Paradox upset defending champions Avant in ESL ANZ Champs season opener

Plucky underdogs Paradox Gaming dismantled last season’s overall winners Avant Gaming in the first round of ESL’s ANZ Champs Counter-Strike: Global Offensive 2020 Season 2.

With odds of seven to one in favour of Avant, the 2–1 upset to Paradox (Mirage 16–14, Train 11–16, Inferno 16–6) gave the team “confidence and motivation” going forward in the regional CSGO competition.

The first map in the best-of-three, Mirage, appeared to go according to script in the first half.

Avant’s aggression and individual talent on the counter-terrorist side employed a strategy of divide and conquer, leading to a 12–3 scoreline to the favourites.

But Paradox’s slow play and solid site holds in the second half brought the game back to its traditional roots, taking control of the economy and defanging Avant’s hyper-aggressive playstyle. The underdogs managed to take out their map pick 16–14.

While Paradox would have liked to carry the momentum onto Train, the wheels looked to be falling off after a strong start. On the terrorist side, the battle devolved into a brutal back-and-forth of pistol and buy rounds with neither team being able to build up their economy. 

On the terrorist side, the battle devolved into a brutal back-and-forth of pistol and buy rounds with neither team being able to build up their economy. 

A mighty effort by Avant’s Kiwi AWPer Euan “sterling” Moore — and a touch of the team’s uncanny talent for audacious pushes — had fans of the favourites breathe a sigh of relief with the 16-11 scoreline belying the hard-fought map.

The Avant win sent the series to a decider on the third and final map: Inferno.

Starting on the CT side, Paradox AWPer Luke “ekul” Blakey and recent pickup 17-year-old Reily “versa” Dundas did the heavy lifting. They scored 48 kills between them, and Harry “bedonka” Hayes added to the eventual victor’s momentum as he harried Avant with cheeky picks across the map.

Finishing the half 12–3, the underdog’s T-side wasn’t quite as clean, but was good enough to clinch the victory 16–6, and confirm one of the first major upsets of ESL ANZ Champs’ eleventh season.

New to top-tier Counter-Strike, versa said taking out last season’s champs was a “milestone” for himself and the team: “As a team, this win has made us realise that we have potential and has boosted our confidence and motivation.”

The Paradox top-fragger anchored B-site on Inferno and racked up 68 kills in the series.

“I didn’t have a ‘WOW’ highlight but on Inferno, I believe it was like 8–1 or 7–1 to us, and I held B site with a nice 4k, and that moment I realised that we could do this, that we could beat Avant which was a turning point for me personally,” Versa explained.

Meanwhile, fan-favourites Renegades didn’t disappoint, beating second open-qualifier seed Run it Back Bruv aka Vorpal Swords aka Generation of Miracles 2–0 on Mirage and Inferno. The former Airborne roster, under the Truckers with Attitude banner, whitewashed Ground Zero 2–0 on Overpass and Dust II.

Lastly, battlers Rooster clawed the second map back against heavy-weight Order’s map-pick of Nuke, but lost their best-of-three 2–1 to tumble into the lower bracket in Stage 1 of the regional competition.

Imagery supplied

Matt Brown
Matt Brown
Kiwi journo Matt “nipple” Brown loves spinning a yarn in a deathmatch server and telling interesting tales. Easily confused, he tends to ask more questions than people are generally comfortable with.



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