IEM Taipei didn’t quite go as many expected.
The eight-team Counter-Strike: Global Offensive tournament got off to an inauspicious start when casters joked they had never heard of some of the teams in the tournament and were unable to find statistics on one of them. It ended when a bug in the game influenced the grand final.
So yeah, things could have gone better.
The eventual winner, TheMongolZ, earned an invite to IEM Katowice in Poland next month. In the final, they bested the favorite, Renegades, one of the few teams in the field with top-level international experience.
Here’s a look at the rest of the wild weekend.
Day 1 would start aggressively and fast, with CyberZen winning both its games by a good margin. CyberZen beat Chiefs eSports Club 16-3 to reach the semifinals, while Chiefs would bounce back quickly by taking out Risky Gaming. Each of the teams competing had troubles, with CyberZen struggling on the terrorist-side of the map on Cobblestone, and Chiefs barely edging out MVP Karnal on Inferno.
Day 2 would begin in an unusual manner. A fan posted to reddit that one of the players on Tyloo, Quanqing “qz” Wu, was banned from competitive play for hacking, and thus should not have been competing. Michal “CARMAC” Blicharz, a shoutcaster for Intel Extreme Masters, responded, saying that it would be investigated. Within the hour, Tyloo was disqualified from the tournament, leaving three teams to compete for the last two semifinal spots.
It should have been easy for Renegades, but that was not the case. After a dominating first game against Eat You Alive, The MongolZ beat Renegades for the first time in Group B play, 16-13, in a sloppily-played game against the Mongolian squad. Eat You Alive would fall yet again against Renegades, leaving the strange Group B qualifiers to be Renegades and The MongolZ.
There would be no stopping the unheralded MongolZ, who defeated Chiefs eSports Club to get to the finals. The Chiefs were able to surprise them enough to take one game of the best-of-three series, but The MongolZ were set for another match against Renegades, which disposed of CyberZen rather easily. Hopes were high that Renegades would keep its form into the finals and plow right through The Mongolz, but they would soon be dashed in another strange occurrence.
Against The MongolZ, Renegades did not seem to have any idea on what to do. It struggled immensely on the terrorist side on Cobblestone, losing the first game. The biggest moment of these tournament would come in Game 2, though, on Inferno. Throughout the first half The MongolZ had Renegades’ number, but RNG hopes to make the game more even in round 12 of the second game, Renegades had taken the B site, and the round should have been won, making the score 10-2, but the bomb would fall to an unreachable spot on the map. Renegades couldn’t plant the bomb, which prevented it from winning the round and getting more money for further rounds. It created a snowball effect, and The MongolZ dominated from there.
The bug effectively dashed all of Renegades’ hopes to come back, and The MongolZ finished off the 2-0 win. The Mongolians were the better team in this tournament, having much more solid team dynamics and better strategies on each map. They definitely deserved the win and I look forward to seeing them play on the international stage against the world’s best at Katowice.
The bug in Game 2 of the Finals should definitely be revisited. It came at the worst possible moment for Renegades, which was in a position to retake control and shift momentum back in its favor. Some tournaments have rules that if a bug occurs after a player has died the round cannot be replayed, but such a bug is detrimental to the integrity of a competitive match. Could the Renegades have made a comeback if they by winning that round? It is possible, but it is just as likely that The MongolZ would have won the next round anyway.
These kinds of events are hard to manage because both arguments hold up, and it’s impossible to know the outcome if the round was replayed. It would be in Valve Corporation’s best interest to create rules against these types of rare but round-breaking bugs so that the integrity of the game is not hampered by another possible mishap that could end a tournament for a team.
Through all the wackiness, the tournament was entertaining and a good indicator of the strength of the Asia/Oceania region. Overall, it’s still the weakest compared to North America and Europe, but The MongolZ hope make a splash at Katowice. They’ll also have some nice looking stickers that are sure to attract some more fans to the Asia CS:GO scene.
Photo credit: James Cao (flickr)