Steven R. August 23, 2019
The Pick’Em predictions for a substantial chunk of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive’s fan base were shattered within an hour of the start of the tournament.
The StarLadder Berlin Major Challengers Stage kicked off with a pair of massive upsets. CIS Minor Championship runners-up Syman Gaming and DreamEaters scored victories over Team Vitality and NRG Esports, respectively. The outcome sees two of the favorites to go 3-0 now playing from behind.
Vitality vs. Syman initially looked to be a competitive game. Vitality got off to a strong start but Syman turned the tide and took the lead by winning seven consecutive rounds. Vitality started to fire back and won two rounds, but Syman’s Maksim "t0rick" Zaikin was there to shut down any kind of rally with a quad-kill clutch.
That general sequence happened on multiple occasions, with the Azerbaijani player slamming the door whenever Vitality began to encroach on the lead. He finished the game with a 30-13 K/D ratio en route to Syman knotting things up 16-8.
T0rick’s massive individual effort came as a surprise, but it couldn’t match the theatrics of NRG vs. DreamEaters.
DreamEaters jumped out to a strong early lead, finishing the first half at 10-5 and advancing to 15-6 shortly thereafter. NRG’s back was against the wall but the team managed to settle down, make holds, and force overtime by winning nine straight rounds.
As always, Cvetelin "CeRq" Dimitrov came through huge for NRG but Anton "speed4k" Titov matched his output for DreamEaters. Both players stepped up in overtime but it was ultimately DreamEaters that managed to lock up the 19-17 victory.
While the losses were surprising, NRG Esports and Vitality both have plenty of time to turn their fortunes around in the StarLadder Berlin Major Challengers Stage. The Swiss group format has teams with three wins advancing to the Legends Stage while teams with three losses are eliminated.
NRG and Vitality will have two more opportunities to bounce back and remain strong candidates to advance to the Legends Stage. NRG will take on TYLOO in round two, while Vitality goes against INTZ Esports.