NIP were the first team to move past the IEM Cologne Play-In and secure a spot in the main event after taking down mousesports 2-0. The Swedes outclassed Christopher “dexter” Nong and co. on Mirage before moving on to their map pick and taking Ancient 16-11.
“We are really confident on Ancient, we love that map,” Linus “LNZ” Holtäng said in the post-match interview, although the victory wasn’t a straightforward one.
Robin “ropz” Kool looked hot on the defense, posting 22-7 K-D in the first half as mousesports took a 9-6 lead, but NIP snatched the momentum with a CT force buy and never looked back. Earlier in the day, NIP defeated LDLC 16-6, also on Ancient.
The tightest series of the round was the one between Spirit and Vitality, going all three maps. In a Dust2 thriller, Nikolay “mir” Bityukov was the difference-maker, dropping a 30 bomb to ensure Spirit‘s 16-14 win, but Vitality retaliated on Mirage, 16-13, despite an outstanding performance from the CIS team’s other star, Abdul “degster” Gasanov (1.63 rating).
The series was resolved on Nuke, which proved to be another exciting, back-and-forth map. Vitality pulled ahead only in the final rounds, chaining five together to steal it away 16-12.
The North American underdogs Bad News Bears didn’t make a strong impression in Cologne. Peter “ptr” Gurney‘s squad was the first team eliminated from the tournament following losses to mousesports and LDLC, being unable to get to double digits in any of the three maps they played.
“Ugly showing from the boys. We need to talk through a few things and come back stronger for [ESL Pro League S14 in] Malta,” the 31-year-old sniper said on Twitter, commenting on Bad News Bears‘ result.
After their defeats, Spirit and mousesports have dropped to the lower bracket where they will face the winners of TeamOne – Sprout and Evil Geniuses – ViCi, respectively, while LDLC will have to overcome the loser of FaZe – Complexity to get to the main stage.