This year’s EPICENTER tournament was hosted in St. Petersburg. Eight of the world’s top Counter-Strike teams were set to compete at one of the biggest tournaments in the CIS region and compete for their share of a $490,000 prize pool.

SK Gaming, Virtus.Pro, FaZe Clan and Gambit Esports were placed into Group A, whilst G2 Esports, North, Astralis and Team Liquid did battle in group B.

In Group A, SK Gaming came out on top after a best of three victory over Virtus.Pro, ousting the Polish veterans convincingly over the first two maps, Train and Mirage. Their next opponent was FaZe Clan. FaZe Clan started the best of three in an assertive manner, winning Inferno 16-7. SK Gaming bounced back on Overpass, smashing the Europeans with a 16-2 scoreline. The Brazilians then took Mirage from FaZe Clan quite convincingly, winning 16-8 to finish at the top of their group with a 2-0 record.

To the surprise of many, Virtus.pro were the second team to qualify from Group A. After a horrendous past couple of months, the Polish side came to St. Petersburg looking to turn their form around, and, they were able to do so. After the initial best of three loss to SK Gaming, Virtus.pro were set to do battle against Gambit Esports. The veteran Polish side started out strongly by taking Inferno with a 16-6 scoreline. The CIS side retaliated by taking Train, in a close game that finished 16-13. VP was then able to secure the final map, Cache, with a 16-13 score. Virtus.pro then met FaZe Clan in another best of three series that would stretch across all three maps. FaZe took the first map, Mirage, in an assertive manner, finishing with a 16-2 scoreline. VP then went on to claim Cobblestone with a 16-11 scoreline and Inferno with a 16-13 scoreline to secure the best of three, as well as their spot in the playoffs.

Group B saw G2 finish at the top in a triumphant manner. The French super team finished with a 2-0 record. Their opening match was against Astralis. The first map, Cache, was a close affair, but G2 was able to close it out 16-13. Inferno was a different story entirely, and the French asserted themselves on the map, finishing with a 16-4 victory. They then met another Danish side, in the form of North, for their second group stage best of three match up. The French side made light work of the Danes across both maps, sweeping them aside 16-1 on Mirage and obliterating them 16-5 on Nuke to advance with a perfect record.

After their loss to G2, Astralis went on to face Team Liquid on Inferno and Train. The Danish side was able to secure both maps, winning 16-11 and 16-12 across both maps. Astralis then met fellow Danish side North in their final best of three to determine whether they would advance into the playoff stages or be sent home. Astralis won on Train, finishing the map with a 16-11 scoreline. Astralis were able to continue their winning form in the group stage best of threes, winning 16-8 on Mirage to qualify from the group stage with a 2-1 record.

In the semifinals, SK Gaming was matched up against Astralis, whilst G2 Esports was set to face Virtus.pro.

In the first match, the Brazilians were able to take the first map, Train, off of Astralis. They were able to close out the map with a 16-11 scoreline. Map two, Mirage, looked to be Astralis’ map. The Danes were dominant throughout the match until SK Gaming turned the tide of the match and mount a comeback to secure overtime. SK Gaming was able to close out Mirage with a 19-17 scoreline to secure the second map and a spot in the grand finals.

The second semifinal, G2 vs. VP, was a series that went through all three maps. The first map, Cache, was won by VP with a 16-9 scoreline. Nuke was taken by G2 in a very hotly contested affair, as the match finished 16-14. Finally, VP was able to secure Inferno with a 16-10 victory, securing a finals matchup vs. SK Gaming.

The third-place match-up saw G2 take on Astralis. This was series hotly contended throughout all three maps. Astralis got off to a head start, securing Nuke 16-14. G2 was able to claw it back to make it 1-1, securing Mirage 16-14. The decider map was Inferno, and this time the result was not so close, with G2 winning 16-11 over Astralis.

The grand final match up was a spectacle. SK vs. VP is always a matchup that provides excellent entertainment, as well as intense games and fairly close results. These sides bring out the best in each other, and it showed in this best of five match up. To start, VP secured Mirage 16-10, then SK secured Inferno 16-6. SK then went 2-1 up by securing Train with a 19-16 scoreline. VP bounced back by claiming Cache 16-12 to level the playing field at 2-2. The final map, Cobblestone, was incredibly intense throughout, with split halves to take it to overtime. After some heroics, including a 2v4 clutch by FalleN and boltzz, SK Gaming closed out Cobblestone and secured their first-place finish at EPICENTER.

The final standings of EPICENTER 2017:

  1. SK Gaming – $250,000
  2. Virtus.Pro – $100,000
  3. G2 Esports – $60,000
  4. Astralis – $30,000
  5. FaZe Clan – $15,000
  6. North – $15,000
  7. Gambit Esports – $10,000
  8. Team Liquid – $10,000

 

 

 

 

About The Author

Jonah
Esports - Staff Writer

My first video game was Tonka Construction for the PC. I played that in 2000, at 3 years of age, and have been hooked by video games ever since. I like to dabble in as many games as I possibly can, but nothing can come close to a captivating story, an intense multiplayer experience or a well made RTS game. In 2015, I found what can only be described as passion and love for esports. Now I convey that passion, love and knowledge through articles about esports titles, most notably Counter Strike.