The best first-person shooter teams in the world descended on London for Gfinity 3 this weekend, aiming to earn the large portion of the $55,000 available for Call of Duty: Ghosts, and the $45,000 awarded for Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.
But the two favorites won’t be taking home any of that prize pool.
Call of Duty champions Evil Geniuses, winners of the million-dollar tournament Call of Duty Champions and the most dominant team of the year, bombed out in the first round of bracket play.
In Counter-Strike, Ninjas in Pyjamas, the Swedish team that’s dominated the scene and sits atop HLTV.org’s team rankings, suffered a similar fate after barely surviving group play, thanks to a tie-breaker.
That's incredible, considering just how dominant the two teams have been in their scenes over the past few years.
To put things in perspective, the NiP and EG/ex-coL rosters have won a combined 33 of 45 major LAN events in CS:GO and CoD since 2012.— Rod Breslau (@Slasher) August 3, 2014
Evil Geniuses won the most recent major tournament, the Major League Gaming (MLG) Championship Anaheim in June. But they’ve struggled recently, posting just a 4-4 record in the MLG Call of Duty League Season 3. In London, Evil Geniuses suffered an early loss in the group stage to Team Kaliber, setting the stage for their disappointing 0-3 loss to FaZe in the quarterfinals.
The winners of the last two Gfinity events, Evil Geniuses bombing out of the tournament, and getting swept in two series, is simply shocking.
Some blame the poor showing on the new competitive ruleset implemented before the current MLG League season, which changed the weapon loadouts available to players. Evil Geniuses captain Patrick "ACHES" Price was adamant the rules helped his team, but a result like this raises questions.
Kinda ironic that with the new rules Killa placed higher than Aches after their whole argument about how the rules were to make EG better— Brian Baroska (@BrianSaintt) August 3, 2014
But Evil Geniuses aren’t the only favorites suffering upsets. Bitter rival OpTic Gaming, who lost to Evil Geniuses in the MLG Anaheim final, lost their chance at a tournament victory with their primary competitor out of the way when they fell to surprise finalist EnVyUs.
In Counter-Strike, the upset bug was also in full force. Ninjas in Pyjamas may have their up and downs. They entered the tournament after a lengthy vacation, meaning they likely were not at top form. But no one thought they’d nearly bomb out of the event in a group stage that featured lower tier teams like Infused.
Ninjas in Pyjamas put together a 2-3 record in their group, losing to American squad iBuyPower, FNATIC, and French team Epsilon. They narrowly survived the group thanks to a tie-breaker. The wrong tie-breaker, based off most tournament rules. Ninjas in Pyjamas tied Epsilon with a 2-3 record, but Epsilon had already beat them in the tournament. At most events, that means Epsilon would go through. At Gfinity, though, it meant Ninjas in Pyjamas would live to fight another day, since they had won 70 rounds compared to Epsilon’s 63.
The Swedish champions would not take advantage of the second life they were gifted. Danish team Dignitas, one of the surprises of the tournament so far, would dispatch them in short order in the quarterfinals.
Gfinity 3 is shaping up to be a great tournament, one where any number of teams are making a name for themselves by toppling champions or winning the event.
Screengrab via Gfinity