Hey everyone, Jordan here. Yesterday was the second competition day for us here in Milan, and our third day on the trip overall. We woke up at 7am in preparation for two matches versus team Virtus Pro in hopes to advance out of our group and progress to the playoff stage of the FaceIt World Finals.
We're staying at the Melia hotel in Milan which has a solid breakfast, so we all meet up about 30 minutes prior to leaving to get our most important meal of the day in, together. After we ate, and I got my usual omelette and fruit in, we grabbed our gaming gear and headed out for a quick 10 minute walk to the convention center. The tournament itself is inside Milan Games Week, so theres quite a crowd we have to walk through near the entrance, and then once we flash our player badges to the appropriate security, we're able to squeeze through the crowd as if we were actual celebrities :). The tournament setup itself isnt that bad, but the toughest part about it is all the ambient noise from the neighbor booths. We setup quickly in efforts to get at least 30 minutes of warm up time in, because the event needed to rush our schedule in order to makeup for day 1 network mishaps.
Virtus Pro is a team we've played and beaten before, but we knew we had to come into this game with the mindset of not only winning, but doing so in a overwhelming fashion on the first map in order to maintain a round advantage. Even if we lost the second map, but had more overall rounds, we would still advance. So, first game was cache, chosen by our opposition. We started out strong, got the pistol round and were able to run with the momentum to get a 12-3 start. Second half unfortunately though we lost pistol and gave them too many rounds for our own good, but still closed it off 16-11.
Map two was chosen by us and was inferno. Our hope was to have a big CT side and be able to grind out the 12 rounds we needed to advance to the playoffs. We ended up losing CT pistol and went down 6-2 at one point, until winning 4 consecutive rounds to make it 6-6. After that we unfortunately lost 3 clutch situations in a row which really hurt us, making the score 6-9 going into T side. After planning out what we thought was a smart T side pistol, we were caught off guard by an aggressive mid push by the Poles and went down 10-6. After that it was down hill from there, as they maintained a lot of B control by playing aggressive on that side of the map, they kept funneling is into their defensive plans. We lost the match 16-6 and therefore didnt get enough rounds to pass onto the next stage.
It was an unfortunate experience for us but also a learning one. We realized that we have the capability to out play most of the teams in the world, but we need to make sure our T sides are more cohesive versus the various passive/aggressive styles we see between the top European teams. We will be heading into ESWC Paris this next week with some new strategies to test and some intentions to bounce back and show these teams we wont be complacent.
Although our main goal this year is DreamHack winter, I think Paris will be a good place to give it our all and try some new things that we haven't had the confidence in running lately. Our team struggles to have great practice back home in the US, so hopefully we can use this event to really gain some insight on theories we've been discussing. I ended the day by doing some commenting with Dan "DDK" for the iBP vs LDLC match, which turned out to be quite the surprising upset by our fellow Americans. I always have fun commentating so I look forward to having that opportunity again in the future, just hopefully not because we got knocked out of an event :).
Since the 25th was also my birthday, we decided to head out to the town and get some dinner/drinks with the boys, regardless of our jet-lagged bodies. We headed to the most popular part of town and had a fun time running around and getting harassed by the local salesmen of the streets. Anything from club promoters to people trying to sell you random flare such as colorful hats to oversized sun glasses. After spending hours walking around the city and exhausting ourselves even further we headed back to the hotel and capped off a somewhat disappointing day with a fun night.
Now I'm typing this as I'm about to walk over and watch the finals between iBP and fnatic, which should prove to be an exciting match up! Look out for our team the following week in Paris, and thanks for reading.