ELEAGUE returned to the airwaves over the weekend as 16 teams from around the world began their quest for a chunk of over $1m in prize money, and as is tradition in esports, it wasn't long before pre-tournament predictions started to look shaky. Here's a few things we learned watching mousesports and FaZe Clan advance to the ELEAGUE playoffs at the expense of Cloud9 and Immortals.
Karrigan already looks at home on FaZe
FaZe Clan only started competing in Counter-Strike at the start of 2016 and have struggled to put together a consistent run of form, despite roster changes that saw allu and kioShiMa coming in while fox and Maikelele were allowed to leave. Obviously it's early days, but their latest piece of business, picking up karrigan from Astralis, is already showing positive signs. Karrigan said he had mixed feelings about leaving Astralis, where both sides just couldn't find common ground that would allow them to move forward together, but the Danish in-game leader's talent was never in question. Now he's joined FaZe and they have already made it out of ELEAGUE groups after just a few hours of professional play. We'll need to see more of the team in action to judge whether this becomes a trend, but it already feels like progress to the team's fans, who lit up social media in appreciation.
Happy anniversary to chrisJ
Three years and one day after joining mousesports, as one redditor noted, Danish AWPer Chris De Jong crushed Brazilian favourites Immortals with 31 kills. Not long after that, he racked up 38 kills as mousesports booked their spot in the ELEAGUE playoffs by seeing off Cloud9. At one point he made the counterterrorist spawn his own, noscoping Skadoodle and then n0thing within seconds of each other, leading to gasps from the casters. "Can somebody please explain the science behind that kill - that should be impossible, but again they cannot stop ChrisJ under almost any circumstances. That's ridiculous!" The win over Cloud9 was a narrow one, but it was thrilling as usual and ChrisJ was the thrill king. Happy anniversary.
Charmless Immortals taken down a peg
Immortals' CS:GO team has only been official for a few months, but they were attracting hype before ELEAGUE after they won Northern Arena in Canada and DreamHack Summer. Perhaps that was the problem. On-stage they looked nervy and overly emotional, bellowing after every play in a manner that looks charming when you're an underdog but less so when you're the favourite. Sure, they came up against a mousesports team in rude form, but the loser's bracket final against FaZe Clan, who were playing with a brand new in-game leader after a dodgy first 10 months of professional play, ought to have been winnable. Instead they went down 2-1 in a series where the unfortunate highlight was HEN1's premature celebration of a last-minute defusal that literally blew up in his face.
Cloud9 falls to earth
Where did it all go wrong for Cloud9? Feted by some as the new best team in North America going into ELEAGUE after strong performances at Northern Arena and DreamHack Bucharest, by the end of the weekend they weren't even the best NA team in the group as FaZe Clan went through to playoffs at their expense. The unfortunate truth is they made a lot of mistakes over the two days. Letting mousesports play them on Dust 2, one of the European team's strongest maps, was a bad start - both teams made mistakes during that match, but in the end ChrisJ took it by the scruff of the neck. Beating FaZe on Train suggested things might be alright, as Stewie racked up over 20 headshots, but the best-of-three Decider was another matter - C9 managed to win on Train after a narrow defeat on Mirage, but they were then soundly beaten on Overpass and looked worn out on-stage as they bowed out. Afterwards, fans questioned Skadoodle's performance and called for the team to bring in a coach, perhaps Peacemaker, but whatever the solution, it does feel like some action is needed.
ELEAGUE takes a break this week to make way for the ESL Pro League Season 4 Finals in Sao Paulo, but it will be back November 4-5 for Group B as Virtus.pro start their ELEAGUE crown defence against Ninjas in Pyjamas, G2 Esports and Echo Fox. Check out our ELEAGUE Season 2 explainer for all the details on that and the other groups.