Review of Funspark ULTI 2020

Funspark ULTI 2020 has recently ended. There were plenty of highlights in the championship, so today we are going to pay our attention to them and we will fill in those who missed the tournament.

Virtus.pro were the first to leave the tournament

Virtus.pro did not show their best performance. It was a real surprise as the players took second place at IEM Katowice 2021 with the prize pool of $1,000,000 that finished at the end of February, and they managed to fight well and reached Top-8 at ESL Pro League Season 13. This time the team took 7th-8th place, but unlike ESL Pro League the number of participants was 8 but not 16 teams.

At the first battle Virtus.pro had to fight with forZe in the CIS derby. Virtus.pro were unable to win even one map from their countrymen but still they did not leave their fans without a little show. If Mirage ended up with the score of 16-11, Overpass was dragged up to the third series of overtimes so the meeting ended up with 25-23. VP were forced to continue their way, but it will be more accurate to say that they tried to continue at the lower bracket. They were unlucky to meet with HAVU Gaming. The CIS roster could show a beautiful battle which started with Train that resulted in 22-20. HAVU Gaming is represented by strong Finnish players and this highlight is an incontrovertible proof for that.

VP still managed to draw the game thanks to performances like this:

But Virtus.pro lost a battle with HAVU Gaming and became the first participant to depart from the championship. Fans and viewers’ expectations were absolutely different. However, it is what it is.

American fiasco

Evil Geniuses are considered to be one of the strongest teams in North America but the problem is that after the start of the quarantine this region’s performance was all downhill in comparison with Europe and CIS. Evil Geniuses have not been in Top-20 CS:GO teams according to HLTV for a long time but we still can’t call them a talentless team. The roster had immense merits in the past but their performance was expected to make more magic than 7th-8th place.

At the upper bracket the team could not beat Dignitas, so they lost 0-2, and at the lower bracket their performance was crushed by BIG who made it to the grand final at the lower bracket and became the champions. The battle with the Germans was interesting and there were several interesting highlights.

For instance, XANTARES flew off the handle and killed four enemies by himself:

K1to also stood out in one of the highlights and capped the scoring at the last round of the first half of Dust 2:

At the beginning of the second half of Dust 2, Brehze did -4 with USP and managed to lift the morale of the team for the upcoming rounds:

Getting beaten by the champions of the event is not shameful, however, we don’t have the heart to call the outcome eligible for EG.

ForZe did not make it to Top-3

At this moment spectators’ attention is drawn for the CIS stage. Gambit Esports that used to be specialists of winning Tier-2 tournaments requalified into the best team in the world in a short period of time. And after four CIS teams entered Top-4 of IEM Katowice 2021, all esports representatives agreed with the fact that players from the region are pretty strong. Nevertheless, ForZe has never been considered to be a very strong team or one of the brightest representatives of the CIS countries. But they managed to make a brilliant display at the championship. One of the brightest highlights of matches where they participated in was their last round on Dust 2 at the battle with BIG. The team did not have a lot of money, so they had a force buy. The risk was justified, the Germans allowed a mistake, so Jerry felt confident and did -4 with a deagle:

ForZe defeated VP and Complexity Gaming at the upper bracket but could not beat Extra Salt and dropped low. There they were unable to win a battle with BIG when they were fighting for making it to the grand final, and the team took third place. Taking into account the fact that Virtus.pro took 7th-8th place, forZe’s work seems even more significant. Their efforts brought the team $15,000.

Extra Salt proceeded to the final

Who are Extra Salt? A mix of international players including two representatives of South Africa, one American, one Canadian, and one Mexican. The coach, by the way, as well as JT and Sonic, is also originated from South Africa. Do we know lots of teams where South African esportsmen show spectacular results? And what is the ratio of successful teams that are made up by representatives of one country to teams that show a great game but consist of international esportsmen? All these questions have to give us a nudge that Extra Salt is a team that breaks the mold in esports. At the end of the previous year the roster was left without Cloud9’s support, so Extra Salt decided to sign the five CS:GO players. Hardly anyone expected good results from them at the championship. Evil Geniuses, Virtus.pro, HAVU Gaming were expected to perform at the final, but definitely not Extra Salt.

Nevertheless, JT and the team surprised everyone. They started with beating BIG, continued with a triumph at the battle with Dignitas and a victory over forZe, but finished with a fail against BIG who they had previously beaten at the start of their participation in Funspark ULTI 2020. The team was one step away from the victory as the players made it to the grand final through the upper bracket, so they had an advantage of one map. The second map was also taken into their active but they were unable to lead the game till the victory. Why did it happen? Lack of vigour and power, or BIG’s determination? Perhaps, both.

Big return from BIG’s players

Who worked best at the championship and surprised everyone? Right, BIG! The team lost the first battle held between Extra Salt and tabseN and his team, so everyone started to dismiss them but… The Germans showed that it is never a good idea to give up.

At the first battle of the lower bracket BIG defeated Evil Geniuses and made it to the next stage where they were being waited for by Complexity Gaming. This battle was really interesting so both maps ended up with 19-16. The teams were fighting to the bitter end and this was fruitful for BIG. At the battle with HAVU Gaming, the Finnish were unable to win any map from the restless Germans and in total the team managed to win only 16 round there.

forZe met them at the final of the lower bracket. The CIS team tried to proceed to the grand final but BIG did not lose any map. By the battle with forZe, the Germans had already got into good gaming shape in a way that tabseN did not really need his teammates to execute the opponents:

The story of BIG’s win is especially beautiful as at the start they lost a battle with Extra Salt and were forced to go through the lower bracket which was said on numerous occasions. The grand final gave them a chance to punish the rivals and take a rematch. As we said before, Extra Salt had an advantage of one map and won the second. Nevertheless, BIG managed to make an epic comeback and returned to the game from 0-2 and won three maps in a row which helped them to become the champions of Funspark ULTI 2020. Their hard work saw its true value which is a monetary reward of $150,000. Extra Salt got a consolation prize of $50,000 for the lost game.

Results of the tournament