CS:GO, Counter-Strike

Credit: Sarah Cooper ESL

ESL One: Katowice 2015: The Swedes from fnatic strike back

In this series we look back at all the previous 16 Majors in CS:GO. Today we have reached ESL One: Katowice 2015.

We are only 5 days away from kick-off at the PGL Antwerp Major in Belgium. To ease the waiting time, we have created a countdown series, where we dive into the history of all of the 16 Majors.

ESL One: Katowice 2015

Date: Mar 12th – Mar 15th 2015

Number of teams: 16

Prize Pool: $250,000

Winner: fnatic

MVP: Olof “olofmeister” Kajbjer

Map pool: Cache, Cobblestone, Dust2, Inferno, Mirage, Overpass, Nuke.

The ESL One: Katowice 2015 tournament was the fifth CS:GO Major Championship in the history of the game and was held from March 12-15, 2015 in the Spodek venue in Katowice Poland. The prize pool was once again $250,000, similar to that of the previous 3 Majors with 16 teams gathered to find out who were going to claim the title as Major champions.

Ninjas in Pyjamas, Virtus.pro, Team Envyus, and fnatic were once again the heavy favorites to take home the Major trophy. But all eyes were on the Swedish squad from fnatic who were coming back after the controversial ‘olofboost’ at the previous Major (DreamHack Winter 2014).

fnatic were looking to silence their haters who criticized them for forfeiting the quarter-final against LDLC at DreamHack Winter 2014, while Envyus (ex Team LDLC) were hoping to become the first CS:GO team to win back to back Major. Ninjas in Pyjamas’ roster also went in to the tournament full of hopes and were looking to reach their fifth final appearance.

As mentioned, the Swedes from fnatic didn’t come into the Major event as everybody’s darling, but they really managed to show that they were able to bring stellar performances when it mattered the most. fnatic were the only team able to win a quarter-final without losing a single map, with their first loss coming at the hands of the equally impressive squad from Ninjas in Pyjamas in the grand final of the event. Overall, fnatic played a hell of a tournament with all five of their players stepping up to clinch their second CS:GO Major. This is how it all went down.

Another Swedish Grand final

Before the ESL One: Katowice 2015 event, fnatic and Ninjas in Pyjamas had faced off against each other in two Major grand finals (DreamHack Winter 2013 and ESL One: Cologne 2014). JW and company from fnatic came out on top in the first ever CS:GO Major, while GeT_RiGhT and NiP claimed the trophy in the third.

The fnatic roster started off very strongly at the fifth Major event, humiliating Vox Eminor with a 16-3 victory and winning their next match against Natus Vincere to advance to the playoffs. Besides fnatic advancing, Virtus.pro, Ninjas in Pyjamas, and Team Envyus too progressed in the next stage of play. Here, fnatic continued their impressive form as they confidently outclassed PENTA in the quarter-final with victories on Inferno (16-8) and Cache (16-7). However, the competition was really shaping up to be arguably the most competitive yet as Ninjas in Pyjamas, Envyus, and Virtus.pro all progressed into the semi-finals.

JW and company faced Virtus.pro in the first semi-final where they continued their rampant form and stomped to a 2-0 victory (Cobblestone 19-17 and Mirage 16-8), with the Polish squad serving as the victims. In the other semi-final, Ninjas in Pyjamas defeated the Frenchmen from Envyus with a 2-0 victory to enter their fifth Major final appearance, inching towards a second Major title.

The Grand final was everything the fans had hoped for, especially the Swedish ones. Both teams were aiming to create history and would face each other in another Swedish Grand final. fnatic hadn’t dropped even a single map on their way to the final so they were slight favorites going into the matchup.

Dust2, Cache, and Inferno were picked as the maps and the grand final was expected to break previous viewers records, which it did as two of the biggest organizations in CS:GO went head to head. In their third encounter in a Major Grand final, fnatic started off by winning Dust2 16-14 after a very close fight and looked to quickly wrap up the action on the next, but lost as NiP equalized the series score with a 10-16 victory on Cache.

On the decider of Inferno, fnatic started things off aggressively on the CT side and gained a 11-4 lead before switching sides. GeT_RiGhT and company were once again in need of a comeback to seal the championship. They fought bitterly to climb back on the scoreboard and managed to grind some rounds, but fnatic had too big of a lead to be overturned as they went on to close out the map with a 16-13 scoreline to clinch their second Major title.

fnatic’s olofmeister was awarded the MVP for his incredible and consistent performances throughout the event. The Swedish squad from fnatic truly silenced all their haters and laid a marker for the future. Their Major victory at the event was just a glimpse of what the roster was about to achieve in the following year.

Tournament results:

1. fnatic - $100,000
2. Ninjas in Pyjamas - $50,000
3-4th. Virtus.pro - $22,000
3-4th. Envy - $22,000
5-8th. Natus Vincere - $10,000
5-8th. Keyd - $10,000
5-8th. TSM - $10,000
5-8th. PENTA - $10,000
9-12th. Cloud9 - $2,000
9-12th. CLG - $2,000
9-12th. LGB - $2,000
9-12th. Vox Eminor - $2,000
13-16th. Titan - $2,000
13-16th. HellRaisers - $2,000
13-16th. 3DMAX - $2,000
13-16th. FlipSid3 - $2,000

Highest rated players at ESL One: Katowice 2015:

1. Olof “olofmeister” Kajbjer (fnatic) – 1.31 Rating


2. Håvard “rain” Nygaard (LGB) – 1.27 Rating


3. Filip “NEO” Kubski (Virtus.pro) – 1.27 Rating


4. Denis “seized” Kostin (NAVI) – 1.24 Rating


5. Christopher “GeT_RiGhT” Alesund (NiP) – 1.20 Rating


6. Ladislav “GuardiaN” Kovács (NAVI) – 1.19 Rating


7. Janusz “Snax” Pogorzelski (Virtus.pro) – 1.16 Rating


8. Richard “shox” Papillon (Envy) – 1.13 Rating


9. René “cajunb” Borg (TSM) – 1.13 Rating


10. Robin “flusha” Rönnquist (fnatic) – 1.12 Rating

Something you probably didn’t know:

The Grand final between the two Swedish rosters was the most viewed match in the history of CS:GO with 980k viewers. This was a new esports record at the time for Counter-Strike.

The event also saw the debut of the Brazilian godfather Gabriel “FalleN” Toledo.

Tomorrow we take a look at the ESL One: Cologne 2015 event.

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