Coming into this season it was difficult to pick a group that was really going to be better than the others, the only thing that you could know for sure was that the first three groups were going to be the best.
Group 1 - Warthox Esport, Eyeshield Gaming, Grim Reaper eSports, Fli6ht Gaming
This first group did not live up to the high expectations set at the start of this season at all, with it all feeling somewhat tame, added to by the fact that no losers in any game what so ever getting to double-digits.
Warthox Esport, known as NoNamers for the first game or so, utterly dominated in every game they played, with two 16-4 victories and a 16-5 over Fli6ht Gaming in Week 1.
Eyeshield Gaming went through in second place but paled in comparison to the mighty French side, which was proven by a 16-4 defeat to Warthox in Week 3.
The two teams who got knocked out put up roughly the same level of performance, with Season 3 Quarterfinalists Grim Reaper eSports being the more disappointing, simply because of what we saw that last group stage in which they even beat eventual finalists Posiedon Esport in convincing fashion.
Table: W/L (RD)
Warthox Esport 3-0 (+35)
Eyeshield Gaming 2-1 (+6)
Grim Reaper eSports 1-2 (-4)
Fli6ht Gaming 0-3 (-37)
Group 2 - Bpro Alternate, CEYA Esports, Clan Quark, Reaperz Esports
Group 2 was possibly surprising with the competitiveness amongst the squads, albeit featuring a dominant BPro alternate side who cruised their way through the Group Stage, even though they didn't quite have it as easy as Warthox did in their group.
They also only played on Mirage, and although they were undeniably strong on it, they will have to show some map depth in the playoffs when the BO3's come calling.
One interesting piece of memorabilia is that the group stage draw provided an interesting matchup in the final week between Bpro Alternate and CEYA Esports, as one of many great Bpro players "milkyy" had only quite recently left CEYA, even playing under that organisation for the first two weeks of Season 3.
"milkyy" and co. certainly proved a point in that game as they left their opponents shook with a brutal 16-4 victory.
All games in Group 2 were not that dominant, one of those non-dominant matches was Reaperz Esports vs CEYA Esports, a game featuring a Reaperz team who were playing out of their skin, repeatedly taking larger and larger leads, but it's very difficult to break CEYA on Inferno, and even harder to break CEYA's mentality, who were able to snatch the last four rounds of the game, winning it 16-14.
That is sure to be the most memorable match out of this group, possibly because it was the only non-mirage game in there.
Table: W/L (RD)
Bpro Alternate 3-0 (+24)
CEYA Esports 2-1 (+1)
Reaperz Esports 1-2 (+1)
Clan Quark 0-3 (-18)
Group 3 - Absolved, Tynx GG, Team Dragon, eXon eSports
This was a group of two gaps in skill level, with Absolved and Tynx on one end at the very top, and Team Dragon and eXon being at the very bottom, with the former arguably being dug into the ground by a fair few feet.
The skill level gap most certainly showed when the top end met the ones at the bottom,
with Tynx and Absolved absolutely slapping the others silly when they matched up against them, and it conceivably made for one too many big wins in Group 3.
We waited throughout the group stage ready and waiting to see those two at the top play eachother, expectations were set to a max so when we finally got there it felt like the game would never live up to those heights, how wrong we were.
What we became witness to in that match was a thrilling game from the moment it started, neck-and-neck throughout with smaller scale comebacks every now and then, which didn't even finish in regulation time as it took a whole 41 rounds before the winner was crowned, and it was Absolved, after a stunning display from Swedish awper "Ariant0", it must also be added when mentioning player performances during that match that ESN regular "Lind" played out of this world, both players are going to be in the playoffs and that can't come any sooner.
Table: W/L (RD)
Absolved 3-0 (+31)
Tynx GG 2-1 (+14)
eXon eSports 1-2 (-18)
Team Dragon 0-3 (-27)