Heavy favourites and top 4 team “Chiefs” could only manage a draw against an incredibly impressive Cypher in the Acer CyberGamer Premier League.
The first game was played out on the freshly revamped Nuke, a map that has only recently settled into the current meta after its Valve sponsored face lift earlier in 2016.
The changes came after a community led outcry to fix the horribly CT sided nature of Nuke was finally heard by the developers.
The overhaul proved successful and following a number of community led updates, Nuke has become one of the most balanced maps in the professional scene. In fact, at the most recent major Nuke was the most balanced map, with 50.26% of rounds going in favour of the CTs and 49.74% going to the Ts.
This particular game however was a more classical affair, with Cypher rocketing ahead on the CT side, finishing with a 12 – 3 lead at the half.
Chiefs simply struggled with originality, persisting with the same strategies and hoping for a miracle play or a mistake by the CTs. But Cypher were disciplined and solid in their defense, posting an impressive lead going into an often treacherous Terrorist side.
Cypher continued their dominance after swapping onto the T-side, picking up the first pistol round, forcing Chiefs into a full eco and handing them a dominant 14 – 3 lead going into the first gun round.
In a telling 18th round, Chiefs were only able to muster a scout and UMP-45 half buy, giving Cypher and their 3 rifle set up a heavy advantage.
A 15th round seemed to be on the horizon for Cypher as they set the bomb down and prepared for a 3 vs 2 after plant hold, and with the numbers in their favour, all odds were pointing towards a convincing shut down of the CTs and a 15th round on the board for the T side.
However, an impressive 2k by Tyler ‘tucks’ Reilly coming out of squeaky door allowed Chiefs to take the numbers advantage and with a Cypher player stuck in heaven, Chiefs calmly closed out the 2 vs 1, making the score 14 – 4 and giving them some sort of life line going into their CT side.
Momentum began to build from that 18th round and Chiefs began to rally, grinding out another 8 rounds in a row, giving them more than a chance with the scores sitting at 14 – 11.
An improved Cypher stood strong however and worked well as a team, co-ordinating their pushes and trading well as they worked they way across the map.
Cypher limited their use of utility and instead moved as a cohesive unit through the ramp area and onto the B-site using their aim and all available information to pick off an often scrambled and disorganized Chiefs team.
A 2 vs 1 was all that remained for Liam ‘malta’ Schembri of Chiefs in order to keep them in the game, but an efficient Cypher duo closed out the round giving them a 15 – 11 lead and the catalyst to finish the game at 16 – 11.
Cypher’s impressive performance on Nuke put them in the driver’s seat to win their map choice (Train) and take the series 2 – 0.
Cypher have yet to play on Train since forming their roster in late 2016, a point that may swing in their favour, considering Chiefs have looked far from consistent on Train in recent months.
A perhaps unknown entity now faced Chiefs, who were looking to tie up the series 1 – 1.
Cypher, starting on the CT side, took the first pistol round and the subsequent anti ecos very comfortably, racing away to a 4 round lead before Chiefs got on the board to make it 4 – 1.
The first round lost for Cypher prompted a double AWP set up, a common strategy used on Train, especially on the long ranged A site.
But Chiefs countered perfectly, hastily smoking and pop flashing their way onto A, entrying well and picking up the necessary trades before planting the bomb and leaving the CTs with a tough 4 vs 3 retake. After losing a player early in the move, the CTs decided to save, but not before being hunted by the T side, leaving them with just a single AWP to take into the 6th round.
Cypher decided to force into the next round, somehow mustering a healthy buy, albeit with a pair of Famas’ instead of the more favoured M4.
Another fast execute on A was what faced the Counter Terrorists, as all 5 terrorists exploded onto the site, picking up a decent trade before trying to get some smoke coverage to allow for the plant.
However, a fantastic 2k from the ivy side of A site by Edward ‘eLUSIVE’ Kong shut the Chief team down before they could push further into the site and get the bomb down as we saw in the previous round.
Left in a 3 vs 1, Alistair ‘aliStair’ Johnston could do nothing to stop Cypher from posting their 5th round.
5 – 2 ahead and with the Terrorist’s economy looking somewhat weakened, Cypher looked set to push ahead and win the half.
However, a spirited Chiefs team stormed through the next 6 rounds and took the lead at 5 – 8 before Cypher were finally able to stem the flow of rounds and post their 6th to make it 6 – 8.
It would be the last round of the half for Cypher however, as Chiefs closed out an impressive Terrorist side 6 – 9.
The pressure was on Cypher going into their T side, as without a pistol round win, Chiefs could easily take an 11 – 6 lead.
Cypher crumbled and failed to close out a promising after plant situation, Alistair ‘aliStair’ Johnston proving once again to be skilled with the pistols, picking up a snappy pair of kills in upper B.
Chiefs easily took the next round with little to no competition from a saving Cypher team.
Cypher continued to rally however, taking the next 2 rounds, breaking the economy of the Counter Terrorists, forcing them onto a save.
But underestimating the pistol armour set up of a CT defence is never a good idea and it once again stood firm, shutting down the Cypher push and being the catalyst for a streak of 3 rounds in a row and furthering their lead to 14 – 8.
A brief resistance from Cypher was squashed by a convincing CT set up from Chiefs, closing out the game 16 – 12 and leveling the series at 1 – 1.