After a wild week of action, the ESL Pro League’s Season 10 grand final is less than a day away.
Surprisingly, the final showdown won't feature top teams Team Liquid or Astralis. Instead, Fnatic and mousesports will face off in a best-of-five where brains will meet brawn for the lion's share of a $600,000 prize pool.
Fnatic and mousesports had oddly similar runs in the event. In an odd coincidence, both teams struggled early and had to take the long way to nab playoff spots. In each case, the teams slaughtered their opponents in the lower bracket.
From there, both mouz and Fnatic had to post upsets to earn their spots in the finals.
Fnatic’s trip through the ESL Pro League Season 10 Finals was too close for comfort, especially before the team started rolling. After an embarrassing 16-3 loss in the opening series against Evil Geniuses, Fnatic had to push its way through the lower bracket.
The first lower bracket matchup against Heroic was decided by a total of nine rounds, a surprisingly competitive start for a team that looked terrifying in ECS Season 8. Once Fnatic got over the initial hiccups, though, they were clearly the best team in the bracket. The Swedes put away MIBR 2-1 before steamrolling 100 Thieves for a playoff spot.
Fnatic faced off against Team Liquid in the quarterfinals in what should have been one of the best matchups of the tournament. It wasn’t. The mix of Liquid’s concerning slump and Fnatic’s surging firepower meant the match was over almost as soon as it began.
Fnatic made the series look like a mercy killing, taking out Liquid quickly and painlessly. They posted a convincing 16-11 win on Overpass followed by a 16-8 finish on Inferno.
Fnatic looks downright scary coming into tomorrow's final. When even in-game leader Maikil “Golden” Selim is dancing around Overpass’ B-site grabbing triple kills, teams should be worried.
Their semifinal match against Natus Vincere was closer, but viewers got the feeling that it was Fnatic’s game to lose. Once Na`Vi won Inferno 16-14, Fnatic capitalized on a Na`Vi team that becomes confusingly overconfident when in the lead.
Fnatic took the next two maps easily, winning 16-11 on Nuke and 16-6 on Overpass, to take their place in the finals.
Under the leadership of Finn “Karrigan” Andersen, mousesports has transformed into a dangerous squad. They've gelled as a team in the past three months and now look like a serious contender here at the ESL Pro League Season 10 Finals.
Mousesports put away the surprisingly strong ATK easily in Group B’s opening matchup before dropping a series to Team Liquid. From there, mouz faced Renegades. Both series saw them struggle on Nuke but while Liquid got the better of them through three games, mouz managed to scratch out a 2-1 win over Renegades.
The win over Renegades set mouz up with a rematch against ATK for a spot in the playoffs. Mousesports notched a convincing 2-0 win, giving up only 11 rounds to the North American upstarts.
Mouseports faced off against EG in the quarterfinals in what might be the most confusing 180-degree turn CSGO has ever seen. After being downright terrible on Nuke for the entire tournament, mouz 16-0’d Evil Geniuses on the double-decker map.
Round 14 was especially brutal, causing caster Henry “HenryG” Greer to call the map then and there.
Once the match officially ended, it felt like mouz smartly baited EG into picking Nuke.
No one is saying that mousesports threw Nuke in its previous games, but this match made it look like a serious strategic possibility. Between karrigan’s calls and the firepower at his disposal, mouz is on course for a top-five ranking. After EG, mouz then headed into a semifinal matchup against Astralis.
It’s safe to say that the majority of viewers thought they knew how this was going to go, but mousesports ignited the crowd in Odense with a double-overtime match on Train, winning 22-19. At one point, Karrigan took down three Astralis players with just a Desert Eagle and no armor to win an eco round against a fully kitted Astralis.
After losing Overpass 16-9, mousesports upset Astralis on Dust 2 in a close 16-14 win and secured a date with Fnatic to decide the ESL Pro League Season 10 champions.
Both teams have defied the odds by reaching this point and are poised to end their 2019 in memorable fashion. Only one of these underdogs can win, though.
The match should be an incredibly close one that pits mousesports' strategies against Fnatic’s firepower. Fnatic to take the finals here, especially if Nuke shows in the veto.
Mouseports won’t pull off a 16-0 against a Swedish team that has an 89% win rate on the map. Fnatic doesn’t have it easy, but the team has players that can all clutch out a round. If Fnatic brings that to bear, even Karrigan’s best ideas won’t save mousesports. Probably.