Mousesports took home the first notable trophy of the 2020 CS:GO year, winning a hard-fought series against Natus Vincere in the grand finals of ICE Challenge, after a grueling six days of action.
The ICE Challenge took place from February 1-6, and offered fans a chance to see several top teams in action for the first time in the new year, competing for a share of the $250,000 prize pool.
Among those making their 2020 debut were Na’Vi, who in January made the move to cut Ladislav ‘GuardiaN’ Kovács. Oleksandr ‘s1mple’ Kostyliev was back on the AWP, with young rifler Ilya ‘Perfecto’ Zalutskiy as the fifth man.
The new team’s first outing was largely a success, not dropping a map on their way to the grand final where they faced Mousesports. Mouz themselves were making their first appearance of 2020 after closing out the previous year with an impressive run of three championships and one runner-up finish.
Mousesports drew first blood in the best-of-five final with a close-fought 16-14 win on Dust 2, and followed up with a more convincing 16-8 victory on Inferno. Na’Vi were able to stay alive in the series with a 16-11 Train win, in spite of an epic 1v5 by Chris ‘ChrisJ’ de Jong that many are already calling the play of the year (and the decade so far).
Mousesports capitalized on numerous Na’Vi mistakes on the fourth map, Nuke, to close our the series 3-1 and take home the trophy.
Meanwhile, Virtus.Pro’s new squad, which previously represented AVANGAR, were looking for their first big result under the new banner, having previously picked up underwhelming top-eight finishes at EPICENTER and DreamHack Leipzig.
Unfortunately, they were once again unable to make a deep run, falling out in the quarterfinals to GODSENT for a top-six placing.
It was also another disappointing outing for ENCE, who were eliminated in last place. The Finnish team have struggled to find their footing since replacing in-game leader ‘Aleksib’, whose new OG squad beat them in their first match of the tournament. OG ultimately only went one step further than ENCE, though, reaching the quarterfinals before being eliminated by MAD Lions.
ICE Challenge 2020 Final Placements
Additional reporting provided by Scott Robertson.