On December 19th, 2021, North America ESEA Premier finals were supposed to be underway. However, due to an unexpected Forfeit from ChocoCheck, the finals didn’t even happen. So, what went wrong?
The Importance Of The Premier Finals
ESEA Premier is the highest division of tier-2 North American Counter-Strike, where the best teams compete for a spot in ESL Pro League. Making it to Pro League is the first step for any ambitious tier-2 team striving to make it to the next level of the game. The significance and importance of this final is shown previously through other great teams who have risen from this event. As one of the biggest matches in amateur CS:GO, no aspiring professional would miss this for the world.
ChocoCheck was the sixth seed coming into the playoffs. Being somewhat of an underdog team, they subverted the expectations of most by battling through more established teams to make it to the finals. They had impressive victories against the likes of RBG Esports and Pain Gaming; Pain explicitly had a competitive showing at the major, showing that they could compete on the world stage. Against the odds, ChocoCheck made it to the finals against none other than the North American standout: Extra Salt.
A Formidible Opponent
Extra Salt is a fan favorite. They’re loved across the region for their talented players, and potential to rise to the top of the scene. The daunting task of playing Extra Salt in the finals would certainly intimidate any team. This would be even more so for ChocoCheck seeing as they were defeated by them once already in the playoffs. Regardless of the talent or recognition, this final was ready to go. Two hungry teams with a desire for that Pro League spot, however, ChocoCheck didn’t even show up.
A Dissatisfying Outcome
With a forfeit win in the books, Extra Salt was crowned ESEA Season 39 Premier champions and achieved that lovely Pro League spot. On the other hand, for ChocoCheck there's nothing but disappointment for them, and their supporters. As stated by a player for ChocoCheck on Twitter, “ESL won't let us reschedule”. Fans were skeptical though as they have 8 players on their active roster; however, the aforementioned player assured everyone that there was no chance they could have played. Due to unforeseen circumstances, the finals were a bust. Regardless of what anyone thinks the outcome would have been, it’s upsetting for all fans of the tier-2 scene to miss out on what would have been an exciting match.