The Group Stage of IEM Winter is over and the two big winners are G2 Esports and Virtus.pro. The first of these teams was expected to do well and win its group, but the second one certainly wasn’t. The winner of Group B was supposed to be Gambit, but nafany’s squad got defeated by Jame’s in the second round of the Upper Bracket, in one of the toughest matches of the tournament.
IEM Winter Group A Results
Group A of IEM Winter was much harder than Group B. And that’s because it had no less than 5 strong competitors. For some reason, the organizers placed most of the favorites in the same group and everyone had a rough time. In the end, the 3 top teams won while the 2 weaker giants got eliminated.
In the first round of the tournament, G2 had some issues against TYLOO but still ended up winning with a score of 16 – 13. NiKo played really well in this match and had a rating 2.0 of 1.64, by far the highest on the server. In the other 3 matches, Liquid defeated OG (16 – 12), NiP crushed Astralis (16 – 8), and Vitality narrowly won against MOUZ (19 – 16).
The second round ended with predictable results. G2 won against Liquid but much harder than everyone expected: 16 – 13 on Vertigo and 16 – 14 on Dust II. In the other match, Vitality had zero problems against NiP: 16 – 6 on Inferno and 16 – 9 on Mirage. On both maps, the battle was practically over at half-time.
The battle for 1st place took place between the two best French teams of the last few years. Vitality started well, winning on Vertigo (16 – 14) but then G2 made a beautiful comeback: 16 – 14 on Mirage and 16 – 9 on Inferno. The MVPs for both teams were the superstars. ZywOo had an overall rating 2.0 of 1.06 while NiKo ended with a slightly better score: 1.24. The match was certainly close and Vitality could have won, but it wasn’t to be.
In the Lower Bracket, Astralis and Liquid tried their best to survive but NiP proved once again that even though it doesn’t know how to handle the best teams in the world, it still has device on the roster. And that man surely knows how to win CS:GO matches. In a way, NiP’s current roster feels a lot like Na’Vi’s roster from several years ago, when s1mple was playing exceptionally well but the team was still losing the big matches because there was no one else to carry.
IEM Winter Group B Results
Group B of IEM Winter had some upsets. First of all, Gambit didn’t win. The team encountered its regional rival, Virtus.pro, in the Upper Bracket Round 2, and the score pretty much says it all: 15 – 19 on Dust II followed by 14 – 16 on Vertigo. Needless to say, Hobbit and his team weren’t pleased. But they still qualified by winning the Lower Bracket.
The other big upset in this group was caused by GODSENT. TACO seems to have found the winning formula for his roster and that allowed them to finish 2nd. But in the process, GODSENT defeated Heroic, one of the big favorites in this group. And because that happened in the first round, cadiaN’s team ended up being eliminated in the Lower Bracket. And in fact, it happened much sooner than it was expected: in the very first round. FaZe Clan came prepared and simply ended the match after 2 maps: 16 – 13 on Inferno and 16 – 14 on Nuke.
Fnatic came close to stealing 3rd place from Gambit, but in the end, the more experienced team won.
It will be interesting to see what GODSENT can do in the Playoffs against NiP. This is by far the most accessible opponent of the 5, so TACO must be happy with the seeding. The only question is: can he overcome such a powerful opponent? NiP is by no means the favorite in the race for the title. In fact, they’re hardly in the top 3. But compared to GODSENT, the Swedish squad is still much stronger.
Photo credit: IEM|Helena-Kristiansson