With another week down in the ELEAGUE Premier 2017, the playoffs inch ever closer. This time around, Cloud9 came of Group C to move on with the top seed, while Team EnVyUs made it out as the second seed.
Everything clicks for Cloud9
After a couple weeks of stops and sputters, Cloud9 seems to finally have put it all together with its new roster. The addition of Tarik "tarik" Celik and Will "RUSH" Wierzba from OpTic Gaming had yielded mediocre results up to this point. Last week, however, the team made it to the semifinals of ESL One New York, and that success seems to have carried over into Atlanta this weekend.
Not only did the team win both games, but it did so by a healthy margin both times around. First it took down Ninjas in Pyjamas 16-6 on Mirage before completely picking Team EnVyUs apart on Train by a 16-2 margin in the winners' match of Group C.
In addition to the wide margin in which Cloud9 won both games, different players stepped up each time to lead the team to victory. It was tarik in the first game with a 20/15 KD (kills/deaths) and a 104.7 ADR (average damage per round) and two quad kills throughout the lopsided match. Not to be outdone, Tyler "Skadoodle" Latham stepped up with a 19/4 KD in the even more lopsided second game win. If this team can keep on playing like this come playoffs in a couple weeks, Cloud9 could be a major contender.
Team EnVyUs survives the losers' bracket
While Cloud9 rode a strong wave of performances into the playoffs, Team EnVyUs used an impressive comeback win over Ninjas in Pyjamas to come away with the second seed.
EnVyUs may have ended with the better showing, but Saturday's action started off with NiP looking like a force to be reckoned with. Up against the ever struggling Virtus.pro, NiP shined with a performance that we haven't seen from them in some time. Playing on Overpass and Train, NiP dominated to the tune of 16-8 and 16-5 wins to squash VP's hopes at the playoffs. The win was well and good, but it turned out that it was more indicative of VP's failure to execute much of anything these days rather than NiP actually performing at the top of its game.
In the final series of the weekend, NiP came face-to-face with an EnVyUs squad that was clearly agitated by its 16-2 loss to Cloud9 the day before. NiP came out the gate hot with a 16-9 win on Cobblestone before the wheels of the pajama-clad ninja-mobile went flying off.
With Cédric 'RpK' Guipouy at the forefront of the action thanks to a 49/29 KD in the final two games, it was EnVyUs' turn to look unstoppable, which is not a phrase normally reserved for this team. Ever since losing Kenny "kennyS" Schrub, Dan "apEX" Madesclaire, and Nathan "NBK" Schmitt to G2 Esports earlier this year, EnVyUs has been struggling to gain traction at every turn. It all came together for the team at DreamHack Atlanta last month, and that momentum seems to have translated well in Atlanta this weekend.
On both Cache and Nuke to close out the series, EnVyUs looked incredibly clean, never losing more than seven rounds in a half while on its way to 16-9 and 16-6 wins, respectively. On the other hand, NiP lost all its steam from the earlier win. While it's back to the drawing for NiP, EnVyUs is now onto the playoffs in a couple weeks.
The final group of the ELEAGUE Premier 2017 will feature some heavy-hitters, with Astralis, SK Gaming, Team Liquid, and Heroic competing next weekend. The action will kick off next Friday at 6 p.m. ET with Astralis taking on Team Liquid.