Liquid have advanced to the semi-finals of IEM Katowice after beating Natus Vincere in a nail-biting three map series, which put the CIS-based side in the quarter-finals, while Virtus.pro have rounded out the playoffs teams list with a 2-0 victory against FURIA.
After picking Inferno against Natus Vincere in their previous two encounters with varying results, Liquid decided to opt for Overpass this time and reaped the benefits as they secured a narrow victory in only their second time playing the map with Gabriel “FalleN” Toledo.
Liquid put together a solid offense in large part thanks to impact plays from Keith “NAF” Markovic, which helped the North American side turn a 0-4 start into a 10-5 half. The Canadian went on to add a couple of more multikills in the second half to break NAVI’s run while Jonathan “EliGE” Jablonowski and FalleN ran rampant in defense of the A bombsite, which eventually made the difference as Liquid came out on top 16-14.
Natus Vincere were too much to handle on Dust2 for Liquid, the only map Aleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev & co. have a perfect record on this year with a 5-0 balance following a one-sided affair with the FalleN-led team. The North American side struggled for momentum as NAVI denied them a chance at consecutive rounds every step of the way, locking down an 11-4 Terrorist half before closing it in quick fashion on the defense thanks to a second-round forcebuy win.
Inferno was left to decide the victor and despite the early stages looking headed towards a comfortable Liquid triumph, it was all but easy for the North American side in the end. Their 14-10 lead on the CT side wasn’t enough to bring the series to a close in regulation, with Natus Vincere finding gaps in B over and over to force overtime, where after two sets Liquid brought it home on the back of some clutch play from EliGE, NAF, and Michael “Grim” Wince.
Meanwhile, the B stream showcased a back-and-forth battle between Virtus.pro and FURIA in Group B’s lower bracket final, which also began on Overpass and had the CIS team come out on top 16-14 as they denied the Brazilian squad a comeback from 13-7 despite Kaike “KSCERATO” Cerato‘s best efforts to overturn the result.
Fired up from the first map, Mareks “YEKINDAR” Gaļinskis was a force to be reckoned with on the second, Mirage, leading from the frontlines with 11 multikills to spearhead VP’s climb from a 1-8 deficit, rendering KSCERATO‘s heroic performance all in vain again.