Last weekend, Intel Extreme Masters Oakland 2017 saw a thrilling CS:GO tournament and a legendary team living up to its former glory. Ninjas in Pyjamas returned to the Oracle Arena as the reigning champions but has had a hard path ever since triumphing in the Bay Area. However, GeT_RiGhT and his teammates were able to not only secure the back to back victory, but also beat two other Intel Grand Slam winners in the process.
Being placed against the likes of Cloud 9, SK Gaming, EnVyUs, The MongolZ and a weakened Astralis, Ninjas in Pyjamas secured the first place as they only fell to SK Gaming. After all matches concluded, Cloud 9 and SK Gaming were the two teams following NiP from group A. FaZe Clan in group B were showing a good performance with a single loss to Gambit Gaming, who took the third place right behind OpTiC Gaming in second.
While NiP and FaZe earned their spots to the semi finals, the 2nd and 3rd placed teams clashed to determine those joining the first placed teams on the stage of the Oracle Arena. SK Gaming took two maps from OpTiC Gaming and qualified for the semis, putting all the hopes of the NA CS:GO fans on Cloud 9. Going up against Gambit Gaming, Cloud 9 came back after an overtime loss on the first map, scoring two 16-11 wins and giving the fans an NA team on stage.
In the first semi finals, we got to see the rematch of SK Gaming versus Ninjas in Pyjamas. While f0rest and his team were able to win 16-9 on Overpass, SK fought back on Cache, winning by 16:8 and forcing the match to complete on Inferno. Here NiP showed a solid CT half, ending the game by 16:11 and sending the Brazilians packing. In the second semi, FaZe Clan underlined their ambitions with a 16-8 win on Train, before ending the series by 16-6 on Overpass, leaving the North American fans without a local team in the grand final.
In the grand final of Intel Extreme Masters Oakland 2017, it all came down to the reigning champion Ninjas in Pyjamas, and ESL One New York winners all-star lineup in FaZe Clan. And what a show did they bring to the stage! A tense back-and-forth between the Swedish and European powerhouses needed all five maps to determine this year’s champion. NiP took the opening map, Cobblestone, by 16-10 before FaZe equalized on Inferno by 16-7. Train went to NiP by 16-10 before Overpass was secured by FaZe with a score of 16-6, taking us to the fifth and final map. On Cache, the reigning champion Ninjas in Pyjamas came out on top, once more with a 16-10 score, to take the back to back victory in Oakland, securing them the lion's share of the US$300,000 prize pool.
Congratulations Ninjas in Pyjamas
Coming back after a year with only one tournament win at DreamHack Open Valencia, Ninjas in Pyjamas repeated their run from last year, though with REZ and draken replacing Friberg and pyth. Also, f0rest was NiP’s star in the grand final, draken and especially REZ have shown why the three legends picked them up in the first place.
Now the Ninjas are in the best spot to aim for the Intel Grand Slam by winning four tournaments from the circuit, as they have nine more chances to complete the task. Their next chance comes at ESL CS:GO Pro League finals in December, where they will get to compete against FaZe, SK Gaming and more.
Make sure to follow Intel Extreme Masters on Facebook and Twitter as we move closer to the World Championship in Katowice, in March 2018. ESL Counter-Strike keeps you updated on Facebook and Twitter with all our highlights and more from our tournaments, such as the upcoming ESL CS:GO Pro League finals in Odense, Denmark, from December 5th to 10th!