-The second big event of 2009 is in the books after a thrilling tournament that saw some of the top teams from around the world competing at their very best.

After a few days of intense group play, fnatic once again found themselves sitting pretty in the bracket play, completely dismantling their opponents and grabbing their second major title of the year. Now, like we did for EM III, GotFrag will take a look back at the ESWC Masters and highlight a few things that we learned from watching the best of the best do battle in Korea.

#1 - fnatic is scary-good:

When they won EM III in March, we had a hint that they were probably the best team in the World. So why is it any surprise that they once again dominated the competition and won ESWC Masters?

Simply... because they somehow got better.

Even with a close 16-14 loss to SK in group play, there was a sense throughout the tournament that no team would deny fnatic their second title of 2009. They were just too strong, somehow playing better and better as they moved deeper into bracket play, and topped off by the fact that they so thoroughly crushed their Swedish rivals in the Finals. Even with the gauntlet of top teams they had to play through - Wicked, mTw, mouz, and SK - fnatic was never for even the slightest moment phased. They were just too strong.

With unbelievable rifle play from both f0rest and GeT_RiGhT, and equally impressive support from carn, dsn and gux, fnatic was hitting shots and covering spots like few other teams could. Everything they did seemed to go their way, and no matter who tried to step up and stop them, the title hungry Swedes simply would not give up an inch. It was almost painful to watch if you were cheering for an opposing team.

Still, perhaps the most interesting point of all is the fact that fnatic has just won back to back major events in such a punishing way. With the amount of talent it takes these days to consistently win events against the best teams around the world, it almost seems like an impossibility that one team would be able to dominate all that opposed them. However, fnatic has looked just incredible these past two months - not since SK.swe in 2003 has a team looked so menacing entering events.

While it is still early in the year, there is no doubt who the best team in the world is.

#2 - EM III was a fluke for mousesports:

mousesports came into the EM III European Finals as the defending champions and heavy favorite to advance to the Grand Finals where they were expected to finish in the top 5. However, after 3 close losses in group play, one to German rival ALTERNATE, mouz was sent packing and missed out on the chance to defend their championship. It all seemed like a big mistake.

At ESWC Masters Cheonan however, mouz was on a mission to prove that their poor result in EM III was nothing more than a fluke.

With solid play from the entire team, the Germans were able to charge through a group of mediocre teams on day one and set themselves up in good position to make a run at bracket play. It looked as though the slight mishap at EM III had woken the team up and they were ready to once again take charge and dominate.

On day 2 in bracket play mouz easily disposed of a weaker EG team before running into the rampaging fnatic, ending their hopes of capturing the title. Still, they were able to rebound with a win over the Norwegian Alchemists whom they had already crushed in Group Play, and come away from the event with a solid 3rd place finish.

Now it would seem that mousesports has bounced back from EM III and asserted themselves as an international powerhouse once again. With KODE5 looming on the horizon, it will be interesting to see if they can take it a step further and steal the event away from someone like fnatic, SK, or mTw.

#3 - CS isn't going anywhere:

Counter-Strike is a funny game. When big tournaments are going on and the best teams in the world are going head to head for large cash prizes, the game seems as fresh and entertaining as it was five years ago. When there is dead time between major events though, threads start popping up, and people start talking about how the game is dying and that it is only a matter of time before it becomes obsolete.

The good news?

There are still plenty of huge tournaments to come this year with KODE5, WCG, Dreamhack and several other large events in the near future. If ESWC Masters Cheonan taught us anything, it is that there is still a large fan base interested in watching competitive CS and following their favorite teams. Last night, thousands of people from around the world piled into HLTV servers and watched live streams of the event finals, while several hundreds, if not thousands more watched live in Korea. On top of that, a vent server dedicated solely to the event, containing several hundred slots, filled up almost instantly with fans eager to join in on the fun.

While CS may not be as large as it was several years ago when teams like SK.swe, EYE, and NoA ruled the world, there is no denying that there is still plenty of interest in the game and the several top teams that still compete for our entertainment (and a check). It will take more than a little down time between events and some nay-sayers to kill CS for good.

ESWC Masters Cheonan Awards

fnatic & SK - Best Overall Team

Both teams played extremely well. SK went undefeated in group play and only took their first losses in the Grand Finals to fnatic. fnatic on the other hand took an early loss to SK in group play before taking charge and winning the rest of the way through.

While fnatic did win the event and deserves to be called best overall team, it would be hard not to give both teams recognition for their outstanding play during the course of the event.

ALCHEMISTS - Most Surprising Team

Throw a team of Norwegians into a tournament with a favorable draw and a slightly accessible path, and they will do their best to turn a few heads and place amongst the best teams in the world.

Going into the ESWC Masters event, few people had much hope for ALCHEMISTS. However, a favorable group that saw them finish second to mousesports, and a solid win in bracket play vs WeMade Fox allowed for the Norwegians to secure a 4th place finish in Korea.

Christopher "GeT_RiGhT" Alesund - ESWC Masters Cheonan MVP

f0rest was amazing. kapio was stellar. But GeT_RiGhT was simply out of this world.

While everyone on fnatic played an important role in securing the teams second title of the year, Alesund was consistently making the best players in the world look as though they were straight from CAL Open. His aim looked as though he was hacking, and his in game decisions kept putting him in positions to outsmart his opponents and come away with frags.

With this event, there is no doubt that GeT_RiGhT is now one of the most feared players in the game.

fnatic vs mTw (Round 1 Match 1) - Best Match

SK vs fnatic in group play was awesome. fnatic vs mous in the Semi-Finals was entertaining.

fnatic vs mTw in Round 1 of Bracket play was epic.

Entering bracket play it didn't seem like there could be two better teams pit against each other in the first round. The only downside was that one of them would have to go home.

In what turned out to be an all out battle of two of the most skilled teams in the world, it took overtime for fnatic to finally overcome mTw and take them one step closer to capturing the events title. It was truly a great match.

Wicked - Biggest Disappointment at the Grand Finals

It is hard - no, painful to say that Wicked was a disappointment at ESWC. They were dropped, like always, into a group of death. They had to battle it out with eventual champions and runners up fnatic and SK. So why are they a disappointment?

They were the only top team to not make it out of group play. While that is not exactly a terrible thing considering the position they were put into, the ex-MYM were expected to be one of the two teams to continue on and possibly win the championship.

Though not a complete failure, the team themselves are probably not happy with their final placing.

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