The Danes have done it again. After two phenomenal tournament victories in 2020, they have refreshed their lineup and already won their first event after the roster change. In the Grand Finals, they set themselves on top of none other than Gambit Esports, who themselves had been winners of IEM Katowice before.
The Grand Finals proved to be a tough nail-biter between two superteams. On Inferno, Gambit took a 11-14 lead and made it look easy. But on their CT side, Heroic slowly fought back, until they were actually able to take the lead. Only a mistake in the very last round let Gambit force overtime. Martin “stavn” Lund eventually helped his team to a 19-17 finish.
So Heroic took the lead after a brutal first map. On Vertigo, however, they didn’t stand a chance. With a 1.71 rating, Abay “Hobbit” Khassenov dragged his team through to a ridiculous 16-3 victory, which made the comeback from before look like a cakewalk. So the teams were back to a tie, but Gambit pushed for more. After a 10-5 half on Train, they looked to take the third map as well. However, their T side proved to be much too weak, creating a window for another Heroic comeback.
So Heroic mounted yet another 15-14 scoreline, but Gambit won the last round. Entering overtime again, the teams didn’t let go. They almost played through a second map entirely, until Heroic finished Train with a 28-26 scoreline. Casper “cadiaN” Møller recorded 47 kills, 38 of which happened with the AWP alone.
Despite their deficit, Gambit went on the attack again. On Overpass, they secured a 16-10 win and quickly transitioned to the last map. Once there, however, they ran out of steam and had to watch as Heroic ramped up a huge lead.
YOU CAN'T WIN #ESLPROLEAGUE LIKE THIS….
— ESL Counter-Strike (@ESLCS) April 11, 2021
“TAKE YOUR TIME SON, YOU’RE ABOUT TO MAKE THE PLAY OF YOUR CAREER…”
Heroic held a 15-6 lead, but cadiaN was alone in a 1v4 scenario. With just a P250 to his name, he had nothing to lose though. So he tried to get the bomb and overwhelm his opponents. The rest is history.
There’s not much to say about this clutch. It should never have happened that cadiaN won against four fully equipped opponents. But a lot had to go wrong for Gambit to end up in a 6-15 scenario anyways. This incredible play is an example of what cadiaN actually achieved at this event.
So Heroic ended the last map on a decisive scoreline. This clutch guaranteed them a 3-2 finish, which eventually helped them to the EPL trophy. This is obviously a heavy blow to Gambit, who, despite reaching the Grand Finals of yet another big event, had to concede the match to a team with two new players. Their individual talent and tactical groundwork should have held them in the game, but on two maps, their T sides were so bad that they allowed Heroic to mount comebacks and win the maps eventually.
THE SURPRISE TEAMS OF ESL PRO LEAGUE
Most wouldn’t have expected Complexity to make it this far. Beating Natus Vincere and Virtus.pro is definitely an achievement, but the Ninjas in Pyjamas should have been defeated as well. On the other side of the bracket, FURIA were the surprise performers, advancing over FPX, G2, and even Astralis. For the upcoming BLAST Premier: Spring Showdown, this is a great sign.
The Danes of Astralis and Natus Vincere have been surprising us in a different way. Their performances during the playoffs were outright underwhelming. After both teams had completed impressive runs in the Group Stage, they exited much too early. The same holds true for Virtus.pro. After a Grand Finals appearance at IEM Katowice, they had surely hoped for more than just a 1-2 finish versus Complexity.
For many of these teams, the BLAST Premier: Spring Showdown is the next destination. There, some of the teams that already lost out in the EPL Groups will have to prove themselves again. Vitality will appear alongside Cédric “RpK” Guipouy for the last time, OG will debut Shahar “flameZ” Shushan.