IEM Sydney 2017 started off with two evenly matched teams in North and OpTic Gaming with a slight edge to North for their experience and skill level. The two teams duked it out in de_inferno as OpTic Gaming opted to ban de_nuke as the last ban.
IEM Sydney’s first match – First Half
North managed to win both pistols rounds and was ahead for most of the match. K0nfig started off on fire doing 3k after 3k with his AWP rounds. This allowed his team to hold a commanding 10-2 lead on the CT side. OpTic Gaming were able to regain their composure and took the next 3 rounds. The run included an impressive force buy win to end the half at 10-5 in favour of North.
After OpTic got the early pick in the pistol round, North stormed in and took the B site with OpTic deciding to give up the B site uncontested. OpTic managed to poke their way back and get a 3v1 advantage against North’s cajunB. Luckily for North, cajunB was having none of it as he clutches a 3v1 pistol round. This reinforced North’s lead to 13-6. OpTic managed to climb their way back with mixwell stepping up and tarik practically being the man of the match to swing the momentum and eventually tie up the match at 14-14. They had the economy to hold the last remaining rounds while North struggled to get utilities. They cleanly stopped North’s push at the archway and left their two pronged attack to A site in ruins. North, being down 14-15 and only having one player with a full kit, were able to successfully rush the A site through apartments. MSL snuck back at the archway to find a crucial pick on NAF and stall the reinforcement. This allowed his team to set up on A without fear. North would clutch the round with 4 remaining players and force overtime.
The next rounds looked like a chess match between the two teams as they take extreme caution with every round and play as slowly as possible. They go back and forth with North securing 2v2 clutches and secure match point. Being down 18-17, OpTic successfully took the B site and with a man advantage before planting the bomb. They were able to set up a crossfire trap along construction after tarik got information that aizy and cajunb were at the CT spawn, who eventually fell to force second overtime.
Second Overtime – OpTic forces third
The rounds went similarly like the first overtime with North taking the clutch rounds. They were able to secure another match point playing their slow pace game. Being down 21-20 in a 3v3 situation and time running down, tarik rotated to help NAF at B site hoping for a B push while mixwell stayed at A. Luckily for OpTic, North went to the B site and got stuck in a crossfire between NAF and tarik. Tarik was able to secure two frags in a blink of an eye and force third overtime. Tarik had been playing out of his mind in the match which hasn’t happened in a long time for him.
Third Overtime – North takes it
The third overtime again went over the same back and forth rounds but this time OpTic were able to have the advantage at the half. North were able to take the next 2 rounds with a few picks and good defence on the CT side. OpTic found themselves short on economy having lost the last two rounds. They only managed to get 3 rifles and a few utilities from the players who bought the tec-9. NAF traded mixwell for MSL to get his M4. As soon as that happened, magisk and k0nfig were able to pick 2 others. This forced hazed and RUSH to make a hail mary play on B site and was stopped by cajunB.
Even while OpTic Gaming was considered the underdog, they put up a great fight and certainly put on a great show for the people at IEM Sydney 2017. I could not imagine having a greater start to IEM Sydney 2017 than this match. There will be more great matches to come as we have teams like Astralis, SK and FaZe also in the tournament.
You can watch the highlights of the match here
See the preview here