Team Liquid, Astralis, G2, Mousesports, and NRG are in the spotlight of our ESL Pro League Season 9 Finals recap. Let’s go!
1. And the winner is…
Team Liquid are the ESL Pro League Season 9 Champions! In the Grand Final, nitr0 and co. beat G2 on their home soil in Montpellier 3:1.
TL’s journey through the tournament was a rollercoaster, where convincing victories were littered with inexplicable chokes, including being just one step away from being knocked out of the event altogether.
It all started with a loss to North in their opening match. Then, it was a Lower Bracket Round 2 match vs. HellRaisers where the NA team was down 11:14 on the decider map, but managed to close out the game 16:14. Next came the semifinals vs. Mousesports, where a 13:2 lead on the second map, Nuke, wasn’t even enough to put the game away before OT (this clutch from woxic was outrageous). And, of course, the Grand Final vs. G2, where the French side almost made a come back from a 0:2 map deficit to take it to the decider.
However, Team Liquid overcame all obstacles and came out on top in the end, taking home $250,000 in addition to the trophy. Congratulations!
Team Liquid’s EliGe was the MVP of the tournament and received his second MVP medal this year.
2. One step closer
After winning ESL Pro League Season 9, Team Liquid are only one win away from winning the Intel Grand Slam Season 2 and receiving a $1,000,000 prize.
It was their third victory at S-Tier tournaments organized by ESL or Dreamhack this season (they’ve already won IEM Sydney 2019 and DreamHack Masters Dallas 2019). That means that Team Liquid will only need to win one of six upcoming tournaments to win the whole competition.
The Intel Grand Slam Season 1 winners, Astralis, need to win three tournaments to win the race as they won IEM Katowice 2019.
3. Clash of Titans
Finally, at EPL S9 we saw the Astralis – Team Liquid matchup we’ve all been waiting for since June 3, 2019, when TL took the #1 spot in the HLTV.org ratings away from gla1ve and co.
Everyone would’ve liked to have seen these two facing each other in the Grand Final, but it happened much earlier, in the quarter-finals. For Team Liquid, that match was a rollercoaster.
Astralis took a confident 10:0 lead on the NA team’s pick, Overpass, and then closed out the map 16:12. Then, it was TL’s turn to step up. They converted a 9:0 lead on Astralis’ pick, Inferno, into a 16:6 score – a humiliating scoreline for the Danes. The winner was determined on Vertigo where nitr0 and co. won the map in a tightly-contested battle, 16:13.
The whole tournament itself showed that people should stop second-guessing whether TL are the real #1 team in the world right now or not.
4. The French CS:GO Samurais Rise
Lately, Team Vitality has been the only French team worth talking about. After EPL S9 that looks to be changing.
G2 had an incredible performance in Montpellier. Shox tried on the Clutch King crown once more. kennyS hit his flicks and quick scopes with his AWP just like in good old days. And the team, spurred on by the support from the hometown crowd, showed their guts, will, and skill in reaching the Grand Final. Yes, they were down 0:2 but were close to turning things around and taking it to the decider map, Vertigo.
Hopefully, this performance wasn’t a fluke and MaleK’s squad has really found its way back on track.
For quite a while, there has been only one French force. Now, there are two. Welcome back, G2.
5. Former teammates collide
In the Group B UB R2 matchup, w0xic and his Mousesports faced HellRaisers. It was w0xic’s first match vs. his former teammates. Oskar and lmbt on HellRaisers’ side were in the same position.
After winning the match pretty easily (16:5 on Mirage, 16:8 on Nuke), w0xic tried to cheer his opponents up.
Karrigan wasn’t as friendly to his former teammates from FaZe Clan. He definitely was excited to face off FaZe in their semi-finalist decider.
After beating them, karrigan noted that “…It feels really good to win against your old teammates […] but I’m sad it wasn’t a knock-out game.” It seems that he definitely didn’t miss YNk’s tweet after mouz’ victory at DreamHack Open Tours.
It feels like we’re on the verge of a new rivalry between teams.
6. Daps’ dedication is insane
Frankly, I can’t imagine anyone having faith in NRG at the ESL Pro League Season 9 Finals. To me, the reason was fairly obvious.
You’re NRG. You kick your IGL, daps, before the tournament. Then you bring him back into the lineup due to the tournament’s restrictions for new players. Then, you bring his replacement, stanislaw, with you to the tournament and every free moment you have you dedicate to practicing with him, playing with daps only during official matches. What would you expect in return?
It’s incredible, but despite all that being said, NRG had a phenomenal run and deservedly finished in the top 3-4.
On their way to their 3rd-4th place finish, they beat fnatic, G2, and Astralis. A cool fact is that daps was spotted practicing alone an hour before NRG’s match vs. Astralis, while his team was practicing with stanislaw.
NRG went on to win that game.
No more words needed. Just daps for daps!
This has been the ESL Pro Series Season 9 Finals. With the level of competition we witnessed, we’re already dreaming about watching ESL One: Cologne 2019 in just one and a half short weeks. Get ready for more first-class CS action. Stay tuned to DreamTeam.gg for more educational and fun up-to-date content. Later.