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Counter Strike: Global Offensive

Liquid break NAVI’s streak to advance to IEM Katowice semis, Virtus.pro to playoffs over FURIA

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.

Liquid outlasted NAVI after double overtime on Inferno

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.

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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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Counter Strike: Global Offensive

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

FaZe take down Liquid to qualify for BLAST Premier Spring Final

FaZe have done the double over Liquid in Group C of the BLAST tournament to book their spot in the BLAST Premier Spring Final with a 2-0 victory in Group C’s consolidation final. The matchup featured the same maps as their opening round encounter, but this time in a different order. Nuke was up first, where Olof “⁠olofmeister⁠” Kajbjer rolled back the years with a quality display to be the difference-maker in a double overtime contest before a solid all-round team performance on Inferno closed the series out.

The European squad will face off with Natus Vincere in the group’s grand final at 20:30