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IEM

SK crowned champions of Sydney

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SK triumphed over FaZe 3-1 (16-12 Train; 16-7 Cache; 13-16 Inferno; 16-11 Overpass) to become the Champions of IEM Sydney 2017.
The best-of-five Grand Final in the Qudos Arena started off on Train, which was picked by FaZe. Starting on the CT side, Marcelo 'coldzera' David took out three Terrorists attacking the A site to pick up the pistol round. SK's defense seemed impenetrable at 6-1, but Håvard 'rain' Nygaard played a game of chess with Epitacio 'TACO' de Melo, dying in the hands of the Brazilian, but taking enough time off the clock, leaving de Melo defusing in vain. The FaZe was up only for that round because SK would eventually give up only one more, ending the first half with a triumphant 12-3 score.

It is in theory unusual for the in-game leader to be leading the scoreboard and if that's the case, the outlook is most likely not ideal. Such was the case for FaZe, as Finn 'karrigan' Andersen ended up as the only member with a 1.00+ rating of his team. FaZe picked up another nine rounds, making it twelve before SK won the map (16-12).

Cache was picked by SK right after FaZe's Train pick and turned out to be far from a close contest. FaZe was leading 3-1 on the CT side when they started losing rounds to SK, managing to get their fourth round before things started to look ugly. TACO clutched a 1v2 on A site while the bomb was being held by Nikola 'NiKo' Kovač. In the following round, coldzera took three European lives to salvage the round for FalleN and fer, who had 22HP combined.

SK Gaming coldzera
coldzera: the complete player

The fate of FaZe seemed to be the one of a vacation trip to Sydney ruined by too much of Brazilian churrasco - the first half ended 11-4, and SK won the pistol of the second half. The emergency call to force pistols was made, and NiKo took FalleN's life with a deagle. Rain chipped in as well, and with Fabien 'kioShiMa' Fiey and Alleksi 'allu' Jalli both adding one to the pile, FaZe won the forcebuy and turned the economy upside down. Unfortunately, they only managed to scrape together another three rounds before SK finished them off 16-7.

The Europeans started strong on Inferno, Kovač killing three on the A site attack with his team behind his back, an attack that resulted in the victory of the pistol round. Spectators and commentators were both amazed by the newfound energy of FaZe, who seemed to have come in fresh after the pause. They kept obliterating SK's defense - it took FalleN's men six rounds to figure out a way to the map. It was coldzera who got a quad kill with the AWP to secure SK's first round. Right after that, allu found himself in a 1v2 situation on the A site, stuck inside with the AWP, while the bomb was ticking away. FalleN fell to him, but fer, knowing his location, took him down, defused the bomb, and brought SK another round home. FaZe, on the back of NiKo's two entry kills, forced three SK players to play hide and seek and try to save their precious weapons - it was that moment when the crowd realized that FaZe are nowhere near conceding the Grand Final to SK. The first half ended 5-10 in favor of FaZe.

FaZe are getting there
FaZe are getting there

The score read 10-12 for FaZe when three members of SK Gaming attacked the B bombsite. After a rapid exchange of ammunition, coldzera came out on top - another quad kill for the mighty zera - and won the round with the help of TACO. Starting with that round, SK won another two to finally lead 13-12. The bomb was planted on the A site, karrigan got sniped down by FalleN in pit, and it was rain remaining against the opponents' in-game leader and TACO. Rain, arguably the best Norwegian player, clutched the 1v2 and brought FaZe back into the game. They won the last three remaining rounds, winning Inferno 13-16 and pushing the best-of-five to the fourth map: Overpass.



Still swinging with momentum from Inferno, FaZe got ahead on the favored CT side of Overpass, and ended the half 6-9 in their favor. However, in the second half, SK finally got to play their CT side. The score was 11-9 for SK when rain clutched a 1v3 in a round he started with a Tec-9. Four rounds later, coldzera clutched a 1v2 and defused the bomb with what seemed to be impossible timing. SK were up 14-11, and this was the final dent. FaZe's fatigue was apparent, and SK put an end to Overpass 16-11 to become the champions of IEM Sydney, taking home $100.000!

Brazil SK vs. Europe FaZe
SK: coldzera, FalleN, felps, fer, TACO
FaZe: allu, karrigan, kioShiMa, NiKo, rain


Cover photo credits: ESL

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