This past weekend, Europe saw yet another Ignition Series event with Allied Esports Odyssey. Featuring some of Europe’s most famous organizations, four invited teams and 2 qualifier teams fought it out for European supremacy. Would G2 Esports continue their dominance of the region? Would we see a repeat of the League of Legends World Championship, and have FunPlus Phoenix dethrone them? Or would Team Liquid come out victorious in their debut?
While the expectation was that G2 Esports would continue to crush everyone in the group stages, they looked fallible for possibly the first time ever. In their place rose Team Liquid. The kings of the closed beta looked the best they had since the departure of Ardis “ardiis” Svarenieks. After trying to nail down a primary Operator player ever since his departure, Travis “L1NK” Mendoza took up the role and led Team Liquid to their group stage success.
FunPlus Phoenix showed up big in their first-ever tournament, finishing second in the group stage. The team actually went through qualifiers under the name ZyppanGoKill, and was signed by FunPlus Phoenix between the qualifiers and the main event. Eyes were on the combo of Pontus “Zyppan” Eek and Andrey “Shao” Kiprsky. Zyppan was massive all tournament, leading all players in the event with 269 ACS, while Shao had a slow start to the tournament, but picked it up towards the later stages and finished with 241 ACS, good to be tied for third among all players.
G2 Esports did not look like their dominant selves during the group stages. There is a massive asterisk on this performance, however, as David “davidp” Prins tragically lost his father during their group stage match against FPX. He had to leave near the end of the match, and while it was mostly lost by that point anyway, it still taints their performance.
Davidp elected to play out the remainder of the event in honour of his father, and, after a few more shaky matches, G2 ended the group stage in third.
While Ninjas in Pyjamas couldn’t quite challenge the absolute best in Europe, they established themselves as solidly fourth place. Niels “luckeRRR” Jasiek must especially be shouted out, as he led the entire tournament in first bloods and made his case as one of Europe’s best Jett/OPers. He couldn’t carry Ninjas in Pyjamas to too much success, but they beat who they had to and secured their place in the playoffs.
While NiP had luckeRRR, BBL Esports had Mehmet Yağız “cNed” İpek. BBL were an interesting team to watch. They quite clearly had an identity, with cNed as undoubtedly their star, Ali Osman “AsLanM4shadoW” Balta as a solid secondary fragger, and a somewhat large drop off in quality after that. Ultimately, their weaknesses led to them not being able to qualify for the playoffs. But they had some good showings, and it’s impossible not to talk about cNed. He was a brazen star on the Jett/OP, pulling out crucial clutches at the right times to pull BBL back into games. Unfortunately, they usually couldn’t close them out, but it was a nonetheless impressive entrance onto the European stage for the Turkish squad.
Lastly, we come to the Spanish team, Giants Gaming. Contrary to expectations, Giants did not look outclassed at all, and in fact pulled away draws against the likes of Ninjas in Pyjamas and even G2 Esports. Unlike BBL and NiP, no one really stood out, with Adolfo “Fit1nho” Gallego not being the dominant Jett/OP force those teams fielded. Instead, Giants had a solid team all around, with every player contributing a large part to the team’s success. Unfortunately, a 2-0 on the final day at the hands of BBL kept them from advancing to the playoffs, but they nearly did it. We certainly haven’t heard the last of these Spanish underdogs.
With the group stage concluded, we headed into playoffs with an interesting bracket. Team Liquid dispatched of Ninjas in Pyjamas quite easily, while FunPlus Phoenix played G2 very close on Split. But despite finishing higher than them in the group stage and beating them in a match, G2 won this encounter to progress to the upper bracket finals.
Up against Team Liquid, G2 jumped out to a 9-3 lead after defending on Split, and Óscar Cañellas “mixwell” Colocho turned it on on offense to send the Group Stage winners to the lower bracket. Despite finishing third, G2 had progressed to the finals.
In the lower bracket, FPX beat NiP harder than even Team Liquid had, shutting down the hard carry of luckeRRR and so ruining NiP’s chances of making it further. They then played a fantastic matchup against Team Liquid on Bind, where Shao controlled the map and choked Team Liquid out of chances. It was a G2 vs. FPX final.
Despite FPX’s group stage performance, it was a 2-0 by G2 to add another trophy to the case, this one all the sweeter due to Davidp’s circumstances. Ardiis was his usual dominant self on Ascent, and G2 absolutely shut Shao down to win 13-5. Bind was a bit closer, but mixwell continued his good run of form on the day to reach 288 ACS and be crucial in their 13-9 victory.
Final Standings for Allied Esports Odyssey:
1. G2 Esports – €6,500
2. FunPlus Phoenix – €4,000
3. Team Liquid – €4,000
4. Ninjas in Pyjamas – €300
5. BBL Esports – €200
6. Giants Gaming