While League of Legends was having its Worlds party over on the west coast this weekend, the eyes of Counter-Strike fans were firmly fixed on the other side of the country, where European powerhouse Natus Vincere ultimately took down, er, European powerhouse Virtus.pro in the grand final of ESL One New York 2016.
Na'Vi hadn't felt like favourites going into the tournament - the high-profile addition of Oleksandr "s1mple" Kostyliev to the line-up had the potential to elevate them to greatness, but the team had struggled in recent online matches. Meanwhile, Virtus.pro were coming into ESL One New York on the back of their ELEAGUE Series 1 victory, and neither side was perhaps as heavily fancied as SK Gaming anyway.
Na'Vi had to do it the hard way, too, after Virtus.pro overwhelmed them on Cobblestone straight out of the gate, going 13-2 in the first half and ending the second 16-3. Unfazed, the Ukrainian team responded in style on Train, going 12-3 in the first round and quickly surging to a 16-8 win after the break.
That left the teams slugging it out on Mirage, which was a lot closer. Virtus.pro narrowly took the first half, but Na'Vi closed things up and in the end it was their opponents who were left clinging on to force overtime. They almost nicked it, too, but in the end Na'Vi took the final three rounds to clinch their prize.
And it clearly meant a lot to the team. "It's something huge for us," GuardiaN told ESPN in the aftermath. "We lost five at least $250,000 events in a row in the finals or the semifinals. Finally, we got it after a huge dedication to the viewers and everything. It's still emotional; I was even crying after the game. It feels very good."
Mind you, he won't have long to dwell on those feelings, with Epicenter, the second season of ELEAGUE and of course the ELEAGUE Major in January. You, on the other hand, can fill the time by watching all the ESL One New York CSGO VODs on YouTube.