By Matt Liew & Jeremy Say

As is typically the case, Malaysian Time” struck again for the CS:GO ASEAN Round Grand Final match, which ended up starting at 2.30pm – a full two hours behind its scheduled start time of 12.30pm. Alas, even the livestream of the tournament on twitch.tv/ages2016 was not spared, as it displayed an interesting “Out of Range” message at 27:23 on their VOD.

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The best-of-three saw MVP.Karnal [Malaysia] squaring off against MiTH [Thailand], with a one game advantage to MVP.Karnal. The two teams had already faced each other once, with MVP.Karnal taking the win in that occasion. MiTH were wounded, out for revenge in the Grand Final.

MVP.Karnal, representing Malaysia, consists of team captain Aiman “aimaNNN Azham, Ashraf acAp” Firdaus, Alex xevR” Pereira, Andrew Kaze” Khong, and Syahrir izzatR Izzat, while their opponents, MiTH from Thailand consists of team captain Sarindhorn JinNy” Wanothayarnchai, Pakorn veta” Treeronarit, Maitri “MAIROLLS Sukrob, Siwer viperdemon” Kruavit, and Warittorn RoLEX Kalanukarn.

With the game able to go either way the map that was chosen was Cache Competitive. In the knife round to decide who would start on which side, MiTH took only one casualty as they easily won. They decided to pick the CT (Counter Terrorist) side to start off with. Both teams decided to split up – half to bomb site A and the other to B – to gain as much insight into the other team’s setup as possible. MVP.Karnal slowly outflanked MiTH, and got the first point on the board.

In what can only be described as a masterclass display, MVP.Karnal kept pulling off beautiful, slick plays to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. In one round, MVP.Karnal’s xevR found himself in a 1v2 situation. xevR was able to not only sneak up from behind and plant the bomb, but also successfully defend it. By round 3, the AWP was already deployed by MVP.Karnal – and to immediate success. The first shot fired by the notorious gun drew the first blood of the round – a quick no-scope headshot. MiTH had no response to the almighty AWP in that round, and found themselves down 0-3.

MiTH looked to be in a bad position by this point, as they had little money saved up to buy much needed equipment, such as Kevlar armour. Soon, the score ticked up for MVP.Karnal to 4-0 and then 5-0, as the Malaysian team began building a significant economic advantage over their Thai opponents.

It took the 6th round for MiTH to finally take a match, getting their first point on the board and also stop their economy from bleeding out any further. They also stole the enemy AWP as an added bonus. MVP.Karnal, not caring for the small setback, aggressively pushed to site A using the money they’d been saving up and turned the score 6-1. With Kaze behind his beloved AWP, MVP.Karnal continued to further their lead, reaching half-time in the tie at an impressive 13-2 – just 3 rounds shy of the Championship and its RM 133,300 cash prize.

MiTH were not deterred by the overwhelming odds, and started mounting a comeback with team captain JinNy and veta leading the charge. Soon enough the score became 15-5, still in MVP.Karnal’s favour, but a notable improvement from the MiTH. This trend continued as the comeback became more and more real, with the crowd going wild every time MiTH teamwiped  MVP.Karnal. With MVP. Karnal just one win away from the championship, MiTH found themselves with their backs to the wall, and gave everything  they had – with veta scoring a triple kill in one of the rounds.

MVP.Karnal seemed unable to close out the game, and the score soon became 15-7. Without panicking, MVP.Karnal decided to take things slow and save money for the next round – conceding another point to MiTH, 15-8. This allowed MVP.Karnal to buy out proper gear in the next round and test their new fancy toys on MiTH. It was time for the double AWP on both Kaze and acAp.

Both AWP players decided to each take one bomb site to secure, and let the fun commence. This was something they weren’t doing before, as they chose to defend the site immediately instead of trying to retake them from MiTH. This proved to be extremely effective as Kaze got an instant headshot on veta as the first shots were fired. It was the beginning of the end for MiTH, as the rest of MVP.Karnal quickly flanked MiTH and made quick work of them – winning the match and series without any casualties or even a scratch that round.

With the game ending 16-8 in MVP.Karnal’s favour, they had also won the best-of-three series 2-0 (the organizers awarded them a one-game advantage due to coming from a higher bracket), and were crowned Champion of AGES 2016 – bagging an impressive RM 133,300.

As the host performed the loser’s interview the runner-up’s captain MiTH.Jinny, the question “How do you feel MiTH performed?” was asked, to which MiTH Jinny responded that it was MVP.Karnal’s Kaze finding the important kills as well as their MVP.Karnal seeming to read their game plan time and time again. The host decided to drag Kaze out to ask him “Why you keep AWPing them?” The response from Kaze was simply “because I’m good”, which got a few laughs from the crowd.

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With such a wonderful game to watch, it felt awkward to end the Grand Finals with some tasteless jokes (toilet humour included) and the runner-up’s interview – effectively asking them “Why did you do so badly?” The players, in my humble opinion, were put in a very awkward position on stage, in front of a live audience and the Internet. Well Played, AGES 2016!