Liquid have come out on top of the most exhaustive event since the Katowice Major, besting a competitive field to bring home their third title of the year. This event was a barn burner, with a glut of best of threes played between top ten level competition. This event also signified the competitive scene starting to pick up some steam again. There are several high level international tournaments coming up in the next few months, and this event is a great opportunity to take a look at the field.

“Trophy" Liquid

Liquid are on a roll. After a year’s worth of (mostly) second place finishes, they’ve won two of their last three international LANs, bringing home trophies from Sydney and Dallas. They had a dominating performance in Dallas, dropping just two maps out of their four best of threes. While their performance against FaZe in the decider for their group was touch and go, they pulled out a long overtime win on Dust II and buried FaZe on Inferno for the third map.

Liquid was one of the highest rated teams at the event, but their players had a hierarchical stat distribution. EliGE was their best performer with a 1.31 K/D, and Twistzz followed close behind at 1.26. After those two, Stewie and NAF were close together with a 1.05 and 1.07 respectively. Last came nitr0, limping in with a .94.

Whether you like Liquid’s team setup or not, this stat distribution is a good sign for them. Stewie and NAF have settled into reduced roles from what they’ve had in teams past, which was one of the problems this team might have faced. We can argue all day about whether Liquid is wasting two talented players like Stewie and NAF, but the results speak for themselves.

Liquid is primed and ready to take on Astralis at the EPL Finals in mid June, and it should make for some incredibly exciting Counter Strike.

“Trophy" ENCE

Poor, poor ENCE. They’ve attended more events than Liquid and Na’Vi since the Major, and all they have to show or it is a first place at BLAST Madrid. They are the only team in the top five with a win over Astralis since the Major, but their trophy case is lacking. They were beaten in Dallas, Shanghi, and the summit by the eventual champion, netting them a second place, 5th/8th, and a 3rd/4th respectively.

Aerial is still a big question mark, and he makes me perpetually nervous. He continues to disappear in big games, like in the Grand Finals at Dallas. He went 46-63 over the best of three final, essentially handing Liquid the trophy. At this point I think a roster swap is necessary if ENCE want to hit the next level. SunNy continues to waste away on Mousesports’ bench, and I find it hard to believe he won’t be on ENCE’s roster by the Major.

“Trophy" Furia

Furia continue to make their case as one of the best 15 teams in the world. At this event they beat Cloud9, 2-0’d Fnatic, and took a map off of ENCE, just in groups. In the playoffs they dominated Vitality and pushed Liquid on Nuke before falling 0-2.

Furia’s top three has been performing great for the past couple months, with yuurih, arT, and kscerato putting up a 1.25, 1.13, and 1.11 K/Ds over 10 maps in this tournament. They’ll be attending the ECS Finals and ESL One Cologne, where they seem to have a real chance of outplacing MIBR.

If you had asked me this time last year if a Brazilian team would outplace FalleN and co. within the next year I would’ve laughed in your face, and yet here we are.

“Trophy" FaZe

I don’t know what to make of this team. Their wins at this event weren’t all that impressive, taking series over NiP and and G2. It seems like rain is back to performing well, as he was the third highest rated player at the tournament. I just don’t know how much faith I have in this iteration of the roster. How long is NEO really going to stick here? To me this feels like another placeholder roster, it still seems like another roster change is coming eventually.

“Trophy" Vitality

ZywOo had yet another statistically absurd tournament, with a 1.46 K/D over nine games, far and away the best of anyone else in attendance. With statistical dominance like that, you’d expect them to be in the mix to at least make the finals, right? Nope, they lost in the Quarter Finals to Furia, 0-2. They didn’t even get to double digits on either map, giving it up 8-16 both times.

Vitality has a serious supporting cast problem. I realize that’s starting to sound repetitive, but it’s the truth. This team is in desperate need of a roster change before they can push any further into the top 10. Unfortunately, I’m not sure who’s even available. KennyS is probably the second best player in France, but he is an AWPer. It seems ZywOo is comfortable playing a hybrid role, so they might be able to coexist, but it would surely take some of ZywOo’s shine away. It’ll be interesting to see if Vitality make any moves, and if so, what they do.

“Trophy" G2

I’m so tired of talking about G2. This tournament they beat Renegades and Fnatic, before falling to FaZe Clan in the Quarters. Map two was a crazy long overtime game, where G2 were able to push FaZe, but map one was an easy 16-8 victory for FaZe.

G2’s best statistical performer at this tournament was AmaNEk. Not KennyS, not Shox. AmaNEk. This team continues to underutilize one of the best players of the last decade in KennyS, due to a complete lack of any discernible system. He is consistently set up for failure, and it shows in his stats.

This tournament had a great format, and it produced some excellent CS, both for viewers and bettors. If you are a bettor, and I assume you are if you’re reading this, it’s officially betting season for CS:GO, so you better be ready.

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