Were Team Vitality and ENCE the Biggest StarLadder Major Disappointments? | Let’s Find Out

By Pavo Jurkic

September 9, 2019

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StarLadder Major Disappointments

The second (and final) CS:GO Major Championship of 2019 is slowly coming to a close, and we can already take away the pros and cons of the action we’ve seen thus far. Yes, there are still a few playoffs matches to go before the end, but we don’t need them for this particular article. After all, the biggest StarLadder Major disappointments already happened, and that’s what this article is all about!

Sure, I know some of you would consider Team Liquid failing to reach the grand finals a disappointment. However, anything past the semis can’t really be justified that way — not even for Team Liquid, and not even for Astralis.

Plus, there are plenty of teams that ended up disappointing their fans and their parent orgs, so I didn’t have to cherry-pick my way through this one.

That said, allow me to be your guide for the biggest StarLadder Major disappointments thus far!

Biggest StarLadder Major Disappointments | Teams

Several teams kicked off their Legends Stage campaign in a glorious way only to get completely obliterated later on. Moreover, I’m not just referring to Team Vitality and ENCE who got their asses kicked in the quarterfinals. Mousesports and G2, for instance, went guns blazing into the event but ended up short of the Champions Stage finish.

There are several additional examples which, for one reason or another, belong to our list of the biggest StarLadder Major Disappointments. Let’s check them out!

Team Liquid

Team Liquid Logo

Obviously, the biggest disappointment on the StarLadder Major thus far is Team Liquid. Not just because of their quarterfinals elimination but because of a generally bleak Legends Stage performances that resulted in them having to play against Astralis, to begin with.

To be honest, Team Liquid’s best performance on this Major was against CR4ZY. After that, they did end up winning two additional matches, but their overall displays were nowhere near that almost-perfect match on Mirage.

If you’ve watched Liquid’s Legends Stage matches, whether or not you’re their fan, you have to admit they were really lucky to overcome Mousesports and qualify for the Champions Stage. The fifth round decider match ended with 2-0 for Liquid but featured overtimes on both maps with nuances as the deciding factors in Liquid’s favor.

Coming into the quarterfinals match, I was among the people who though EliGE and the boys will snap out of it and finally defeat Astralis on a Major. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen. Astralis stomped over Liquid on Vertigo and Overpass, clinching the semifinals and finally looking like the good old Astralis that was the number one CS:GO team for more than a year straight.

Team Vitality

Team Vitality Logo

The second team that belongs to the biggest StarLadder Major disappointments is Team Vitality. Yes, Vitality had their best Major ever, but their overall performance still felt a bit underwhelming, especially considering the fact they were eliminated by AVANGAR with Renegades waiting for them in the semifinals. In other words, the Frenchmen had an open path to the grand finals, but they ended up throwing it all in the quarterfinals.

ZywOo, Vitality’s top fragger, seemed to struggle at times and his lack of presence was most noticeable during their quarterfinals match against AVANGAR. The 18-year-old French prodigy that managed to conquer the CS:GO scene in a single year failed to play his best game in crucial Berlin matches. Moreover, that’s basically what cost his team a spot in the semifinals and potentially the grand finals too. That’s also what paved the way for Vitality to be a part of this biggest StarLadder Major disappointments list.

ENCE

Ence esports

After going 3 and 0 in the Legends Stage, no one was expecting ENCE to get eliminated in the quarterfinals. However, as most of you already know, that’s exactly what happened. And it happened against seemingly out-of-form Renegades, of all teams.

Allu and sergej looked brilliant in the legends stage, with Aleksib playing his last few matches under ENCE and still looking fine af. However, the quarterfinals match was a complete and utter abomination performance-wise. Everyone on ENCE’s roster looked bleak and outright disoriented at times. Even though they didn’t make that many silly mistakes, their round-to-round performance was sinking and Renegades, led by jks and AZR, emerged as the winners without even breaking a sweat.

ENCE’s disaster of performance on Mirage and Nuke painted the exact opposite picture of their Legends Stage brilliance. Furthermore, this map perfectly depicted the thin margins of errors that can push the match in one team’s favor. Don’t get me wrong, there was always a chance for Renegades to take this one, but after seeing ENCE sweep the floor with the likes of AVANGAR, MIBR, and Vitality, I really couldn’t see them losing to the Aussies.

FURIA

Furia Logo

FURIA is arguably on top of the biggest StarLadder major Disappointments list. How come? Well, it’s simple – the young Brazilians were dubbed as the best SA team on the Major (ahead of MIBR with zews onboard) and were among the favorites to reach the Legends Stage. However, they got knocked out of the event after just four rounds. Yep, FURIA won only one match in Berlin, and that was HellRaisers in the opening match.

The biggest issue that phased FURIA was their loss against CR4ZY. Even though the Balkan side dominated the EU Minors, no one really expected them to put up that big of a show, not just in the Challengers but the Legends Stage as well. Their tenacity, resilience and aggressive plays shocked FURIA, who suffered their first defeat in Berlin… the loss that continued to haunt them in the two remaining matches.

What followed their horrible performance on Train against CR4zy were too even worse matches, against ForZe (on Nuke) and Syman (Train and Inferno). Even though FURIA was the favorite in all those matches, they failed to capitalize and looked outright silly when it came to dueling prowess and timely rotations.

Luckily for Brasilian fans, FURIA is packed with young talents and, if this roster doesn’t end up disbanded or profoundly altered, I reckon there’s a bright future ahead of them. Who knows, perhaps they’re able to contest the new MIBR roster for the flattering title of best South American CS:GO team.

FaZe Clan

FaZe Clan logo

Another event, another atrocious performance by FaZe Clan. Even though they started their Berlin adventure on the right foot by defeating the favored Mousesports on Mirage, and even though they looked quite dominant doing so, the rest of their Berlin performances left much to be desired. And it’s not a due to a lack of effort coming from the usual suspects, rain, and olofmeister. They were playing their cards right, contributing to crucial rounds and doing their best to keep the opponents at bay.

If it wasn’t rain and olofmeister, then who was the main culprit behind such a poor FaZe Clan performance on StarLadder Major Berlin 2019? Well, it’s the man, the myth, the legend himself, FaZe Clan’s superstar and top fragger – NiKo. He was atrocious throughout the event, barely contributing to crucial rounds and making mistakes round in and round out. 13 kills against Mousesports, 17 kills against Vitality, 20 kills against CR4Zy, and 59 kills against Renegades (bo3). True, these numbers don’t seem half bad, but it’s NiKo we’re talking about here, and a player of his caliber needs to have much higher numbers.

We’ll go into more depth about the BOSSnian later on. For now, let’s focus on the next entry on our biggest StarLadder Major disappointments list, G2 Esports!

G2 Esports

G2 Esports

What happened to G2? They won against NaVi on overtime, lost to heavy favorites Astralis, but quickly redeemed themselves against MIBR. They looked to be set for the Champions Stage with two shots at snatching their ticket against mediocre contestants, AVANGAR and Renegades.

Unfortunately, KennyS’ machinery stopped working in the most crucial time, losing against AVANGAR in round 4 and then against Renegades in the final round. What went wrong? Well, as concise as possible, Inferno went wrong!

A map KennyS and the boys like to play but are not particularly good on ended up costing them the Champions Stage. Inferno was the crucial map in both Bo3s; a map G2 fancied to take them through to the top eight…

Of course, it’s not the map’s fault. There were numerous errors in G2’s approach to the two final best of three series. Furthermore, it’s not that they played all that bad against AVANGAR and Renegades, it’s that the Kazakhs and Aussies played extraordinarily well. After all, we’re talking about teams that have already clinched semifinals, so I believe that speaks a lot about the quality of their displays in Berlin.

Mousesports

mousesports Logo

The final team we’re going to talk about here is Mousesports, the dominant Challengers Stage team that failed to impress in the Legends Stage after two superb wins and just a single loss in the first three rounds. Yep, Mouz had two best of three series to clinch the final stage. However, the luck of the draw didn’t favor them, pinning Team Vitality and Team Liquid against them, best and second-best teams in the world.

Despite that, Mousesports’ performance still wasn’t up to par in their first Bo3 series against Vitality. They failed to take a single map against the tenacious Frenchmen and allowed ZywOo and the boys to cruise home without breaking a sweat. Against Team Liquid, on the other hand, Mousesports played a bit better, clinching two overtimes but failing to win a single one. And that was the end of the road for woxic and the boys.

On the bright side, this new Mousesports roster seems promising. Plus, they don’t have to go through the hassle of Minors for the upcoming 2020 Major, meaning they’ll have more time to rest and prepare for the chaos called The New Challengers Stage.

Biggest StarLadder Major Disappointments | Individual Flops

After checking out the biggest StarLadder Major disappointments team-wise, it’s time to do the same at an individual level.

This CS:GO Major Championship featured the world’s most exceptional individuals such as NiKo, S1mple, and ZywOo. Unfortunately, they all failed to show up for the occasion which ended up in terrible results for their teams.

That said, let’s take a closer look at the three superstars who failed to impress in Berlin:

NiKo

FaZe NiKo Portrait Transparent

FaZe Clan’s initial win against Mousesports wasn’t due to NiKo’s individual brilliance. In fact, the trigger-happy BOSSnian had just 13 kills at the end of the match, nowhere near his standard. Luckily, his teammates showed up for the occasion and FaZe made an upset early on in the tournament.

Unfortunately, that was FaZe Clan’s only win in Berlin. Even though NiKo was doing slightly better in the second and third-round matches, his team was nowhere to be found in crucial rounds. Then came the first, and unfortunately the last, Bo3 against Renegades. NiKo was, once against, struggling to get kills. He ended the match with -8 K/D ratio and 59 kills across three maps. Worst of all, his ADR was 75, and he was the first FaZe player to die on 22 occasions.

On the bright side, Niko was well-aware of his poor performance. Soon after the disheartening loss against Renegades, he apologized to his fans via an Instagram story. Let’s just hope he dedicates more time to actual practice than Instagram and personal-brand-building posts.

S1mple

S1mple Portrait Transparent

Yes, NaVi reached the quarterfinals and ultimately got eliminated by superb NRG. However, their top fragger and arguably the best player in the world, S1mple, wasn’t really putting up his usual numbers on the board. Don’t get me wrong, S1mple was the driving force behind NaVi’s qualification to the Legends Stage, but it seemed as though his contribution in crucial rounds wasn’t up to his usual standards.

Even though S1mple’s problems were most obvious against CR4ZY where his round-to-round consistency was atrocious, I’d like to argue his issues started much earlier. In the first few Legends Stage matches, S1mple’s lack of accuracy in direct duels and unimpressive clutch situations put him under a lot of scrutiny.

Everything culminated in his last two matches in Berlin, against CR4ZY and NRG. Even though electronic carried NaVi to the Champions Stage, fans were expecting S1mple to wake up in the quarterfinals. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen since S1mple had just +3 K/D ratio across two maps with a total of 44 kills. Yes, that might be solid numbers for ordinary players, but not for S1mple who’s always in the talk for tournament MVP awards…

ZywOo

Zywoo portrait transparent

Lastly, the 18-year-old ZywOo is the final piece of the puzzle as far as disappointing individual performances are concerned.

“OMG, what are you talking about, ZywOo played well and led his team to the Champions Stage…”

Yes, I’m well-aware of the fact ZywOo played well in both Challengers and Legends Stage. In fact, he’s the central reason why Vitality overcame Grayhound and qualified for the Legends Stage. And don’t even get me started on his stats against FaZe and ENCE. They were brilliant.

However, just like the commentators mentioned in Vitality’s quarterfinals match against AVANGAR, out of 21 matches in which ZywOo didn’t have a positive K/D ratio, Vitality won just one. That just goes to show you his importance for Vitality.

Moreover, as you all know, ZywOo didn’t show up for the quarterfinals. Even though he was the overall best player on Vitality’s team, his performance on Mirage left much to be desired. In fact, he was the second-worst player on Vitality on that particular map, having just 12 kills across 25 rounds with just over 65 average damage per round.

It’s kind of ungrateful emphasizing a single map and pointing ZywOo out as the disappointing factor… but that’s just how it is when you’re dubbed as the best player in the world. Your mistakes get analyzed and are rarely forgiven. Tough luck for the 18-year-old Frnehc boy, but I’m sure he’ll recover and come back stronger on ESL One New York.

Summary

That’s about it as far as the biggest StarLadder Major Disappointments are concerned. Even though these teams ended up as considerable flops in Berlin, it doesn’t mean they’re bad teams overall. Most of them (if not all) are expected to come back to their usual form and contest for trophies in upcoming events. Hopefully, they’ll take their StarLadder Berlin Major as learning material for future endeavors.

You know what they say – mistakes aren’t bad as long as you learn from them. Let’s just hope these teams take that as their motto going forward.

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