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Commentators choice: best matches from Katowice

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In the week that’s passed since the Intel Extreme Masters World Championship, we’ve caught up with some of the people closest to the games: the commentators themselves. Take a look at what they had to say about the week’s games as we say a final goodbye to Season 8 of the Intel Extreme Masters.


More photos from Helena Kristiansson on Flickr

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

What a way to retire the EMS One tournament series: an absolutely amazing crowd in the Spodek Arena and record-breaking numbers in terms of online viewership along with some absolutely fantastic games and unexpected results. For a comprehensive look back the tournament in Katowice, check out our full recap article.


More photos from Helena Kristiansson on Flickr

We caught up with Scott “SirScoots” Smith and asked him about his favorite map of the tournament:


“As cliche as it might sound, my favorite map from EMS One was the last one played, Inferno between Virtus.pro and NiP. All the pressure of the entire event, boiled down to possibly one more map. VP started out with a very strong 11-4 CT side, but NiP starts their CT side with the pistol and four more straight rounds. NiP got an amazing Eco win at round 24, but unfortunately VP was playing amazing CS and simply did not let NiP get any real momentum going. VP taking the win in front of the home crowd was simply epic.”
 
The in-game observer for the competition Joshua “Steel” Nissan agreed, saying:


"I think that the best series of the tournament would be the finals between NiP vs. Virtus Pro. Perhaps there were closer matchups, or other games that displayed better performances, but having this game in front of 12,000 live spectators was absolutely incredible. The momentum which Virtus Pro was able to pick up after every kill and every round won really quickened the pace of the game. We got to see the best of the best get even better from the cheers in the stadium. There were amazing shots that were made, and, of course, impossible clutches were won. When I look back at the tournament and ask myself "Which map did you have most fun on?", it would have to therefore be NiP vs VP finals as I had a smile going from ear to ear watching it live."
 


Interesting was the group stage pick from Nathan “NBK” Schmitt. His favorite of the tournament was the matchup between Virtus.Pro and Hellraisers in the group stage. “The BO1 format already announced crazy games, but this one was totally crazy,” he said. “Both teams were able to outplay the other one, aim-wise and tactics-wise. In the end, Virtus.Pro managed to move on to later take first place of the group and of the whole tournament. Such an intense start could only show a good future for the tournament!”

In case you missed the game, catch the VODs over on the ESL TV YouTube Channel. We also put together our top five moments of the EMS One CS:GO competition, which you can see here.

StarCraft II

The StarCraft II event was always going to be a special one: a US$100,000 winner takes all single elimination bracket in a tournament series that usually boasts one of the most evenly distributed prize purses across the various stages of competition. With all that pressure, it’s very hard for anyone to pick a favorite (especially with the open bracket madness that went on), but we put our commentators on the spot and here is what they had to say…


More photos from Helena Kristiansson on Flickr

Coming off his ‘blue reflection’, Paul “Redeye” Chaloner highlighted the semifinal matchup between Polt and herO. “The entire match was insane. I picked this as, for me and many others, it was the final we all wanted and it went to five maps,” he explained. “It also included one of the most ridiculous maps we saw all weekend on Habitation Station. The game was set nicely as herO took map 1 on Polar, but Polt hit back on Habitation despite the game seesawing back and forth before finally a mistake by herO (he forgot he only had a nexus and a pylon left) allowed Polt to kill off all of his buildings!”



Of course, you didn’t have to wait for the semifinals for great games, as James “Kaelaris” Carrol can attest. His favorite map of the game of the tournament was in the RO16 vs. HyuN (game 4: Polar Night). When asked why, he said:
 
“I'll never understand why and how herO was able to recover from such positions during this tournament, but one thing’s for sure: his mastery over the Protoss race is impeccable. It's not just because he tore a victory from the clutches of defeat in a single map, he saved his entire tournament life in this one moment. The score being 2-1 in favour of HyuN, if herO lost on Polar Night, he was out in the Ro16. Our two-time back-to-back IEM Champion would have been eliminated in the very first round! The resilience and crisis management of a true winner shone brightly in the very first series of the main tournament, heralding the coming of a radiant sequence of matches to follow thereafter.”
 


The herO vs. HyuN map was something Shaun “Apollo” Clark also appreciated, saying that it was “really back and forth with herO almost being eliminated in map 4 but managing to pull it to map 5 in order to take the series.” However, he also highlighted the TaeJa vs. Life series as it was “a display of high skill between both players: especially on the starting map (Heavy Rain). TvZ is a really fun matchup and when two giants play it, it’s always good.”

The TvZ certainly was something special. Despite the end result (3-1 for TaeJa), it really did look like Life was ready to make a comeback throughout the series. Catch the VOD over on ESL TV’s YouTube Channel and don’t forget that we recapped all days of the competition, highlighting the best games from each day. Check out summaries of the Open Bracket stage, Quarterfinals, Semifinals and Finals right here on ESLGaming.com!

For those of you that would like to play out the games yourselves, or want to watch them from a different perspective, the in-game replays have once again been made available to you.

League of Legends

The League of Legends competition saw some truly fantastic moments with some amazingly close games that will definitely go down in the history books. We summed up our top five best moments, but getting our commentators to agree on one was difficult. The general consensus was that the series between Fnatic and Cloud 9 HyperX was the best of the lot. Trevor Quickshot Henry explained why that was true for him:


More photos from Helena Kristiansson on Flickr

“For me, the best series of IEM was the semifinal between Fnatic and Cloud 9 HyperX. It was actually third time that these teams had met in a best of three format in the playoff stages of any tournament, and the score was 1-1 coming in. Fnatic beat C9 at S3 Worlds in the quarter finals, then C9 beat Fnatic in the Battle of the Atlantic and now at the Intel Extreme Masters World Championship they would face off for the third time...


... Fnatic was able to secure a win in game 1 with some strong moves in the mid game. It seemed as though Fnatic would be able to survive exchanges with C9 by the skin of their teeth and thanks to kills and objective play were able to close out the first game in the series. Cloud 9 HyperX bounced back though and with their incredibly fast team comp in game two zoned out and controlled Fnatic to even up the series.

With both teams trading blow for blow and a strong emphasis on objective-based play, we headed into game 3 of the series, where Fnatic would pull of their signature death bush gank to get an advantage. This time it happened at level 1 with Soaz on Malphite allowing his duo lane to get an advantage early and from there Fnatic just took charge of the game with strong individual performances and heavy bot lane control.”


However, Joe Miller offered up the other semifinal as an alternative: “I would have to choose the second game between Gambit and KT Bullets from the semifinal. It had all the highs and lows from both teams and culminated in a tactical masterpiece that every League of Legends fan should definitely watch.”


More photos from Helena Kristiansson on Flickr

As always, all the games from the tournament have been uploaded on the ESL TV YouTube Channel, with special playlists for CS:GO, StarCraft II and League of Legends. There’s also one for the Hearthstone competition, just in case you missed it. Let us know what your favorite games are in the comments below!