatic threw a highly explosive grenade to take down an already-damaged GuardiaN and defused the bomb to deny the round. FaZe was able to win the following round. GuardiaN shined but everyone else on FaZe was playing poorly and Cloud9 took a massive 12-3 lead. In the second half pistol round, the virtually must-win round was lead by rain with three quick kills. RUSH and Skadoodle were able to bring it back to a 2 vs. 3, but fell short. However, a surprise buy from the Americans seemed to catch FaZe off guard and Cloud9 took the round. Cloud9 continued to dominate before a comeback attempt from FaZe and became just the second non-SK team to defeat FaZe on Overpass. Skadoodle showed up early for his team, but tarik lead the way late as Cloud9 forced a game three. rain had 22 kills and GuardiaN had 20, but with four Cloud9 players having at least 20 frags, FaZe could not keep up.
Inferno would decide the first major champion of 2018. Both FaZe and Cloud9 had strong performances in the semifinals. FaZe won the pistol round, but another force buy from Cloud9 proved deadly as Cloud9 had looked during its economy rounds throughout the whole tournament to catch FaZe off guard again and then Cloud9 went up 5-1. In the seventh round, Cloud9 tried to play into the A bombsite, but olofmeister sprayed down autimatic, Stewie2K, and RUSH. GuaridiaN followed up onto Skadoodle and karrigan finished things off onto tarik. FaZe would later tie up the score at 5 and then later went up 8-5 after seven consecutive rounds before Skadoodle and tarik were able to clutch a sixth round and then pulled out a seventh round to keep the game very competitive. FaZe won the pistol round and the following two economy rounds to go up 11-8. Cloud9 picked up the first gun round. In the 20th round, rain started off with a kill onto Skadoodle, but tarik ran through a smoke to kill NiKo and rain. RUSH failed to down karrigan and then tarik got aggressive but died to the AWP of GuardiaN. autimatic got olofmeister with a grenade, but karrigan killing Stewie2K virtually sealed the round. autimatic got karrigan, but the bomb exploded and FaZe was four rounds away. Cloud9 won a desperate round, but FaZe had a desperate of its own and won and FaZe went up 14-9. Cloud9 won another force buy to stay in the game. With FaZe up 14-11, the Europeans had guns after an economy round, but despite Cloud9 killing all FaZe players, the bomb had already detonated. On match point, NiKo killed Skadoodle early, but tarik and RUSH held down the A bombsite to stay alive in the finals. Tense final rounds went by as the teams went to a 30th round, with FaZe up 15-14. Both teams had guns, but Cloud9 had a significantly much stronger buy. FaZe went to an A bombsite. Stewie2K killed olofmeister on B, but autimatic went to the A bombsite while FaZe went to B. However, Stewie2K held everything down with less than ten seconds left and by that time, FaZe ran out of time to do anything and the game went to overtime. Cloud9 carried the momentum into overtime and swept the first half of overtime to garner three match points. FaZe won the first round of the second overtime half as NiKo made a massive play by sneaking behind everyone on Cloud9 and taking down the bomb carrier. Cloud9 had a 2 vs. 2 in its favor, but after Skadoodle went down, Stewie2K took down NiKo, but karrigan on low health was able to trade on 11 health points. The next round, Cloud9 turned a 2 vs. 4 into a 2 vs. 1, but GuardiaN barely clutched out a 1 vs. 2 to send the game to double overtime. The game was tied up again at 19 before Cloud9 took a 20-19 lead going into the next half. Cloud9 took match, series, and tournament point once again, going up 21-19. In the next round, tarik caught out karrigan as FaZe headed to the B bombsite, where NiKo killed Stewie2K. autimatic then traded out NiKo and tarik killed olofmeister. GuardiaN planted the bomb as rain traded out tarik. autimatic traded out tarik to leave GuardiaN in another clutch situation. However, Skadoodle took down the star AWPer and RUSH defused the bomb, securing the tournament. tarik lead all players with 38 kills and Stewie2K followed behind with 32. GuardiaN stepped up huge with his 29 kills in crucial situations, but rain sat at the bottom of the scoreboard as the fourth best player of 2017 had limited impact.
The final map broke a new record with more than 1.8 million viewers, including more than 1.3 million viewers on Twitch.tv.
Cloud9 became the first ever North American team to win a major and it was the fourth major in which a non-European team won the major in five major tournaments. Fnatic still lead the way with three major titles. SK Gaming and G2 Esports stayed in second with two titles, including the former winning one with Luminosity Gaming and the latter winning two under the Team LDLC.com and Team EnVyUs banners. Virtus.pro, Ninjas in Pyjamas, Astralis, Gambit Esports, and now Cloud9 all have one each.
The final placings are shown below. In addition, the prize distribution, seed for the next major, roster, and coaches are shown. Each team's in-game leader is shown first.
HLTV.org rank teams based on results of teams' performances. The rankings shown below reflect the January 29, 2018 rankings, the first ranking after the major.
The Pro-Am showmatch was played before the grand finals between FaZe Clan and Cloud9. The showmatch featured the commentating duo James Bardolph and Daniel "ddk" Kapadia as captains, with Bardolph leading God Squad and ddk leading Team Killz. The map was selected via a community vote on ELEAGUE's Twitter page. Each team featured a caster, two professional players, an observer, and an analyst.
Casters: Richard Lewis & HenryG