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The Predator Winter Slam Finals Wrap

Matthew Stott

Jul 6, 2020 2:30 pm

Last weekend the maiden Predator Winter Slam went down. There was a fantastic display of Counter-Strike throughout the tournament from all the teams competing. In the end it was the favourties, ATK Arena, that took home first place.

 

There were eight teams in attendance, four that were directly invited and four that earned their spot through the qualifiers. There were two qualifiers that took place on the two weekends before the main event. The first qualifier saw DNMK Esports and Sinister5 add their names to the list while the second qualifier was won by White Rabbit Gaming and Royalty Esports. 

The format

The eight teams were split into four seeded groups, with two invited teams and two qualified teams in each group. A round-robin format was implemented meaning each team would play the other teams in their group in a best of one. The team that topped the group was seeded directly into the semi-final, the teams that placed second and third were seeded into the quarter finals and the team that placed fourth was eliminated from the tournament. 

 

Keep in mind that the team that placed second in group A played against the team that placed third in group B in the quarter final, and vice versa. 

Saturday

Day one of the event featured the group stage and the quarter finals. Group A consisted of ATK Arena, DNMK Esports, Royalty Esports and VINDICTIVE while Group B was made up of Goliath Gaming, Sinister5, Energy Esports and WRG. Each group had stiff competition so there were no foregone conclusions as to who would reach the playoffs. 

Group A 

ATK Arena weren’t only the favourties to top the group, but also to win the entire event. They’ve been on a hot streak the past few months constantly proving to be the best team in the country. VINDICTIVE consists of some of South Africa’s most well known CS players and as a result were rated highly coming into the event. DNMK Esports have also been really solid in recent times and have been turning heads. Royalty Esports were the dark horses of the group with some serious upset potential. 

 

There were some major surprises throughout group A, none more so that VINDICTIVE being eliminated in fourth place. They lost to both DNMK Esports and Royalty before they even faced ATK Arena. DNMK Esports placed second in the group after they beat Royalty Esports, which left Royalty in third position. ATK Arena had little to no trouble in their group, their closest match was against VINDICTIVE on Inferno where they were down 5-10 heading into their T half, but they came back and won the map 16-11. ATK went on to top the group and qualify for the semi-final. 

Group B

Goliath Gaming were the firm favourites in group B and for good reason, they’re widely considered the second best team in the country. Energy Esports, the other invitee, were unfortunately reduced to playing with their coach as damz was unavailable for the weekend, however this didn’t hamper their efforts. Sinister5 playing under Elusive will always be a force to be reckoned with rounding out the group was WRG who’ve also made roster changes recently but contain some South African stalwarts. 

 

Goliath Gaming stamped their authority on the group by winning their three matches comfortably, securing their spot in the semi final. Sinister5 placed second in the group after they beat Energy Esports 16-14 and WRG 28-25 (Yes, they nearly played two maps in one). Energy Esports managed to snag a playoff position when they beat WRG 16-7 on Inferno. Unfortunately WRG were eliminated in fourth place but not without showing some fight. 

Quarter Finals 

The first quarter final was Energy Esports against DNMK Esports. They began proceedings on Vertigo, DNMK’s map pick, which didn’t go exactly as planned. As mentioned, Energy were playing this event with their coach, Ninjask, in place of Damz. Energy was neck-in-neck at half time but it was their T side that allowed them to pull ahead. They won the map 16-12 giving them what must have been a big confidence boost heading into the second map, their pick, Nuke. The map went the full 30 rounds with DNMK nearly snatching it but in the end Energy managed to secure the 2-0 after they won on Nuke in overtime, 22-19. 

 

The second quarter final saw Sinister5 play against Royalty Esports. The series went the distance with the teams winning each other’s map pick. Royalty won an intense first map which was Nuke, 16-14, after a well rounded team performance. Sinister5 won on Inferno 16-8 and with the scores level heading into Overpass it was anybody’s game. Sinister5 managed to get across the line in the end with relative ease winning the map 16-7 and thus booked a spot in the semi-final against ATK Arena. 

Sunday

Day two of the event brought upon the semi and grand finals. It proved to be a short path to the grand finals as both Goliath Gaming and ATK Arena were in red hot form and made fairly quick work of their opponents along the way to the finals. 

Semi Finals

The first semi final was Energy Esports vs Goliath Gaming and proceedings began on Train. It was a quick affair with Goliath Gaming bossing the map. With a 13-2 half time score it was already tickets. GG closed out the map 16-5 and took a heap of momentum and confidence into their own map pick Inferno. Again Goliath Gaming dominated Energy Esports across the board and they quickly won the map 16-8 and in the process stamped their ticket into the Grand Final. 

 

The second semi final was Sinister5 vs ATK Arena, and there was no secret in who the favourite was. The first map was Overpass, picked by ATK, and they breezed past Sinister5 winning it 16-3. Heading into Dust_2 however, Sinister5 had other things planned. They successfully unsettled ATK, which is a rare feat in South African CS at the moment. Sinister5 were up 9-6 at half time but unfortunately weren’t able to hold on on the CT side. They lost the map in OT 19-16 which meant we had a clash of the titans in the final, ATK vs Goliath Gaming. 

Grand Final 

The most scrumptious of matchups that we could have hoped for made up the grand final. ATK Arena vs Goliath Gaming is the headline match of 2020 in local CS, and once again it provided top notch entertainment. In recent times it has been ATK who’ve been consistently coming out on top of their matches against each other, and this final proved to be no different. 

 

The match began on Nuke, ATK’s pick, and it proved to be too much for Goliath Gaming. ATK have made Nuke a bit of a home map for themselves so it was the perfect start for them. They won the map 16-10 putting themselves just one map win away from the title of the Predator Winter Slam champions. However Goliath Gaming weren’t going to just let that happen, they hit back on Inferno and won the map comfortably 16-9 setting us up with a Mirage decider. 

 

It was as close as it could have possibly been at half time with ATK up 8-7 heading into their CT half. Goliath Gaming got off to a good start in the second half but unfortunately for them, weren’t able to capitalise on it. ATK started to find their footing on the CT side and eventually rolled through and won the map 16-10 and thus the series 2-1. 

Conclusion

ATK Arena took home first place and with that R6000 of the prize pool. Goliath Gaming took home R4000 and Energy Esports along with Sinister5, who came 3rd/4th took home R1500 each. The first Predator Winter Slam was a success. There was good support throughout the entire weekend and the CS was highly entertaining. 

 

You can catch the VODs for all the matches on Gamedock’s Twitch account