The A-Tier tournament had its share of big names and exciting matches. Here's our Elisa Masters Espoo recap.
Following a scintillating Major, CSGO fans had been missing the excitement of big-stage CS. While the next Major is a long way off, the first big tournament has already taken place in the form of Elisa Masters Espoo 2022. Eight teams — 7 from Europe and 1 from USA — were invited, and four made it via Elisa’s series of B-Tier invitational tournaments. While some of the biggest names in CSGO were missing, there were enough top-level teams to make the tournament an interesting, exciting affair.
The competition had nowhere near the viewership of a Major, so you can be forgiven for not having caught all the action. Worry not, because here are the 12 participating teams in their respective groups, followed by a recap if you failed to watch the games:
- HAVU Gaming
- Bad News Eagles
Almost every Group A game was competitive, which is a rare sight in any top-level CSGO tournament. Sprout led the group with four wins and one loss, which was the same as ENCE with a lower round difference, but the former got the edge by having beaten the latter head-to-head. Sprout’s own singular loss came at the hands of BIG, who defeated them 16-11 on Vertigo just as they did at the Rio Major a few days ago. However, they had the most intense game of the entire tournament — a 25-23 thriller of a win against GL.
ENCE came out of the group A with the best round difference, dominating all but one of their games, which they lost in Overtime on Ancient despite a brilliant comeback from 14-4 and subsequently 15-8 down to even reach Overtime. Their biggest win was, surprisingly, a convincing 16-9 triumph over BIG on Mirage.
German giants BIG did well to qualify despite dropping games to both ENCE and GamerLegion. Their most intense matches were against HAVU and GL, one of which they barely won and one they barely lost.
HEET gave very good fights to both BIG and Sprout, but they couldn’t close out their games and couldn’t make it through despite some promising performances. Had they been able to convert either of their 16-14 and 16-13 losses against Sprout and BIG, respectively, things would have been very different for the Belgian-French side.
GamerLegion had an experience very similar to HEET, but their loss to HEET themselves hamstrung their chances of making the playoffs. Other than that, they did well to edge out BIG before being edged out by Sprout in the aforementioned high-scoring thriller.
Consisting of a group of older Fins, HAVU have been trying to recreate the magic of the old ENCE, but thus far, they haven’t come close. They were the only team at the entire event to lose every single one of their matches — albeit coming extremely close to winning many times.
Group B was no less exciting than group A, but there were a handful of absolute stomps along the way. Fnatic led the group courtesy of a head-to-head win against Bulgarian newcomers 500, but did get stomped by Complexity on Nuke enroute. Their shining moment came during their thrashing of Astralis, who only managed a single feeble round on the T-side of Overpass and lost the match 16-7.
New teams don’t always shine at big tournaments, but 500 surprised everyone to do as well as they did in the Group Stage. They only lost one match — the aforementioned defeat to Fnatic — and won the rest of their matches which included a 16-1 decimation of Astralis on Ancient à la Fnatic, but better.
Despite their two humiliating defeats, Astralis somehow made it into the playoffs with three important wins. These included a do-or-die climactic clash against COL that went into Overtime before the Danes snatched it 19-17.
A close defeat to 500 and a shock loss to SAW threw a wrench in what should otherwise have been easy plans for COL to qualify. They had a couple of shining moments, though — they remained the only team to defeat Fnatic on any map in the entire tournament.
Bad News Eagles may have had heightened expectations from themselves after a decent showing in the Major, but they will have gotten a hard lesson from reality at this tournament. Despite a win in their opening game against SAW, they lost every other match, including a close one against COL.
Nobody really expected much from SAW, but they put up a decent fight in some of their matches and even managed to defeat the likes of COL and take both Fnatic and 500 into Overtime.
Elisa Masters Espoo Playoffs
With only five matches, this wasn’t the longest single-bracket elimination. Things began with a clash between 500 and BIG, and the Germans swept their opponents 2-0. Nuke was a close affair as BIG only managed to win 16-13 courtesy of a hard carry from veteran Johannes ”tabseN” Wodarz. Inferno, though, was a much more convincing 16-9 victory with tabseN once again stepping up — this time alongside Karim ”Krimbo” Moussa.
One of the most-anticipated matchups, Astralis vs ENCE, was exactly as thrilling as everyone had hoped it to be. ENCE were carried to a 16-11 win on Mirage by Paweł “dycha” Dycha, but the surprise pop-off of Andreas “Xyp9x” Højsleth on Ancient ascertained them a 16-14 triumph on Ancient. With tournament lives on the line, Overpass was a torrid battle that went into double Overtime before usual suspect Benjamin “blameF” Bremer took Astralis over the line 22-20.
Up against Sprout in the Semifinals, BIG took Overpass 16-12 thanks largely to the fact that the former had to play with their coach replacing Laurențiu “lauNX” Țârlea, who was having a medical emergency. Nils ”k1to”Gruhne top fragged in the game. Sprout managed to win Nuke 16-12 once they had their full team with Victor “Staehr” Staehr leading the way, but BIG came back to win Mirage powered by exceptional performances by tabseN and Josef ”faveN” Baumann.
Fnatic have had an utterly dominant tournament, and Mirage against Astralis was an example of their strength. They won 16-9 with William “mezii” Merriman and Fredrik “roeJ” Jørgensen far ahead of the rest. On Overpass, though, blameF once again came alive and pushed things to overtime. However, Fnatic’s team effort was too much for his underperforming teammates to handle, and the Swedish side won 19-16.
After a solid tournament, the Grand Final sadly turned out to be extremely anticlimactic as Fnatic stomped BIG 16-4 on Vertigo and 16-5 on Overpass. Both mezii and roeJ were once again devastating on the first map, but it was Dion “FASHR” Derksen who rose up in the second to give Fnatic a much-needed trophy.
— Elisa Esports (@ElisaEsports) November 20, 2022
Keep an eye on our site for CSGO news and tournament updates, or browse around to read the many guides, tips, and strats we have for the game.