So after two days of intense competition, we’ve reached the playoffs of the ICE Challenge 2020. Two teams (Heroic and ENCE) have fallen, leaving us with four teams fighting for the $250,000 prize pool. Now, since this event is taking place in London, I was actually able to attend in person, and I must say it was a very strange occurrence, as most of the crowd was confused businessmen who seemingly had no clue what was happening on the screen. But enough about the bewildered crowd; let’s talk about the matches!
OG vs MAD Lions – Map One Nuke
We begin the day with a Bo3 encounter containing OG led by ”Aleksib” and MAD Lions guided by ”HUNDEN’. Starting on Nuke, OG took the knife round, therefore deciding to start on the CT side. OG then swiftly took the first three rounds before MAD Lions struck back, taking the first gun round with ‘‘acoR” sniping three with the AWP! The half ended with a 9-6 lead for OG, but MAD Lions looked to be the better team overall, getting several bomb plants and only losing rounds by small margins. OG really needed to win the following pistol round, but ”sjuush” had other ideas, securing a nasty 3k with the USP and hitting some impressive bunny hops in the process! With this loss, OG was forced into an eco round, meaning the Danes had reduced the lead to just one.
However, both sides then kept trading rounds back and forth until the score was tied at 11-11. Not only was the game even, but so were the kills of both ”Sjuush” and ”Mantuu”. Both had exactly 20 kills going into round 22. ”Aleksib” then decided to try the risky hero AK buy on Round 23, but it didn’t pay off! In the following round, OG was able to purchase rifles, but MAD Lions put them down to lead 14-11! By the way, if you’re wondering about the blue hair, ”NBK” had made a promise on his charity stream – to attend the next LAN wearing a wig if he raised the necessary sum, which he did, and I must say he looked fabulous!
Round 26 begins, and OG has no money! It’s a crucial must-win round. With their final buy available, they go ramp and ‘‘NBK” manages gets two picks, but it isn’t enough, and the Danes are one round away from stealing OG’s map pick! OG is now completely out of cash! However, no money, no problem. OG rush the lower bombsite with just pistols, 15-12! Can they take the game to overtime? No. MAD Lions finally ended the map with the final score 16-12. We move onto Train!
OG vs MAD Lions – Map Two Train
With Train being a heavy CT-sided map, OG really needed to win the knife round, but MAD Lions came out on top and picked CT side, of course, although OG then took the pistol round! MAD Lions then forced bought with scouts and desert eagles managing to teamwipe OG without losing a single player in the process! That was the worst possible scenario for “Aleksib” and his troops, but then OG struck back with the deagles of their own! Both teams then started to trade rounds back and forth again until the score was tied at 6-6. The Danish roster seemed to be crumbling, but ”acoR” had other ideas, dragging his team to a 9-6 lead to end the half!
Getting six rounds on T-side is very good for OG, but ideally, they need to win the pistol round, and win it they do! The Danes then tried to force with the Deagles once again, but OG slaps them back, with the score now at 9-8. We now enter a proper gun round where an excellent flank from ”NBK” secures OG the round and ties the score! Unfortunately, after this, OG was only able to secure three more rounds despite having huge economy gain over MAD Lions. The Danes wrapped upped Train with the same score as Nuke 16-12. Credit to MAD Lions for winning despite losing both pistol rounds. They will now meet Mousesports in the semifinal!
So OG has been eliminated, their only victory at the event being against ENCE in the group stage, which isn’t saying much, given the state that ENCE is in at the moment! Clearly, this OG roster still needs some work. However, given that this was only their second LAN appearance together as a roster, I’m not surprised that MAD Lions were able to defeat them. Besides, OG did the number one goal they needed to accomplish at this tournament: defeating ENCE to get revenge on “Aleksib”! Now, from what I’ve witnessed from this OG lineup, they have adequate CT-sides but underwhelming T-sides. OG will next play at the BLAST Premier: Spring 2020 in Group C, starting February 14, 2020.
Moving onto the Danes, MAD Lions continue their meteoric rise! I have to say MAD Lions are looking like a very coordinated and well-structured team. Huge credit must be given to IGL ”HUNDEN”. I can’t wait to see how this team performs at IEM Katowice 2020 in a few weeks’ time! MAD Lions are looking set for the 2-0 with OG looking shaky particularly on T-side. With this victory, MAD Lions have secured a spot in the semi-final of the ICE Challenge 2020 where they will face Mousesports. What a series that is going to be!
Virtus.pro vs GODSENT – Map One Dust 2
Now, this is an interesting series coming up, a Virtus.pro roster with something to prove versus a GODSENT team that just destroyed ENCE in the group stage! We start on Dust 2, the map pick of Virtus.pro who begin on the CT-side. It didn’t start well for the CIS roster as ”Maden” began the match on fire, collecting a 3k with some excellent Glock taps. After this intense start, the game slowed down, but we did get some JAME TIME at the end of most rounds to keep us entertained.
But it was an uneventful first half as GODSENT took an 8-7 lead. It wasn’t until round 21 where the action really heated up with an unbelievable 1v2 clutch from ”STYKO”! The following round was another victory for GODSENT but mainly because of a huge fumble from ”AdreN” as he missed several easy shots with the AWP. After this round, GODSENT never looked back, winning Virtus. pro’s map pick 16-9!
Virtus.pro vs GODSENT – Map Two Vertigo
Propelling over to Vertigo, Virtus.pro start on T-side, a very frantic pistol round ensues which is secured by GODSENT who then quickly race into a 4-0 lead. But that advantage is short-lived, as Virtus.pro pushed forward to take the half 9-6. With the CIS roster moving over to the CT side, they increase their lead by winning the pistol round. However, here comes JAME TIME. GODSENT are starting to make a comeback, pulling the score to 11-10, shattering the economy of Virtus.pro in the process!
Starting up on round 22, the CIS squad must win if they have any hopes of taking this map! Win it they must, and win it they did; with 0.1 seconds left on the bomb, the defuse comes in just in time! However, they lost 4 players in the process and still have little cash, while GODSENT are rolling in the money. That is the major issue for VP. The rounds keep coming but VP need to keep saving, and they just can’t take any risks! The score is now at 14-13 to GODSENT, ”AdreN” was burnt to a crisp in multiple Molotov’s to give GODSENT series point! Virtus.pro did manage to save two AWPs, but will that be enough? Unfortunately, it wasn’t. “kRYSTAL” and his men take the map 16-13 and the series 2-0! GODSENT will play Natus Vincere tomorrow!
This is now three tournaments in a row where Virtus.pro have disappointed, but at least they didn’t finish dead last this time! I must say, though, if Virtus.pro continue on this form, I wouldn’t be shocked if a roster move was to happen. Sanjar ‘SANJI’ Kuliev, in particular, has been shaky since the Virtus.pro acquisition. Watch this space.
Now, what a pleasant surprise GODSENT has been this tournament, demolishing ENCE in the group stage and now defeating the Major finalists 2-0 on LAN! While they will most likely fall to Natus Vincere, it’s still been a fantastic run. Could these underdogs cause the major upset? We’ll have to see tomorrow…
The Semi-Finals of the ICE Challenge 2020 will be Mousesports vs MADLions starting February 5th 2020 – 11:00 CEST, and Natus Vincere vs GODSENT starting February 5th 2020 – 15:00 CEST
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BTW I got to meet HenryG and Sadokist!