Steven R. April 1, 2019
The first three rounds of the StarSeries & i-League CS:GO Season 7 group stage has been completed, and with that comes the first set of eliminations.
South America’s PaiN Gaming and China’s Panda Gaming have been knocked out of the tournament with 0-3 records in the group stage. They share a 15th-place finish and will walk away with $4,000 prizes.
The pace for PaiN’s run in the event was set in its series against FaZe Clan. Playing against an enduring staple of the European scene, the Brazilian underdogs exceeded expectations by putting up a solid fight but never came particularly close to taking a map. In round two, the squad faced Team Spirit. Though the series with the Russians was a furious one with two of the three maps going to overtime, PaiN once again fell short.
PaiN would need to step over BIG in order to survive at the brink of elimination. Once again, the team put up a strong fight against considerably higher ranked opposition but still suffered the same fate. PaiN dropped the series 2-0 and was eliminated from the tournament as a result.
While Panda Gaming washed out of the event alongside PaiN, the team didn’t enjoy the same moral victories.
Panda’s event started with a brief series against MiBR, where it was squashed with 16-6 and 16-5 losses. Though it took a step down in competition in its next series opposite fellow Chinese team TyLoo, it didn’t fare any better as it took a similarly lopsided 2-0 defeat. Panda teased it may have had some skills by taking North to overtime in its first map of round three but was eliminated shortly after when the Danes secured the sweep by routing Panda 16-2.
While this is a disappointing finish for Panda and PaiN, it comes as little surprise to fans.
The two teams entered StarSeries with the longest odds of winning, working their way into the event through thin qualifier fields. Though both have taken wins over solid opponents in the past, the competition for this event in Shanghai was stiff enough that an early exit felt like an inevitability.
On the flipside, the end of round three also delivered the first pair of teams qualifying for the playoffs.
Despite an ugly start to the year that included early exits from both the 2019 Katowice Major and WESG 2018, Fnatic coasted through the group stage with a 3-0 record. The Swedes are joined by the boys of Renegades, who continue building their reputation as a newly elite CS:GO squad.
The group stage will continue on next with three more teams advancing and three more being eliminated. Meanwhile, Fnatic and Renegades can kick back and relax until the playoffs begin on April 4.