Top Five CS:GO eSports Moments of 2018
CS:GO has established itself as a leading light on the esports scene and fans have been treated to a fantastic blend of excitement, drama, and intrigue throughout 2018. Astralis cemented their status as the best team in the world by winning tournaments aplenty, but the likes of Cloud9, Natus Vincere and FaZe Clan also tasted some success. The popularity of CS:GO looks set to spiral in 2018 after developer Valve launched a huge in-game update that ushered in a new free-to-play era and added a battle royale “Danger Zone” mode. Fans can look ahead to 2019 full of optimism while reflecting on an exhilarating year. Here are the top five CS:GO moments of 2018:
Astralis wins the Intel Grand Slam
The Danes became the first team to seize the $1 million Intel Grand Slam after clinching victory at ESL’s Pro League Season 8 on their home turf in Odense. They beat Team Liquid 3-1 in the final thanks to strong wins on Mirage, Inferno, and Dust2, wrapping it up with a glorious headshot on Dust2’s 26th round. It furthered the argument for Astralis to be named the greatest team of all time and sparked pandemonium inside the packed Sparekassen stadium. The Intel Grand Slam was developed in June 2017, offering a $1 million bonus to any team that could win four ESL/DreamHack Masters events in a span of 10 tournaments, and Astralis managed it in nine.
They won the DreamHack Masters in Marseille in April, ESL’s Season 7 finals in May and November’s IEM 13, before wrapping it up in Odense. This year has also seen Astralis win the FACEIT Major in London and it has claimed 15 trophies in total after winning the BLAST Pro Series in Lisbon last week. They have absolutely dominated their closest rival, Team Liquid, and that win in Odense was the icing on the cake. Astralis is very much the team to beat as we head into 2019 and if you check out the CS:GO odds you will see Astralis out in front as the favorite to win every tournament they enter.
Cloud9 wins E-LEAGUE MAJOR
C9 became the first North American team to win a CS:GO major when they roared to victory in a grueling best-of-three series to claim the ELEAGUE Boston Major in January. The home crowd went ballistic, delighted by C9’s calm, versatile, confident style, which represented a real step change from North American teams’ previous approach. It was a huge moment for CS:GO, as American fans were becoming apathetic in the wake of years of failure, and it galvanized an entire continent. “I’m not crying, you’re crying,” said Skadoodle in an emotional post-match interview, following a victory that tugged at the heartstrings. However, C9 has since been on a downward spiral, losing key players Stewie2K and Tarik, while Skadoodle retired. Yet another American outfit, Team Liquid, has emerged as a force to be reckoned with, and they simply need to overcome their Astralis hoodoo and earn some silverware to back up their impressive consistency.
S1mple wreaks havoc in Copenhagen
S1mple is widely rated as the world’s greatest CS:GO player and the Natus Vincere superstar showed exactly why with an absolute masterclass at BLAST Pro Series Copenhagen in November. The 21-year-old Ukrainian prodigy led the tournament in 10 different statistical categories, including KD, kills and rounds with at least one kill. He was in the top five of four other categories, including opening kills and KAST, and his highlight reel from the tournament is a thing of beauty. He secured 182 kills in total and he was the main figure as his team beat Ninjas in Pyjamas in the final. The accuracy he achieved was incredible and he fully deserved his sixth MVP medal of 2018, so it was a great moment when he was honored with it.
NiKo guns down Na’Vi in Moscow
FaZe Clan picked up its first title of 2018 with a 2-0 victory over Natus Vincere in the EPICENTER grand final. Star man NiKo grabbed the winning kill to see off the Ukrainian team on Dust2 and he was immense throughout the final. He tapped down three in the first pistol round on Dust2, sending the crowd into a frenzy, but the highlight came when he prevailed in a 1v2 clutch on Dust2, holding his own in mid to send his team on the way to victory. If FaZe Clan can return to its former strength, Astralis might have a genuine rival in 2019.
chrisJ breaks Team Liquid hearts in Brooklyn
chrisJ delivered the CS:GO play of the year to ace Team Liquid and leave mousesports with championship point at ESL One in New York. It was positively spine-tingling stuff, causing the analyst to go berserk. chrisJ felled three to leave mousesports two on two and quickly delivered another clinical headshot. “Chris, can he close this with an ace? OH MY GOD!” raved the commentator. The footage would be replayed thousands of times, and it came at a crucial juncture. He then followed it up with another massive individual round to hammer the final nail into the home side’s coffin and complete a magnificent comeback. Liquid led 2-1, and the favourites were on the brink of closing out victory, but mousesports battled back with a strong Dust2 performance and then chrisJ came into his own on Mirage. Cue utter dejection among Team Liquid and the partisan crowd, but jubilation for mousesports.