After a shaky Group Stage, Gankstars came into the finals as the underdogs.
However, once everything was on the line this Saturday, Gankstars brought their A game and looked like the champions from the previous seasons.
They put on a display that reminded us why they’re the best team in the North American region and it was a joy to watch them.
Here it the breakdown of what we've seen in the finals.
IFL opted to push down the middle in the pistol round on the Terrorist side, but they were stopped by GS's „Joker“ and „cSolar“ who got some early entry frags.
In the following round, GS's „cSolar“ got a nice quad kill, however IFL did manage to plant the bomb, allowing themselves to buy the following round.
Even though IFL's „Blueice“ got the entry frag for his team in the first gun round and they were able to get the A site, Gankstars made a great retake and secured yet another round for themselves.
In the next round, IFL decided to push on the B bomb spot very early in the round, which allowed them to secure the first point for their side.
We've seen some great refrags in this round by IFL.
It didn't take long for Gankstars to get back on the winning track, as they were able to grab the following round in convincing fashion.
IFL once again did a B bomb site split, clinching another round, as „Jazzys Fan“ and „Blueice“ were able to win an unfavorable 2v3 after the plant.
The 8th round of the match featured an even exchange of frags, which lead to a 2v2 situation, where Gankstars managed to come out on top, with „MVP“ getting a double kill on „Jazzys Fan“ and „Spacey-kun“ near the A bomb spot.
Gankstars continued with their great defensive play until the end of the half, and IFL was unable to win a single round, ending the half with a 8 round deficit.
After the side swap, the pistol round went very back and forth, but in the end it was Gankstars that secured it, as IFL's „High“ was unable to win a 1v2 on the B bomb spot.
This forced IFL to take a risk and buy in the following round, which worked in their favor as „Jazzy Fan“ was able to win a 1v1 against „cSolar“.
In the 15th round, Gankstars already reached the match point, with the help of a great play by „Kingeh“ who got a double kill in a 2v2 situation on the A site.
IFL got three rounds before conceding the next one and losing the match with a scoreline.
“cSolar” had a solid performance in this match, especially on the Counter-Terrorist side.
This time Gankstars started on the Terrorist side and even though they lost a player at the start of the pistol round to IFL’s “High”, they were able to take the B bomb spot and secure the round.
In the following round Gankstars extended their lead with a quick A site push, and they haven’t lost a single player.
Coming into the first gun round of the match, Gankstars tried to get the B bomb spot, but were denied by IFL’s “Blueice”, “High” and “ZoonQ” who successfully defended their attempt.
IFL equalized the score in the next two rounds, as they superbly defended both A and B spots.
In the 7th round of the match, IFL took the lead for the first time in the match, as “ZoonQ“ and “Jazzys Fan” won a 2v1 against “Night”.
The following round yet again featured an A bomb spot execution, which was defended by IFL once more, with “ZoonQ” clutching the round versus “cSolar” and “MVP”.
Gankstars finally got another round in the 9th round of the match, thanks to “cSolar” and “Night” that were able to get the very needed entry frags for their team.
IFL stepped up defensively for the remainder of the half and Gankstars were unable to break them.The half ended with a four round lead in favor of IFL.
Once the sides swapped, IFL decided to do an A bomb spot rush, which failed big time, as they were only able to get a single kill.
This allowed Gankstars to get the following two eco rounds, coming back to a single round deficit.
In the first gun round of the second half, Gankstars’ “Night” played an amazing round, clutching a 1v2 against “ZoonQ” and “Blueice”, securing yet another round for his team and tying the score.
IFL was able to grab the first point of the half in the following round, as most of their players were able to win their gunfights versus Gankstars members.
Gankstars successfully stopped IFL’s push on the A bomb spot, which allowed them to clinch the round later on the B bomb spot, evening the score once again.
Both teams exchanged blows in the next two rounds, turning the game into a thriller.
In the 21st round of the match, both IFL’s “Blueice” and “Fish” got a double kill while pushing on the B spot, which allowed their team to take the lead once more.
IFL kept going, with both “Fish” and “High” getting their entry frags in the next round, bringing their team to the match point.
Gankstars didn’t panic and responded dominating defensive play in the next two rounds. IFL couldn’t break them and this meant that it all came down to one deciding round.
In the last round of the match, IFL had a 4v3 advantage at one point, but that wasn’t enough, as Gankstars’ “Night” stepped up, got a triple kill for his team and ended the match.
Both „Joker“ and „Night“ displayed their amazing skill set and were the deciding factors in Gankstars’ close win.
Gankstars simply dominated the last map and won their Counter-Terrorist half with a 10:2 scoreline.
IFL also lost both of pistol rounds at the start of the second half, which made it next to impossible for them to win the match.
It's fair to say that IFL got outclassed in this one, and Gankstars became champions of the North American region once again!
This season was very thrilling and even though the playoffs weren’t really close it was interesting to see how Gankstars managed to step up their game after the Group Stage.
IFL also showed that they are capable of great things and we are sure they’re going to win one of the tournaments in the future.
D2R had a decent showing as well and with a few adjustments they can definitely be a contender.
That's it for the Critical Ops Winter Season in North America.
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