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It was just four short months ago we crowned Melbourne Order as the inaugural Elite Series CS:GO champions – but a hell of a lot has changed in that time.
It might seem like a lot to keep up with but, honestly, if you’re worried you’ve missed the boat on this competition, don’t worry. The amount of change is so great, you can probably just jump on here and not worry about last season.
With the CS:GO competition kicking off yesterday, signifying the start of season two, it was seen as a chance for us to get some answers as to what all the offseason upheaval would mean.
Instead, we just left with a whole lot more questions.
First up, we were treated to a semi-final rematch between the champions Order and last season’s surprise packets, the Sydney Roar.
Order weren’t fielding the same side that brushed aside all others in the playoffs but, with a new-look line-up of their own, the Roar weren’t tipped to be much of a chance at knocking off their world-class opponents.
No Havoc, no Destiny, no Infrequent – it really was topguN and the support cast for Sydney.
Few, however, could have predicted the absolute carnage that unfolded.
Order thoroughly dominated the Roar in a manner we’d hardly seen at the Elite Series before.
It became clear from the outset that the Melburnians were a class above their Sydney counterparts, with the final score of 16-3 a downright horrifying reflection of the events that transpired.
Order were so far ahead in every facet of the game that they were able to simply disrespect the home team at times.
Despite losing the first pistol round, they bought into the second one anyway, knowing they’d be able to get back in control quickly – and that’s just what they did.
The strategies were loose, the team structure malleable, Order were simply out there having a grand old time at the Roar’s expense.
By Round 14, with Order already up 11-2, it had reached critical mass. All five Melbourne players intentionally brought the worst weapons in the game to the fight, and still won easily.
After the match, Emagine said quite candidly they came into the match feeling loose, looking to have fun and just getting the game over with as quickly as possible.
Melbourne Order looked a class above the rest of the league once their top players got back from overseas last season, so it’d be easy to look at this match and say they’re still kings of the hill.
But you really have to look at the Roar’s team compared to last season and wonder, outside of topguN, where the wins are going to come from.
Was this a case of the Order being really good? The Roar being really bad? Both?
It’s hard to say after just one week.
Sydney fans hoping for a respite when their other team, the Chiefs, took on Perth Ground Zero would have been taken aback by the new faces – none bigger than former Avant captain MoeyCQ.
They too, however, had barely any time to adjust to their new surroundings before they started getting absolutely melted by the men in green.
Whether or not it was the new line-up just not quite gelling, the basic tactical errors the Chiefs repeatedly made throughout the match defied belief at times.
Ground Zero seemed to know what to expect almost every round – including a terrifying Round 6 where they gobbled up the Chiefs in a matter of seconds at Inferno’s main choke point.
Perth raced out to a 13-2 lead at the half, before three quick victories saw them wrap-up the win by an equal Elite Series-record score of 16-2.
Like Emagine, Perth’s captain Nikkez said the match felt quite easy, in what would have to be a ringing endorsement of the team’s new line-up.
Is it all doom and gloom for the Chiefs after that diabolical start? Far from it.
A 16-2 loss was precisely the manner in which their first season began, and they managed to recover and make it all the way to the grand final.
The task looks a little bit harder this time, with some of their top players no longer with the team at all, but it’s far too early to put a line through the Chiefs.
Lastly, it was two of the great unknowns in Brisbane Deceptors and Melbourne Avant facing off.
This match was easily the closest, most competitive and, arguably, the most entertaining.
Which, of course, means it taught us the least.
It’s hard to see either of these teams competing with the big guns in season two and, given Avant were only able to triumph 16-13, neither team really got the separation they’d need to be taken more seriously as a threat.
Could either of them knock off the Roar or Chiefs? Based on yesterday’s effort, yes.
Could the reverse happen? Bast on last season’s performances, yes.
So, in many ways, day one showed us everything and told us nothing.
The reigning titlists are still very good, the runners-up got shredded in exactly the same fashion as last season, while the more evenly matched teams appear to be evenly matched.
Will any of this still ring true in a week’s time?