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100 Thieves Crawl Through Lower Bracket at IEM

Zakaria Almughrabi  | 
IEM

100 Thieves have upset the number one team to earn the last IEM Katowice playoff spot. (Photo courtesy ESL)

IEM Katowice’s group stage has come to a close. It was a chaotic few days which saw the rise and fall of some of the best Counter-Strike teams in the world. Natus Vincere and 100 Thieves will join the four qualified teams at the Spodek Arena for IEM playoffs. Falling short was MAD Lions, Evil Geniuses, FaZe Clan, and mousesports who will be watching from home.

Group B Elimination Matches

Evil Geniuses 12 100 Thieves

100 Thieves won the T side pistol to start on Inferno. The three round lead turned to six as 100 Thieves attacked all parts of the map. EG did start using aggressive Banana control to earn some rounds, but 100T still owned a 10-5 lead at the half.

Despite the deficit, EG started their T side with similar dominance to close the gap. Unlike EG, 100T’s CT side never found any crucial rounds. A dominant 11-2 half was the result as all of EG’s bombsite crunches worked out. The Geniuses took the first map 16-12.

Although EG lost their T side pistol on Nuke, they did get a bomb plant on the next full eco. Rounds went both ways as the economy leapfrog continued with TariktarikCelik winning a MAC-10 clutch on the B bombsite.

Another 100 Thieves win later, both teams were down to table scraps. The Thieves won it, finally deciding the economy war. EG’s T side looked sloppy and uninspired, as 100T repeatedly caught them out before they got to bombsites. Lobby and Ramp became death traps as the Thieves shot out to a 12-3 lead at the half.

The gap would close as the Geniuses ran up to eight rounds before 100T took one with a five man Outside creep. EG’s shoddy buys couldn’t compete with the 100 Thieves lead as the Australians took Nuke 16-12.

Dust2 would be the tiebreaker map. 100T took the first two rounds, though they were close. EG bit back with a third round buy to earn momentum. They raised their score to six as tarik pulled off a 4K on a Cat to A push.

The high powered EG attack kept on displacing 100 Thieves on their defenses. However, 100 Thieves hit their stride by shutting down a Mid to B play. After EG’s economy broke, their lead closed to 8-7 at the half.

The first three rounds went to 100 Thieves. The fourth also went 100T’s way as they defended a 5v5 A site retake. EG fired back with a close range save round win to bring them closer. EG’s ensuing double AWP defense missed every shot as 100T broke their economy again. EG’s spirit looked broken as 100 Thieves finished the map 16-12 to stay alive in Katowice.

mousesports 2 – 0 MAD Lions

The disparity between these two IEM lower bracket teams was evident. The mousesports CT side on Train secured the pistol and freebie rounds. MAD Lions only made it into a bombsite four times all half. None of their T side plays made it through Train’s A and B chokes consistently.

MAD Lions did put up a fight on their own CT side, taking six in a row after mousesports earned map point. The deficit was just too great as mousesports eventually closed it out 16-8 with a standard A site execute with pistols.

Dust2 started better for MAD Lions, earning a 4-2 lead on their CT side. That would end quickly as mousesports launched a dominating assault on their map pick. The heavily aim-centric Dust2 was the perfect playground for the mousesports stars to go wild. ÖzgürwoxicEker earned a 27-6 KDA with 127.2 ADR, good for a ludicrous 2.45 HLTV rating. The half ended with nine in a row for mousesports for a 11-4 lead.

Their streak continued with the second pistol round plus saves. Although MAD Lions planted the bomb in their first four attacks, the mousesports retakes were calm and coordinated thanks to in-game leader Finn “karrigan” Andersen.

MAD Lions’ chances were extinguished as mousesports took the 16-4 win and the clean 2-0.

Lower Bracket Finals

Natus Vincere 21 FaZe Clan

On the favored CT side on Nuke, Na’Vi jumped out to a 3-1 lead. In round five, HelvijsbrokySaukants and Marcelo coldzera” David won a save round for FaZe in a 2v4 scenario.

FaZe used a fast Ramp rush on a full buy and successfully defended the retake to break the tie and break Na’Vi. While both teams struggled with anti-eco rounds, FaZe pulled ahead on the T side with heavy B site hits. With their economy in shambles, Na’Vi lost the half 6-9.

The two initial rounds went to FaZe before Na’Vi’s first gun round. After getting down Secret, Nikola “NiKoKovač and rain shut down the B site push to secure the round. Na’Vi’s next buy was also shut down by NiKo leading to FaZe cleanly closing out the map 16-8.

Na’Vi’s Dust2 pick was their last chance. After losing the two opening rounds, Na’Vi took the A bombsite twice while FaZe saved guns. Oleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev tied the game up with an AWP quadra-kill. Na’Vi’s aggression wouldn’t slow down as they won out the half for a 10-5 lead.

Denis “electronicSharipov pulled off a pistol round ace to start Na’Vi’s CT campaign. FaZe’s A side aggression was continuously shut down as Na’Vi edged closer to the win. The second half only saw seven rounds played and only one went to FaZe. Na’Vi ended the map 16-6 to force a tiebreaker.

Now on Inferno, FaZe took the T side pistol round with a B rush. The next two went as expected as Na’Vi bought up in the fourth. An unsuccessful Mid to Arches execute from FaZe let Na’Vi even up the score. The next gun round was also won by Na’Vi with a calm A site defense. FaZe’s attempts to play the map were foiled by Na’Vi’s great utility management.

The nine CT round streak was ended as FaZe’s B site attacks finally started working. They took the remaining rounds to end the half down 6-9.

Na’Vi took the first three rounds on their T side, earning the 12-6 lead. FaZe’s first buy round worked in repelling the B bombsite hit. The FaZe defense then took six in a row to tie the game at 12. Two of Na’Vi’s B executes finally hit home, but the final rounds were split between the teams as Na’Vi went into round 30 with a 15-14 lead. On the B site retake, s1mple sent FaZe home with a 1v2 Banana hold to complete the 16-14.

100 Thieves 21 mousesports

In a battle for the last IEM playoff spot, 100 Thieves began Inferno 3-0 on the T side. The first mousesports buy round went smoothly defending the A bombsite. The clock was a major factor in the ensuing rounds, as 100T used every last second to position their attacks. The score was tied at seven when woxic shredded the Thieves in Banana to secure the 8-7 half time lead.

100T earned the second pistol, but a Deagle eco from mousesports up Banana turned the tides in their favor. From there, the mousesports T campaign really took off. They took six rounds in a row with varied attacks on both bombsites. 100T finally stopped one A site attack, but the mousesports lead was too large. Map one went to mousesports 16-10.

Now on their map pick, mousesports looked to end the series here. Pistol round went their way, but the ensuing rounds didn’t. 100T’s defense was stalwart as mousesports’ A attacks fell flat. The score hit 6-1 before mousesports finally took a second round off a low buy. The B site was their attack of choice as mousesports came back to only be down 7-8.

However, 100T extended that lead by winning the first three rounds. The first gun round also went their way with a Mid to B split. The Thieves went on a streak of successful A site attacks, resulting in a 14-7 lead. Three rounds later, 100T won the map 16-8, only dropping one T side round.

The final map of Nuke started well for mousesports as they took a 4-1 lead on the CT side. Once the Thieves had guns, they played five people down Secret to secure the B site. 100T then took Ramp for more round wins. Mousesports found the odd round here and there, but 100 Thieves called a diverse T side to earn an 8-7 advantage.

100T took the next pistol, but then rounds were exchanged back and forth. Eventually, David “frozen” Čerňanský won a 1v2 clutch on the A site to break the 100T economy. Even so, the Thieves fought back to take the 14-11 lead. With their backs against the wall, mousesports called A pushes from Outside to win two in a row plus a save to tie the game at 14. Justin “jks” Savage then pulled off a 1v3 Ramp hold to earn match point for 100T.

The final round was confirmed as 100 Thieves completed the stunning upset with a 16-14 map win to qualify for the IEM Katowice quarterfinals.

Upper Bracket Finals

Astralis 2 – 0 Fnatic

IEM Group A’s first seed was on the line as Fnatic’s Overpass was up first. Astralis retook the A site in pistol round. Fnatic’s force buys were weak, getting shut down for the 4-0 lead. Astralis looked to have Fnatic figured out as they jumped out to an 8-0 lead. The Swedes did get five rounds back, but Astralis still held a 10-5 lead.

Fnatic’s position would be helped by winning the first two rounds before Astralis bought up. The B bombsite quickly became an issue as Astralis took multiple pushes through Monster to extend their lead. Down 7-14, Fnatic tried using aggressive Fountain and Park control. It brought them two rounds before Astralis returned to the B site, completing the 16-9 map win.

Astralis’ Vertigo was next. They took the pistol with an A ramp hit. Fnatic’s round three buy was easily dismantled as Astralis looked to build up the score and their bank. The Swedes did hit a stride with successful A site retakes. However, their 6-5 lead would be short lived. Astralis stole a win with a full Deagle round then closed out the half with four straight for the 9-6.

Astralis’ lead grew with a second pistol win on the B site. Fnatic saved to full buy in the third, but Astralis won that round with anti-eco weaponry. The map quickly snowballed as Astralis won six rounds before Fnatic got one. Astralis completed the 16-8 thrashing to earn a first-round IEM playoff bye.

G2 Esports 2 – 0 Team Liquid

The other IEM upper bracket final started out on G2’s pick of Dust2. Liquid won the T side pistol round but G2 used a force buy to stop Liquid on their Cat to A push. The momentum would keep swinging as Liquid and G2 traded rounds with force buys until G2 finally took two in a row. They took seven rounds before Jonathan “EliGEJablonowski secured Liquid a fifth on a clutch A site 1v3.

The half stayed close, as G2 went into the break with an 8-7 lead. Liquid got going on their CT side by winning the first three rounds. G2 managed to tie up the game at ten with an A bombsite split. They then beat down Liquid’s force buy to earn the lead. G2 pulled away with the map, taking it 16-11 after a 1v1 win by Kenny kennySSchrub on the B site.

Now on Liquid’s Vertigo pick, it was G2 who would win the pistol and get the early lead. A Ramp attack towards the A bombsite gave Liquid their first T round. G2 frequently stopped Liquid’s A hits thanks to a strong defense from kennyS. Liquid still got back into the half thanks to a 1v4 clutch from EliGE on the A site eco round. Still, G2 ended up with a 9-6 lead.

After winning the pistol, G2 barely escaped Liquid’s CT force buy to extend the lead to six. Liquid’s first full buy was won by Jake “Stewie2K” Yip in a B site retake flank. G2’s unorthodox B-centric Vertigo play got them plenty of rounds, but was eventually figured out by Liquid. Still, all G2 needed was two rounds on A to close out the map 16-10 and secure first seed in IEM group B.

Playoffs

With IEM Katowice’s group stage behind us, its time to look towards playoffs. Six teams will battle it out in the Spodek Arena for the chance at winning one of Counter-Strike’s most prestigious tournaments. Astralis and G2 Esports have earned first round byes and will be next seen in the IEM semifinals. Friday will see Team Liquid vs Natus Vincere and Fnatic vs 100 Thieves in quarterfinals as IEM Katowice continues.

Zakaria Almughrabi
Zakaria Almughrabi
Zakaria is a former professional TF2 player turned caster and analyst. He has had a passion for gaming and esports for years and hopes to use his skills and experience to convey why gaming is so great. His specialty games are League of Legends, CS:GO, Overwatch, Super Smash Bros, and PUBG.