The first of the ESEA South Africa Season 26 Semi Finals are coming your way later tonight. What happened last week after my Quarter Final preview article? What can we look forward to in the Semi Finals? Read on.

The Quarter Finals in review

Goliath Gaming vs Exdee Gaming: 2 – 0

After a flurry of force buys on either side, things settled down on Cobblestone with Goliath winning the map quite comprehensively with a 16 – 8 scoreline. Cache was similarly skewed towards Goliath with a 16 – 7 map win. Man of the Series has to be the normally supportive element in the team, Richard “Deviant” Groves getting 55 kills in total (29 map one, 26 map two). The veteran player finished with a monstrous +30 kill to death ratio and was able to score over 100 ADR (average damage per round) across both maps. Anything over 100 is very good. For Exdee, Gareth “Freaky” Glanville was similarly good with 48 frags in a losing effort.

Energy eSports vs xAstris: 2 – 0

Energy were relatively easy victors with 16 – 3 and 16 – 7 scores on Cobblestone and Inferno respectively. Robby “Blackpoison” da Loca had a field day getting 50 kills between two abbreviated maps which are indicative of Energy’s dominance in this series. On Cobble Blackpoison ended with a frankly ludicrous 138.1ADR. Energy were never challenged. This was made all the more impressive in that the team’s analyst Adam “Wham” Postepski was playing in place of premier entry fragger Rieghardt “flexi” Romatzki.

Bravado Gaming vs Damage Control: 2 – 0

What was once thought of as the “El Classico” in South African CS:GO has not been so in at least a year. DC’s drop off in performance has been marked. Both teams were forced to play with stand ins: Bravado with coach Tiaan “Tc.” Coertzen in for star AWPer Dimitri “Detrony” Hadjipaschali. On DC’s side, Angelo “Adr3nalin” Olevano replaced in game leader Harry “inciN” Apostoleris. While losing the team’s in game leader would have hurt DC more than Detrony’s absence would hurt Bravado, it’s rather shocking that DC were beaten this completely. Cache was a whitewash with a 16 – 0 to Bravado. None of DC’s players even broke double figures in the fragging department. Mirage was only slightly less one-sided with 16 – 6 the final score. Aran “Sonic” Groesbeek was in dominant form with 56 kills across the two maps and a mind-boggling ADR of 153.7 on Cache and series average ADR of 141.25. Mental.

Big 5 ESports vs Spartan eSports: 2 – 0

Despite playing with coach James “zerOchaNce” Wijnberg in place of star player Alexander “Spartan” Lazarides, Big 5 made relatively short work of their opponents. Scorelines of 16 – 10 and 16 – 9 respectively on Cobblestone and Inferno were underpinned by an all around effort from the Big 5 team. Man of the Series Hadlee “Konv1ct” Smith’s 45 frags between both maps was only slightly ahead of the rest of the team who all fragged well. Only Luciano “DaRew0w” Lasagni proved a consistent challenge in the series to Big 5 with 40 kills of his own.

Bravado Gaming’s Sonic – back to his best? Photo courtesy of Maddmatt.

Semi Final Preview

Energy eSports vs Big 5 Esports – Wednesday 12 December – Match Postponed, Date TBC

This might be a far more competitive encounter than you might imagine. African Champions Energy have generally been dominant in their encounters this year. However, with Flexi still unable to play and Wham taking his place yet again, there is a large chance that Big 5 could come away with a win. This depends on them fielding their full lineup, which I don’t have confirmation of. For the sake of making a prediction, I’ll go ahead and assume that Big 5 will have Spartan back. I think Big 5 can win this, but even without Flexi on Energy’s side, it will take a massive effort from Big 5. The match could still just as easily go Energy’s way nonetheless. They have the star players in Kani, Blackpoison and Domsterr to still get them over the line. It will be an interesting semi final. I’ll make the bold call, but I’m not sure I really believe.

Big 5: 2 – 1

Bravado Gaming vs Goliath Gaming – Thursday 13 December, 9pm

This should be a fiery encounter with both sides boasting incredible resources in terms of raw skill and aim. However Bravado possess more depth in the tactical aspect department and they also have Ace in the hole Sonic who seems to be back to top form. I think Goliath will raise their game for this matchup, but I don’t see them taking a map in this best of three series. Bravado are too experienced and too cohesive a unit. There’s still a gap between them and Goliath at this stage. Goliath are steadily improving, but are not yet challenging Bravado at the pinnacle of South African CS:GO.

Bravado: 2 – 0

Stream links for both matches are in the titles.