Virtus.pro and FURIA are through to Group B’s lower bracket final in IEM Katowice following victories over Vitality and FaZe, respectively. The CIS team put in a solid performance to move past the current world No.3, who looked a bit off-colour and spent most of the series on the back foot, although credit still must be given to them as they came back from 15-8 down on Inferno before losing the game in overtime.
After previously moving past NIP, Virtus.pro will now look to complete their lower bracket run against the scary FURIA, who were firing on all cylinders in the two map victories over FaZe, showing no signs of discomfort with their newest addition as they outplayed and outclassed their opponents.
Vitality came out the stronger side on Inferno and gained a foothold in the game early on after keeping Virtus.pro from stringing rounds together. But after that slow start, the CIS team took control of proceedings and had Vitality against the ropes for the remainder of the half, which ended with five rounds separating the two sides.
More misery was to come for the French team, who won the pistol round but failed to convert the second round, with the scoreline blooming to a 14-6 lead. The CIS side hit map point shortly afterwards but could not close out the map as Vitality took control of the game and forced overtime. The momentum was now very much with the French side, but Virtus.pro kept their composure and wrapped up the game after winning two rounds in each half, with Timur “buster” Tulepov delivering the finishing blow with a 1v2 clutch inside B.
Dzhami “Jame” Ali was the main instigator as Virtus.pro shut out the Vitality offence for large portions of the first half on Overpass, although they had just a narrow 8-7 lead heading into the break after the Frenchmen came alive towards the end of their T side. Mareks “YEKINDAR” Gaļinskis kicked Virtus.pro further into the lead with three quick frags in the following pistol round, with the team using that momentum to carve out a 13-7 lead. With no room for error, Vitality tightened up and brought the deficit to a solitary round, but VP were unwilling to let a comeback happen and put the match to rest.
FaZe established an early lead on Mirage, but they lost their grip on the game after FURIA brought out a double AWP setup, Paytyn “junior” Johnson and Andrei “arT” Piovezan combining for 31 frags in the half as the Brazilian team raced to a 10-5 lead. The international team hit back in the following pistol round, but then they were caught off-guard as Kaike “KSCERATO” Cerato picked up a spectacular trio of frags to turn the tide back in favour of FURIA, who ran away with the game.
FaZe bounced back from that disappointment with a strong defensive showing on Overpass, picking up 10 rounds in a one-sided half that witnessed a vintage performance by Håvard “rain” Nygaard (2.07 rating, 134 ADR). FURIA rallied back from a 12-5 deficit and enjoyed a spell of dominance, but FaZe picked themselves up in the closing stages and secured the victory to level the series. The final map, Train, was a complete blowout as FURIA ran rampant from the offset, dominating the European team thanks to stellar performances from Yuri “yuurih” Santos and KSCERATO, who combined for 46 frags to knock FaZe out of the tournament.