Group E was a group I had kept my eye on as one to watch for the tournament. I felt that TeG and k23 were pretty evenly matched, and that esq.wind were probably pretty good. Seeing as I’ve never beaten WeMade Fox on LAN and to my knowledge neither has any other Briton, I was inclined to believe that they probably had something.
Basically, TeG were better than I thought they would be, k23 were good but a probably lacking that little something, and esq.wind simply shat themselves and wilted completely. TeG and k23 both gave the impression of being solid, functional teams, whereas the Koreans looked like a team that could play, but under the cameras and in front of the thousands of spectators, one that would rather find a nice hole to collectively crawl into and die. k23 by contrast, are a team that at the top level is a byword for mediocrity, yet they actually loved the spotlight. Despite looking like a team created by Doctor Frankenstein, they waved and smiled their way through the day. TeG were another prospect altogether, shunning the spotlight and insisting on playing all of their games hanging from the ceiling in a darkened crypt.
TeG set the tone for the group when they cheerfully boshed esq.wind all over Tuscan - a strange game to report on because it never felt as one-sided as it eventually was. The doughty SimpleX lost all three of their games on the day, but not by the great margins some of the poorer teams did. They were simply outclassed, but never outfought. esq.wind on the other hand, are clearly a very talented group, but several of their players went badly missing on the day. Time and time again their teamwork simply folded and their communication seemed non-existent at times. Eventually, TeG ran out worthy winners, whilst k23 compounded the Koreans' misery with a spectacular demonstration of a team performance on Inferno. There were smiles all round until TeG realised they were playing fnatic and k23 noticed they had got wNv.Group F was the exciting group, the one I’ve been gagging to write about all day. A weakened Mouz were up against ambitious young teams CMAX.gg and Turmoil. I had feared for both American teams prior to the tournament having watched some of the ESEA finals last week. Both of them were frankly awful at times, but I had heard rumours that EG at least were holding back tactics so they would have a better shot in the WCG. Having seen Turmoil in action today, I would probably say there was truth in this statement for the lesser-regarded of the American teams at least. CMAX were what I expected them to be – skilful, talented, explosive, but lacking in experience and some of the finer points of teamwork.
In the one game mouz really got it together, they schooled CMAX hard on dust2. Watching this game, I could see weaknesses all over the Russian team, in their tactics and in their teamwork. Though they won the group in some style, and though they are clearly pretty good, I can’t see them making a dent in the latter stages simply because of the way they folded when mouz were playing well. Against a determined team performance, they looked brittle and vulnerable. Turmoil battled through to join the Russians in the knockout stages, picking up a big win against mouz on the way. Again I feel they are a bit lightweight to really go a long way, but then again they might come out tomorrow and bust heads.
Mouz are a team in trouble. I know they had a stand in for Gob-b, and that blizzard was a replacement, but they should not be losing to teams of this standard. cyxc is awesome, and blizzard, kapio and tixo are all veterans of the classic Alternate Attax lineup. These players have legendary status, and whatever excuses they might think they have, losing 2/4 games is just not acceptable. There were signs of life throughout – when they clicked they really clicked. Against CMAX on dust2, as I watched their ct performance I instantly assumed that hltv.org saying they had lost to Turmoil was a typo. I was busy composing spiel about how the reintroduction of an old legend had revived the team. Really.
After that I wrote the match report as they went down to SnG on train. All they had to do was win, as by virtue of crushing Makeway 30-0 they had the best round difference in the group. Nobody gave the Belarusians a chance going into the game, but in the first half SnG were irresistible. They had every path covered, their rotation was superb, and they had a brilliant combination of aggression and temperance to their play. Despite this, SnG are no world beaters and mouz should have been able to find a way through. They looked jaded and devoid of ideas, and succumbed to a 14-1 score. The demoralising thing for the Germans was that there were only about three close rounds in the entire half. They looked down and out.
The Belarusians got the game to 15-2 when they won an eco, and suddenly I was visualising cricket scores. What happened next was an extraordinary show of defiance. Mouz were basically out, had nothing to play for, were 15-2 down, and might as well have thrown in the towel and packed up their gear. What they actually did was sit down and win the next nine rounds, looking like the world beaters of old. The mental strength that this last doomed hurrah took must have been incredible. It was almost as good as watching the charge of the Rohirrim in The Return of the King. Well, at least to my stressed, sleep deprived, and fragile brain. They eventually lost 16-14 to bow out.
Group G was the boring one. By scheduling the TyLoo v AGAiN game last WCG tried to squeeze a bit of interest out of it, but watching both of these teams crush two sides that played like their monitors weren’t plugged in was hardly going to put bums on seats. The game that decided the group had rumours of taint from the start. There were whispers that AGAiN were going to throw the game so they could avoid mTw/fnatic until the final. The rumours only intensified when TyLoo played a blinder and made AGAiN look foolish. After the game taz told hltv.org that the Poles weren’t scared of anyone, but frankly, anyone should be scared of TyLoo. If TyLoo hadn’t got such an awful bracket draw (being on the same side as fnatic and mTw and scheduled to meet mTw in the quarters) then I would seriously think about backing them.
Group H was almost as boring as group G. By virtue of having five teams and thus several more fixtures, it looked better than G on paper. Unfortunatley H turned out to be just as bad. There were two good teams who were going to qualify, and three painfully shit teams who weren’t. Once hellRaisers had put EG nicely to bed in the first game, it was always going to be Ukraine first, USA second. EG looked flat in their only proper game, and I suspect they are going home swiftly when they play mTw next round. As for the other three teams in the group, I don’t give a shit. Do you?
|jamie frost // jf-|
Posted 3 years ago: Sat, 14 Nov 2009 05:40:10 +0000
|North Am||May 24||China|
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