From Sydney, over Dallas to Kiev
Looking back at the month of May, we saw quarterfinals in each of the events, semifinals in two of them and unfortunately no Grand Final. From the perspective of mousesports, at least one Grand Final could have been a plausible possibility.
With heads held up high in Down Under
The month of May started Down Under for our Counter-Strike: Global Offensive squad at IEM Sydney. After a 16-6 match vs. B.O.O.T-dS on our signature map Mirage, the second opponent, Astralis, was waiting. The team had their fair share of problems against the world ranking leading team from Denmark. Following the defeat, mouz had to work their way through the lower bracket. With a flawless performance versus MVP PK, the next big name in the likes of G2 was waiting as the last hurdle to get into the playoffs. With yet another 2-0 performance over G2 on Dust II and Mirage, the team advanced to the quarterfinals, and thus to the big stage at Qudos Bank Arena.
Facing the home-crowd favorites Renegades, mouz again managed to win their own map pick Mirage with 16-7. The following map, Inferno, felt like a war of titans, as neither team wanted to grant the other team the win. During overtime, Renegades managed to clinch the win with 23-25, making the home-crowd going wild. The showdown on the decider map Train, also ended in overtime, with mouz grabbing the win 19-15 and advancing to the semifinals to face Astralis yet again. This time, mousesports had to give Dust II to Astralis, but managed to make the series thrilling, with taking a win on Inferno (19-17), but on the deciding third map Cache, nothing went according to plan, as Astralis walked away with the semifinal victory. With a 3rd place in the bag, mousesports started preparing for the next event.
mousesports STYKO (Photo: ESL)
„I remember how awesome the interaction between the audience and the players on stage was. Even when we beat the ‚home team‘, it didn’t feel like the crowd was completely against us, they were cheering after every great play.“ - STYKO
Rodeo time in Texas - mouz Cowboys
The second event in May, was the ESL Pro League Finals in Dallas, from May 15th onwards. During the match versus Sharks, mousesports managed to take the upper hand winning 16-10 on Inferno. The next opponent, FaZe Clan, sent mouz straight to the lower bracket, crushing the dreams of staying in the upper bracket. The way to the quarterfinals through the lower bracket seemed to be a long but managable one. With convincing 2-0 series wins over NRG and Heroic later on, mousesports once again booked their ticket to the playoffs and to the big stage, performing live in front of the crowd at the Verizon Theatre in Dallas. In the quarterfinal, mousesports had to fight versus the home crowd favorite, this time it was Team Liquid.
With the 6th man in favor of Liquid, the North American team managed to take the match on Mirage to overtime, where they regained the upper hand, beating mouz with a score of 22-20. Without the momentum in their favor, plus having the crowd against them, mousesports could not gain any momentum on Dust II, going down with a 4-16 scoreline, thus being thrown out of the tournament. No need to mention, that the players expected a better outcome than a 5th place. Leaving the United States early, the team right on started preparing to defend their StarSeries title.
„Playing in Dallas is always amazing. For me it is one of the homes of Counter-Strike. This time around was no different as the event was topnotch, sadly we didn't perform as good as we hoped to, with the support of the home crowd Liquid proved too strong.“ - chrisJ
mousesports leaving Dallas with a 5th place finish (Photo: ESL)
Defending the title in Kiev
The last event in May, StarSeries Season 5 took place in Kiev. The last time at StarSeries Season 4, mousesports took home the trophy, so they would give their very best to repeat the success. Starting in the group stage, featuring a best-of three Swiss format, mousesports was on a good route to break the Swiss format curse, trying to advance with a 3-0 score. The campaign looked promising after beating both North and TyLoo with 2-0. While facing AGO, mousesports received a crushing defeat on their signature map Mirage. Fighting back on Train to tie the series, mouz lost control over the game on Inferno, suffered their first series defeat in the Swiss tournament. With a score of 2-1, Na’Vi was waiting. Winning the series would result in a playoff spot, while losing would add another day of competing in the Swiss tournament. With a striking performance on Mirage, mouz led the series versus Na’Vi early on, Nuke did not go as planned, but mouz again pulled it back on the third and final map Train, advancing to the quarter finals.
The first opponents of the playoffs, were the Swedes of Ninjas in Pyjamas. Yet again, mouz could not win their own map pick on Mirage, but managed to steal NiP’s pick (Inferno) right after. A showdown on Nuke saw everyone on the mouz roster hitting shots left and right on the server, with many individual plays, to win the map 16-9, sending NiP packing.
The semifinals saw a repeat of the StarSeries Season 4 finals: mouseports versus Natus Vincere. After beating Na’Vi 2-1 in the groupstage, the mouz roster was confident to repeat the success. With a convincing 16-7 score on Inferno, it looked promising for mouz. On Mirage a back-and-forth of round wins saw Na’Vi take the upper hand winning 16-12. Again, mouz was put into a do-or-die situation on Nuke. After the pistol round win on CT, mousesports could not win a single round for seven rounds straight. In round 9, mouz found their composure, starting to win rounds. With a close 7-8 halftime score, mouz switched to the T side. With only being able to win a single T round on the mouz side, Na’Vi quickly expanded their lead, winning 16-8 in the end, advancing to the Grand Final, leaving a dazzled mouz roster, this time without the trophy.
chrisJ having fun at StarSeries Season 5 in Kiev (Photo: HLTV)
„The SLTV Finals in Kiev were a special moment for us. We came out victorious in front of the home crowd last time around and we tried our best to replicate this result but NaVi was too strong this time. It was an awesome experience to play in front of the Ukrainian crowd again though, I hope to be back there soon.“ - chrisJ
Cover photo by ESL