The first day at MLG Columbus is in the books, and it is time to look at what went down in the opening round matches in Columbus on Tuesday in the first ever $1 million Counter-Strike tournament.
Unfortunately for NiP, pyth's visa issues will ruin this event. NiP could still make playoffs over mousesports, but any dreams the team had of making the semifinals -- as many other teams had suggested was possible in interviews leading up to the event -- were crushed. The weight is too much for the tired shoulders of f0rest and GeT_RiGhT -- that much became apparent in the 19-17 overtime win over FlipSid3, with both of NiP's stars putting in big numbers, only to barely scrape a win against the group's supposed weakest team.
mousesports, which will be competing with NiP for that playoff spot once Luminosity has smacked the Ninjas around on Day 2, showed up in form. The team came within a poorly played anti-eco round and one more win from forcing overtime against world No. 2 Luminosity, despite its third impact player nex being invisible. If NiKo can get some help from both nex and chrisJ at the same time, this team is deadly. On the other hand, Luminosity turned heads by having fer play throughout mirage's defensive side with an MP9, allowing the team to use a double AWP setup with FalleN and coldzera manning the snipers.
Liquid was the first American surprise of the day, handily racking up a 12-3 terrorist side lead on cache thanks to the heroics of adreN, the player who was removed from the team in February. As at the qualifier, adreN played well -- winning two key rounds, and coming within milliseconds of a ninja defuse -- and was perhaps Liquid's best player in the game. FaZe continued looking weak, as the team has since the famous semifinal run at the previous major. Adding RobbaN -- former NiP and SK player from Counter-Strike 1.6 -- as a coach clearly has not fixed the team out of nowhere.
fnatic destroyed SPLYCE on train in its opener. The Americans had a chance to put some rounds on the board, but bad habits proved to die hard as they continuously went for too aggressive plays when up in numbers, and flusha's team took every inch the youngsters gave them. Later, Gambit's early 5-1 lead over astralis on the defensive side of the same map was quickly flipped on its head with the Danes ultimately prevailing 16-10, winning a plethora of close rounds despite an early scare.
Elsewhere, EnVyUs gave us further proof the team is all but dead, scoring only eight rounds in what looked like a half-hearted effort against a well-oiled CLG team on cobblestone. It would be nice to give the team coached by pita more credit, but EnVyUs is currently anemic.
Group D saw Cloud9 jump to an early lead against Na`Vi, scoring the first six rounds on train. It did not take long for the ex-CIS powerhouse to figure its opponents out, however, and by half Cloud9 was down 7-8, despite playing on the easier side. As terrorists, n0thing struggled in leading his team to round wins, getting only two on the board as his team lost its opener on its home soil at 9-16, with Na`Vi on a 16-3 run by the end of the game.
In the final game of the day, Virtus.pro absolutely decimated G2 on train, starting on the harder terrorist side and somehow winning the game 16-1. Notably the AWP was held in Snax's hands, with both pasha and NEO rifling throughout the game. This bodes well for Poles, which has a solid history against Na`Vi. G2 is facing yet another group stage elimination at a major. At ESL One Cologne 2014 it lost to Cloud9, and then was blown out 16-1 by dignitas (current astralis). This one could end up in reverse, with Virtus.pro playing the role of the Danes. The curse lives on.