The time for online play is over. From the ashes of their fallen adversaries, four teams have emerged victorious in the CSL CS:GO Playoffs and will be headed to test themselves on LAN against the best of the best in Huntington Beach.
An unfortunate situation that saw SUNY Binghamton disqualified from play this year would see to it that Virginia Commonwealth University would take their place in the round of eight to take on University of California San Diego. This match may go down in CSL history as one of the tightest and most exciting playoff clashes ever. The three-map-thriller would finish out on de_nuke, where VCU capitalized on a stellar T-side in the first half to close this one out 16-12. UCSD did take de_cbble, but was not able to contend on de_mirage courtesy of a great performance by Austin “Akathevirus” Breggs. UCSD had another solid showing this year, but seemingly ran out of juice in this lengthy best-of-three.
Robert Morris University found themselves up against Virginia Tech who have been a hot lineup as of late. Of course, RMU is a monumental titan to conquer for many teams in this league, and despite VT’s success in the playoffs, it was easy to see that they were the underdogs. They started off well on their map pick of de_inferno - a map that they’ve had quite some success on; however, RMU got things under control relatively quickly and never looked back. They went on to take this one 2-0, and booked themselves a ticket to Huntington Beach. Robert Morris University came within inches of taking home the AVGL Finals this past weekend, and are definitely favorites to make it to another final here in CSL. RMU have their eyes set on victory, and will likely use their failure at motivation to take things home this time around.
In the finale of the Californian clash this season, University of California Riverside faced University of California Los Angeles in a three-map contest. UCLA had been heating up throughout the playoffs and reminding everyone why they’ve been a feared opponent over the past few years in collegiate Counter-Strike. Their opponents, UCR, had a rock solid Spring-half and have continued that trend into playoffs, dispatching teams like Carleton along the way. De_overpass went the way of UCR, who had a very prepared T-side. The next map, de_inferno, headed into overtime after both sides had triumphant T-sides. UCLA’s Devin “Oni1chan” Fung amassed 37 frags when this was all said and done, as his efforts gave his team the opportunity to close things out on de_cobble. Once again, Oni1chan led the way with a 160ADR performance to lead his team to the 2-1 victory.
In what was supposed to be the spectacle series in the round of eight, CUNY Baruch was pinned against University of British Columbia. CUNY Baruch already had a close call against University of Toronto in the first round of playoffs, but the same can’t really be said for UBC. The first map was de_train, a surprising pick to say the least when the AWPing talents of Sam “4sh0t” Mariano are available for Baruch. The map ended up being very close, as Baruch escaped a late push from UBC to take the map 16-14. The second map’s story was not much different as UBC started off strong on their T-side to give themselves a glimmer of hope. Unfortunately, that hope was crushed wjem Baruch got things under control and closed out the map 16-13. UBC will likely go back to these maps and see that some of the mistakes they were making were very uncharacteristic of this team; however, this season was a proving grounds for the team in the absence of their former IGL Danny “mahone” Hsieh. Despite coming up short in this one, they’ve definitely put the skepticism to rest with their showing this year.
VCU, RMU, UCLA, and CUNY Baruch will be duking it out in Huntington Beach for not only their shot at $10,000, but for a place in the collegiate esports history books as well. Stay tuned for more information on the teams that will be competing, and what fans can expect at the LAN Finals.