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Counter Strike: Global Offensive

Spirit defeat Astralis to top Group A, Gambit eliminate G2 in IEM Katowice

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.

Spirit manhandled Astralis on Dust2 to win the series

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.

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Counter Strike: Global Offensive

Virtus.pro see off Vitality, FURIA eliminate FaZe in IEM Katowice

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.

Virtus.pro took down Vitality in a match between two top-five 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.

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Counter Strike: Global Offensive

Liquid book IEM Katowice playoff spot over Vitality; Gambit eliminate Heroic

Liquid are the third team to clinch a spot in the IEM Katowice playoff stage following a hard-fought win over Vitality, who took the lead in the series in an overtime Nuke victory but looked somewhat the pace in the remainder of the series as Jonathan “⁠EliGE⁠” Jablonowski and Gabriel “⁠FalleN⁠” Toledo powered their team to victory. Meanwhile, Gambit claimed another scalp against world No.6 Heroic thanks to an imperious display by Dmitry “⁠sh1ro⁠” Sokolov, and are now just one victory away from reaching the playoffs.

The main-stream series began with a blistering start from Vitality, who romped to a 6-0 lead on the CT side of Nuke with some great fragging output by Dan “⁠apEX⁠” Madesclaire and Cédric “⁠RpK⁠” Guipouy. Liquid responded in a low-economy round thanks to a quad-kill by EliGE, and used that momentum to rally back and bring the deficit to just three rounds before the break.

Liquid will take on the winner of NAVI-FURIA in the group final

Vitality came out of the break the livelier of the two sides, winning five of the opening six rounds of the half to get within striking distance of victory. Liquid tightened up after that and took the upper hand, coming back from five map points down to force overtime. However, their efforts would be in vain as Vitality won two rounds in each half to lock down the map.

The French team carried their momentum into Vertigo as they hopped out to a quick 3-0 lead, but the landscape of the game changed once Liquid had money in the bank. Apart from a brief period of respite for Vitality thanks to two great rounds by Mathieu “⁠ZywOo⁠” Herbaut, the rest of the half was dominated by the North Americans, who took ten rounds into the break. Liquid showed no signs of slowing down after the side switch, and even though things got a bit testy after Kévin “⁠misutaaa⁠” Rabier gave the French side a lifeline with a stunning Desert Eagle quad-kill, they would be able to close out the map comfortably.

Liquid took control from the outset on Mirage and finished the half on double-digit territory as Vitality were against the ropes for most of their CT side and could not string rounds together. It was roles reversed after the break as the North Americans could not hold the opposition back in the early stages, but a comeback was beyond Vitality: EliGE and FalleN stepped up to the plate and pulled the team over the finishing line as apEX‘s troops seemed to run out of gas in the dying stages.

Meanwhile, viewers on the secondary stream were treated to a back-and-forth brawl that had spirited comeback attempts thwarted in the closing stages of Overpass and Inferno. After those two closely-contested maps, Mirage ended up being a demolition job as Gambit breezed past their opponents in a game that saw them win all five clutch situations, three of which by sh1ro, who posted a 1.85 rating.

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IEM Katowice round-up: NIP, Liquid advance to main event, Renegades eliminate TeamOne

NIP and Liquid have qualified for IEM Katowice after winning their upper bracket quarter-final series against Virtus.pro and OG, respectively. Meanwhile, Renegades defeated TeamOne in the first round of the lower bracket, eliminating the Brazilians from the Play-In stage.

NIP scrapped a win on Overpass as Nicolas “⁠Plopski⁠” Gonzalez Zamora put up a stellar performance, (37-21 KD, 1.89 rating and 133 ADR). Virtus.pro were off to a good start on Dust2 and won the first six rounds, but the Swedes reacted on time and lost the first half by a minimal margin. NIP chained four together to kick off their T side, putting pressure on the CIS side, who would win only three rounds before Hampus “⁠hampus⁠” Poser‘s side managed to close the game.

Plopski had 37 frags on Overpass

Meanwhile, in the other match for a spot in the main event, Liquid breezed past OG on Mirage thanks to a nearly-flawless CT side that saw them rack up 12 rounds. Aleksi “⁠Aleksib⁠” Virolainen‘s men would tie the series after a convincing Overpass display as they shut out the North American offence with a resolute defensive performance. The series was decided after a hard-fought match on Nuke, where Liquid denied a late comeback attempt from OG.

In the elimination match, TeamOne thrashed the Australians on Inferno off the back of a great collective display. Renegades took revenge on Mirage and steamrolled the Brazilians as Simon “⁠Sico⁠” Williams and Alistair “⁠aliStair⁠” Johnston combined for 43 kills. Renegades looked set for a victory on Overpass as they went 15-11 up, but then TeamOne won a key round with a scrappy buy and gained momentum to push the game to overtime. The Brazilians went on to take the lead, but Renegades kept their composure and won three rounds in a row to stay alive in the tournament.

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Counter Strike: Global Offensive

Liquid eliminate MIBR from BLAST Premier Spring Groups

Liquid has defeated MIBR in a quick 2-0 series (Vertigo 16-6, Inferno 16-9) to eliminate the Brazilian side from the BLAST Premier Spring Groups. Gabriel “⁠FalleN⁠” Toledo & co. are slated to play FaZe next for a spot at the Spring Final, on Sunday at 16:30