Five highlights from the 2017 PGL Major Championship

This year’s PGL Major has been an unqualified success. Apart from the slight controversy surrounding BIG’s use of a glitch, there’s been nothing negative to report. We’ve seen some excellent performances and some fabulous matches, and we’ve ended up with a brand new major champion in Gambit.

We’ve thoroughly enjoyed following this tournament over the last few days. Now that it’s all over, we’ve picked out five highlights that have stood out for us.

 

Coldzera’s performance against Astralis (Group Stage)

Marcelo “coldzera” David is undoubtedly one of the top CSGO players right now. He’s been a big part of SK Gaming’s recent successes, and is showing constant signs of even further improvement. A great example of his abilities came in the group stage match between SK Gaming and Astralis.

There isn’t much between these two teams in terms of overall talent, but coldzera made Astalis look like a bunch of amateurs. His performance in this match was nothing short of outstanding. SK Gaming raced into a 13-2 lead in the first half, and it was almost entirely down to coldzera. He finished the half with an incredible 13-2 kill/death ratio.

Astralis improved at the start of the second half, but it wasn’t enough. Coldezra continued his brilliant performance, and SK Gaming ran out 16-8 winners.

 

Keev’s leaping Knife Kill (Quarter Finals)

The quarter final match between Immortals and BIG was memorable for a number of reasons. One particular moment really stood out for us though. The first map (Cobblestone) went into overtime, and Immortals got the upper hand with a 17-16 lead.

BIG turned it around for 18-17, before Immortals looked like levelling it up again. LUCAS1 had started defusing the bomb for his team when up popped keev with a leaping knife kill.

It was a dramatic end to the first map, and credit must go to keev for finishing it in style. He could have easily taken out LUCAS1 in a more orthodox manner, but he went for the high-risk approach and it paid off. It was good for him, good for his team and good for the watching audience.

You can watch a clip of keev’s kill here:

 

Astralis vs SK Gaming (Quarter Finals)

Astralis and SK Gaming were the two pre-tournament favorites with most CSGO betting sites. It was almost a shame to see this match-up as early as the quarter finals, but it was an encounter to look forward to nonetheless.

Most people gave SK Gaming the edge, especially after their victory over Astralis in the group stages. Astralis were not there to just make up the numbers though, and a competitive match was expected.

A competitive match was what we got. Astralis secured a 2-0 win, but that scoreline doesn’t tell the whole story. The first map was a real back and forth affair, with Astralis establishing a slight half time lead at 8-7. The Danish team then extended their lead to 13-7, before SK rallied and brought the scores to 14-12.

Astralis then took the next (closely-fought) rounds for a 16-12 victory.

The second map started out similar to the first. SK secured a couple of early rounds, before Astralis responded well. Another tight map looked likely, but then Astralis started to dominate. The took a 10-5 lead into half time, and then wrapped things up quickly. They lost just one more round and secured the 2-0 sweep.

 

Immortals beating Virtus.pro (Semi Finals)

Immortals lined up against Virtus.pro in the second of the semi-finals. The first semi-final had seen Gambit produce a shock by beating Astralis, and many observers now thought that Virtus.pro were the favorites to win the tournament.

Immortals were definitely the underdogs going into this match, despite their impressive performances in the tournament so far.

What followed was therefore a surprise to many. Against a team playing in their home country, with virtually the whole crowd behind them, Immortals put in what can only be described as a master class. The first map was Inferno, and Immortals constant aggression overwhelmed their opponents. After taking an 11-4 lead in the first half, they quickly wrapped things up for a 16-5 victory.

Map two was Mirage, where Virtus.pro have historically done well. It didn’t look good for them at the halfway point though, as Immortals again took an 11—4 lead. Virtus.pro had a bit of a run to make it 12-11, but Immortals held firm.

Thanks largely to some excellent defensive play by LUCAS1, they cruised to a 16-11 victory to take the match 2-0.

Immortals had made it all the way to the final in their very first major. With Astralis already having made it, we were guaranteed a new major champion.

 

Gambit winning their first major (Final)

No-one could have expected the final to be between Gambit and Immortals. The teams were 15th and 10th respectively in HLTV.org’s pre-tournament rankings, and given little chance of making it through the group stages. Nonetheless, here we were.

Gambit and Immortals had already impressed with their performances throughout the tournament, so the audience was looking forward to a good match. They weren’t disappointed.

Immortals got to pick a map first, and went with Cobblestone. Gambit then selected Train. Inferno was to be the third map. Immortals made the most of their favored Cobblestone, and raced into 12-3 lead at half time. As they had been all tournament, they were dominant in their aim duels. Gambit had no answer and offered little defense. The second half was finished quickly, with Immortals securing a 16-4 victory.

Gambit began their map pick well, but weren’t as convincing as Immortals had been on Cobblestone. Although they secured a 9-6 lead at half time, the game was still in the balance. Gambit played very well tactically in the second half though, and forced the Brazilians into frequent mistakes. The map ended 16-11 in Gambit’s favour, tying the series at one map apiece.

Starting on the Counter-Terrorist side, Gambit then raced into a 5-0 on Inferno. They established a 11-4 lead at half-time and were looking comfortable. Immortals weren’t done though, and closed the gap to 14-10. The tension was palpable at this point.

It was to be Immortals who ultimately succumbed to the pressure. They lost a four-on-two retake to make it 15-10 and then promptly lost the next round. A 16-10 victory for Gambit meant they won the series 2-1.

Earlier this month, team leader Zeus had made it clear on Twitter that winning a major was his primary goal. He took to Twitter again shortly after his team’s victory, with a message of thanks to his supporters.

Gambit may not have been the expected winner here in Poland, but they’re sure to be a popular one. Immortals can also be proud of their performance, and they look to have a bright future.

The CSGO scene is insanely competitive right now, and this year’s PGL Major could mark the start of a new era.

With so many quality teams capable of putting in top level performances, it’s hard to see any team dominating for the foreseeable future. That’s a very good thing as far as we’re concerned!

 

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