Article written by guest author Umesh "Kripz" Kripalani
The war wages on in Cologne, Germany. The quarter-finalists and semi-finalists have been determined today. While the matches so far have been conducted from the ESL Studios, tomorrow we move on to the LANXESS Arena. 13000 CSGO fans in the Cathedral of Counter-Strike and millions more online will get to see some high-octane esports action. But before we move on to what will happen tomorrow, let’s find out how these teams fared today, and what their road to the play-offs looked like.
Heroic vs BIG - Group B Lower Bracket Semi-Final 1
Gob b and co. had a lackluster performance today as they lost 2-0 to Heroic. The game started on the map pick of BIG - Inferno. While the first half was evenly contested, things changed when Heroic joined the T side. They were able to successfully take mid control time and again and break up the BIG crossfires to dominate them on the A site repeatedly. Heroic won 16-13.
Then came Nuke. Heroic nuked BIG to oblivion on their T side. On a map which is considered to be mostly CT sided, Heroic were able to grab 9 rounds. They steamrolled out of control on the CT side, conceding only one round to the Germans and knocking them out of the tournament with a 16-7 win.
Vitality vs Fnatic - Group B Lower Bracket Semi-Final 2
Vitality won 2-0, but they didn’t acquire it without fighting for it. Both the maps went to overtime. On many occasions, it seemed that Fnatic had the round in the bag. Just then, Zywoo would step up and pull off impossible clutches to deny fnatic the win.
Fnatic picked Mirage and everything seemed to be going in their favor, holding an initial lead of 14-1. Then, the clutches began. Vitality won 4 in a row to get to match point. Fnatic won the last round to force overtime, where Vitality showed their mettle. ALEX clutched a 1vs2, Zywoo and apEX clutched a 2vs4 to win Mirage 19-16
Overpass was much harder for Vitality than they would have anticipated. The first half ended 9-6 in the favor of Vitality while they were on the CT side. Fnatic on their T side were able to make pretty simple yet effective B rushes work multiple times. Vitality had no idea how to respond to that kind of aggression. Once again, the game went into overtime. That is where the Zywoo show began. The newest player of Vitality clutched out a 1vs4 to grab match point. Vitality then won 19-17.
Heroic vs Vitality - Group B Lower Bracket Finals
Heroic started the round with Overpass. Vitality won the first two rounds before tragically giving up the next five to heroic. Vitality amped up their B defenses to show them who’s the boss and ended the first half leading 9-6. The second half was back and forth, but Vitality managed to get a smooth 16-13 win.
If you are a Martin 'stavn' Lund fan, Inferno would have been a treat for your eyes. He carried his team with an astounding 1.53 Impact Rating. Unfortunately, Vitality has always been the stronger team on Inferno. They won Inferno 16-14 to knock Heroic out of the tournament.
Astralis vs NiP - Group B Upper Bracket Finals
The first map - Dust2 - NiP’s map pick would give one flashbacks of the time they played each other in IEM Katowice. Astralis looked like they had it in the bag, quickly securing match point at 15-12. F0rest had other plans. He clutched a 1vs2 round to give NiP a fighting chance that let them force the game into overtime.
Astralis had smooth sailing on Inferno to comfortably win 16-8. With this win, Astralis have secured a slot in the semi-finals, NiP move on to the quarter-finals.
Mousesports vs Na`Vi - Group A Lower Bracket Finals
If you want to have a blast watching this event, this is a series for you. Mousesports took Na’Vi to inferno. Mousesports instantly regretted this decision as Na`Vi raced ahead with a 11-4 lead. What mousesports did in the second half blew away our minds. ChrisJ started to frag relentlessly and mousesports won eleven rounds in a row
to get to match point. Of course, s1mple and electronic could not stay silent. They too stepped up, and won four rounds in a row of their own to tie the game at 15-15.
What followed was a gruelling double-overtime skirmish where Na`Vi came out on top.
Ironically, mousesports won Dust2 next (Na`Vi’s map pick). They surprised Na`Vi with outrageous flanks.
Train was pretty straightforward as Na`Vi bagged 9 rounds on the T side, confirming their win. They finally closed out the map 16-9 and knocked mousesports out of the tournament. Na`Vi qualifed for the quarter-finals.
Liquid vs NRG - Group A Upper Bracket finals
NRG picked Nuke, but Liquid showed them the art of crunching on to the B side. The #1 team in the world won Nuke 16-12.
However, I don’t think they were prepared for what NRG brought to the table on Inferno. The match was an all-out brawl and dragged on to double-overtime. It is impossible to describe this match in a written format, as it wouldn’t do justice to the intensity of the action. Liquid won 22-20, but not before realizing that their Inferno is not as strong as they thought it was. NRG move on to the quarter-finals where they will Vitality. Liquid await their opponents in the semi-final.
That concludes Day 3. The play-offs begin tomorrow. Stakes are higher, the audience is louder. The aim is sharp. Brains, sharper. Don’t miss out on the biggest non-major event of the year.
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Image Courtesy of ESL