ESL One Katowice has come to an end, but not before it gave us hours on end of gripping counterstrike.
To start off the tournament the group stages pitted the Ninjas against Keyd Stars. The boys started out well on T side Inferno taking the first half 13-2. Upon switching to CT side for the second half, the pistol round was lost and this led to a struggle to gain a foothold in the half. Eventually the boys managed to finish out the map 16-9 to secure the first win of the tournament!
Next up was CLG this time both teams taking to the stage. After a delay with the map selection system, it was settled that it would be Mirage with NiP taking the T side to start. The first half was calmly carried out 13-2 in favour of the Ninjas with excellently composed communication throughout. The team work considering the new addition was impressive especially with the language used being a mixture of Swedish and English. The boys lost momentum a little in the second half but eventually closed out the match 16-7.
This sees the tournament step up into a best of three format and after the picking phase the maps were: Dust 2 (NiP) Inferno (TSM) Nuke (Random).
Yet again the Ninjas get off to a great T side start taking the first half 11-4. My two personal highlights of the first half started with f0rest getting a quad kill at mid double doors. First he takes down Xyp9x with his AWP whilst flashed, he follows this up with a quick CZ kill on dupreeh. Switching back to the AWP, he tags device through the door before incredible fast decision making causes him to switch to his knife and take him down. A little while after he finishes out the round by taking down karrigan as he attempts to cross from Long to A.
My second highlight of the match and possibly the tournament, GeT_RiGhT clutches killing four members of TSM. He starts out by taking down karrigan whilst lurking at long with his AK followed by taking down device at close range on short before picking up his AWP. He then drops down to CT and makes his way toward A ramp where he gets the frag onto dupreeh with his p250 and tags cajunb as he runs to hide behind the boxes stacked at the back of platform. With a little help of the call for “HAX HIM” by Allu over teamspeak, GeT_RiGhT takes out his AWP with one second remaining and gets the kill through the box winning the round.
The second half sends us onto the CT side and again it was a little closer than would be desired, letting the scores get to 14-8 before taking the whole match 16-8. This gave the boys a 1-0 map lead going into the second map which was TSM’s pick of Inferno
This time we started CT side and it did not start well, losing the pistol round and the following three rounds and eventually the T side take the half 4-11. This was too great of a deficit for even the Ninjas to come back from on inferno and we did not pick up a single round on the T side losing the map 16-4.
So this left the match 1-1 going into the randomly selected Nuke, a map which both teams felt confident on but the Ninjas were starting the always desired CT side. I feel it is really important that if you are a fan of CSGO who has not seen this match yet, that you do find time to watch it as my words can do it no justice. (Link at the end of the article).
The pistol round was taken by NiP as GeT_RiGhT comes big and gets a triple holding the lower bomb site. The second round was started brilliantly by Allu with Nova in hand getting two kills on ramp before GeT_RiGhT again comes in to help out and take two more kills.
It was the terrorists first buy round in the fourth that was their first on the board. NiP get it to 5-1 before the T side again pick up a round making it 5-2, followed all the way to 5-5 before the Ninjas get back on the board with their sixth. Finally the hard fought half finishes 9-6 in NiP’s favour. Praise must go to TSM for being able to pick so many rounds up on the terrorist side with some well executed strategies.
Many teams would feel it would be too much of a climb to win seven rounds on the T side and that NiP would never be able to pull this back. But at the half, GeT_RiGhT reminded the team over teamspeak that ”Vi vet att vi är the king of Nuke”.
The T side starts in tough fashion with NiP losing the pistol round, but you can never count out the Ninjas. The force buy of tec9/cz and armour comes in big for the team and they take the second round of the second half. The boys then take advantage of the ecoing CT side and take their lead to 12-7. However, in the true style of Nuke the CT side manage to come back and tie the game at 12-12 and suddenly, the game is a lot closer and the rounds a lot more tense.
Late in the 26th round, four NiP players are alive against three of TSM. Xizt takes down Xypn9x before friberg is taken down by karrigan and the planting GeT_RiGhT is taken down by dupreeh. With only seconds remaining, f0rest trades out dupreeh, karrigan drops down vent, through fire to take down Xizt as f0rest gets the plant in with one second to spare. karrigan immediately sets his sites on f0rest, however his silenced m4 runs short of bullets and f0rest takes him down to win a hugely important 14th round.
This puts the Ninjas in a great position and they go on to win the map 16-12. This put them through to play team EnVyUs in the semi final.
To save this being the longest round up ever, I can tell you that even though many had wrongly counted us out of the match up against EnVyUs, the boys went on to impressively win the game 2-0. They took Cache (NV’s pick) 16-9, again having a strong T side which is becoming a standard for the NiP side. They then went on to take the second map Dust 2 (NiP’s pick) 16-10, this time putting in equally efficient CT and T halves with both ending with 8 rounds.
So, after fighting to get here and many times being told that we would need some sort of miracle to do it, being counted out and underestimated, the Ninjas in Pyjamas face Fnatic in the final.
Now, I must express my opinion that, although ultimately it was Fnatic that triumphed, NiP put on such an amazing show that I believe it was one of the best Major finals I have ever seen with the scores going 14-16 in Fnatic’s favour Dust 2, 16-10 in NiP’s favour Cache and 13-16 Fnatic’s favour on Inferno.
For this reason, I must again insist that instead of me writing what could be a whole book about the final, you simply MUST watch all three maps.
Over the course of the final a mention must be given to Allu who really stepped up his fragging game and over all three maps his kills/deaths ended 75-54 really showing the doubters exactly what he can do in the team given more time.
So, it is Fnatic that takes first place at ESL One Katowice with Ninjas in Pyjamas coming in a close second and there is no shame in that. We consistently make major finals, and I think it is fair to say we were not at 100% for this tournament and still managed to make it so incredibly close in the final that I think it would be ignorant for anyone to ever count us out again without first seeing us perform.
Special thanks must go out to you guys, the fans, for your amazing continued support throughout the tournament whether supporting in Katowice or from the comfort of your own home, we appreciate it. A team is nothing without it’s fans and throughout you make yourselves heard, you represent with your jerseys, your NiP stickers, your supporter pack images. You are the ones the team play for.
NiP are NEVER out, we are ALWAYS in the game, it’s not magic, it’s NiP, it’s who we are.
f0rest 4k https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YpEkHod0x3s
GeT_RiGhT highlight https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-AIdhVKTDes
VOD for TSM Nuke match can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dgx–5rl1bY
VODs for Fnatic match can be found here: http://www.hltv.org/match/2294629-fnatic-NiP-esl-one-katowice-2015
Written by Robert Gooderson