Map 1: Cobblestone
Starting off Cobblestone with a steely pistol round, Fnatic showed their dynamism by securing the 3-0 after winning the pistol round. Through a slew of great calls and excellent execution Fnatic were able to take it to 7-1 before things started getting shaky. They lost their grasp and the momentum started to shift when VP predicted a switch towards the A bomb site. Fnatic had all the while been aiming for B. With Snax and Taz countering a full Fnatic lineup in A doors, and Neo ending the round with two kills, things were starting to look the other way.
The half eventually ended 9-6 with Pasha securing a triple kill to close it out. The first half was a good show of Fnatic’s rough and guttural playstyle; excelling in grim situations and not letting pressure get to them. You could tell this was a team that had practiced this map well and had the skill to utilise the T-sidedness of the map to their advantage. The initial rounds were a battering with a glint of hope. Virtus Pro started to show some signs of life towards the end though.
The second half was an entirely different story, with VP storming their way through the pistol round and maintaining their chokehold from then on. There’s not much to say except Fnatic only managed to eek in a single round in the second half before losing 10-16. A highlight of VP’s prowess, not just of teamwork but of tactics, would be the 24th round. VP faked a B push, with a multitude of grenades, having an economically broken Fnatic rotate all five members towards the bombsite, only to then rotate to A with seconds left on the clock. Moments like these, you have to wonder if Pronax would have been able to call that fake…
Map 2: Mirage
The first half of Mirage proves Counterstrike really is a game of mental fortitude, as VP seemed to really get into Fnatic’s heads. Initially Fnatic on the CT-side came out on top in a chaotic pistol round, and continued the streak for the next three rounds. They were up 3-4 when the 7th round began, and we witnessed another one of those moments where one team systematically dismantled another, especially emotionally. Fnatic thought the bomb was in A, but it wasn’t, and the remaining VP players were able to wipe off their enemies as they tore their way through CT spawn. Flusha showed a rare moment of tilt, banging the table as he was visibly upset. From there VP just snowballed as the Virtus Plow was in tow. With some amazing clutch plays by Snax and “GOD” Neo performances, the half ended 10-5 favouring the Polish team.
The second half started with a spark for Fnatic in another chaotic pistol round, and again they managed to pull off the two proceeding rounds, but sadly this wasn’t enough to trip the giant in motion that was Virtus Pro. With consistent frags from Snax and Neo and great clutches from Pasha, the game ended 16-8.
I guess what we learn from top level games like this is how much exactly confidence and nerves matter in professional Counterstrike. Fnatic started strong but it seems the nerves really got to them. They didn’t lose because of lack of talent, and we’re not sure they lost because they were out-strategized exactly, but it seems the biggest factor was not crumbling under pressure. The split second decisions, the little moments of panic and indecisiveness cost Fnatic a final.
Congratulations to the Virtus.Pro team for securing 1st place in E-League. The Plow is back.