Zotac Cup Masters kicked off today in Hong Kong with a bang. Most of the matchups were close games, and we have seen some upsets and surprises as well. The event thus far has been intense and it’s about to get better as the remaining teams battle for a share of the $300,000 prize pool.
Wiktor “TaZ” Wojtas lead his team to victory in an exciting match that went all the way to map three. The first map, Mirage, was a back-and-forth matchup, where neither team was able to pull ahead significantly. A groundbreaking performance was Jacek “MINISE” Jeziak’s AWP-ing. MINISE attained a total of 31 frags, out of which 16 were AWP kills. Unfortunately for Kinguin, that was not enough to close out the map. HaoWen “somebody” Xu, lead TyLoo to a marginal victory with 27 kills and ending the map 16-14 in favor of the Chinese squad.
The second map, Overpass, saw a much-favored t-side. With TyLoo closing out the half 10-5 in their favor, Paweł “reatz” Jańczak and Mikołaj “mouz” Karolewski, were men on a mission. Kinguin managed to turn things around on their t-side with both reatz and mouz getting 27 kills each and making a comeback to 16-14. The decider map remained.
The last map, Train, was a smooth ride for Kinguin. TyLoo looked lost on their starting t-side, only being able to plant the bomb four times, out of which it was defused twice. The half went 11-4 in favor of Kinguin, after which they attained four consecutive rounds. A spark of hope followed, with TyLoo scraping together four rounds, but then ultimately failing to continue their comeback. The map finished 16-9 with the Polish side advancing to the semifinals of Zotac Cup Masters.
The OpTic versus Ghost matchup was hectic, to say the least. OpTic Gaming was definitely the favorite. However, Ghost managed to put up quite the unexpected performance.
Map one saw the teams go into Nuke after being picked by the Danes. Unfortunately, things did not go as planned for them, as on the initial t-side, OpTic only managed to scrape together three rounds, closing the half at 12-3 in favor of Ghost. OpTic then attempted to make a comeback and it was a short-lived dream, as the map ultimately finished at 16-8 in Ghost’s favor. The key to Ghost’s victory was Kenneth “koosta” Suen, who had a fantastic performance, attaining 32 frags and an impressive 1.95 in hltv’s rating 2.0.
Comparatively, map two, Overpass, went relatively smoothly for the Danes. Being Ghost’s pick, fans were skeptical going into this map. OpTic showed a respectable performance, where a balanced team effort emerged triumphantly. Everyone on the Danish organization deserves credit for the performance, but it was Kristian “k0nfig” Wienecke that opened the scoreboard for his side with 20 kills. The map saw a dominating OpTic throughout the whole match, displaying a confident t-side firstly, before closing out the game on the ct-side quite rapidly. The map ended 16-7 for OpTic Gaming.
The decider map, Inferno, is where the real surprise came about. The previous two maps saw the teams dominating on each other’s map picks. However, Inferno was nothing but absolute brutality on behalf of Ghost. Matthew “Wardell” Bowman’s AWP-ing, mixed with the unbelievable display of rifling of his teammates, led to OpTic’s demise, losing the map 16-2, not even getting a chance to scrape together a single round on their t-side.
Round 17 summarized the last map perfectly. The whole OpTic became entrapped on banana when Yassine “Subroza” Taoufik decided to push middle. The backstab worked more than brilliantly resulting in four frags, leaving Marco “Snappi” Pfeiffer in a 1v2 situation which he then lost. An unexpected and disappointing end to the potential-filled OpTic roster.
Fans of the Polish Virtus.pro were coming into this tournament eager to see the newer, fresher, and perhaps better Virtus.pro. Unfortunately, even after the addition of the young and talented Michał “snatchie” Rudzki, VP failed to perform up to the unexpected standard of MVP PK.
Map one, Inferno, a pick by the Korean MVP.PK gave us a display of a more dominant terrorist side. Virtus.pro started off on the right foot, with an impressive 2v1 clutch by snatchie. The half ended with a 10-5 score for the Polish side and the match seemed to go in the right direction for the Poles. To everyone’s surprise, everything fell apart when the Korean side showed its t-side performance. MVP.PK swiftly picked up the pistol round and went on a comeback journey from there, dismantling the Polish side. VP looked lost and only managed to pick up three rounds on their counter-terrorist side, giving away an initial five-round lead to lose the map 16-13.
Map two, which was Dust 2, on the other hand, was an entirely different story. Fans finally caught a glimpse of the so-called “plow” as Jarosław “pashaBiceps” Jarząbkowski and his teammates went on to build an unbreakable ct-side barrier. All of a sudden, nothing was clicking for the Korean side and the half ended with an astounding 14-1 for VP, allowing MVP.PK to plant the bomb only thrice before being defused. After the side switch, VP found success on the pistol round. Following the 15-1 result, MVP.PK attempted to scrape something together. The Korean side only got four rounds behind their belt before failing to make a proper comeback. The map finished with success for VP 16-5.
The decider, Mirage, was a disappointment for fans of Virtus.pro. MVP.PK lost the first pistol and things were looking promising for VP. Unfortunately, from there, the tides have turned and MVP.PK picked up eight out of nine of the next rounds. Only after then the Polish side started to regain their form, getting hold of the last five rounds before half-time. After half-time, MVP.PK yet again displayed a strong t-side and had quite a straightforward way to victory, losing only four rounds and closing out the game 16-11.
A definite upset for Virtus.pro. Fans of the organization might be worried about the performance on the upcoming FACEIT Major, as for now, Virtus.pro does not look ready.
For the last match of the day, viewers could see MIBR in possibly the true form they have been striving to reach for a while now.
On the first map, Inferno, we saw MIBR forming a bulletproof wall that was hard to penetrate for the Chinese side. The half ended 12-3 for the Brazilian-American mix and going into t-side they were looking hungry. MIBR finished things quickly, grabbing the remaining four rounds in a pinch. Flash looked lost amidst the chaos that MIBR was imposing on all sides of the map. Even though a few 1v1 situations arose, it was the individual talent that MIBR possesses that really made the difference in the end.
On Cache, Flash’s pick, the situation got even worse for the map-picking side. The Chinese side struggled to find an answer to MIBR, while Made in Brazil followed the gathered momentum from the previous game, ultimately closing out the match 16-1. It was Jake “Stewie2K” Yip that really made a mess out of Flash on Cache, attaining an incredible 2.09 hltv rating 2.0. However, the ultimate talent of the players on the roster dictated the outcome of the game.
Hopefully, fans will see more of the same from Made in Brazil. It’s high time the South and North Americans show some long-awaited flare before the upcoming FACEIT Major.
Following today’s results, tomorrow’s semifinals look as follows:
Tune in tomorrow to watch some semifinal action of Zotac Cup Masters.
As always, you can find the latest news on Counter-Strike: GO and other popular esports at Daily Esports.
I like to give out free AK-47 headshots in CS: GO, spend some quality time in the kitchen marinating a tender chicken breast and approximately 3 times a week I lift some relatively heavy metal stuff at the gym. Oh, and I also like to write about e-sports and everything related to gaming. Who knew one could have such contrasting interests?