FACEIT Major: London 2018
|Sport||Counter-Strike: Global Offensive|
|Location||London, United Kingdom|
|Dates||September 5, 2018–September 23, 2018|
Two 16 team Buchholz group stages |
8 team single-elimination playoff
|Venue||The SSE Arena, Wembley|
The FACEIT Major: London 2018, also known as FACEIT Major 2018, or London 2018, is the thirteenth Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Major Championship, the second Major tournament of 2018, and first organized by FACEIT, the organizers of the Esports Championship Series. It features twenty-four professional teams from around the world. The tournament takes place in London, United Kingdom. While the group stages will not be played in front of a live crowd, the playoffs will be held in the SSE Arena, Wembley. The top sixteen teams automatically qualified for the FACEIT Major based on their top sixteen placements from the last major, the ELEAGUE Major: Boston 2018, while another eight teams will qualify from their respective regional qualifiers. The top eight teams from Boston (Legends) will receive a bye to the second part of the group stage while the other sixteen teams (Challengers) will have to go through the first and second group stages in order to reach the playoffs. The London Major is the sixth consecutive major with a prize pool of $1,000,000 since Valve announced the prize pool increase from $250,000 at MLG Columbus 2016.
FaZe Clan, MIBR, and Natus Vincere were the only returning Legends at this Major. compLexity Gaming, Team Liquid, BIG, HellRaisers, and Astralis were new Legends.Defending champions Cloud9, mousesports, Fnatic, G2 Esports, and Winstrike Team were knocked out in the New Legends stage, thus not making them Legends anymore. With Fnatic knocked out in the group stage, this meant for the first time in Major history Fnatic would not be Legends as an organization; this also meant that no roster core became Legends at every Major after the loss. This would also end Freddy "KRiMZ" Johansson's run as being one of the only players to attend every Major and become Legends. This left Olof "olofmeister" Kajbjer as the only player to become a Legend at every Major and MIBR as the only team to become Legends at every Major since its Major debut, when the team debuted at ESL One Katowice 2015 as Keyd Stars. This Major was also significant in that no majority-Swedish team became Legends after Ninjas in Pyjamas fell to MIBR.
The grand finals pitted Natus Vincere and Astralis. Natus Vincere defeated BIG in the quarterfinals and MIBR in the semifinals while Astralis defeated FaZe Clan and Team Liquid on its way to the finals.
- 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 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.
The current defending champion is Cloud9, which became the first North American team to win a Major and just the third 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 MIBR from Brazil coming in second with two Majors, both with different organizations.
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" and the FACEIT Major is expected to keep the same format. In the grand scheme of things, the format was virtually the same since implementing the sixteen team Swiss system at ELEAGUE Major 2017 over the GSL format.
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's, ELEAGUE Major: Boston 2018, New Legends stage 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.
FACEIT's format for the New Challengers and the New Legends stages was slightly different. In round five of each Swiss group stage, the remaining six teams play in a best of three instead of the standard best of one. In addition, the group stage will use the Buchholz system for seeding rather than a random draw. Essentially, the teams with the hardest strength of schedules will earn the higher seeds after the first round; strength of schedule is determined by how many wins the team's opponent has had.
In the playoffs, now known as the "New 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. The New Champions stage will also be slightly different. Rather than a randomizing the teams with the teams with the same records, these playoffs would seed teams based on how difficult their opponents were. This is determined by adding up how many wins the opponents had in the New Legends stage.
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. In addition, all four minors will be held in London at the Twickenham Stadium to combat any last minute visa issues before the actual Major starts.
The Asia Minor ran from July 16 to July 20. Two teams were invited to the Asia Minor, unlike the last Asia Minor, in which all eight teams were invited. Two teams qualified from the Southeast Asia qualifier (which includes India), one team from the East Asia qualifier, one team from the Middle East qualifier, one team from the Oceania qualifier, and one team from the China qualifier. Each open Asian regional qualifier was a single elimination bracket.
Controversy ensued in the China qualifier. Fierce Tiger had won the China qualifier via forfeit from VG.FlashGaming due to the latter's internet issues. VG.Flash suspected that its internet had been "sabotaged" before the match was about to start. FACEIT decided that the match would be replayed. Fierce Tiger was unhappy with the decision, saying that VG.Flash should be held accountable for its own issues and that its players were already on vacation. Fierce Tiger later said that it would not surrender its China qualifier win and hoped that FACEIT would could reach a "verdict with fair play in mind." FACEIT administrators also realized that three of Fierce Tiger's four matches resulted in forfeits, with the other match being a 16-0 against Team MAX, making a possibility of a denial-of-service attack or match fixing likely. After speculations arose about the mysterious new fifth player Fierce Tiger brought on to the team who went by the alias "tbgirl", FACEIT learned and eventually confirmed with Valve that tbgirl was actually a player named Kun "LEo" Hou. LEo had recently been banned by Valve Corporation with a VAC ban. A VAC ban is an official ban by Valve if a player is caught cheating with Valve's anti-cheat system and any player with a VAC ban would be ineligible to play at a Valve-sponsored tournament and would last a lifetime. Fierce Tiger tried to hide LEo's new identity and knowingly let the banned player play. In the end, FACEIT disqualified Fierce Tiger and Roar eSports would face off against VG.Flash in the final.
- 5Power Club had three players with visa issues, so the team was forced to gather three players with visas to the United Kingdom quickly before the event started.
- Signature Gaming's visa applications were denied by the British embassy. FACEIT decided to find a replacement instead of running the event with seven teams like the CIS Minor. The semifinalists runner-ups at the Southeast Asia qualifier, B.O.O.T-dream[S]cape and Devious, played to replace Signature. B.O.O.T-dream[S]cape would stroll its way into the Asia Minor.
The CIS Minor ran from July 10 to July 13. All eight teams in the CIS Minor came from the closed qualifier. In the closed qualifier, eight teams were invited and another eight teams qualified from four separate open qualifiers. The closed qualifier was a sixteen team, best of three, Swiss system format and the top eight teams moved on to the CIS Minor.
Before the Minor even started, Nemiga Gaming was denied visas to the United Kingdom, so the team was unable to attend the Minor. Instead of finding a replacement, FACEIT decided to run the event with seven teams. Visa denial issues also forced two additional teams (PLINK-TECH and Monolith Gaming) to play with stand-ins. This Minor was notable in that it would be the first Major in which Yegor "markeloff" Markelov would not participate in after his FlipSid3 Tactics team lost to three unknown teams in the CIS closed qualifier.
The Europe Minor ran from July 19 to July 22. The Europe Minor will be exactly like the CIS Minor. All eight teams in the Europe Minor will come from the closed qualifier. In the closed qualifier, eight teams will be invited and another eight teams will qualify from four separate open qualifiers. The closed qualifier will be a sixteen team, best of three, Swiss system format and the top eight teams move on to the Europe Minor. Notably, Ninjas in Pyjamas were able to qualify for a Major for the first time in over two years.
|B2||Ninjas in Pyjamas||1|
|B2||Ninjas in Pyj.||2|
|B2||Ninjas in Pyj.||2|
|B2||Ninjas in Pyj.||2|
The Americas Minor ran from July 7 to July 11. Unlike the previous America Minors, no team was directly invited to the Americas Minor. This time, six teams will come from the North American closed qualifier and two teams will come from the South American open qualifier. In the North American closed qualifier, eight teams will be invited and another eight teams will come from four separate open qualifiers. These teams will play in a sixteen teams, best of three Swiss system format and the top six teams will move on to the Americas Minor. The South American open will have two open qualifiers and each will be a single elimination, 1024 team bracket.
- Three teams were tied for sixth place at the North American closed qualifier. The tiebreaker was determined by whichever team had the best map win to loss difference. Swole Patrol (8-5) was able to beat out Luminosity Gaming (6-5) and Team One (6-6) to take the last spot in the Americas Minor.
- James Bardolph
- Anders Blume
- Henry "HenryG" Greer
- Vince Hill
- Daniel "ddk" Kapadia
- Jason "moses" O'Toole
- Matthew "Sadokist" Trivett
- Chad "SPUNJ" Burchill
- Sean "seang@res" Gares
- Björn "THREAT" Pers
- Damian "daps" Steele
- Jacob "Pimp" Winneche
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. Of the top twenty, only Ricardo "boltz" Prass did not attend the Major, as he was benched from MIBR. 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, SK Gaming/Immortals), 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).
HLTV.org rank teams based on results of teams' performances. The rankings shown below reflect the September 3, 2018 rankings.
The HLTV.org 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 ESG Tour Mykonos 2017, in which mousesports defeated Team Liquid and concluded with North upsetting Astralis at DreamHack Masters Stockholm 2018.
Teams that were in the top 30 but failed to qualify for the major include NRG eSports (#9, United States), Heroic (#13, Denmark), ENCE eSports (#18, Finland), Ghost Gaming (#22, Canada), Luminosity Gaming (#23, Brazil), Imperial Esports (#24, Lithuania), AGO Esports (#25, Poland), Fragsters (#26, Denmark), AVANGAR (#27, Kazakhstan), and Team Kinguin (#28, Poland).
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.
New Challengers stage
The New Challengers stage took place from September 5 to September 9, 2018. 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 for the first two rounds; afterwards, rounds three through five will use the Buchholz system, meaning that seeding will take place for next matchups. In addition, round five matchups will be a best of three rather than a best of one. Any team with three wins would qualify for the New Legends stage, and any team with three losses would be eliminated.
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. Teams in pool one are Gambit Esports, Space Soldiers, Vega Squadron, and a randomly decided team among Astralis, BIG, and Team Liquid. Teams in pool two are the two other teams from Astralis, BIG, and Team Liquid; North; and Virtus.pro. Teams in pool three are the Minor winners: Renegades, HellRaisers, Ninjas in Pyjamas, and compLexity Gaming. Teams in pool four are the Minor runner-ups: TyLoo, Team Spirit, OpTic Gaming, and Rogue.
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 next phase of 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 New Legends stage and the losing teams will be eliminated from the Major. Instead of a best of one, these games will be a best of three. 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.
New Legends stage
The New Legends stage, formerly known as the Group stage, used the same format as the Challengers stage. This stage takes place from September 12 to September 16, 2018.
Cloud9, FaZe Clan, Natus Vincere, and MIBR were teams in pool one based on their top four placement at the Boston Major. Fnatic, G2 Esports, mousesports, and Winstrike Team were teams in pool two based on their quarterfinals finish at the Boston Major. Team Liquid and Ninjas in Pyjamas were placed in a third pool for going undefeated in the New Challengers stage. Astralis, compLexity Gaming, and HellRaisers were in a fourth pool after going 3-1. BIG, TyLoo, and Vega Squadron were in a fifth pool for going 3-2. The two teams in pool three were randomly drawn to play two teams from pool two. Two randomly selected teams from pool four were drawn to play the other two teams from pool two. The remaining team from pool four was matched against a randomly selected team from pool one. The three teams from pool five were randomly selected to play a randomly selected team from the three remaining teams in pool one.
New Champions stage
The New Champions Stage is a best of three single elimination bracket. Teams play until a winner is decided. This stage is taking place at the Wembley Arena between September 20, 2018 and September 23, 2018. Brackets were revealed shortly after MIBR defeated Ninjas in Pyjamas in the last map of the group stages. Teams were seeded first based on their record in the New Legends stage and then based on strength of schedule.
BIG vs. Natus Vincere
The rematch of the grand finals at ESL One Cologne 2018 took place. BIG seemed revitalized after placing second at the event and that confidence showed as the Germans came away with six wins in the group stages as the team many chose as the dark horse faced a tough opponent in the quarterfinals. Natus Vincere was one of the favorites to become a Legend at this Major. After falling to Astralis in a close match that went the distance, Na'Vi ran past its opponents to only sustain the one loss. Historically, Na'Vi won nine maps to BIG's three maps in the twelve meeting between the two teams, including a 3-1 series win at Cologne 2018. 82% of Pick'em predictions went in favor of Natus Vincere.
Casters: James Bardolph & ddk
Na'Vi started strong on Dust II with a 5-0 lead before BIG took two of its own. In the eighth round, BIG took the round slowly as the German team decided to split the team up to the B bombsite through two different chokepoints. gob b took down electronic in the middle area before s1mple traded out tabseN then completely caught gob b off guard by rotating from the window area of the B bombsite to the doors area. smooya was to catch Edward in the middle area, but flamie and Zeus took down nex and smooya, respectively, forcing tiziaN to back off and save his rifle. Na'Vi went on to go up 12-2 going into the fifteenth round, where BIG had to buy up with weak weapons. Na'Vi was able to delay an A bombsite hit with good utility usage, and with about 50 seconds left in the round, Zeus threw a flashbang for electronic towards the catwalk area, which leads the middle area to the A bombsite, which lead to an easy kill onto smooya. With the help of Zeus, electronic followed up with kills onto gob b, nex, and tabseN. tiziaN did what he could, but electronic took home the ace to end the half. Na'Vi ended the game with eleven rounds in a row to cruise to the map win. s1mple and electronic lead all players with 21 kills each. BIG's star players tabseN and smooya struggled, with tabseN garnering just 6 kills and smooya with 7.
BIG had a much better start to Nuke by winning the pistol round, but Na'Vi proved to be relentless as it won a force buy round. Na'Vi was up 4-2 heading into the seventh round after BIG just won the sixth. Edward got the first kill of the round onto smooya with forty seconds left. Na'Vi let the clock run down very low with under twenty seconds left before deciding to hit the B bombsite. tabseN was alone in the B bombsite with less than ten seconds left, so just one kill could delay Na'Vi long enough for BIG to win the round. However, tabseN was focused on a noisy electronic that Zeus was able to take down the German as electronic barely survived with eleven health points. Even though tiziaN took down Zeus, gob b made the call to back away, especially after tiziaN was killed by flamie. Na'Vi used that round as momentum as it went on to win eight unanswered before BIG finally took the last round. BIG hoped to make a comeback after winning the pistol round and then the two anti-economy rounds. A crucial 20th round, with Na'Vi up 13-6, took place. With just over a minute left, BIG tried to find a way to the B bombsite. tiziaN overstepped into the sight of flamie and flamie was able to kill both tiziaN and gob b and took down the bomb that gob b was carrying. Na'Vi started to get a little bit more aggressive and it paid off as Edward took down nex. smooya was able to take down Edward, but tabseN lost a duel to Zeus's AWP. smooya ran to try to retrieve the bomb, but electronic was waiting to deal a huge blow to BIG. Na'Vi was able to close out the game with ease to move on to the semifinals. Edward and flamie lead the server with 20 kills. tabseN had 16 kills and tiziaN had 15, but smooya with just 10 kills in front of his home crowd was not enough to take down the Ukrainian giants.
compLexity Gaming vs. MIBR
compLexity Gaming surprised the Counter-Strike world after going through the New Challengers stage with its only loss against the world's best in Astralis and then sweeping up competition in the New Legends stage with ease to go undefeated, even topping Team Liquid in round differential. Meanwhile, MIBR had to struggle through after being upset by TyLoo. Even with two easy wins against mousesports and G2 Esports, MIBR was crushed by Astralis in the first shutout in Major history before scraping past Ninjas in Pyjamas. Historically, MIBR has the edge 3-1, but all four meetings were online matches, thus making this the first LAN match between the two. 78% of Pick'em predictions went in favor of MIBR.
Casters: HenryG & Sadokist
Another one-sided affair took place between the two teams on Train. The Made in Brazil core of FalleN, fer, and coldzera had the longest win streak on Train when the Brazilians were with SK Gaming in Global Offensive history at 17. A form of this dominant SK showed in this match as MIBR took a 8-0 lead before a 1 vs. 2 clutch by yay gave compLexity its first round. compLexity took the next round to get a bit closer. In the eleventh round, MIBR started to execute towards the B bombsite with under 25 seconds left. Stewie2K ran through a molotov thrown by yay in an attempt to slow down MIBR and then proceeded to kill ANDROID. yay was hiding in a corner and was ready to pounce, but a very quick reaction by FalleN was no match for yay, opening up the B bombsite with a little over ten seconds left. Stewie2K took down dephh in the connector area, which connects the two bombsites. ShahZaM found a target onto coldzera, but since he put a bullet to only his leg, coldzera was able to survive and Stewie2K was able to pounce on ShahZaM. stanislaw tried to make a play, but FalleN was able to catch the Canadian in-game leader sneaking up and MIBR won the round. compLexity was able to take the last two rounds of the half to make it 4-11, but MIBR was too strong on the defense for compLexity to do anything. fer lead all players with 22 kills and coldzera had 20. stanislaw had a poor game with just 3 kills.
The second map turned out to be much closer. MIBR took a 3-0 lead after not taking a point of damage in the pistol round with the help of coldzera's four kills, but compLexity was able to tie the game at 3. In the seventh round, the two teams traded kills three ways as compLexity headed to the A bombsite as dephh planted the bomb. FalleN and Stewie2K tried to take the retake slowly, but after ANDROID let Stewie2K onto the site where a battered dephh was hiding, the Canadian made up for it by taking down Stewie2K on the site and then took down FalleN to take the lead. MIBR responded by tying the game up at seven heading into the last round of the half. There, coldzera took down ANDROID and tarik killed stanislaw, but ShahZaM and yay traded out the two players. Stewie2K went through a smoke grenade to catch dephh off guard, but yay was able to trade shortly before ShahZaM planted the bomb. FalleN created a distraction for fer as he fell to ShahZaM, so fer pounced on yay, but ShahZaM was able to win out the duel to win the half for his team. MIBR was able to take the second half pistol round, but the two quietest players in the first half, stanislaw and ShahZaM, went big to win a force buy. In round 21, after MIBR won just one round and was in the potential to get its economy reset, stanislaw took down Stewie2K and tarik after a molotov was misthrown by MIBR and dephh backed his teammate up by taking down coldzera. FalleN was able to take down stanislaw through a smoke grenade, but MIBR was still in a 2 vs 4. fer somehow took down yay and ANDROID near the A bombsite to make it a 2 vs 2. dephh took down fer, but FalleN was able to win a 1 vs 2 clutch to secure the 2 vs. 5 scenario. compLexity won the next round thanks to stanislaw, forcing MIBR to go on a weak buy with just pistols as the following round would essentially decide the game. MIBR wasted little time and started a play to the A bombsite. A flashbang by coldzera caught yay at the perfect time to allow tarik to get a kill. ANDROID was playing nearby yay and he was so concerned about tarik dropping down that FalleN was able to get a backstab to suddenly make it a 5 vs. 3. stanislaw was able to take down FalleN, but not before the MIBR captain killed dephh. ShahZaM and stanislaw backed off to save their guns, but stanislaw was caught out by fer as the bomb exploded, giving MIBR the round. The round turned out to be the turning point as MIBR got to map and series at 15-12 heading to the 28th round. With under thirty seconds left, MIBR executed to the A bombsite. ShahZaM missed an AWP shot, allowing Stewie2K to punish with a kill. ANDROID traded out Stewie2K, but coldzera traded right back and then planted the bomb. fer got a lucky shot through a smoke grenade to take down yay and FalleN was watching the flank and was rewarded with a kill onto dephh. stanislaw was able to trade, but fer responded with the final kill of the series to move on to the semifinals. FalleN topped the scoreboard with 24 kills and fer followed closely with 23. After a rough first map and first half, stanislaw stepped up with 20 kills, but missed shots with the AWP from ShahZaM and yay not showing up proved costly in the loss.
Team Liquid vs. HellRaisers
North America's best went undefeated in the two group stages, with its only tough matches being in the third rounds, in which Vega Squadron and Astralis both took Liquid to overtime. However, Liquid was able to seal the deal in the end. HellRaisers had to really struggle through as six of its eleven maps went thirty or more rounds. In the end, HellRaisers was able to stave off Fnatic to eliminate the legendary Swedish team in the group stage for the first time in Major history. Team Liquid and HellRaisers were 1-1 in past meetings before the Major, but Liquid defeated HellRaisers 16-9 in the New Challengers stage. 95% of Pick'Em predictions went in favor of Team Liquid.
Casters: HenryG & Vince Hill
Day two of the playoffs began on Mirage, Team Liquid's map choice. Liquid got off to a hot start with a 7-0 start before HellRaisers took one of its own. In the ninth round, Liquid decided to fly into the A bombsite. bondik was able to take down TACO, but he was traded out by ELiGE. HellRaisers stood ground as woxic took down NAF and ANGE1 killed Twistzz. ANGE1 tried to get out of the corner he was in, but ELiGE was ready. ISSAA did a lot of damage to ELiGE, but ELiGE was the one who found the kill to even the playing field. nitr0 boosted ELiGE onto the stairs area, which is near the middle area in the A bombsite, to catch woxic off guard. ELiGE finally went down to DeadFox, but nitr0 was able to successfully trade as Liquid won a round it was not supposed to. This lead to another four rounds in favor of Liquid before HellRaisers took the last two rounds to end the half. HellRaisers took the second half pistol round and then the following two anti-economy rounds. The two teams exchanged one round each and then Liquid took two more to get to map point. With HellRaisers on just pistols heading to the 23rd round, Liquid seemed to have eased its way into a win. HellRaisers put two people in the apartments area, which leads from the terrorist spawn area to the B bombsite, and three players on the catwalk, which leads from the middle area to the B bombsite. A missed smoke from HellRaisers to block off vision for anyone near catwalk actually gave them an edge as woxic was able to see NAF through a gap to take him down and then plant the bomb. Liquid decided it was not worth going for and opted to save the weapons they had. HellRaisers got to ten rounds as the teams headed to the 26th round. HellRaisers and Liquid were fighting for middle control as soon as the round started, but as woxic tried to shoot at a Liquid player, his teammate bondik jumped in front of his bullet and was killed. TACO followed up onto woxic and NAF took down ANGE1 to suddenly make it a 2 vs. 5. ISSAA was able to kill TACO, but NAF was ready to trade, leaving DeadFox alone. DeadFox was able to make it fairly close by killing NAF and Twistzz, but could not win the fight against nitr0 as Liquid took Mirage. ELiGE lead all players with 27 kills. After a poor first half, woxic went up to 23 kills to try to carry the momentum into the next map.
A chaotic pistol round went in favor of HellRaisers and then the international squad went up 4-0. Liquid responded with six unanswered rounds before the two teams traded two rounds heading to the fifteenth round, as HellRaisers were only on four pistols and a SSG, a much inferior version of the AWP. TACO quickly went to the long area, which leads from the terrorist spawn to the A bombsite, and even though he went down to four health points, he found a kill onto ANGE1. ELiGE peeked the middle area to deal a headshot to woxic to give Liquid a significant advantage. Liquid proceeded to go into the A bombsite, where nitr0 took down bondik and ISSAA and NAF killed DeadFox to take a 9-6 lead as the two teams switched sides. The second pistol round was even more disorderly than the first. HellRaisers decided to go to the B bombsite, where only TACO was waiting. TACO took down ISSAA before being traded out by bondik. ANGE1 caught nitr0 trying to flank and bondik planted the bomb. NAF found a quick kill onto bondik, but woxic took down Twistzz and then an instant headshot onto ELiGE. However, woxic ran out of bullets, allowing NAF to take down the Turk. DeadFox peeked to his disadvantage as NAF found a kill onto him and then missed shots by ANGE1 allowed NAF to run over and kill ANGE1 and defuse the bomb with less than a second left, giving Liquid a crucial round. In the next round, HellRaisers decided to force buy rather than the tradition method of saving. With about 45 seconds left, HellRaisers ran from the catwalk area, which leads from the middle area to the A bombsite, and ran across to the aforementioned bombsite. nitr0 took down ANGE1 and ISSAA, but bondik took down both nitr0 and ELiGE and then followed up onto Twistzz. TACO traded out DeadFox to even the playing field as woxic planted the bomb. TACO was trying to create a distraction for NAF, but bondik saw the Canadian player and took him down. TACO finally killed bondik, but woxic traded to give HellRaisers the round. This lead HellRaisers on a ten round win streak to close out Dust II and to tie the series. Although NAF had 25 kills to lead the server, the struggling bondik went huge with 24 kills, and it was much needed as HellRaisers' star player ISSA was mostly quiet.
The third map went to Cache, which was historically a good North American map at Majors. Liquid most notably upset Fnatic on this map at ESL One Cologne 2016 to become the first North American team to play in a Major grand finals, where the fell to SK Gaming, which is now with MIBR. Liquid jumped to a 4-0 lead, but after HellRaisers won with a weak buy, they pulled the deficit to one. In the eighth round, DeadFox found a kill onto ELiGE, but could not follow up onto NAF. NAF tried to escape, but bondik sprayed into a smoke grenade to keep the HellRaisers man advantage. Liquid then quickly executed to the A bombsite, where TACO took down ISSAA. ANGE1 killed TACO, but Twistzz traded to open up the bombsite. bondik tried to take down Twistzz, but he fell. woxic tried to bait any players out of position, but Liquid kept in place. woxic was able to take down nitr0, but an immediate trade from Twistzz gave Liquid the round. This lead to a 10-3 scoreline before HellRaisers took the final two rounds of the half. Liquid quickly took series point by going up 15-5, but HellRaisers took three straight and looked for an easy fourth as the Liquid players were saving their money to get better weapons for the next round. HellRaisers took to slowly with under forty seconds left. ANGE1 and ISSAA dropped down from the vents area, which connects the middle area to near the B bombsite, but TACO somehow found kills onto both of them. bondik took down TACO, but Twistzz found a headshot onto DeadFox before being traded by bondik. The last two HellRaisers members tried to get onto the site since time was running low, but nitr0 ran in to take down both bondik and woxic and Liquid stole away the round to move on to the semifinals. The two Canadians, NAF and Twistzz, lead the way with 24 and 23 kills, respectively. woxic had 18 kills, but ISSAA was absent throughout the series as HellRaisers fell.
Astralis vs. FaZe Clan
A once competitive matchup when the two teams sat on top of the world rankings showed up in the quarterfinals. Astralis suffered two losses in the two group stages, but both matches were close as they headed to overtime. Meanwhile, FaZe Clan showed some signs of regression and some signs of struggled were confirmed when NiKo said that he was calling for the team once the team went down 0-2 instead of FaZe's usual in-game leader karrigan. The plan worked as FaZe had some favorable opponents to make the run back complete to a playoffs appearance. Historically, Astralis leads FaZe 23-19 in maps, but FaZe has the edge in LAN matches 17-13. 82% of Pick'em Predictions went in favor of Astralis.
Casters: Anders Blume & moses
Natus Vincere vs. MIBR
Both teams had relatively good times in the quarterfinals, as both defeated the home crowd favorites in two maps. Natus Vincere demolished BIG and MIBR defeated compLexity Gaming on compLexity's best map. Historically, MIBR leads the head to head, 16 maps to Na'Vi's 15, but Na'Vi won the most recent meeting between the two 2-1 at StarSeries & i-League Season 5. However, MIBR's core defeated Na'Vi's core at the Columbus 2016 grand finals for a non-European's first Major title.
Casters: Anders Blume & moses
Team Liquid vs. Astralis
North America's best and Europe's best duked it out in the semifinals. Both teams were favorites to win the trophy, but only one of the two could head to the finals. In past meetings prior to the Major, Astralis dominated Liquid 26-8, but Liquid defeated Astralis in the New Legends stage at this Major, making the winner hard to predict.
Casters:HenryG & Sadokist
The world's top two teams met in the grand finals. Natus Vincere was able to take down an old rival in MIBR. Astralis defeated the world's number three in Team Liquid in a much anticipated semifinals. The two cores of Edward, Zeus, and flamie against dupreeh, dev1ce, and Xyp9x had a long history, as Astralis leads the head-to-head 45-31. The teams also met once at this Major, in which Astralis edged out Na'Vi 16-14. However, the most recent best of three between the two went in favor of Na'Vi 2-1 at ESL One Cologne 2018. With Astralis defeating Liquid, this would guarantee a European team would win the Major for just the second time since MLG Major Championship: Columbus in 2016.
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.