NIP came back from a map down to defeat Heroic 2-1 and book a spot in Flashpoint 3’s consolidation final against G2. After surviving three elimination series, the Danish side — the highest-ranked team in attendance — seemed primed for an easy passage through to the next round as they won Nuke in convincing fashion, but NIP hit back on Overpass after fending off two match points before running riot on Mirage, where Fredrik “REZ” Sterner produced a scintillating display.
This victory means that the Ninjas will have a shot at revenge against G2 after losing against the international team in the upper bracket semi-finals, on Sunday. “I think we are going to go back and watch the demos of those maps,” Nicolas “Plopski” Gonzalez Zamora said when asked about the team’s preparation for the next match. “It was really close last time, the games came down to the wire and could have gone either way.”
Heroic set the tone for the match as they romped to a 6-2 lead on the T side of Nuke, with NIP struggling to get into their rhythm during the early stages. The Ninjas then put some rounds together and brought the deficit to a minimum before Heroic re-established control to end the half on double-digit territory.
NIP came out of the break a more resolute side and quickly knotted the score, but one slip-up proved catastrophic for them. The tide turned dramatically after Heroic won an eco round following a ramp rush, with the Danish team seizing control of the game thereafter.
The Danish team kept the momentum going and hopped out to a 6-1 lead on Overpass. Just like on Nuke, NIP amped up the pressure on their opponents in an effort to stop the bleeding, but the half ended with a 9-6 lead for Heroic despite valiant efforts by Nicolai “device” Reedtz, who sat at the top of the scoreboard with 17 frags, nine more than any of his teammates.
Now playing on the CT side, NIP drew level off the back of a flawless pistol, with the game then turning into a tit-for-tat affair as neither side seemed able to take control of proceedings. Heroic eventually reached series point at 15-13 following a stunning 1v3 clutch by Martin “stavn” Lund, just one round after Casper “cadiaN” Møller had almost managed to turn a 1v4 scenario around. With NIP strapped for cash, the game seemed to be as good as over, but the Swedish side rallied back and went on to win the map in double overtime.
The cat-and-mouse nature continued on Mirage, the decider map, where only one round separated the two teams at the break after a hotly-contested first half. However, the second half brought a change in the pace of the game: A 1v2 clutch by Plopski kick-started a NIP onslaught as the Swedes ran amok and tore Heroic‘s defence apart.
“We want to get as far as possible because it’s the road to the Stockholm Major,” Plopski said in the post-match interview. “I think everyone wants to play there, especially us because we’re Swedish.
“Individually, I’m playing more CS than I’ve ever played before. We’re really happy with top three, but we don’t want to stop here. We want to go all the way.”