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G2 and BIG Claim the Last Playoff Spots at IEM Beijing Europe

Zakaria Almughrabi

The Group Stage of IEM Beijing Online: Europe has concluded. The upsets that took place in Group B’s upper bracket were remedied as G2 Esports and BIG have made it through to the playoffs. Both squads ran through their halves of the lower bracket to take down the team that already played in the first qualification matches.

G2 IEM Beijing Europe

G2 Esports have fought their way through the lower bracket to qualify for playoffs at IEM Beijing. (Photo courtesy ESL)

G2 Get By

The new and improved G2 roster had a rough start to their IEM Beijing campaign. After a 1-2 loss against Ninjas in Pyjamas, the French-Serbian squad found themselves against North in the lower bracket. The first map was Vertigo. North started out strong on their pick. Despite losing the initial pistol round, they came back from an 0-4 deficit to finish the half up 10-5.

Even with all that momentum, North struggled to get on the board in the second half. G2 took eight of the first nine rounds in a row, including six bomb defuses. Now down 13-11, North finally came alive on the attack thanks to Philip “aizy” Aistrup. Aizy went huge in the second half with a 21-10 K-D ratio and 136.0 ADR for a 1.99 HLTV rating. His play was just enough to get North over the finish line 16-14.

It was on to G2’s Dust2 next. Starting on the T side, one man did all the work for G2. Nikola “NiKo” Kovac one-upped aizy’s carry performance by going 25-6 with 141.2 ADR and a whopping 2.62 rating. An 11-4 half was the result. Soon enough, G2 had equalized the series with a 16-8 victory.

Nuke was the tiebreaker map. The pistol round went to North’s CT side which turned into a 3-0 start. Once G2 had their weapons, they employed their attack to the fullest. Eight of the next nine rounds all went in G2’s favor. Even when North was close to finding a key round, things just didn’t go their way.

A 9-6 lead for G2 put them in good position to close out on the favorable side. Despite losing both pistol rounds, G2 would do just that. North couldn’t keep pace on their offense and eventually fell to the French-Serbian side 16-12.

Mousesports were the final test for G2. Inferno was up first courtesy of mouz. Pistol round went the way of the home squad giving them a 3-0 start. G2’s first buy round resulted in a successful retake, but mousesports had enough cash left for one more go. With both economies on the line, Nemanja “huNter-“ Kovac earned an ace defending the A bombsite.

The momentum shift allowed G2 to take control of the half. They held a 9-6 lead going into the locker room. The second half saw mousesports fight to even up the score. They got to 11-11 before G2’s T side found consistency in their attacks. Five of the last six rounds all went the way of G2, resulting in a 16-12 win.

All G2 needed was to take home their usual Dust2 pick. However, mousesports had other ideas. The entire squad played their part in a dominant CT performance. Retakes were the name of the game as mousesports found five defuses on their way to a 10-5 half. G2 couldn’t replicate that same level of cohesiveness on their defense. They slowly bled out, giving mousesports an equalizing 16-12 victory.

It all came down to Nuke. Despite mousesports finding eight T rounds against Astralis in their previous match, they couldn’t find the same level of success against G2. Even with the pistol round in their pocket, mousesports went into the half down 4-11. G2 played out their offense safely, only needing five points to lock in their playoff spot. After just nine rounds, Kenny “kennyS” Schrub put the game on ice with an AWP 4k.

BIG Bounce Back

Despite a weak initial showing out of BIG against mousesports, they were determined to turn things around quickly. ENCE was up first in their lower bracket run. Right off the bat, things looked incredibly one sided. BIG’s CT side was nearly impenetrable on their opponent’s Nuke pick. Four players all earned 15 kills on more on their way to an oppressive 13-2 half. Surprisingly, ENCE were able to match that defense pound for pound. BIG immediately doubled their T side rounds thanks to an ace out of Ismailcan “XANTARES” Dortkardes. From there, BIG finished taking ENCE’s map 19-17 even if it did take a while.

Mirage was BIG’s pick. Their T side began with a pistol victory, leading to a 5-1 start. ENCE tried their best to stabilize behind Aleksi “allu” Jalli, but still went into the half down 7-8. All of the sudden, ENCE looked transformed on their offense. After losing the pistol, the Finnish side took seven of the next eight rounds to go up 14-10. The 2-0 looked unlikely for BIG. However, Nils “k1to” Gruhne was ready to put the team on his back.

K1to earned a 38-21 K-D with 124.8 ADR on Mirage. His constant presence allowed BIG to take the last six rounds in a row and close out the series with a 16-14.

The last playoff spot would go to the winner of BIG vs NiP. The Ninja’s Vertigo was up first. K1to was right back in the drivers’ seat on T side, going 19-12 with 99.7 ADR to give BIG a 9-6 lead at the half. Fredrik “REZ” Sterner of NiP put up a similar performance, allowing the Ninjas to mirror the 9-6. Overtime came down to the wire. In the end, it was k1to again to grant BIG the clutch map victory.

Nuke was up next. NiP displayed great composure by maintaining a strong CT side on their opponents pick. REZ was the top performer for the Swedish squad yet again, leading NiP to a 10-5 lead. The second half was very quick. Only Tizian “tiziaN” Feldbusch looked awake on the BIG side as the rest of the team got bulldozed by NiP’s offense. A 16-7 finish sent the series to a third map.

Mirage was the final battleground of the Group Stage. Out of the gate, it was NiP who looked like they had just gotten stomped. The Swedish squad was running on fumes as BIG dismantled their defense nearly every round. NiP never recovered, allowing BIG to go up 13-2 at the half. Just seven rounds later, the anticlimactic finale ended with BIG taking a 16-6 victory.

A $150,000 prize pool and a direct invite to the IEM Global Challenge are on the line as playoffs begin on November 19th. Only one team can reign supreme as IEM Beijing enters its dramatic final stage.