In many ways, last night’s CS: GO grand final at IEM Oakland was a fight between two opposing philosophies on how to build a top-tier esports group. On one side from the match you had FaZe Clan, a group created by buying away contracts from other best teams and building an all-star roster of talent through across Europe. Playing against them you had Ninjas in Pyjamas, a Swedish group with three experts of the game who have been playing together for a long time, and two younger up-and-comers who they’ve scouted from lower-tier teams and provided a shot at contending in the highest level of professional Counter-Strike.

In writing, it didn’t seem like much of a matchup. FaZe Clan’s stunning roster of star talent has been consistently winning big occasions over the last few months, as the new NiP lineup has struggled throughout every season, culminating last month in a failure to qualify for the next ELEAGUE Major in Birkenstock boston. Before the match got underway, NiP had been sold by the expert desk as an underdog with a slim chance at making it through almost all five maps, and judging by recent performance, this was a fair evaluation.

There was, however , some early warning signs this wouldn’t be the stroll in the park with regard to FaZe that many had been predicting. Throughout the team stages it was clear that NiP experienced found a new chemistry with their recently-acquired younger teammates, and any kind of remaining doubt regarding their competence should have been expelled when they walked through the #1 team in the world within the semifinals.

Through almost all five maps from the grand final, the old guard of NiP proved why they’ve been at the top of the game for so long, getting incredible shots and making smart place plays that kept all of them winning rounds even if outnumbered or outgunned.

Many of the rounds had been so closely-contested that huge individual efforts were CSGO Skins required through virtually every member of each teams to keep the games close, that resulted in some exciting Counter-Strike to watch, along with a handful of stellar highlight-reel plays.

After investing map wins backwards and forwards, it all came down to the fifth and final game on Cache, where a near first half lead into a handful of back-and-forth rounds, leaving the score at 10-9 in favour of NiP. A gap began to appear. The Swedes started to pull new tactics out of their deep repertoire, like getting REZ flank via mid with some excellent timing, and sending GeT_RiGhT up into the A site boost spot to wreak unforeseen havok.

All of a sudden the score was 15-9 courtesy of a string of inventive rounds from NiP. Following a brief rally as a result of big play through karrigan, FaZe was defeated 16-10. Probably the most severe slumps we’ve seen a top-tier team go through within modern recollection was at an end, and NiP’s new lineup proved themselves to become a potent combination of old-guard experience and tactics, and new-school talent and energy.

Perhaps the biggest surprise from the tournament was the performance of 19-year-old REZ, the newest addition to the NiP lineup and a new face in the Csgo skins for sale upper echelons of CS: PROCEED generally. He was consistently a top artist for his group, dropping 24 frags in the first game against FaZe and earning himself HLTV’s MVP award for your tournament.

The Swedish team still won’t be attending the Boston Major within January, but they’ve shown that they still have the potential to compete at that level with their new roster, and the $129, 000 they’ve used home this weekend should be an effective salve for the pain of their weaker performances previously in 2017.