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The first match of the day at ELEAGUE Invitational pit FaZe against Cloud9. What emerged was a matchup that no one could ever have predicted. In a best-of-three game, we saw the two teams play out two maps that may have lasted just as long as a full three-map game. FaZe disappointed, while Cloud9 impressed.
The first map brought us to Overpass and it soon became apparent why it was Cloud9’s map of choice. Cloud9 was quick to mount a 0-9 on t-side lead with Timothy “autimatic” Ta going off on all cylinders with the AWP. FaZe eventually strung two rounds in a row and then one more before the half ended 12:3 in favor of the blue side. It seemed like it would be all over soon for Nikola “NiKo” Kovač and his team, as Cloud9 picked up the first two rounds on their own ct-side, leaving just two rounds necessary to snatch the win. However, the newcomer to the team, Dauren “AdreN” Kystaubayev, would not let that happen. He was at the forefront to mount a comeback for his new team. FaZe pulled together seven rounds in a row before Cloud9 got their 15th round, at which point the score was 9-15. After a totally different FaZe on t-side, they made it all the way back to square things up. Unfortunately for them, it would be a short-lived dream as the Cloud9 mix recomposed rapidly just to end things at 19-15 at overtime.
Map two, FaZe’s choice, brought us to Mirage, where we would witness a similar story unfold. This time we saw Ladislav “GuardiaN” Kovács and NiKo go up against the likes of Fabien “kioShiMa” Fiey. A tight first half led to a 9-6 scoreline for Cloud9. Neither team could get a significant lead. The second half saw kioShiMa and co. try to close things out fast as they fought out the first five rounds to bring them close to a swift win. That was not the case as FaZe once again climbed back to the top from a 15-9 deficit, led by GuardiaN and NiKo. FaZe eventually tied things up to bring us to overtime once more. Yet again, things crumbled as FaZe could not compose themselves in overtime to bring it even close, winning only one round and losing map two with a 19-6 score.
FaZe goes down to the lower bracket while Cloud9 advances to the upper-bracket final.
New year, fresh start
Both teams have been going through significant changes and had their fair share of troubles last year. 2019 marks a fresh start. With FaZe bringing Janko “YNk” Paunović as the coach as well as the experienced AdreN, Cloud9 brought Jordan “Zellsis” Montemurro, kioShiMa, and Robin “flusha” Rönnquist. Today was the first true test for both teams and both showed significant flaws.
Cloud9 wasn’t able to capitalize on their favorable situation and choked. FaZe lacked composure and had to fight their way back, before being brought down once more. Hopefully, this is the weakest we see these teams in 2019, with a much better form being presented further at ELEAGUE Invitational as well as the upcoming Major in Katowice.