CLG Red prove favorites as EG Gold falter in ESL Impact League
The biggest all-women's competition started last week with the group stage, where every team from each group will face each other before the top two teams from Group A and B advance to the single elimination bracket playoffs. The top two teams from playoffs will go on to the LAN Finals in Dallas.
Group A consists of CLG Red, Saints, Shimmer, and byte, while Group B has Detonate SparX, EG Gold, Starfish, and Factor Ruby. Compared to the previous season, this one has four organization-backed rosters, with three being present in Group B.
The first day of play had byte fighting against Shimmer, and Detonate SparX against EG Gold.
The series started off very poorly for byte. The team picked Anubis and Shimmer had the T-side start, considered the most favorable side on the map. Despite byte winning the CT-side pistol, Shimmer put the pedal to the metal and got a 12-3 half, with Lynn "Lx" Clarke getting 140.7 ADR during the T-side. The second half was very quick, as Shimmer didn't drop a single round.
Map two was Inferno and the little Italian town belonged to Lucy "empathy" Verkaik. The 18-year-old former EG Gold player got 35 kills, with 23 coming from the T-side and 12 from the CT-side. Inferno was much closer than Anubis, but Shimmer got the win with a 16-10 score.
Group B had a more competitive game on its hands. Detonate SparX have been on a high since joining the scene under the Chimkin tag and EG Gold entered the match with the intent of overtaking CLG Red, meaning they should be feared by the opposition. Despite expectations, SparX managed a very comfortable Mirage win, picked by EG Gold. Cecily "Chowdzz" Johnson led the charge for the newly-signed team with 27 kills and 142 ADR on the map, with SparX winning 16-6.
The second map, Inferno picked by SparX, couldn't get more competitive. The final score was 16-14 despite the 9-6 start for the "home" team on the T-side. Once again, Chowdzz topped the fragging list with 26 kills. The map would go Detonate SparX's side, sealing the win for them.
Day two hosted two more games and two more 2-0 sweeps.
In Group A, CLG Red and Saints faced each other. The two teams are considered the best in the North American scene, and expectations were high. Saints have been through some roster changes since arriving from Katowice, losing the AWPer and a rifler. The series can be considered a CLG Red domination, with the most renowned women's squad from the region controlling every T-side and not giving an inch on the CT-sides. Both maps ended 16-7 for CLG Red with pretty much everyone from the squad hitting their targets before being hit.
Group B hosted a match between Factor Ruby and Starfish that shed a lot of blood. Starfish got the 2-0 win with 16-9 and 16-11 scores, but both teams recorded high fragging numbers. The fragging list was topped by Rose "Tippy" Rolle and Crystal "kichu" Terencio from Starfish, with 49 and 48 kills, respectively.
The standings after the first week of ESL Impact Season 3 North American are:
1. CLG Red 1-0
2. Shimmer 1-0
3. Saints 0-1
4. byte 0-1
1. Detonate SparX 1-0
2. Starfish 1-0
3. Evil Geniuses Gold 0-1
4. Factor Ruby 0-1