Soon after entering 2016, Valve announced that they were in cooperation with MLG to increase the prize pool of their next Counter-Strike Global Offensive major to $1,000,000. With that additional incentive provided, everyone in the competitive scene has been excited to see what would eventually take place at MLG Columbus in 2016.
With such a huge prize pool being announced, MLG definitely stepped up their production value and provided a new standard for future events to uphold. The organisation filmed profiles for legendary players who have been pivotal in their teams and they set the stage for what would be a huge turning point in Counter-strike history.
After an exciting group stage during the week we bore witness to underdogs upsetting world class teams like Fnatic and EnVyUs in which the latter was then unable to make it to the playoffs. There was also a new round record formed by Mousesports and FlipSid3 Tactics who managed to play a total of 59 rounds before Mousesports was declared the winner in quintuple (5) overtime.
We also saw both of the grand finalist teams Natus Vincere and Luminosity leaving at the top of their respective groups and moved onto the playoffs stage of the tournament. Each team had a tough fight moving ahead with both going up against legendary teams like Ninjas in Pyjamas, and Virtus.Pro but ultimately triumphed over all to meet in the grand final match. It should be mentioned that by this point of the tournament, Na’Vi had not lost a single map and were on their way to be the favourites in this matchup.
On the other hand Luminosity was always playing catch-up in their playoff matches, most notably was against Team Liquid in the semi-final. In both of their matches they overcame incredible deficits to the point where Team Liquid was on match point for a total of 15 rounds between the two games before Luminosity brought it back and won the series in two maps. While both teams played well it was Luminosity’s Coldzera that managed to stop Liquid in their tracks and bring their team back from the brink of death on Mirage.
Na’Vi and Luminosity have been at the top of the professional scene for months before MLG Columbus and have battled against each other multiple times for the number two spot in the world. There was almost nothing separating these two teams as the final match drew near and fans were on the edges of their seats waiting this best of three series to kick off.
At one point during the final there were over 1.2 Million fans tuning into the game from their computers with another 600 thousand viewers on the main MLG twitch stream. With the $500,000 first place prize up for grabs, CSGO fans around the world tuned into to see which team be crowned with their first major tournament victory.
The series began on Luminosity’s pick of Mirage with Na’Vi having the choice to start on the CT side. With Na’Vi picking up the first 6 rounds almost uncontested it looked like they might just run away with the match much like they had been doing all through the tournament. The combination of Edward and Flamie surged ahead in kills and managed to keep Na’Vi well ahead by the half with an 11 – 4 score line.
But, Luminosity continued from their previous match prowess and clawed their way back on their CT half, locking down both sites with precise and strategic gameplay, bring the game back to 11 – 10. After Na’Vi finally picked up a round on their T side, Luminosity brought them back down with a quick triple kill from TACO they ended up breaking the economy of the CIS region team. At that point it felt like the nail in the coffin for the first map but both teams traded the next few rounds before bringing into overtime at 15 – 15.
The overtime ended up being a quick affair with Luminosity swarming B site multiple times and surprising Na’Vi over at the A site before they had a chance to react. It was obvious that Na’Vi’s superstar and AWPer Guardian wasn’t playing his best due to an ongoing hand injury that he had disclosed previously. Luminosity ended up coming back from a huge deficit again and winning the first map 19 – 17.
Also disclosed prior to the final was Na’Vi’s confidence in new strategies that they had for their map pick of Overpass. Unfortunately they never even got the chance to implement these tactics because Luminosity was set to end this final quickly in their favour.
Starting on CT side, the aggressive Brazilian team quickly racked up consecutive rounds. They looked unstoppable and unfortunately we didn’t see much retaliation from the CIS region team. FalleN decided that this map was where he would shine above all, picking up 19 kills and a mere 3 death to bring his team to 13 – 2 by the half.
Na’Vi looked to be beaten and mentally broken which was when Luminosity decided to strike the killing blow, closing out the final match with Na’Vi only picking up 2 rounds on their own map choice.
After the killing blow was dealt there were cheers and celebration from the crowd and Brazilian CSGO fans alike. Fans rushed to the stage as the team celebrated the huge amount of effort that had just paid off for them. Luminosity’s Coldzera was named the MVP for his performance across the entirety of MLG Columbus and was joined by his family on stage as fer broke down after accomplishing so much in so little time.
FalleN was regarded as the grandfather of Brazillian counter-strike. He helped build this team into what it has now achieved in just under 12 months. Luminosity has picked up their first major tournament title as well as a huge $500,000 in prize money.