One game. Six overtimes. 88 goddamn rounds. Consensus says it's the longest single game of pro Counter-Strike: Global Offensive ever.
It was supposed to be a one-sided mismatch. exceL eSports, a team that some felt didn't even deserve to be competing in the ESL UK Premiership, was matched against Team XENEX, a UK team of much better renown. People figured it'd be quick — and probably a little ugly.
(This is only part of the overtime portion of the game. You can watch the entire thing on this Twitch page.)
What happened instead was one of the longest knock-down, drag-out back-and-forths in Counter-Strike history, and the longest in pro Counter-Strike: Global Offensive history. As UKCSGO explained:
"Opening up on the [counter terrorist] side, XENEX went on to take the half with a five round lead of exceL, who had managed to take five rounds of their own during the half. Whilst this is a typical score for an Inferno clash, the odds were stacked heavily in favour of XENEX who would have been aiming for a greater advantage. This was no great worry for the XENEX side though, who began to rack up the terrorist rounds for themselves and bring the score to a comforting 14-8. At this stage in the game, something must have clicked for the exceL camp, who managed to take hold of 5 consecutive rounds before any sort of response from XENEX, who eventually led the game 15-13. Just two more rounds from exceL eSports saw the game lead into what would become the longest games of Counter Strike in memory."
Back and forth and back and forth and back and forth. Neither team could pull ahead definitively, enough to be declared the winner. The game was a nail-biter that ended up going for nearly three hours — resolve-whittling ages in a tense, methodical game like Counter-Strike. But that wasn't what sealed it so much as it was the fact that Counter-Strike isn't designed for such lengthy games. Every player exceeded 50 kills, buy rounds (and really, the entire Counter-Strike meta) went haywire.
Eventually, XENEX took it, but exceL proved they could dance with the big(ger) boys and keep them on their toes the whole time. Oh, and then there was an entire second game after that, because pro Counter-Strike: Global Offensive works on a best-of-three system. The whole series lasted more than four hours. So yeah: gruelling.
Still, it's interesting to see both a game and its players taken to the limits like this. And while there have been longer pro play times in games like StarCraft, this was definitely one of the more entertaining Longest Matches Ever. Bravo to all involved, and may angels who only get aces sing of their deeds in Counter-Strike valhalla.