The CIS squads are continuing their show of strength at IEM Katowice as Spirit and Gambit won their last group stage matches against Astralis and G2, respectively. Spirit are therefore through to the IEM Katowice semi-finals following their clean run in the Group A upper bracket, while Astralis will have to start their playoff run from the quarter-finals as the Group A runners-up.
Gambit and G2 both reached the Group A lower bracket final after losing their opening matches in the tournament. In their last group stage match Gambit came out on top in two maps, winning their map pick Vertigo and then besting G2 on Dust2 to seal the deal with 16-11 scorelines on both maps, knocking their European rivals out of contention while booking a spot in the quarter-finals.
Spirit came out guns blazing on their map pick, Inferno, taking an early 5-1 lead on the terrorist side, but Astralis managed to turn it around by halftime, albeit just barely as the CIS squad kept it within one before switching sides. Spirit tied things up in the second pistol round, but after losing to the forcebuy found themselves in a spiral until Abdul “degster” Gasanov downed four CTs to give his team a lifeline at 9-13. Spirit fought to swing momentum back in their favor, but finally faltered as the Danes closed out the first map 16-11.
Spirit kicked off Train on the preferred CT side, taking an impressive 9-2 lead early on before Astralis started to close the gap with two more rounds, but degster downed three opponents in a pistol buy to hit double digits before switching sides. Having won the second pistol round Spirit kept on track all the way to a 14-5 lead, but Astralis started to mount a comeback on the defense, only giving the attacking squad one chance to plant in seven rounds. Spirit finally posted match point at 15-12 before closing out the map two rounds later, 16-13.
The decider map, Dust2, started off with Spirit taking the lead after three USP kills on an A defense by Boris “magixx” Vorobiev. From there on out they went on to dominate, not giving the Danish squad a chance to plant until the sixth round, then they were able to retake the A site to keep the slate clean, 6-0. The pounding continued as Spirit won the half cleanly, with Astralis only scoring one round to stave off the humiliation of a 0-16 loss before the CIS squad closed the map out.
Gambit started on the defending side of Vertigo, their map pick, where despite losing the three first rounds they were able to take complete control of proceedings in a team effort, losing only one more round in the half to a 1vs2 clutch by Nemanja “nexa” Isaković. G2 also won the second pistol round, but even then they were quickly put on the back foot. Up against match point the European squad tried a late comeback linking four rounds in a row, but finally fell 11-16.
G2 and Gambit brawled early on in Dust2. Down by one in the ninth round Gambit had the equalizer in their sights, but a four-kill round by Kenny “kennyS” Schrub kept his team ahead. G2 kept the lead all the way to the half, but only by one round, 8-7. With Abay “Hobbit” Khasenov and Dmitry “sh1ro” Sokolov leading the charge the CIS squad found the cracks in G2’s defense as they gave up just three out of 12 rounds to win the second map 16-11, securing a spot in the IEM Katowice playoffs.