Spirit, Gambit, NiP, Liquid receive IEM Worlds group stage
Group Spirit, Gambit Esports, Ninjas in Pyjamas and Group Liquid each won their first two matches in the play-in round on the opening day of the Intel Extreme Masters Season XV World Champion on Tuesday.
Those four teams advance to the group stage, where they will be joined by squads that directly got approved for the occasion. The last 4 spots will go to teams that combat back through the double-elimination play-in round.
The 24-team field is competing for a share of a $1 million dollar prize pool, with the champion to make $400,000 and 1,800 Pro Tour points and 3,200 Blast Premier points The runner-up will receive $180,000, 1,400 Pro Tour points and 1,600 Blast Premier points
In the play-in round, teams played a single map in the very first round prior to playing a best-of-three series in the 2nd round.
In the upper bracket, Team Spirit published a 16-7 win over Cloud9 on Inferno before advancing to sweep BIG 16-11 on Overpass and 16-13 win on Mirage. Team Spirit was led by Russian Leonid “chopper” Vishnyakov in the 2nd round, as he had a team-high 53 kills and a plus-24 kill-death differential. Florian “syrsoN” Rische of Germany logged 37 kills and a minus-1 K-D differential for BIG.
Gambit Esports posted a 16-5 win over Team One before knocking off mouseports 2-1 to make an area in the group phase. After mouseports opened with a 16-11 win on Dust II, Gambit Esports roared back to take Inferno 16-12 and Vertigo 16-6.
In the second-round match, Gambit Esports was led by Kazakhstan’s Abay “Hobbit” Khasenov’s team-high 76 eliminates and plus-29 K-D ratio while Russian Dmitry “sh1ro” Sokolov acquired 59 kills and a plus-18 K-D. Estonia’s Robin “ropz” Kool taped 64 kills and a plus-13 K-D differential for mousesports.
Ninjas in Pyjamas had no difficulty advancing. After beating Complexity Gaming 16-7 on Nuke, they swept Virtus.pro 16-13 on Overpass and 16-11 on Dust II.
NiP, who include an all-Swedish lineup, were led against Virtus.pro by Nicolas “Plopski” Gonzalez Zamora, who published a team-high 55 eliminates and a plus-19 K-D, while Tim “nawwk” Jonasson, Hampus “hampus” Poser, Fredrik “REZ” Sterner, Erik “ztr” Gustafsson all tape-recorded between 38 and 31 kills in a balanced attack. Russia’s Dzhami “Jame” Ali amassed 46 kills and a plus-11 K-D differential for Virtus.pro.
Team Liquid punched their ticket to the group phase by following a 16-12 win over MIBR on Vertigo with a 2-1 series win over OG. Group Liquid opened with a 16-7 success on Mirage, however OG tied the series with a 16-7 decision on Overpass. Liquid secured the win with a 16-14 win on Nuke by taking the last two rounds after OG had actually won 4 straight rounds to create a 14-14 tie.
Canadian Keith “NAF” Markovic tape-recorded a team-high 64 kills and a plus-19 K-D for Liquid versus OG. The United States’ Jonathan “EliGE” Jablonowski had 57 kills but a minus-1 K-D while the United Kingdom’s Mateusz “mantuu” Wilczewski set up 65 kills and a plus-16 K-D differential for OG.
The 4 groups that won their single-map opening match but lost in the best-of-three second round– BIG, mousesports, Virtus.pro and OG– each play a best-of-three series on Wednesday for the spot in the group stage.
OG will face Cloud9, who beat Movistar Riders 16-11 on Overpass and 19-16 in overtime on Nuke to reaming in contention.
Virtus.pro will face Renegades, who knocked off Group One 2-1. After Team One took a 16-3 win on Inferno, Renegades declared Mirage 16-4 and Overpass 19-17 in overtime.
mousesports will play the winner of the Wista Krakow-Complexity Gaming match while BIG will deal with the winner of the Fnatic-MIBR contest.
On Thursday, the teams that straight qualified for the event will start play, as the 2 brackets will be completed after Tuesday’s outcomes.
In Group A, the direct qualifiers are Astralis, Evil Geniuses, G2 Esports and Brave.
In Group B, direct qualifiers Group Vigor, FaZe Clan, Natus Vincere and FURIA Esports are waiting to see who they will deal with.
The leading three groups in each group advance to the playoffs, with the first-place teams receiving byes to the semifinals on Feb. 27, The second-place groups in one group will face the third-place teams from the other group in the quarterfinals a day earlier.
All group-stage matches and playoff matches are best-of-three other than for the grand final on Feb. 28, which will be best-of-five.
Intel Extreme Masters Season XV World Championship results, with reward money, Pro Trip points and Blast Premier points.
21-24. Movistar Riders, Group One, 2 other groups TBA– $2,500, no Pro Tour points, no Blast Premier points.