MLG Columbus 2016: Recap
Posted 2016-04-07 Dare_Dev1L
It has been merely days since the most hyped and exciting Major came to a close and a victor was crowned at MLG Columbus 2016. Alas, Fnatic were not the winners this time around but there are still many exciting tournaments and Majors in their future! It is custom to write a recap after every tournament, and that will not change, but this time around let us only venture through Fnatic’s adventure and talk about what occurred during this competition. I will discuss, in length, the group matches and the playoffs in an attempt at both relaying information and further understanding what went on during the matches. Let’s begin!
The Group Stage
Fnatic’s adventure started against a team that was taken very lightly by viewers and journalists alike, a roster of North American origin that goes by the name of Splyce. The match was played on Train, which unlike other classic maps, has not been played as often since its CS:GO adaptation. Although Splyce started on the CT side, the match still remained very one sided towards Fnatic and ended 16:5. It was a very unlucky break for Splyce and they never really recovered as they bowed out of the tournament from there on..
The formal in-game greeting to America didn’t end there, as Fnatic faced another North American team known as Liquid. Liquid recently recruited the Ukrainian superstar Aleksandr 's1mple' Kostyliev who, before this Major, still hadn’t fully adapted to his new role. This time around, however, Kostyliev excelled in his performance on Dust2. The winner of the Group B Winners’ match was guaranteed to claim the easier route to the playoffs and the community widely favored Fnatic as Liquid wasn’t considered a real rival to the prowess Fnatic has shown since last November. Liquid chose to start on the terrorist side, which until recently was the less favored starting side on the map. The battle ended during overtime when Liquid snatched the victory with a 22:19 scoreline and caused a shocking upset. This was the match where Olof 'olofmeister' Kajbjer started having a lot less of an impact compared to his usual standard. Kajbjer has been having issues with his wrist and it has put a very big dent in his performance at the Major. It was very valiant of him to work through it without complaining and while still keeping his focus throughout the competition. Liquid went on to become the bronze medalists at the Major and their miracle run really started with this victory against Fnatic.
From there on, Fnatic had to take the longer route to the playoffs and went up against FaZe, their first European opponent so far at this North American-based Major. That wasn’t the only difference because it was also an elimination match played in a best of three format. The boys started off on FaZe’s map pick, which was Mirage and rightfully so. FaZe battled valiantly as they managed to rack up 10 rounds against Fnatic. Unfortunately for them, they didn’t win enough terrorist rounds to keep their momentum up for their CT side. Next up was Fnatic’s map pick, Cobblestone, and FaZe chose to start on the terrorist side. Although they managed 5 rounds on their T side, their CT side was dismal, only managing one CT round before losing with a 5:16 scoreline. As a team with a lot of potential with previous variations of their roster, they have not managed to pick up where they left off since picking up Philip 'aizy' Aistrup. This is not the fault of Aistrup however, as a multinational lineup in the CS:GO scene relies on team effort and currently they still require some work to get to the stage they’re looking for.
At this stage, Fnatic had finally moved on from the group stages and went on to face the big dogs. Unfortunately for the boys, they were seeded as second in their group due to the loss against Team Liquid and ended up against one of the highest seeds early on. This is usually nothing too worrying for Fnatic who are currently the best team in the world. Their first quarter final was against Astralis, a team that was once Fnatic’s kryptonite in the summer of 2015 but also a team that has not been able to beat Fnatic in a Bo3 series for 182 days. What a record! The series started on Overpass, which was Astralis’ map pick. The match started off very back and forth as the individual play of both teams kept people on the edge of their seats. This did not stop Astralis from showing off their incredible defensive prowess on this map as they held magnificent positions and knew how to counter Fnatic well on their CT side. The pressure did not end there and Astralis kept the momentum going on their T side before eventually ending the game with a 10-16 score in their favor.
When it came to Fnatic’s map pick Cache, it was really anybody’s ball game. Astralis had the upper hand in map selection this series and Fnatic was not performing at their best. That confidence changer was very apparent on Cache as Astralis continued their momentum from Overpass. Using the audience as their backbone, Astralis went all the way on their T side and managed to be up 13-2 by the end of the first half. Fnatic attempted a comeback on their T side but didn’t have much wiggle room before Astralis managed to close it out. This marked the first major Astralis Bo3 victory over Fnatic in, as mentioned earlier, 182 days! Sadly for them, they did not manage to get past Na’Vi in the semifinal and continue their streak as consistent semi final finishers.
This wasn’t Fnatic’s best tournament, but it was definitely the end of one of Fnatic’s best winning streaks. With 6 tournament wins under their belt and the amount of Majors won in the past, Fnatic is still unquestionably the best team in the world. In my preview I compared Luminosity’s recent achievements to those of Na’Vi in 2010 as the “legends that appeared out of nowhere” and the team has definitely accomplished what they promised to show at this event. A loud applause and congratulations to Luminosity for their Major victory!