As the quarterfinals of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive's second major of 2017 comes to a close, the game's community is stunned. Of the 16 teams that made it to the PGL Krakow 2017 tournament, only four are left. Among them are two teams that very few people believed could get this far, the result of major upsets during the group stage and quarterfinals.
This past 24 hours has been eventful for CS: GO fans, to say the least. Below are the big stories to take away.
Immortals Goes Full Savage on BIG
For a long time Counter-Strike's professional scene has been dominated by European talent. While teams outside of the region have occasionally delivered competition, they've usually stood alone against a sea of European mega teams hailing from countries such as Sweden, Germany, and France.
That was until a couple years ago when Luminosity Gaming, a Brazilian team now playing for SK Gaming, exploded onto the scene. It has since become a top organization with two majors under its belt, ranked number one on HLTV's leaderboards, and making Brazil proud. And they aren't alone.
Brazil's second most popular team, Immortals, has been competing at a high level for several months, and most recently has become a major force as brothers Henrique "HEN1" Teles and Lucas "LUCAS1" Teles have improved in noticeable ways. The organization might previously be best known for League of Legends, but it's been building up a CS: GO following as it's performed increasingly better at every tournament it attends.
After surviving the group stage 2-1, Immortals has taken down BIG, a team comprised of classic European supertalent Fatih "gob b" Dayih and Nikola "LEGIJA" Ninic. The match was intense, running across Cobblestone, Inferno, and Train with two round splits on the first and third maps.
Immortals showed some bad manners during the match, inviting a map-ending knife on bombsite B of Cobblestone. This has made some fans of CS: GO very unhappy, splitting the community between the two teams. While Immortals won't be popular heading into the semifinals, it has the entire country of Brazil behind it, and that's nothing to take lightly.
SK Gaming Gets Smothered by Astralis
Astralis didn't look particularly great in its first match of PGL, calling question to its ability to hold onto its crown. It followed that up with a loss to SK Gaming on Inferno. Naturally, many CS: GO players bet on SK Gaming once the two collided in the quarterfinals.
Those who did are regretting it now. Astralis had an electrifying performance in the match-up, winning 2-0 with a 16-6 finish on Overpass.
It's not even that Astralis as a team played extraordinarily well, Nicolai 'device' Reedtz just had a killer match. Going 53-30 with a 99.6 ADR is unheard of against SK Gaming, but he made it happen. His AWP play was at a level that won over the crowd, and made for several hot highlights.
Astralis' tactical play is tight, as usual. They employed some great scheme changes that made them unpredictable on CT side, including an aggressive boost on Cache that got them valuable information.
SK Gaming had a rough time, even though coldzera did his usual dirty work. They'll be back for more in the future, but for now Astralis is the only team of the two moving forward.
Fnatic Misses Its First Semifinals in 16 Months
If you ask most experts who the most dominant CS: GO teams in history are, they would likely say NiP and Fnatic. While NiP has largely been floundering during recent years, Fnatic demands respect at every tournament it attends.
After finishing 3-2 in the Group Stage to barely squeak by, it has been shut out by none other than the Kazakhstanian team Gambit.
The two matches that would cement the fate of Fnatic were close, to be fair. However, Dennis "dennis" Edman and Freddy "KRIMZ" Johansson underperformed compared to their usual selves, while Mihail "Dosia" Stolyarov and Rustem "mou" Telepov played great games.
There were several memorable moments, including 3v5 takeovers, match-shaping clutches, and great defensive setups. But the big story here is how Fnatic won't be in a semifinals for its first time since MLG Columbus in March 2016. It's hard to believe.
Top Performing Players of the Quarterfinals
Astralis vs SK Gaming (2-0)
Nicolai "device" Reedtz: 53-30, 99.6 ADR
Gambit vs Fnatic (2-0)
Mihail "Dosia" Stolyarov: 48-37, 90.1 ADR
Immortals vs Big (2-1)
Lucas "Steel Lopes: 69-57, 85.9 ADR
The CS: GO PGL Krakow 2017 semifinals will be held tomorrow, followed by the finals on Sunday. Stay tuned for more.