The Grand finals of Starseries & I-League Season 6 saw two unexpected teams in the Grand finals. Vega Squadron had the undivided support of the Home Crowd while ENCe were here to prove a point. The distinction between the young talented team of ENCE and the calm, composed Vega Squadron was evident. Vega had some of the best force buy rounds in the game and were constantly providing a challenge to ENCE. The Finns on the other hand definitely proved themselves as a team worthy of a challenge and won the Trophy with their deep map pool.
Here’s a quick breakdown of the Grand final Best of Five matches.
Train – CT dominance
The first Map Pick, Train was ENCE’s choice. They started off really strong on the CT side constantly shutting down Vega Squadron’s attacks. ENCE had a very stable and passive playstyle, sometimes allowing Allu the space to make risky plays. Vega was never able to string more than two rounds together. ENCE’s dominance on the CT half was very evident in the way their economy was almost never allowed to falter.
Despite ENCE’s dominating performance, Vega Squadron did manage to sneak in 5 T-side rounds. This proved to be more than enough as Vega was able to make sure that they have a better CT half for themselves. With the first three rounds in the bag, Vega was never scared to make aggressive plays across the map. JR has to receive a special mention for constantly pushing with the AWP across the map. However, he was never alone and always had a supportive player next to him. The tactic worked wonders as Vega was able to secure their dominance across the map.
They are a team that is not afraid to make risky plays. Just like yesterday on Overpass, we saw Vega Squadron sticking to the bomb defuse in a risky 1v1 situation. It is a brave move, one that not many pros would expect from a top tier team. Despite having a strong CT half, Vega Squadron still trailed ENCE by quite a bit. When ENCE started winning their rounds on the T side, the score quickly escalated to 14-12. The team was able to pull it together to win the next four consecutive rounds to win the map at 16-14. This win against ENCE on Train, definitely was a big upset as now ENCE’s ‘big map pool’ would not amount to much. The two teams moved forward to the next map, Train.
Map 2 – Inferno was a dominating performance by ENCE.
The second map was Vega Squadron’s map pick and frankly, we expected a much better performance from the CIS squad. The team which managed to stay calm and composed through the first map to win the map definitely felt out of their depth during Map 2.
Inferno started with ENCE taking the pistol round and the next four rounds with relative ease. While Vega Squadron did come close to winning a force-buy [ in true Vega fashion], they always fell short in these attempts. With each victory, ENCE’s economy grew stronger and further dug deep into Vega’s economy. Vega Squadron did win the 6th round, but that was actually a disaster for the team. They lost the next round which essentially reset their economy.
This was followed by Vega being unable to win the next few rounds. Losing round after round only to reset their economy with a victory seemed to be the story of the first half. Vega Squadron was unable to make any impact on their CT half and ended up with a 3-12 scoreline at halftime. It was only a matter of time before ENCE ended the map and drew the series 1-1. With this, we proceed to the next map, Dust 2 [ picked by ENCE].
Map 3 – ENCE steals the show on Dust 2 yet again.
The third map of the game was a very close affair at least during the first half. Continuing with his performance from Inferno, JR seemed to be constantly caught out in very risky positions on the map. ENCE had a great understanding of their positioning as well as their performance throughout the map.
The game started with ENCE on the CT side. They won the pistol, but Vega Squadron quickly went forth to win the next round. Vega Squadron is the team that has some of the best players when it comes to raw aim. This has been repeatedly proven even in the semifinals as they were able to constantly put forth force-buy round wins.
Vega Squadron’s bursts of round wins were interspersed with some rounds from ENCE. The back and forth nature of the first half was evident in the scoreboard at the end of the half. As we headed into the second half, the score was 8-7.
Sergej who was relatively quiet in the semifinals had a great performance on Dust 2. He was able to win several clutch situations which enabled the strong victory in the end for ENCE. Despite the final score being 16-12, the actual game was much closer than the scoreboard suggests.
With this victory, ENCE were ahead 2-1 in the Grand finals.
Vega mark a comeback on Mirage.
CIS teams and Mirage have always had a special connection. Some of the best Mirage plays come from CIS teams and Vega Squadron is no exception. The first half of the map was a very standard 9-6. The terrorist side achieving 6 rounds is nothing to write home about, neither is it too bad. ENCE had a bad start to the half, but they were able to stabilize their economy and have a great performance towards the latter part of the first half.
However, once the map switched sides, we saw Vega Squadron’s CT side come into effect. They were able to put forth some really strong performances helped by TonyBlack’s amazing A site hold. The player had great movement on the A bombsite, constantly moving in and out of the smokes to ensure that the enemy had no inkling of his whereabouts. His aim was on point, but his positioning is what enabled his aim. JR also had a better performance on the map as he was no longer losing the first duels and giving ENCE the huge advantage as on previous rounds.
The CT half of Vega Squadron was very messy and in many ways, not the perfect Counter-Strike. However, they were able to make it work often with force-buys and aggressive playstyle pushes. Vega Squadron managed to tie up the series at 2-2 and ensure another chance in the Grand Finals.
The Championship Map – Overpass
Overpass was the map where ENCE”s deep map pool came into a full exhibition. The young team had great use of grenades on this map, often playing on each other’s backs. They would flash for each other to take back crucial control of certain regions of the map. When Vega Squadron would go for a double AWP setup, ENCE was not afraid to Flash and Rush through the map onto a bomb site. While Vega did try to continue playing aggressively, they were not able to get the initial frags required. This often resulted in the team falling behind in manpower and losing out on the important real estate on their CT side. Consistently losing rounds on the CT side also meant a blow to their economy. They were not able to continue with the Double AWP buy, something which has helped them on previous maps.
jR’s aggressive positioning was well and good, but once he started going too aggressive Vega seemed to fail miserably. There were often opportunities when Vega Squadron would continue peeking and receive little rewards for the same. jR was quite underwhelming in the mid-portion of the map ENCE quickly rose to a score of 10-2 on their T side. Considering how CT dominant this map is, this score was definitely a very overwhelming scoreline for the Finnish team. Vega Squadron did manage to win one more round in the first half to finish the score at 12-3 at Half-Time.
Vega Squadron started the second half with a pistol win and the subsequent two rounds. The first gun round saw Hutji walking through a Molotov to get a free kill on the B Bombsite. While he was traded by xSeven, the CT defence was spread thin after this move. It also broke their economy as the CTs had to contend with a full eco for the next round. After securing the first five rounds, ENCE and Vega Squadron traded a few rounds. But thanks to ENCE’s high scoreline, it only meant that they went close to victory. Vega Squadron needed to string together multiple rounds in order to break ENCE’s economy. But a quick quad kill by Aerial on the 24th round took ENCE to Championship point. The score was 15-9 at this point in time and ENCE had full control of the game. It was only a matter of time before ENCE took the magical 16th round to win the trophy.
StarSeries & I-League Season 6 had some really high quality production on stream. The tournament itself might not have had the best teams in attendance, but each match was entertaining and exciting. It was a golden chance for Tier 2 teams to prove themselves on the big stage. ENCE are your Starseries & I-League Season 6 Champions.