SK Gaming claimed the title at the ECS Season 3 Finals, which included dynamic semifinal and final matches among the best Counter-Strike teams in the world. With SK back on top, and an emerging EliGE from Team Liquid, here’s a look at my final five observations from ECS Season 3.
SK bounce back
After a 2-0 loss to G2 Esports in the ESL Pro League Season 5 semifinals, SK Gaming showed tremendous resilience on Sunday. After a 13-2 half on the third map, SK let FaZe Clan come back and force overtime before rallying to come out on top. Fernando “fer” Alvarenga posted a +22 rating with 90.3 ADR over the entire three-map series and is starting to chip away at the throne Marcelo “coldzera” David has built throughout 2017. A couple more standout performances, especially at the PGL Major, could put fer in the discussion for best player in the world. If SK implements Cache into its map pool, the Brazilian powerhouse will be an even more daunting opponent.
Time is running out for Fnatic
The once legendary roster of Fnatic has been lackluster for a multitude of events since reforming its lineup in February. The results include a quarterfinal exit at StarLadder Kiev and failing to reach the playoffs in both the ESL Pro League Season 5 Finals and ECS Season 3 Finals, and they leave much to be desired. Many have predicted and expected Fnatic to win — or at least come close to winning — a premier event by now. There’s still time, but without a promising Major finish, the Swedes will have to find a sense of urgency.
FaZe retains and builds momentum
FaZe has accumulated a strong collection of results dating back to the beginning of March with a runner up finish at IEM Katowice followed by a win at StarLadder a month later. FaZe lost to SK Gaming in the IEM Sydney final in May and followed up those with another runner-up finish — again to SK Gaming. These consistent top finishes will put FaZe in a position to grab a victory next month at ESL One Cologne or even the PGL Major. Superb leading by Finn “karrigan” Andersen is making the most of every individual player on the team, especially star AWPer Aleksi “allu” Jalli.
Stop sleeping on EliGE
This weekend put the “North America’s Best Player” discussion to rest with Jonathan “EliGE” Jablonowski obliterating opposing teams at almost every junction. At every large event in 2017, he has shown he can provide consistent and relentless firepower. Compare him to the stars on Cloud9, who show up huge in one map before going missing the very next, and Elige doesn’t do that. Combine that with the gems in Liquid’s map pool like Overpass, and you have a recipe for Major qualification. Of all the North American teams, I would put my money on Team Liquid to not only qualify, but make it to the playoffs in Krakow.
Inferno is fire
Since the re-addition of Inferno into the map pool, we have seen spectacular matches of Counter-Strike at nearly every single event. As teams have started to figure out how to play it, the entertainment level of matches has skyrocketed. Fnatic tabbed it as a go-to pick just like the old days, even if players have swapped where they play. Astralis has displayed near-perfect T-side executions while keeping its AWP mobile and effective on CT. SK, G2 and FaZe are all willing to play the map, meaning we will see a ton more as the year continues.
Cover photo by Helena Kristiansson/ESL, eslgaming.com