We’re halfway through the first meaningful CS:GO event since the Berlin major and there are already many storylines and results to discuss. With a tantalizing Astralis-Liquid semi-final and an epic best-of-five final looming in the distance, it’s worth taking a moment to assess what we’ve seen so far and what we can tell about the participants.

The favorites deliver but aren’t yet at their best

Both Astralis and Liquid made it to the semis in New York, though the fact that the Danes lost their winners’ bracket match to EG means that we were denied of the prospect of a best-of-five barnburner between the two. Looks like we’re going to have to settle for a best-of-three instead! It’s clear both sides are still the backbone of the elite right now, but it’s also quite obvious that neither are at their very best: sloppy plays and close calls marred Liquid’s journey so far and the Danes’ loss to EG (the third in a best-of-three against the core in three months!) should be a concern going forward.

EG and G2: enigmas and conundrums

How’s this for a summary?

FaZe Clan and ENCE are in a tailspin

It wasn’t quite the start of the coldz-era FaZe have envisioned, and the same holds true for ENCE’s first real tournament with suNny. However, the trajectories couldn’t be more different: FaZe were never a tactics-heavy team, which is why the individual “lowlights” of NiKo and coldzera are extremely concerning already. Meanwhile, you can at least argue that the Finns need to rejig their strategic setup after removing their IGL, and that such a change is all the more impactful in their case as they never really relied on fragging power to close out games. It’s not a particularly convincing argument, especially after losing two series to a G2 side playing with a stand-in.

OpTic and eUnited: very different stories

Though the North American qualifiers went out of the event without a trace, OpTic put up a very credible fight in Group B, more so than many would have predicted going into the event. Though it’s clear they’re ways away from the absolute top tier of Counter-Strike right now, they remain a formidable force despite all the ownership-related uncertainties and did very well to dispatch a toothless FaZe Clan. It will be very interesting to see how they will perform in Malmö in a few days’ time.

Check out the day 3 schedule and our semi-final predictions here!

Photo credit: HLTV