PGL Major Stockholm 2021: Challengers Stage Day-1

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PGL Major 2021 Challengers Stage Day 1: Astralis Collapse, Brazilian Teams Falter, FaZe on Fire

First day of Challengers Stage concludes with some surprising turn of events!

Aditya Singh Rawat
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Highlights
The PGL Major Stockholm 2021 finally kicked off today, 779 days after the last Major took place in Berlin.
The first day of the Challengers Stage witnessed the crash of Astralis, collapse of all the Brazilian teams, and a few surprise '2-0' picks.
Here is a quick recap of all that went down on 26th October, setting up an ever more dramatic Day-2.

The PGL Major Stockholm 2021 finally kicked off today, 779 days after the last such tournament which had taken place in 2019. Starting with the Challengers Stage, 16 of the 24 teams participating in the tournament faced off against each other in a swiss format and blessing us all with some quality CS:GO action.

Yes, the experience did take a slight hit due to the many technical problems that lined the event, but PGL did well in rectifying most of them in an effective manner.

Some teams had a great outing while it was a straight nightmare for others, here is a quick recap of PGL Major Stockholm 2021: Challengers Stage Day-1.

Viewers Guide: PGL Major 2021 - Challengers Stage Day 1

A total of 16 matches of CS:GO were played today, which has setup an exciting Day-2 for the tournament. A couple of teams pulled off a surprise performance to go undefeated, resulting in some upsets which includes the collapse of an entire region as well.

Astralis crashes on the first day

The defending champions, Astralis, had a rough outing on the first day of the PGL Major 2021. They failed to win even a single map, facing consecutive defeats by their local rivals Copenhagen Flames and the CIS dark horse Entropiq.

Overpass was where the first blow was dealt, the inaugural match of the Majors witnessing a Danish derby where the kings were kicked from their throne. Astralis took a '16-6' thrashing, their young marksman Philip "Lucky" Ewald unable to find any impact on the map.

Astralis lost the Danish derby against CPHF

Soon a battered Astralis doubled up and fell to its knees, following another '16-6' defeat to Entropiq. This time the blow was dealt on Dust 2, a map on which the Danes are not all too proficient. Once again Lucky got the short end of the stick, playing under pressure as the team overall seemed to be in a bit of a disarray on the server.

Astralis finished the day '0-2' which clearly comes as a shock to many, who despite knowing the current state of the team did not expect them to perform this poorly. They will be playing their do-or-die eliminator match against GODSENT tomorrow on 27th October at 19:45 IST.

GODSENT, paiN, Sharks - Brazilian teams falter early in the Major

All the three teams with Brazilian rosters competing in the Challengers Stage had a rough day as none of them managed to win a single match. All the three teams went '0-2', facing the threat of being eliminated tomorrow.

While GODSENT is up against Astralis, paiN finds itself playing a derby match against Sharks. The best outcome for the Brazilian teams is two of them surviving - GODSENT and paiN/Sharks, the worst-case outcome is the survival of only one Brazilian team in the Challengers Stage.

Both Sharks and paiN lost their second match with a '16-14' scoreline, barely missing out on that '1-1' finish which would have put them in a way better position. It is disheartening to see paiN in this position after witnessing that incredible 1v4 clutch by Wesley "hardzao" Lopes against Virtus.pro, truly the play of the day.

paiN Gaming end their first day with a '0-2' run

Copenhagen Flames, FaZe Clan, Virtus.pro - Unexpected '2-0' runs

CPHF were definitely not the favourites when discussing which teams would go '2-0' at the end of Challengers Stage Day-1. They had a fantastic run through the last RMR tournament, IEM Fall 2021: Europe, where they managed a 7th place finish.

The team has since managed to built up on their form, the senior rifler Fredrik "roeJ" Jørgensen absolutely tearing teams apart left and right with consecutive dominating performances. He has been the MVP for the Danish side, carrying the team hard on the opening day.

Similarly, it was the old man Finn "karrigan" Andersen who turned up for FaZe Clan in their '2-0' run after having barely qualified for the Major. The 31-year-old secured 50 frags across the two matches today, putting in the effort to make sure that Helvijs "broky" Saukants gets his autographed player stickers.

Though FaZe had been predicted to be the team with the highest chance of making it through to the Legends Stage, the way in which they have dominated and made their presence felt is quite the achievement. The European mix will be taking on Virtus.pro in their qualifying matchup.

Another surprise addition to the '2-0' squad is Virtus.pro, who had proved so far that the last minute roster shuffle was probably for the best. Though the team is still struggling in the middle and not all their round wins are clean, they are getting the job done.

They have had close matches with '16-14' and '16-12' scorelines, but at the end of the day it is the win that counts. The new member Evgeny "FL1T" Lebedev is still a bit shaky but it is nothing too concerning, as they prepare to take on a pumped FaZe Clan on Day-2.

The Day-2 of the Challengers Stage has been perfectly set up by the games that followed today, as we witness the first qualifications and eliminations take place tomorrow on 27th October.

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Aditya is the in-house CS:GO writer at AFK Gaming. While his understanding of the esports space is not restricted by geographical borders, his current focus lies in the Asian region. Understands and follows almost all major esport titles.