This week, ESEA Season 38 EU Premier was all over the place. We had some highly contested duels, stand-ins holding their ground, and a surprise sweep. You can expect something like this every week from now on, as Rush B Media will be having a close eye in this competition.
Last week’s Group A games had some high expectations, but not all were fulfilled as the duel between DBL Poney and Sangal was postponed due to technical issues affecting the Turkish side. Despite that, the first game of the group delivered some good entertainment and gameplay.
BLINK vs. Sprout was very anticipated, as Rasmus “raalz” Steensborg was debuting for the German side, but fans had to wait 15 rounds because the Dane had some tech problems and the team’s coach, Niclas “enkay J” Krumhorn, had to play the first half of the first map. Mirage, picked by BLINK, had a balanced start but, after the debuting player for Sprout joined the server, the Kosovar-Albanians only got two rounds on the board: the pistol followed by an eco-round from the Germans. The map ended 11-16 in favor of Sprout, going into their Vertigo pick, which didn’t go according to the plan, as BLINK looked much more prepared and easily tied up the series after an amazing performance from Genc “gxx-” Kolgeci. Going into the Ancient decider, fans didn’t know what to expect, but quickly Sprout showed up and showed off, demolishing BLINK 4-16 and winning the series 2-1 off of good performances from all their players, but especially from Josef “faveN” Baumann.
The last match of the group was a battle between recently promoted teams, Akuma vs. Enterprise. Both teams had won their first week’s match and were looking to cement themselves on top of the table early on in the season. The first map was Inferno, picked by Enterprise, and was defined by details in pistol rounds and semi-eco/semi-buy rounds. In the end, Enterprise won their pick 16-12 and was looking to finish the job in the Ukrainians pick Vertigo. But, opposite to what Sprout did in their Vertigo pick, Akuma came very strong out of the gates and never looked back. With four players above 1.30 rating, the Advanced Europe Season 37 champions won 16-8 and set their eyes to Dust2. Even though the first half was very uneven, 12-3 to Akuma, Enterprise tried to climb that mountain, but to no avail. 16-10 was the final score as the Ukrainian org took their second win. We can’t fail to mention the monstrous final map from Sergiy “DemQQ” Demchenko in which he had 124.4 ADR, 80.8% KAST, and a 1.89 rating.
Last week looked to be as balanced as week 1, with all matches going to 3 maps but we had the first Group B sweep of the competition, and it was an unexpected one.
AGO cleanly dispatched Endpoint in two maps. The match started in Vertigo, picked by the British org, and right away we had a glimpse of a meta-changing moment as the Polish chose to start on the Terrorist side (just like BLINK did against Sprout). In both cases, proved to be the right choice as they won the half and the game. AGO took Endpoint’s pick 16-12 and went to their Ancient pick much more comfortable. There, the Polish showed that the map isn’t as full-CT as people say, and after getting 10 rounds as Terrorists, went on to finish the game in 12 more rounds, as they ended the map 16-11. AGO has been having great team performances all around and we can’t wait to see what more they can show us.
Then we had Wisła Kraków’s first game of the season against Movistar Riders, which, once again, saw the Spanish team not finding their stride when it matters the most. The first map was picked by Wisła, and it was Overpass. 16-14 and it couldn’t get as close as it was. Movistar was up 14-8 and then it all went downhill. They looked to their pick, Vertigo, to bounce back into the series, and didn’t show any sign of mental struggles after the first map ending. With David “dav1g” Granado-Bermudo finally showing up after being silent during week 1 and Overpass, the all-Spanish side won 16-10 and were hoping to replicate or better the result of their Nuke pick against GamerLegion, as the Nuclear power plant was left as the decider for this series. But Wisła Kraków isn’t GL and the Polish shut down Movistar completely. 16-5 was the final score and the Krakow located org won the series 2-1. Kuba “Markoś” Markowski popped off and lead his teammates all throughout the match, being a key aspect for this win.
The last match was a duel between two winless teams, LDLC vs SKADE. Two very different teams, as the Frenchmen are very experienced individually and the Bulgarians are relatively new to the scene. The Inferno pick from LDLC was their first step towards their maiden win this season. After an incredible 11-4 T-side, with Ali “hAdji” Haïnouss being their main man, LDLC closed the map 16-11 and put the pressure on SKADE. But the young Bulgarians showed that they can deal with that pressure and answered in the same tone, having a dominant 10-5 T-side on their Mirage pick and easily finishing the job 16-8, tying the series up. With similar scorelines in each team’s picks, Dust II, the decider, promised to be a balanced map and it didn’t disappoint. With a 10-5 first half and a 6-9 second half, LDLC won one of the closest maps of the season so far. Both teams looked strong but also showed some weaknesses to erase during the decider.