A huge comeback to win map 1 seemed to put them in position to win the gold in two, but SK barrelled back with even more force to smash the series into a decider. Despite the third map, tuscan, being a historically troublesome map for ESC they managed to pull an amazing comeback out of the hat to win the WCG gold medal.
SK Gaming 1:2 ESC Gaming
-13:16 dust2 (T 9:6 CT 4:10)
-16:05 train (T 13:2 CT 3:3)
-14:16 tuscan (CT 8:7 T 6:9)
Map 1 - dust2
The maps made it look as though ESC's best chance was winning in the first two, and that their shaky tuscan would cost them in a potential decider. On dust2 things looked grim as a result of that, with SK dominating early and reaching 8:1 as T. GeT_RiGhT was grinding down the Poles and buying AWPs and playing aggressive was simply not working. At that point the switch was flipped and ESC began to mount a huge comeback.
Round after round went to the Polish team and somehow they finished up with a 6:9 deficit at the end of the half. Switching over they were set back by losing the first two but then never stopped rolling. Winning 10 of the next 11 rounds they took map one 16:13. In total ESC had won 15 out of the last 19 rounds played, a comeback the likes of which you simply do not see at the elite level of CS competition.
Map 2 - train
With some of the classic ESC has played on train this year one could be forgiven for thinking they might end the series in two. SK have been one of the world's best train teams but they have also had trouble on their T sides, the side ESC specialises on. Today seemed to be opposite day as after winning a close pistol round SK unleashed an offensive onslaught the likes of which has likely never been seen against the Polish core in the history of CS.
SK managed to rampage for 13 round as T in the first half, leaving the map a certainty to go to them and ESC needing the biggest miracle imaginable to get a gold medal over the first two maps. After six rounds of the second half SK had tied things up and would move into a decider on tuscan.
Map 3 - tuscan
Thinking back to the e-Stars Seoul final it's easy to understand why SK would feel confident playing the Poles on tuscan. What isn't so easy to understand is why ESC left it in the map pool. Of the two remaining maps, assuming SK threw inferno, one would think with all of their epic wins on nuke, and their strength as T, that they would opt to play the classic map over their troublesome tuscan. Even the ESWC semi-final still haunts the Poles on that map, as Na`Vi made them look foolish on it.
Things certainly seemed to be dark for ESC as despite their pistol round win they found themselves facing 2:6 scoreline after eight rounds played. SK were rolling as T and it was down to ESC to again dig deep and find a reason to still feel like they could win once they switched over to the second half. Five straight round wins kept a glimmer of hope alive, just a glimmer mind, and the half ended 8:7 to SK.
ESC won another pistol round but after five rounds played it was a deadlock at 10:10. SK had everything going their way as GeT_RiGhT had won a 1v1 against loord and then another 1v1 went to SK.
It's worth emphasising now just how difficult it is to win five CT tuscan rounds when only 10 rounds remain in the game and you're up against a team with very good AK players. To even put a step wrong and lose a round as CT in that position can see your entire chance disappear, the Ts have a huge advantage.
Two of the next three rounds went to the Swedes and put the score to 12:11, making an ESC comeback looking highly unlikely. Nevertheless the Poles somehow found it within themselves again to keep roaring back. They won the next five rounds in a row to hit map and series point. Along the way loord managed a bigtime two kill on SK players coming out of the door, shutting down that A attack. Somehow ESC had done it and they were one round out of three from winning a gold medal, at 15:12.
SK were not done for yet and being on T side it was still possible to get the game to overtime and reset matters. The next two rounds went to them and at 13:15 a f0rest 1v1 win against kuben gave SK a chance to tie things up in the last. ESC flowed into attack in the last round and seemed pushed by the force of destiny as they scooped the round win and the gold medals.
1st ESC Gaming - $25,000 + gold medals
2nd SK Gaming - $6,000 + silver medals
3rd Moscow Five - $3,000 + bronze medals
For NEO, TaZ, kuben and loord this is the third WCG gold medal they have won in their careers, making history as the first to ever accomplish that feat. For pasha he finally becomes a part of the major winning tradition he had not be included in due to coming in after the LUq era. Many wondered if the team would ever win another major without that golden five lineup, now pasha has an answer for them.
This is the sixth major title for the Polish core out of eight finals played in total. No one else in CS history has won more than five majors, either individually or as a lineup.
Sadly for SK RobbaN also makes history with a third silver medal. For f0rest and GeT_RiGhT this is their second WCG silver medal each. Sweden has now won four WCG silver medals, with the lone gold being in 2003.
(Photograph copyright of fragbite)
@Thooorin on twitter.
2001-2002 Pro-cybernews (Editor-in-Chief)
2002-2003 Gamers.nu (Lead Editor)
2004-2005 ESportsEA (Editor-in-Chief, Consultant)
2006-2008 ESportsEA (Editor, Community feature host)
2008 TAO-CS volume 1 (Co-author)
2008 TAO-fRoD (Co-author)
2008-2009 WinOut.net (Editor-in-Chief, Consultant)
2009-2012 SK Gaming (Editor-in-Chief)
2012-2013 Team Acer (Editor-in-Chief)
2013-2014 OnGamers (Senior eSports Content Creator)
Pro bono publico:
2001-2002 XSReality (Site administrator)
2003-2004 Team3D (Editor-in-Chief, Consultant)
2012-2013 fragbite (Blogger)
2013-XXXX [POD]Cast (Co-host)
2005 Down with the s1ckn3ss
2009 fRoD Quick and nasty (part 1)
Events attended for coverage purposes:
2001 CPL London (Pro-cybernews)
2001 WCG Qualifier (Pro-cybernews)
2002 CPL Summer (Gamers.nu)
2002 WCG Qualifier (Gamers.nu)
2002 CPL Oslo (Gamers.nu)
2002 CPL Winter (Gamers.nu)
2003 CPL Cannes (Gamers.nu)
2003 Clikarena (Gamers.nu)
2004 CPL Winter (ESportsEA)
2009 WEM (SK Gaming)
2010 IEM IV European Championship (SK Gaming)
2010 IEM IV World Championship (SK Gaming)
2010 Arbalet Best of Four (SK Gaming)
2010 Arbalet Cup Europe (SK Gaming)
2010 e-Stars Seoul (SK Gaming)
2010 WCG (SK Gaming)
2010 WEM (SK Gaming)
2011 IEM V European Championship (SK Gaming)
2011 Assembly Winter (SK Gaming)
2011 IEM V World Championship (SK Gaming)
2011 Copenhagen Games (SK Gaming)
2011 Dreamhack Summer (SK Gaming)
2011 SK vs. FX showmatch (SK Gaming)
2011 e-Stars Seoul (SK Gaming)
2011 ESWC (SK Gaming)
2012 IEM VI Kiev (SK Gaming)
2012 IEM VI World Championship (SK Gaming)
2012 WCS Europe (Team Acer)
2012 Dreamhack Open Valencia (Team Acer)
2012 Dreamhack Winter (Team Acer)
2012 IPL5 (Team Acer)
2012 HomeStory Cup VI (Team Acer)
2013 IEM VII World Championship (Team Acer)
2013 MLG Winter Championship (Team Acer)
2013 LCS Europe Spring Week 10 (Team Acer)
2013 WCS EU S1 Ro16 (Team Acer)
2013 LCS Europe Summer Week 9 (Team Acer)
2013 WCS EU S2 final / LCS Europe Summer playoffs (Team Acer)
2013 Riot S3 World Championship (Team Acer)
2013 Battle of the Atlantic (OnGamers)
2013 Battle of the Atlantic (OnGamers)
2014 LCS Europe Spring Week 5 (OnGamers)
2010 IEM IV European Championship (ESL-TV)
2010 IEM IV Asian Finals (ESL-TV)
2010 IEM IV World Championship (ESL-TV)
2010 IEM V Shanghai (ESL-TV)
2011 ESEA-invite S8 (WinOut)
2011 GameGune (WinOut)
2011 SEC (WinOut)
2013 Dreamhack SteelSeries CS:GO Championship (DH-TV)
2014 Dreamhack Steelseries CS:GO Invitational (DH-TV)
2014 Dreamhack Summer (DH-TV)
2014 Gfinity G3
2014 Dreamhack Stockholm CS:GO Invitational (DH-TV)
Pro bono publico:
2010 ESWC (lvl^)
2010 Arbalet Cup Dallas (lvl^)
2010 GameGune (lvl^)
2010 fnatic PLAY (lvl^)
2010 WCG Nordic (SK Gaming)
2011 Dreamhack Winter BEAT IT (whisenhunt)
2011 EPS Winter (whisenhunt/ESL-TV)
2011 WCG (whisenhunt)
2011 IEM VI Kiev EU qualifier (SK Gaming)
2013 FACEIT Sunday Cup April 28th (FACEIT)
2013 Prague Challenge (District)
2013 FACEIT Sunday Cup September 8th (FACEIT)
2013 FACEIT Monday Cup September 9th (FACEIT)
2014 ESEA Invite S15 LAN finals (NiPTV)
* Winner of the Heaven Media 'E-sports Journalist of the year' awards for 2012 and 2013.
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