Cloud9, OpTic Gaming stay in front at the North American ECS

OpTic Gaming picked up a split series against Cloud9 but failed to gain ground in the standings during Week 5. Provided by Esports Championship Series

As the North American Esports Championship Series kicked off the second half of Season 3, teams were scrambling to catch up to league leaders Cloud9. After a tumultuous Week 5, C9 remains on top, but what happened with the rest of the field? Here's how Week 5 went down.

The first match of the week saw OpTic Gaming take on Cloud9 on Tuesday, beginning with a dominating performance from OpTic on Train. With Will "RUSH" Wierzba lighting the map up with dazzling rifle work en route to a 30/10 KD (kills/deaths) and staggering 132.8 ADR (average damage per round), OpTic had little trouble as it took the first half by a score of 11-4. OpTic maintained that momentum for the rest of the game, picking up five straight second-half rounds to take a 16-4 win. Cloud9 struck back on Cobblestone, however, playing with a vengeance as it tore down the Green Wall. Jake "Stewie2K" Yip's 22/11 KD led Cloud9 to a 13-2 halftime lead, though it seemed like every C9 player was hot in Game 2. OpTic attempted to mount a comeback by winning some early rounds in the second half, but Cloud9 quickly shut that down to take a 16-5 win and tie the series at 1-1. Cloud9 would go on to split another series 1-1 against Renegades on Wednesday.

In the second matchup on Tuesday, Team Liquid took on Renegades in a chaotic, back-and-forth series. Game 1 was a wipe for Liquid on Cobblestone as it surged to a strong 12-3 halftime lead, thanks in large part to Nick "nitr0" Cannella, who finished with a 26/16 KD and 103.6 ADR. While Renegades went on a small winning streak in the second half, Liquid were able to stay on top and secure a 16-9 win. The series went in a very different direction in Game 2, however, as both teams took turns struggling and surging on Mirage. Renegades had a phenomenal first half on the CT-side, picking up rounds with consistent ease as it took a lead of 11-4 into the second half. Liquid fought back, though, looking more like the team that dominated Game 1 in the second half as it too posted a score of 11-4 at the end of the half, bringing the overall game score to 15-15 and forcing an overtime set. Liquid fought valiantly, but ultimately couldn't stop Renegades from taking a 19-17 win to tie this series at 1-1. Renegades went on to tie Cloud9 1-1 the following day.

After splitting a 1-1 series against NRG Esports on Wednesday, a shaky Immortals lineup took on OpTic Gaming on Thursday. Beginning the series on Cobblestone, OpTic looked dominant throughout the first half, led again by RUSH's hot hands with various rifles. After posting a score of 11-4 leading into the second half, OpTic briefly struggled to close out the game against Immortals, who fielded its coach Rafael "zakk" Fernandes as an emergency substitute in place of the recently-benched Lincoln "fnx" Lau. Eventually, OpTic seized control of the match, taking a Game 1 win with a final score of 16-10. For the second time this week, however, the series went in an interesting direction when brought to Game 2 on Mirage. Incredibly, both teams excelled on the CT-side, taking scores of 10-5 by the end of their respective halves to force yet another overtime period. Led by the AWP of Henrique "HEN1" Teles, Immortals took over the OT period late into the third round, finally locking down a win by a margin of 19-17 to split the series at one win apiece.

At the end of the week, Cloud9 still holds the top spot in the NA ECS, closely followed by NRG Esports and OpTic Gaming, who are tied at 21 points each. Team Liquid sits in fourth, with Counter Logic Gaming and SK Gaming looming just behind. Week 6 action kicks off Tuesday, May 23 with SK taking on CLG at 6 p.m. ET.