EU and CIS Minor Day One Round-Up
It was a day to forget for fans of Danish Counter-Strike, as both OpTic Gaming and North fell to the lower bracket - meanwhile the Mathieu ‘ZywOo’ Herbaut-powered Team Vitality marched into the play-offs as they took Valiance apart 2-1 after beating OpTic, joining ENCE eSports.
Valiance had earlier taken mousesports out with a close-fought 16-14 win, shrugging off a Mouz resurgence led by the almost indomitable Chris ‘chrisj’ de Jong. The IGL’s 32 frags were not enough to guide Mouz past Valiance, for whom Nemanja ‘huNter’ Kovač impressed. Valiance were thoroughly deserved winners, however, and it was mostly heroics from the Dutchman that got Mouz so close. The usually dominant Miikka ‘suNny’ Kemppi had a quiet game on what is often his best map - Mirage - and it cost them.
Mouz take on OpTic tomorrow in the elimination best-of-three, with one side going home. OpTic were roundly beaten by Vitality - jokingly dubbed ‘ZywOo and Friends’ - as Cedric ‘RpK’ Guipouy showed some glimpses of his former glory, joining ZywOo at the top of the scoreboard. There was little to be happy with on the OpTic side, with new recruit Ismail ‘refrezh’ Ali struggling to get the start he would have wanted.
Vitality were taken to map three - Dust II - after both sides took each others’ map pick against Valiance. Valiance looked likely to take Mirage at 15-13 up, but Vitality fought back and ZywOo - as ever - took over, with just the 37 frags in 34 rounds. However, he was powerless to stop Valiance ending a 16-0 streak for Vitality on Inferno, with Nemanja ‘nexa’ Isaković and Nestor 'LETN1' Tanić impressing. After taking a dominant 12-1 lead thanks to Nathan ‘NBK-’ Schmitt nailing down the B bombsite, Vitality were able to comfortably convert and survive a scare in the best of three, taking Dust II 16-4.
Fan favourites ENCE crushed ex-Space Soldiers 16-6 on Train with Jani ‘Aerial’ Jussila and Aleksi ‘allu’ Jalli boasting 20 and 19 kills respectively, before rolling over Bulgarian underdogs Windigo Gaming, 2-0 in the upper bracket final. allu’s heroics on map one were key early on, as he won several clutches, taking ENCE into an insurmountable 11-4 lead at the half. Despite Valentin ‘poizon’ Vasilev’s best efforts, Windigo could not quite come back on Mirage. Inferno was pretty one-sided, however, as allu once again stamped his authority all over Windigo, ending the game 23-5 in a 16-3 victory.
However, poizon’s efforts were not in vain against North, who were on the receiving end of a brutal CT side from the AWPer. North’s disjointed T side was unable to pull back a 6-9 deficit at halftime on Overpass and they will have to come back from the lower bracket against ex-SS. If they do, they will play Windigo once again in a grudge match for playoffs.
Over in the CIS region, Winstrike took the headlines as they smashed Runtime 16-6 on Dust II, before besting one of the pre-tournament favourites - AVANGAR - 2-1; despite losing their own map pick, Dust II, 16-5. The hyper-mobile Ali ‘Jame’ Djami flexed his muscles on Dust II with a mighty 27-7 K/D, with only David ‘n0rb3r7’ Danielyan showing up for Winstrike. n0rb3r7 then went on to drop 59 kills over Cache and Train to power an unexpected victory for Winstrike. The unlikely hero was the only unknown for many within the lineup, with veterans Jan ‘wayLander’ Rahkonen and Georgi ‘WorldEdit’ Yaskin joining the roster to form this latest iteration of Winstrike. However, it was the newcomer who lubricated the fragging engine that scythed through the AVANGAR dream. AVANGAR have another chance tomorrow as they play either pro100 or Runtime for the play-off spot.
They will be joined by Team Spirit, who beat Nemiga in overtime before a 2-0 win over Syman Gaming. It was not all plain sailing, however, as Syman fought back from a 12-3 deficit to match point up on the second map, Mirage. Spirit - galvanised by the entry frags of Dmitriy ‘Dima’ Bandurka and the unstoppable Pavel ‘COLDYY1’ Veklenko - rode the wave and converted the 2-0. Artem ‘iDISBALANCE’ Egorov showed why he was the one to watch on the multinational Syman though, as he once again top fragged for his team, dropping 37 frags on Mirage to keep them in the game.
Syman made their way into the upper bracket by surprising former Major winners Gambit, with Sanzhar ‘neaLaN’ Ishkakov joining iDISBALANCE at the top of the scoreboard. Rustem ‘mou’ Telepov dropped 25 as he tried to claw Gambit back into the gaming - even bagging himself an ace with his trusty AWP - but it was not enough. Gambit have their backs to the wall now, and are forced to face Nemiga to save themselves tomorrow morning.