The Sydney battle for the final playoff spot was resolved in dramatic fashion, as Perth clinched first seed in the final week of Gfinity Elite Series action.
The first cab off the ranks would tell so much of the story today. The Sydney Roar were on the outside, looking in for the playoffs and needed a win and a favour from ORDER to knock off Chiefs in order to make playoffs.
Sitting across from them were the Brisbane Deceptors, who thanks to a swag of consolation points could tie the Chiefs in fourth, but being 0-4 to this point, had no head-to-head tiebreaker. This left them playing for pride and maybe to play a little spoiler.
The Deceptors started sprightly, but the Roar fired back turning an 0-2 opening into a 5-3 lead early. The Deceptors would break back into the game, taking the first half 8-7 and then trade rounds early into their T side until the Roar took an element of control, holding a 13-10 edge which gave them a sniff of hope that their playoff dreams would come alive.
Brisbane hung tough though, as they have all season long, putting away five straight rounds to be on match point. The Roar, who had been struggling to find gotzema anywhere that he could have an impact, got two huge impact frags from him as he held down the B site in the 30th round, allowing the Roar to force overtime.
OT started with a win for the Roar after a big 3k from Del but they could only go 2-1 up from there, making the first round of Sydney’s T half massively important. YetiBacon held down the A site, and Doom closed out the tying 17th round.
A big round from Jamie put the Deceptors onto match point once again but zorboT and souLjah came up huge, forcing the map into second Overtime. Once again gotzeMa found a rare clutch round, getting two frags early which allowed topguN (from 1HP) to find the last two to open up 2OT, and the Roar rode this out to a 3-0 half, which put them on three match points to close out the match. They sealed it on the first, claiming the match 22-18 and for the time being at least, putting one hand on the final playoff spot.
Perth Ground Zero took on Melbourne Avant Gaming in the second match – both teams were locked for playoffs as both Sydney sides could not catch either squad, but the winner would have pole position over first place. A win for Perth would clinch first for them as they held the tiebreaker over both Chiefs and ORDER, and Avant had the edge over the Chiefs as well.
The Perth boys came out firing onto Inferno, hanging the first four rounds up on Avant’s T side in fairly short order. Avant battled back strongly through pan1k and lushbadger to restrict Perth’s halftime lead to 9-6. But when Perth found the pistol round on their T side, it signalled the beginning of the end for Avant’s Saturday.
They were able to secure their first round of the half in the first buy round, but Ground Zero shut them out from there. BURNRUOk fell agonizingly short of dropping 30, and NikkeZ ably supported him through what ended up being a convincing victory for the boys from the West.
The win secured them first seed, locked Avant into the 2/3 matchup and set the scene for an all-or-nothing closing match of the day.
That match would see Melbourne ORDER’s sub squad, with the main squad off preparing for international competition, take on a Sydney Chiefs unit that featured all their eligible main squad members. With these players back, JD would be the sub player rounding the squad, with fan favourite Prodigy (among others) staying on the bench as the teams took to AU CS specialty map Mirage.
ORDER opened with the first two rounds, but the Chiefs imposed their class on their CT side once the gun rounds game to play, with the next eight rounds on the bounce before ORDER halted the run with two straight rounds. The Chiefs re-established their dominance with the last 3 rounds of the half, closing out their CT side with a commanding 11-4 half.
ORDER didn’t have a lot of room left for error, and thankfully they won another pistol round. This time they really put the boots into the Chiefs first eight of the half up on the Chiefs to take a 12-11 lead, leaving the Chiefs visibly frustrated along the way before they finally halted the run to tie things back up again at 12-12.
At this point, you had to spare a thought for the Roar players, whose dreams had been crushed, reborn, and then clamped again as the Chiefs put two more up to take a strong 14-12 lead, and Moey got the opening pick of the 27th round to boot. ORDER would once again return fire, taking the 13th and Keeyto holding strong on the A bomb site to re-tie the match at 14 apiece.
However, the Chiefs that stood firm. Two straight plays onto the B site would deliver them the last two rounds they needed, a spot in the playoffs, and the broken hearts of their Sydney rivals on a platter. The Chiefs had done it, as they always find a way to on LAN, and booked themselves a semi-final date against Perth Ground Zero.
This leaves the semi situation tantalizing. On one side of the bracket, we have the Sydney Chiefs and Perth Ground Zero who have probably the two strongest on-paper squads available to be fielded this weekend.
On the other, we see an incredibly spicy Melbourne derby between the Avant and ORDER squads. With the main team on international LAN, I expect this to be the ORDER’s sub squad, so this match will be very winnable for an Avant team that plays together regularly.
The Gfinity Elite Series returns with CS:GO tomorrow from 3pm AEDT. Tune in on Twitch, YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook to watch every game live. Head to gfinityesports.com.au for details on schedule and tickets.