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G2 and Team Liquid Secure IEM Katowice Playoff Berths

Zakaria Almughrabi  | 
IEM G2

G2 Esports have beaten the top ranked team at Katowice to secure a playoffs appearance. (Photo courtesy ESL)

The third day of IEM Katowice’s Group Stage was full of close matches that went the distance. Four of the six series went to three maps, and four teams have been sent home. TYLOO, Virtus.pro, Ninjas in Pyjamas, and Team Vitality have all been eliminated. On the bright side, G2 Esports and Team Liquid have joined Astralis and Fnatic in playoffs.

Group B Upper Bracket

mousesports 12 G2 Esports

G2’s map pick of Dust2 started off with mousesports taking the pistol and full save round. G2 bought up in the third round successfully, then took down the mousesports CT force buy in the fourth. From that point, mousesports’ defense looked like swiss cheese against G2. Both bombsites were free for the taking as G2 completely outplayed their opposition. A dominating 12-3 half was G2’s reward.

Still, mousesports are the top-rated team at the tournament for a reason. Their T side started off well by taking the first three rounds. Finally, it became legendary as mousesports only dropped one round to complete the comeback with a 16-13 win.

Now on their own map, mousesports lost their T side pistol round. The response was a full force buy which caught G2’s A site defense off guard. That sucker punch resulted in a 5-1 lead for mousesports while bullying G2’s B side defenders. Mousesports didn’t win round ten, but Finn “karrigan” Andersen did pull off one of the craziest Deagle plays ever.

G2 then stabilized their defense fantastically, taking nine rounds straight to end the half up 10-5. Pistol round went their way as well, raising their round count to 13. G2 used high powered A bombsite crunches, pushing themselves to map point. Lightning would not strike twice as G2 took map two 16-5.

The tiebreaker map was Nuke. Mousesports started on the favored CT side, but lost the pistol round. G2 continued their winning with a heavy Outside flank by AudricJaCkz” Jug during the gun round. After that, mousesports stole the momentum with an aggressive Deagle round. The teams traded rounds back and forth, but G2 frequently succeeded in their A site attacks. They went up 9-6 from T side at the half.

Three rounds from the pistol raised G2’s lead to six as mousesports entered their most important buy round. Chris “chrisJ” de Jong opened up the A site by himself, then won a clutch 1v1. Their success was short lived as G2 struck right back to take match point. G2 kept up the Lobby pressure, choking mousesports out to complete the 16-7 and the match upset to guarantee playoffs.

Team Liquid 11 Evil Geniuses

The North American clash started off on Liquid’s Overpass pick. They grabbed the first pistol round and shut down EG’s third round full buy, extending the Liquid lead to 4-0. Liquid’s score increased to six before EG finally made their first stands towards the A side.

Liquid then pulled out the playbook, varying their assaults in speed and location. As Liquid ran EG around the map, they ended the half up 9-6 from the less favorable side.

Liquid’s CT side started confidently as they took the first two rounds and defeated EG’s full buy with SMGs in Bathrooms. In EG’s next gun round, Jonathan “EliGEJablonowski got aggressive in Long to secure early kills. As Liquid hit 14 rounds, EG finally took their seventh with a slow push. It would be all EG got, as Liquid’s A site holds were enough to close the map out 16-7.

EG’s map pick would be Nuke. They started on the less favorable T side, yet earned the first two rounds. Liquid riskily forced into the third round and successfully retook the B bombsite to steal the momentum. They earned six rounds, but EG fired back with A site executes to bring their score to four. Liquid then won five more in a row, shutting down EG’s A aggression with information pushes of their own. The half ended 11-4 for Liquid.

EG closed the gap early by winning the pistol round and shutting down Liquid’s full buy with mediocre weaponry. The Geniuses played grouped together to ensure trades. Liquid’s lead closed to one as they earned their first T round with fast picks. The game remained close as Cvetelin “CeRq” Dimitrov pulled off a flashy ladder AWP play to tie the game at 14.

EG took round 29, but Liquid forced overtime with a four Galil buy towards Ramp. Liquid’s T side continued to struggle, as EG took the 3-0 in the first half. One round later, EG took the 19-15 win.

On Inferno, the Geniuses took the pistol round, then got outsmarted by Liquid’s T side force play. The early round went to Liquid, but EG fired back in the gun rounds. They successfully defended the A bombsite multiple times to reach a 5-3 lead. From there, the half was all Liquid as Nicholas “nitr0” Cannella found countless entries across the map. They ended the half up 9-6.

Liquid took the first two rounds in the next half, then lost one with MP9s to a full buy from EG. On their gun round, Liquid held down the A bombsite then snuffed out EG’s force up. Liquid then rode to match point as Jake “Stewie2K” Yip ended it with a Banana push.

Liquid took the map 16-10, advancing at Katowice with the match win.

Group B Elimination Matches

TYLOO 0 – 2 100 Thieves

Map one was TYLOO’s pick of Inferno. The 100 Thieves took the first pistol without letting TYLOO plant. Guns for the Chinese team came out in round three, but their bombsite entry was shut down by the Thieves. The next gun rounds saw resulted in wins for TYLOO. The success was short lived as the Thieves won a save round on the A site. Their score ran up to seven, but then HaoWen “somebody” Xu pulled off a momentum shifting clutch.

The score line tightened by half time with TYLOO able to take the 8-7 lead. 100 Thieves would come roaring back in T side gun rounds. The lead swapped as 100 Thieves crushed TYLOO’s defenses on all fronts. The Aussies took seven in a row to close out the map 16-9.

Vertigo was the 100 Thieves pick, yet TYLOO got off to a hot start on the CT side. The first full buy turned into a successful B site take for the Thieves. The teams traded rounds across both sites, but the Thieves came out ahead. At the end, 100 Thieves had a 10-5 advantage.

The snowball continued on 100 Thieves’ CT side as they won the first two rounds plus TYLOO’s fast-paced gun round. The Thieves hit 14 rounds and were staring down match point until YuLunSummer” Cai won two rounds in a row in 1v3 clutch scenarios.

They would only get so much further before 100 Thieves closed out the map 16-10, knocking TYLOO out of IEM Katowice.

Virtus.pro 12 MAD Lions

MAD Lions started their Overpass pick with a clean pistol T side pistol round and anti-eco’s towards the A bombsite. That side of the map was the target of the first fun round, but Sanjar “SANJI” Kuliev and DzhamiJame” Ali shut down the MAD Lions A site attack.

The second time was different, as the Lions used utility to flush defenders out. VP’s force buys would be unsuccessful as the MAD Lions took a 7-1 lead. VP did earn more rounds at the end of the half, but still went down 5-10.

VP did close the gap with the first three rounds, but their gun round was a failed B site attack which also wrecked their economy. Despite this, VP climbed to double digits with low economy B rushes. The MAD Lions CT side found 14 rounds despite B being a continued weakness. VP tied the game up at 14 before MAD Lions stacked four people on the B site to earn the close 16-14 win.

On Vertigo, MAD Lions T attack sent VP to the wrong bombsite with a fake smoke. The first gun round also went wrong for VP as they lost everything to an A site take. MAD Lions earned four rounds before Jame spearheaded a B site retake.

VP found their way into contention at the end of the half, as they won seven of the final eight rounds to earn an 8-7 lead. The second pistol was secured by VP after a quadra-kill from Timur “busterTulepov. Their T side looked well-rehearsed as VP ran away with the game. They favored B site takes which the Lions just could not hold or retake. VP completed the perfect half 16-7 to send the series to a third map.

VP’s win streak continued on Dust2 where they opened their T side with three straight rounds. The first gun round saw VP flank the MAD Lions defenders from the B site as the main force pushed A. VP hit five rounds before the Lions started to fight back with heavy Long control. VP used drawn out and controlled rounds to take a 10-5 lead at the half.

MAD Lions weren’t ready to concede yet, as their T side was explosive. They used their whole playbook to bring the map back. Soon enough, the score was tied at 11 apiece. A second straight B ending gave the Lions the lead. VP’s response was a three-man B stack. With the map tied at 13, MAD Lions returned to the A bombsite for three straight round wins. They stay alive after the 16-13 map win.

Group A Elimination Matches

Natus Vincere 2 – 0 Ninjas in Pyjamas

In their battle for elimination, NiP chose Mirage as their map. Unfortunately for them, Na’Vi were playing with a vengeance after yesterday’s close loss. Na’Vi shot out to a 7-0 lead while denying all of NiP’s aggression.

The Swedes looked out positioned and out gunned as Na’Vi’s choke hold tightened. The Ninjas finally got a round after a slow B bombsite push, but the Na’Vi train rolled through to a 13-2 lead at half time. The map was easily closed out after four rounds, Na’Vi completing a statement 16-3 win.

On their own map of Train, Na’Vi once again earned the first three rounds. NiP’s CT side did at least maintain a workable baseline early. The score was tied at six each as the teams traded rounds. Na’Vi did find their stride at the end of the half and went up 9-6 with strong A bombsite executes.

NiP took the second pistol round, but immediately lost to Na’Vi’s force buy. The momentum allowed Na’Vi to streak up to 14 rounds. The Ninjas attack did hit home eventually, as the A bombsite came under fire. Once again, Na’Vi’s lead was insurmountable, resulting in a 16-10 ending in the short 2-0.

Team Vitality 12 FaZe Clan

Vitality started off right on FaZe’s Mirage pick by winning the first two CT rounds. FaZe showed up in the gun round with a strong Mid to B take. Using utility to funnel the CTs, FaZe made the kills look easy as they frequently fought Mid then transitioned into Connector and Catwalk control. Still, Vitality were able to swing the momentum off the back of Mathieu “ZywOoHerbaut. Vitality fought back to a 7-8 half time score, not ideal but admirable based on their start.

The French squad continued their streak by winning the three initial rounds. They also took the first gun round, sending FaZe on a save and growing their lead to four. A crucial gun round saw Vitality dominate FaZe’s B site defense with an Apartments push. The Frenchmen inched closer to the win, but FaZe eventually recovered and brought the map down to the wire. In the 30th round, ZywOo clutched the game out earning the Vitality 16-14.

The second map of Nuke saw FaZe win the pistol with a ninja defuse on the B site. Vitality forced into round two and took it with the superior buy, giving them three rounds. FaZe’s first buy round was secured by Olof olofmeister Gustafssonr hiding on the B site. Vitality’s next chance also ended in failure by milliseconds as Richard “shox” Papillon couldn’t stop the bomb defuse in time.

Despite the frustration, Vitality steadied themselves at the end of the half. They won three of the last four rounds to end only down 6-9.

FaZe was able to extend their score to 12 off of the pistol win. Vitality then successfully stopped FaZe’s A site rush heavy T rounds to pull the score closer. When FaZe slowed the rounds down and played the entire map, they made it to map point. FaZe then closed it out 16-11, securing a third and final map.

FaZe took the early three Inferno rounds off of the T side pistol win. The first gun round saw Vitality shut down FaZe’s Mid and Arches side attack. They then barely retook the B bombsite and forced FaZe to eco. FaZe would win that eco round, but Vitality fired back with an A site defense courtesy of ZywOo. Both teams kept trading force buys, as round was winnable. FaZe earned the lion’s share, gaining a 105 half time lead.

ZywOo set the tone for Vitality’s T side with a 4k in the pistol round. The freebies went as expected, bringing Vitality within two. The first gun round ended in a full five man save as Vitality stormed the B site. FaZe’s defenses were bolstered from this, resulting in four consecutive rounds. Needing something to stay alive, Cédric RpKGuipouy pulled off a clutch defuse denial to bring Vitality to double digits.

Festivities would be short lived as Vitality’s return to B was completely shut down by FaZe. FaZe Clan would clean up the Vitality force buy and take the map 16-10, eliminating Vitality from IEM Katowice.

Day Four

The final day of the IEM Katowice group stage lies ahead. The upper bracket finals matches, Astralis vs Fnatic and G2 Esports vs Team Liquid, will determine who gets the quarterfinal bye. Four more teams will also be eliminated as the top six at Katowice will be solidified.

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.