Over the weekend, heartbreak and elation for teams competing for the last Challenger spots in the first CS:GO major of 2017. 8 spots were up for grabs among the teams that had not won a major in 2016. Big names like NiP, Cloud9 and Dignitas were among the teams fighting for their chance at the first major of 2017 and its one million dollar prize pool. Each match was a Best of One, so there was little room for errors from teams throughout the weekend.
The biggest shock of the tournament came on Sunday when NiP, who’d been struggling all weekend against Hellraisers and OpTic Gaming, completely fell apart in their match against underdogs Vega Squadron. Vega are a little known Russian team that found themselves at the Major qualifier by virtue of winning November’s CIS Minor Championship in Russia.
The team hadn’t looked like world beaters in their previous matches over the weekend, but they thoroughly dismantled Ninjas in Pyjamas from the start, winning the first five rounds with ease. A heroic 1v3 clutch from NiP’s Adam “friberg” Friberg managed to temporarily stop the bleeding by giving his team a round, but the Swedes couldn’t keep the momentum and ended up settling for a hard reset. NiP ended the half down 13-2.
The pain continued as NiP failed to hold B site in the pistol round. The Swedes forced two buys, but Vega Squadron continued to look solid and won the map 16-2.
2017’s ELEAGUE Major in Atlanta will be the first CS:GO major without NiP since the competitive game’s inception. It’s a major blow to the many NiP fans around the world and an historic result in esports. The players expressed their devastation on Twitter after the match:
they played their hearts out and deserves the win over us.. I have no idea what to say to be honest. I’ll have some thinking to do..
— Christopher Alesund (@GeT_RiGhTcs) December 18, 2016
Horrendously bad performance sorry to all fans 😭😵😵
— Jacob Mourujärvi (@pythCS) December 18, 2016
— #GONINJAS (@NiPGaming) December 18, 2016
Teams Qualified for 2017 ELEAGUE Major
- FaZe Clan
- Team Dignitas
- OpTic Gaming
- Team EnVyUs
- G2 Esports
These teams will be joining the 2016 Legends teams (squads who won a major in 2016 automatically qualify for the next major):
- Team Liquid
- SK Gaming
- FlipSid3 Tactis
The ELEAGUE Major will take place January 27-29 at the Fox Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia.