After some of the most intense Counter-Strike: Global Offensive action we have ever seen, it all came down to one final map. Current world champions Luminosity were facing off against G2 — a team that surprised many by reaching the final — in the conclusion of the ESL Pro League Season 3 at the O2 Arena in London. The best-of-five final had already smashed through four maps, with Inferno being the deciding factor. There were times when G2 were mere rounds away from victory and others Luminosity had looked a class above, but when it all came down to it, it would be Inferno’s last outing at an ESL event, at least for the time being, that would decide the champions.
The final map was a back and forth affair, with each team trading blows on both sides. Eventually it came down to overtime, where Luminosity showed why it is the best team in the world. The Brazilians took the overtime comfortably and were crowned champions in front of the large UK crowd.
“This was the most intense match we have ever played,” Luminosity’s Gabriel “FalleN” Toledo said just minutes after the victory. “It was super difficult, but it feels amazing because today wasn’t one of our best days. Our players were changing when we played good, so some maps I was playing good and others I was not on point, and the same was happening for my teammates. It feels amazing that as a team. We stepped over all of it and won the tournament.”
FalleN was still visibly running on adrenaline while talking and trying to comprehend just what happened in the final. Coming down to overtime on the final map, when at times it looked like they were dead a buried, was an impressive feat, but it was clear the FalleN never really expected to be in such a position.
“Being honest, I thought we had the advantage against them, I didn’t know it was going to be that difficult,” FalleN said. “I was quite surprised they beat us on Overpass, and again being honest, I made a lot of mistakes. G2 is surprising everyone, they are playing top CS. Shox and ScreaM played out of their minds this tournament, and SmithZz is an AWPer that some people don’t give too much credit, but he played awesome this tournament as well. They are a super good team.”
If you spoke to anyone who follows top CS:GO before the tournament, they would have laughed in your face if you told them G2 would make it to overtime in the fifth map of the final against Luminosity. But somehow that was the situation in which the Brazilians found themselves. But how did it get to that point? Surely the best team in the world would be able to dispatch a team that hasn’t been at the top of the pile for some time?
“I wasn’t on point today,” mentioned FalleN. “I was kind of sick, that’s why I had to leave one game to go to the bathroom. I wasn’t feeling so good. But that doesn’t remove their accomplishment. They played super well. In the final I think I let my team down, and I think fnx and coldzera played awesome this series. fnx saved us in some key moments and coldzera, well he’s a beast, he was playing super well.”
Looking at the stats after the match it is clear that FalleN was right, as Marcelo “coldzera” David came out with some impressive figures. On the final map he racked up 33 kills with only 18 deaths, and came up trumps in multiple must win situations. The same has been true of coldzera at many recent events, with many crediting his AWP play against Liquid as the event turning moment at the MLG Columbus Major.
But none of this surprised FalleN, as he knows that he has one of the best players in the history of CS by his side whenever he takes to the stage.
“Without doubt, I think coldzera is the best player on my team,” FalleN said. “He puts up the biggest numbers, he is very consistent and he has a great mind. He is a great team player, as he doesn’t complain so that makes him a great teammate. Even if he is carrying us, he doesn’t act like it. He is a very humble guy.”
If it wasn’t already the case, the win at the ESL Pro League finals has cemented Luminosity as the best Counter-Strike team in the world right now. Winning the MLG Columbus Major and DreamHack Austin (albeit against a lesser field) just prior to travelling to London made Luminosity strong favorites for the event, and the Brazilians didn’t disappoint, though it was close. Ninjas in Pyjamas gave them a hell of a game in the semifinal, and the incredible grand final was one of the closest matches ever seen, proving that Luminosity may not quite be as unbeatable as it initially seemed.
“When it comes to the top level, the top eight, it’s possible for every team to beat each other,” FalleN said. “But I think right now we can say that we are the top one. The rankings say we are. We won the major, we won the last tournament and we won today, so I definitely think we are. Some people might contest that because we didn’t beat Fnatic, but we can’t help that. It’s not our fault they didn’t win. They are not first in the world right now and it’s up to them to make it back and try to beat us.”
Of course, when you are the best team in the world there are only a limited amount of things to accomplish. Sure, there will be new challengers for the Luminosity throne, but finding goals when you are at the top can be somewhat difficult. For FalleN, however, it isn’t quite as simple as waiting for someone to come and challenge them, as he said they still have a lot to work on.
“We are going to keep working, keep practicing and keep trying to get better,” FalleN said. “We will look to change some stuff, because when you are winning people start to figure out your game, so we need to improve and look to change some stuff. But we will just try to keep focused and work hard so we can reap the benefits.”
Becoming the best in the world at anything is never an easy feat, especially Counter-Strike, but FalleN along with his team have managed it, and will most likely stay there for a while.
While we can never be sure just how long the success will last, what we can be sure of is that Luminosity pulled off an incredible victory in London, which will go down in history as one of the best finals ever.
Cover photo by Scott Choucino/ESL, eslgaming.com