And then there were eight. After four hardfought days of competition, the playoff teams for the ELEAGUE Major: Boston have been decided. While G2 Esports and FaZe Clan punched tickets on Sunday, the final six teams to make the cut were decided Monday. Natus Vincere, SK Gaming, Quantum Bellator Fire, mousesports, Cloud9, and Fnatic will be joining the giants in Boston for what is sure to be an exciting weekend of Counter-Strike. Let’s not get a ahead of ourselves just yet and look back at how The New Legends stage shook out on Day 4.
G2 Esports (3-0): Watching the rest of the teams sweat it out for those final spots in the playoffs has to be quite the relief for the French super team after a year of ups and downs. They’ll now get to take on Cloud9 in a rematch from Day 1 in the quarterfinals next weekend.
FaZe Clan (3-0): What do you think these guys actually do with a day off? Enjoy the sights in Atlanta? Actually watch the games? Regardless, they have to be salivating at a matchup with mousesports in the quarterfinals.
Natus Vincere (3-1): Fnatic, Schwamatic. (That was pretty bad, huh?) Na’Vi wasted no time punching their ticket into The New Champions stage with a 16-7 trouncing of Fnatic. Could this be Aleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev’s time again? With Quantum Bellator Fire as their quarterfinal matchup, they’ve got to be in good spirits.
SK Gaming (3-1): Despite dropping to FaZe Clan on Day 3, SK handled the reigning Major Champions in Gambit Esports with a 16-10 win on Overpass, SK’s best map that Gambit inexplicably let through. “I think they might be a little bit crazy but what can you do," said Fernando "fer" Alvarenga after the game. That about sums up how SK is feeling right about now.
Quantum Bellator Fire (3-1): The Cinderella run continues! After barely making it to this stage with a 3-2 record in The New Challengers stage, they have now achieved Legend status after downing mousesports on Train. While it’s no guarantee that they will do much in the playoffs next weekend, it will be fun watching this team contend with the best of them in Boston.
Mousesports (3-2): It may have taken a while, but mouz locked up the final spot in the playoffs by taking out Space Soldiers in a close 16-13 match. They should relish in this win because they’ll have their work cut out for them in the quarterfinals next weekend when they take on FaZe Clan. gulps
Cloud9 (3-2): The last hope for North America lives on! They may have started off 0-2, but they rattled off three straight, including 16-6 and 16-4 wins on the final day, to punch a ticket to Boston. They’ll be coming into the playoffs with a head of steam, but will have to face a G2 Esports team that handed them a loss this past weekend. Can they overcome those demons and make a miraculous run in Boston?
Fnatic (3-2): Damn. While Fnatic was handed a loss by Na’Vi to start their day, they bounced back quickly and trounced Gambit in a 16-2 trashing on Mirage. Not too shabby for a team fielding an in-game leader fresh from Fnatic Academy. Maikil “Golden” Selim will need to bring out all the stops to take down SK Gaming in the quarterfinals next weekend.
Space Soldiers (2-3): Close, but no cigar. Space Soldiers may not have qualified for the playoffs, but they showed that they’re no slouches with a strong performance in The New Legends stage. You can bet that they will come back even stronger next time around.
Gambit Esports (2-3): For the first time since MLG Columbus in 2016, the reigning Major Champion will not be in the playoffs. Gambit flamed out after an up-and-down showing during The New Legends stage. While they were certainly a bit weaker without leader Daniil “Zeus” Teslenko -- who left the team soon after the PGL Major -- this was still a rough outing for this team. While their loss to SK Gaming might have been expected, the 16-2 trouncing at the hands of Fnatic was a disappointing nail in their coffin.
Vega Squadron (2-3): There’s only room for one Cinderella team in Boston, and Vega wasn’t the one. They may have picked up two wins, but taking down the eventual 0-3 North and 1-3 Team Liquid isn’t much to hang your hat on. Still, this was an impressive run for a team that had to fight through The New Challengers to even get to this point.
Team Liquid (1-3): Sure, Vega Squadron has been making a surprising run at this Major. But that doesn’t make it any better for a Liquid team that simply isn’t playing to their potential. They’ll need to get back to the drawing board quickly if they want to get anywhere near their former glory.
Astralis (1-3): Speaking of former glory, Astralis has joined the ranks of Virtus.pro as teams that look like they've lost all their talent. Even getting star player Nicolai “dev1ce” Reedtz back wasn’t enough to get this team back on track. This time last year, there were getting to hoist the trophy as ELEAGUE Major: Atlanta Champions. Now they’ll be watching the playoffs from the stands in Boston.
BIG (1-3): I guess my terrible pun from Day 1 was right, as this team has completely failed to live up to their namesake. They didn’t even put up much of a fight as Space Soldiers sent them packing in a 16-8 game on Cobblestone.
North (0-3): Guess there are no kings in this North, eh? I’m sorry, I couldn’t resist.
Virtus.pro (0-3): Any word on Bugs Bunny’s progress at getting these guys their talent back?