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NiP defeats FaZe Clan 3-2 to win IEM Oakland 2017

IEM Oakland 2017 just proved that the CS:GO competitive scene is the toughest to predict, as Swedish team Ninjas in Pyjamas (who were in a slump for most of the year) defeated FaZe Clan — considered by most to be the best CS:GO team currently. NiP’s win was not a cakewalk though, as the series went the full five games before concluding.

Group Stage

IEM Oakland 2017 was kicked off with the group stage, and as there were 12 participating teams, each group had six squads. For Group A, eventual winners NiP ended up on top, as they only lost one game in Group Stage (which was to SK Gaming). NA-team Cloud9 and Brazilian squad SK Gaming rounded out the top three, and moved on to the Playoffs. This meant that Astralis were eliminated early; a surprise for most fans as the Danish squad is one of the more consistent CS:GO squads in tourney placements.

For Group B, the results went as expected for the most part. Runner-up FaZe Clan took the top spot (losing only a game to Renegades), while OpTic Gaming and Gambit Esports took second and third respectively. Team Liquid disappointed in the Group; most expected a decent showing from them as they took 2nd place in ESL One NY and ESG Mykonos, but they ended the IEM Oakland Group Stage at last place.

Playoffs

The Quarterfinals series of OpTic and SK opened the IEM Oakland Playoffs. SK rolled over OpTic 16-2 in Game 1, and went on to win the series after taking Game 2 16-12. The next series between C9 and Gambit was much closer, as both teams had close games throughout the series. Eventually, it was C9 that took the series 2-1 to move on to the Semifinals.

The next set of matches were the semis, as NiP took on SK while FaZe went up against C9. NiP and SK’s series was another close one, with NiP winning the fairly close series 2-1. FaZe’s match against C9 was more one-sided, as FaZe won the series in a quick 2-0.

Thankfully, the Finals was a thriller! Both teams traded games throughout the series until the fifth deciding game. Game 5 on Cache saw NiP take a small 9-6 lead coming into the second half. FaZe then won three straight after round 15, tying the game at 9-9. NiP answered with six straight round wins, and they ended up winning the game soon after 16-10.

With their win, NiP won their first major tournament of the year (barring Dreamhack Valencia, where they did not face Tier 1 opponents). Interestingly, their last tourney win was IEM Oakland 2016.