The Grand Final of the Counter-Strike: Global Offensive AU and NZ championship was held at the PAX Arena on Sunday between Chiefs eSports Club vs Athletico. By getting to the Grand Final both teams have qualified for the newly announced Zen eSports league for 2017, which has a prize pool of $100,000 over the year. Athletico came in as favourites and rightly so, they are the defending champions and the number 1 seed in the tournament. In saying that Chiefs play yesterday against parallax was the most dominant of the Semi-Finals and really showed why they made it to the Grand Final.
The map Veto was interesting Athletico banned Cobble and ChiefsESC banned overpass. Mirage and Cache were first selected followed by Nuke and Train, and if the final went to a 5th map it was to be played on Dust2. The reason this Veto was interesting is because both teams selected what is widely believed to be their strongest maps first but neither of them were banned. Were chiefs wrong to ban Overpass and leave up Mirage. And vice versa for Athletico with Cobble and Cache. Only time would tell!
Athletico started map one on the disadvantaged terrorist side, but they took the initial pistol round and the following round after that, however, ChiefsESC soon came back into the game and took their first 3 rounds thereafter. At 3-2 score Athletico force bought into the round with very little utility. It came down to a 2v1 with the lead in favour of the ChiefsESC. They threw a smoke onto bomb for a defuse but a cheeky 1 deeg (1 shot kill by a Desert Eagle) by Erkast shot the defuse and with the bomb about to explode there was no time left for another opportunity to defuse and Athletico took the round win to level the score 3-3 in the first map. This boost in morale took Athletico up to a 6-2 round count. Both teams were changing up their play really well on this map, whether they were fighting for mid control or stacking sites or playing slow or fast. It made this game particularly exciting!
Sonic came up huge with 2K spray from connector on the ChiefsESC diffuser securing their 7th round on the T-side. ChiefsEFC soon started to take hold of the game and Malta finished off the half with a very impressive 2v1 defuse to get the lead the Chief’s eSports Club 8-7 going into the half. The 2nd pistol round was won by ChiefsESC, and winning the next anti-eco rounds and a couple of gun rounds Chiefs were on the cusp of the win taking the lead 14-7. At this stage “infrequent” had only secured 6 kills, and in an Athletico force buy, infrequent bought a MAG-7 and hid near palace tunnel. Poking around the corner at the right time he picked up 2 quick kills and dropped the bomb carrier from ChiefsESC and this seemed to be a turning point. Prior to this point he seemed to be struggling with the AWP but after the MAG-7 kills the switch was flicked and infrequent was back in the game. With his team on his back, he hit some fantastic shots including a collateral through smoke to get Athletico through to a 12-14 score line. Athletico Continued to roll through the CT-side of Mirage and got to match point 15-14. However, the previous round loss damaged ChiefsEFC economy too much and the minimal SMG buy wasn’t enough for ChiefsESC to take the game to overtime and Athletico took the first map of the Grand Final 16-14.
My thoughts: Chiefs were so damn close to taking what most see as the almost impossible task of taking Mirage off Athletico. As much as some of the guys may be blaming themselves for the loss. I don’t think Chiefs are too much to blame for the loss. Infrequent was almost to blame to Athletico losing, and in turn was actually a very big part of them winning. I really think those MAG-7 kills in the tunnel was the defining point of this game. Without that morale booster who knows if infrequent would have turned up and made those big plays that ended up securing the game for Athletico.
Map 2 was Cache, Chiefs started on the CT-side and took down the initial pistol round with ease taking all 5 kills and only losing one member. Athletico quickly went down 7-2 one the T-side. Which is very unlike AUS CS:GO. As most Teams in Australia have a very strong T-side. Athletico had to eco on the 10th round and lost all 5 members with a bomb plant or a kill. They called a Tactical Pause to try and stop the roll of ChiefsESC. The pause did pay off as the following 3 rounds were taken by Athletico but the ChiefsESC took the final round of the half taking the score to 10-5. Athletico really needed to win the 2nd pistol round to try to get back into the game. They did do so but with the lead that ChiefsESC had secured themselves, they could force buy into the 2nd round of the half and won the round. That roll continued through the rest of the game and ChiefsESC took an easy 16-6 Victory on Cache.
My thoughts: Well I’ll just start by saying that it’s obvious why ChiefsESC are known as one of the best Cache teams in the region. They’re just unrelenting when it comes to pressure and map control. Quite a few times I saw players like Alistair hitting some pixel perfect dinks over truck that just wouldn’t be possible if you weren’t well practiced on this map. Secondly, with a T-side as bad as what Athletico have on this map why aren’t they banning this instead of Cobble? I’ve seen them struggle really badly on Cache on more than 1 occasion. I mean I know they’ll be well aware of their own weaknesses but if they want to stay on top of this region, it’s definitely something they need to work on.
Map 3 was on the old favourite of Nuke. Athletico started on the T-side but ChiefsESC continued where they left off last game, with a dominant pistol round. The following 3 rounds were also taken by the ChiefsESC. But with some good executes on the sites Athletico battled their way back into the game and soon took the lead 6-3. In the 11th round, bomb was down for Athletico but the man advantage was in favour of the chiefs 2v1. Enter Erkast who played the bomb timer almost perfectly taking out one before drawing out the second and winning the gun fight to secure the 8th consecutive round for Athletico. The roll continued for the terrorist taking a commanding lead into the break of 11-4. Athletico continued right where they left off winning the second pistol round moving them to within 4 rounds of a 2-1 series lead. ChiefsESC did manage to take 2 rounds off Athletico but the match was soon ended with a score of 16-6 in favour of Athletico.
My thoughts. This type of gameplay is what I was expecting out of Athletico at a LAN; outright dominance. They have been the number 1 team in the region for some time now, and this is how I expected them to play against Immunity. But as many people are aware, Athletico finish strong. They know how to clutch up and win these events and it really did show. I don’t think ChiefsESC did too much wrong on this map, they just simply got outplayed. Chiefs players all had good moments, but every player on Athletico played better than they had in the previous 2 maps.
Map 4 was on Train, a map where we again saw Athletico struggle yesterday against Immunity. ChiefsESC started on the T-side and took the first pistol round as well the following Athletico eco round that followed and the first gun round. But, unfortunately for ChiefsESC, the roll ended here and Athletico soon took a strangle hold on the match and took a commanding lead of 11- 4 into the break. Now anyone who knows Australian CS:GO knows LightStep, a veteran player in the scene. In 2 consecutive rounds LightStep aka Snake Daddy (dub this by PeetyG due to an old in-game name and the fact he has recently become a father. See below for a photo of his daughter watching on) took it upon himself to try and keep ChiefsESC in the game. He found himself in 1v4 scenarios twice and both times got the battle down to a 1v1 before narrowly losing the chance the secure the rounds. If one of these rounds could’ve been clutched by LightStep he may have swung the momentum for ChiefsESC but unfortunately he couldn’t do so and Athletico took the map 16-6. With this victory, Athletico retains their title of AU & NZ champions of CS:GO and $10, 000 for their troubles.
My thoughts: Well before the game started I predicted a 3-1 scoreline for Athletico, and as soon as I saw the Veto I was even more convinced with the prediction. I really thought it would have come down to Nuke but what it really came down to was Chiefs allowing an 8 straight run on Mirage. I think if Chiefs took that map from Athletico it may have tilted them slightly, and it could’ve been a whole different game after that. But both teams have really accomplished what they needed to, and that was to qualify for the Zen eSports League in 2017. Where 4 teams from AU&NZ will take on 4 teams from Asia. Not only are we talking 100k prize pool, but more international experience for our players will only strengthen our region and close the gap between us and the rest of the world.
Huge thanks to PAX Australia for giving the event a venue and to ESL Australia for the production of the event and for giving us media access. As well as all 4 teams involved and their managers/owners for providing myself with the opportunity for photos. Below are just some of the photo’s taken from a fantastic event at PAX Australia 2016!