Spirit and Gambit are the first two teams to qualify for IEM Katowice after winning their upper bracket quarter-final series against BIG and mousesports, respectively. Meanwhile, Movistar Riders have been eliminated from the Play-in at the hands of Cloud9.
Having dispatched Cloud9 in the opening match with ease, Spirit entered their encounter with BIG with wind in their sails, putting up a big opening half on Overpass on the Terrorist side to secure a series lead despite the German team’s respectable attempts to salvage the map.
Big performances from Leonid “chopper” Vishnyakov and Nikolay “mir” Bityukov then helped the Russian side lock down the series in two, this time on the back of a strong defensive half and some resilience on the T side as Spirit denied BIG another, even closer attempt at a comeback.
In the second match for a spot at the main event, mousesports started off on the right foot with a comfortable win on Dust2, where everyone put up good numbers, with Robin “ropz” Kool ahead of the pack. The Estonian continued to perform on Inferno, but his efforts were outdone by Abay “Hobbit” Khasenov and Sergey “Ax1Le” Rykhtorov, with the latter helping Gambit win several disadvantageous situations in the second half to equalize the series.
It came down to Vertigo, where another massive individual display from Hobbit helped Gambit overturn a 0-5 deficit on the CT side, with the Russian squad dominating the rest of the map with a 16-1 streak.
Meanwhile, in the first elimination series of the tournament, Cloud9 picked up Overpass after they amassed momentum early on the CT side with a 9-2 start and managed to maintain their lead without too much trouble. Nuke proved a much tougher challenge for the European-American squad, but Movistar Riders were unable to convert a 15-9 lead as Cloud9 came back with six in a row to then secure the 2-0 victory in overtime.