The ESL Southeast Europe Championship (ESL SEC) is the longest running multigame esports competition for the geographical region of Southeast Europe and its eighth season has just been concluded.
Eight CS:GO squads fought hard and bravely, for every round, every map. However, the well-oiled Bulgarian killing machine, answering to the name of Windigo Gaming, was unstoppable. They are now sitting, comfortably, in Southeast Europe’s “Iron Throne”.
“CHAPTER NUMBER EIGHT”
Over the last 3 and a half years, ESL SEC had seven seasons, packed with breathtaking action, in 4 different countries that brought into play 56.000€ paid prize money. But this season, everything has been different. ESL SEC aimed even higher; to grow bigger, more competitive, filled with decisiveness to solidify – more than ever – it’s main goal: “Fostering the competitive scene in the region”.
GROUP STAGE ACTION
Ab initio, this season showed us that it would be similar to none other. Peripheral representatives, fighting thru hell and fire in their sub-region’s finals, qualified for the Regional Finals. Only 4 out of 16 were able to surpass the opponent’s competitive resistance and advanced to the Group Stage.
Windigo Gaming, KnockOut, Psychoactive and Hyperion eSports came face-to-face with four invited strong and energetic CS:GO powers; Locastic, BPro Gaming, SiNNerS and, the season’s seven Champions, Nexus Gaming.
Close battles, full of clutch moments, mind games, strategical outplays and mind-blowing frags, as well as more than convincing performances, in dominating fashion, synthesized a highly competitive and flammable mixture that came up with the label “ESL SEC’s Group Stage”.
Windigo Gaming were performing spectacular during the whole group stage, reaching the wire undefeated. Enjoying 14 consecutive wins, they broke yet another personal record at this tournament. On the other side of the predicted favorites ring, former Champions Nexus Gaming had to deal with their performing instability, which forced them to lose valuable points and eventually led them down the path of the harrowing procedure of Playoffs.
Season’s six Kings’ - BPro Gaming - communication and ability to adapt to the enemy’s playstyle has been a crucial factor for their run to occupy the second seat that offered a bye advance to the Final Four. As for Locastic, a sweet-and-sour taste is probably the definition of the flavor that this Group Stage left to their lips, since, despite the fact that they were tied with Nexus and BPro at the board, they ended up in the Playoffs.
Same Playoff fate awaited HyperioN, KnockOut and SiNNerS who tied up at 5-9 (W-L), without being able to deliver against top teams or secure 2-0s in convincing fashion, at maps that they easily could. Last but not least, Psychoactive have a lot of work in front of them, in the practice field. They were the last wagon of the train, forced to 8th spot, with a 3-11 win-lose score, after – kind of – disappointing performances.
Entering the Playoff Arena, Nexus Gaming came up against KnockOut. In this Romanian match-up, KnockOut shocked the former Champions with a convincing 2-0 and threw them down to the Lower Bracket. On the other Semifinal, Locastic needed a third map against SiNNerS, who altered their name to RedFear eSports, to secure their advance, in a pretty close battle. In Cache, Locastic had the upper hand, but the Romanian squad pulled out a strong comeback to secure the map. Two close victories on Nuke and Overpass, turned the table around for the Croatian team and allowed their advance.
On the upper Final, KnockOut vs Locastic battle came down to the wire. Locastic struck the first blow, securing map 1, with KnockOut answering back with a convincing performance on Dust_2. The Croatian team came up strong in Inferno, securing an early lead that eventually led them all the way to victory 2-1 and the LAN Final Four.
On the other side of the bracket, RedFear fought against Nexus. The former Champions, after a sloppy start on the first map, were able to bounce back, secure map 1, win map 2 and advance to the next stage, to face KnockOut in a pretty interesting rematch of the Semis.
Having the momentum and been hungry for revenge, Nexus disarmed KnockOut, securing both maps, for a clutch 2-0 and accompanied Locastic to the LAN Final Four.
Returning back to where it all started, to the beautiful city of Bucharest, four contenders walked on stage geared up with passion, devotion and thirst for glory, recognition and of course the lion’s share of the grand prize.
At Semi-Final #1, Locastic came across BPro Gaming, who were the favorites. Despite the fact that Locastic fought hard, Bpro were able to lock map one and overcome Locastic’s defenses, using their experience at a really close map 2. The Bulgarian team won the series 2-0 and advanced to the Grand Finals.
At the second semifinal, Nexus Gaming took it up against Windigo Gaming. Despite the Romanian’s momentum at the first map, the Bulgarian squad was able to get control of the pace and grab map 1 out of the hands of Nexus. Regaining control of map 2, Windigo crippled their opponent’s economy, forcing them to devastating pistol rounds and with a second map victory, they advanced to the Grand Finals.
Former Champions of the Region versus the “newcomers” could be the title of the Grand Finals. Windigo were considered heavy favorite, but Bpro Gaming did everything in their power, fought really hard, to put some extra pressure on their opponents. Nevertheless, Windigo were ready, thirsty for glory and had the momentum. After a very close map 1, secured by Windigo, BPro entered map 2 fully focused. The “Purples” seemed out of their depth and BPro took control of the map, and despite their opponent’s efforts to pull out a huge comeback, they tied up the series.
All came down to Mirage and both teams came into map #3 ready to fight for glory. Windigo Gaming were in full control of the map. After securing the much-needed rounds, they lifted the ESL SEC trophy high into the sky of Bucharest.
They are now your new Champions; Windigo Gaming.
MORE TO COME; A BRIGHT FUTURE
ESL SEC is more than just a competition. It’s a competitive habit, a tournament that fosters the competitive scene in the region. Don’t miss any of the action! If you don’t want to stay behind and be the first to receive updates about your favorite games, follow us on Social Media and never miss one!