Both Triumph and Chaos Esports Club pulled off shocking upsets over Team Liquid and Evil Geniuses in the semifinals of IEM Beijing NA, after Liquid and EG dominated groups. The two surviving teams met on Sunday in the grand finals in an absolute slugfest of a best-of-five, with Chaos emerging victorious at the end.
Triumph triumphs over Team Liquid
Who would win in a fight? The reigning Intel Grand Slam champions or one scary group of deer fresh off multiple roster swaps? Amazingly, Team Liquid didn’t advance to the grand finals, where they were expected to meet Evil Geniuses for the IEM Beijing NA trophy. Instead, they fell to Triumph, who notched one of their biggest series wins ever while enjoying a satisfying dose of revenge.
On map one, Inferno, Triumph pounced on Liquid with a strong T-side first half, riding on the shoulders of Junior, challenging Stewie in a competition to see who could carry harder. After map one went to Triumph, Liquid retaliated on Dust2, with EliGE and former Triumph member Grim shouldering the load. Each achieved a player rating of at least 1.55, and Grim had a nice pistol ace to boot.
And Triumph took that personally; well, Junior certainly did, and let his AWP do the talking. Junior notched 29 more kills on Nuke, 20 of which came from his sniper rifle, as Triumph narrowly closed out the map in the final round, 16-14. Junior finished the series with 70 total kills, 50 of which came on the AWP. Junior isn’t just a name; the young sniper is only 19 years old, and already leading the way against one of the world’s best team.
Evil Geniuses flounder in the face of Chaos
Liquid weren’t the only heavily favored team to stumble and fall in the semifinals. EG handled Triumph in the group stage, just as Liquid handled Chaos, but when the teams were flipped in the playoffs, the two teams expected to top NA instead fell unexpectedly.
Like in the Liquid-Triumph series, the underdog stunned the favorite on map one with an excellent T-side first half. This time, it was on Overpass, with the newest addition MarKE stepping up for Chaos. The Mexican entry rifler joined at the beginning of September after steel retired to pursue a career in VALORANT, and was instrumental in holding off a map one EG comeback.
Evil Geniuses responded with force on Inferno, winning handedly by a 16-6 scoreline. Tarik decisively led his team with a 22-8-5 KDA. He was great again on Nuke, but an overall team effort from Chaos was the edge needed to close out map three. T-side dominance was again the difference, as they won eight of the last nine rounds in the second half.
LET CHAOS REIGN
In their first map, Chaos again showcased a strong T-side in the first half of Train, jumping out to a 13-2 lead. Taking the pistol round was icing on the cake for the team sporting the bright green snake, taking map one with ease. Map two, Mirage, was more of a back-and-forth affair with momentum swinging between the two sides. ryann and Shakezullah were the difference makers, pushing Triumph over the edge and into a 1-1 series tie.
Map three was another decisive affair for Chaos on Overpass, with yet another super impressive T-side that was led by MarKE and Xeppaa. However on Nuke, it was Chaos’ CT-side that got them out to an early lead, and their struggles on T-side that allowed Triumph to get back into the map and force a 30th round. But Chaos squeaked out the final round to take the map 16-14, the series 3-1, and the IEM Beijing trophy.
With the victory, Chaos earned a spot at the IEM Global Challenge in December. Whether or not the roster competes under the Chaos Esports Club banner remains to be seen, as a report came out that the organization is looking to move on from CS:GO.
In the short-term, the players are heading to Europe for IEM. In the long-term, they said post-game that they wouldn’t rule out a full-time move to Europe, considering the current state of North America.