The second stage of the StarLadder Major began with a round full of expected results coupled with unexpected scorelines, setting up for a juicy set of games to follow.
The Finns were ice cold as they only gave up five rounds to the CIS team on the CT side of Overpass and shutting them out completely in the second half. It was sergej and allu who dominated the proceedings throughout, and it should be somewhat of a concern for AVANGAR going forward that none of their players even managed to snatch a positive K/D in the game.
Though DreamEaters already overperformed by making it this far and inflicting surprise defeats on NRG and Vitality, the Danes were a bridge too far. Though there were a few moments in the game where it felt like another upset may be on the cards, gla1ve and co. ended up securing an easy victory on Dust 2, forcing kinqie and co. to battle Na’Vi in the lower bracket tomorrow.
It was a big question whether the Aussies can perform here after falling off in the circuit, but jks was once again firing on all cylinders on a map they’ve done very well on in the past, almost making a comeback after a 10-5 half by winning four in a row on the CT side and eventually pushing a back-and-forth game all the way to the 30th. Unfortunately, they ended up falling just short, but they’ve proven they are no pushovers even if it seems unlikely that they can replicate their playoffs run from Katowice based on what they’ve showed here.
The world’s best team showed its credentials by taking out CR4ZY in straightforward fashion, not really having to exert themselves or reveal special strats. Though the European mix did well on the CT side of Mirage, they were completely shut out of the game in the second half, which should be a scary prospect for teams gearing up to dethrone Liquid.
Vitality trounce North to secure 1-0 score
The contrasting fortunes of these two sides in the New Challengers Stage foretold a very different story than what played out on the streets of Inferno as Vitality found the extra gears missing from their first showings in Berlin and secured a very straightforward victory against the Danes who previously impressed against a variety of sides. For the first time in the event, it was neither ZywOo nor NBK- who did the job but Apex, finishing with a +11 K/D as the Frenchmen destroyed North’s CT defense on the map, securing seven out of ten rounds in the second half to take an impressive victory.
FaZe were 0-6 in maps against mouz since karrigan joined the latter side, and it seemed likely that the streak would continue after they made it through the New Challengers Stage with a 3-0 record. Instead, a battering awaited them, and even this 16-8 scoreline was somewhat flattering in light of some of the crazier rounds going the way of the young team. Perhaps most impressively, FaZe managed to achieve this without NiKo doing anything special as the Bosnian star finished on the bottom of his team with a -2 K/D.
The Frenchmen managed to upset s1mple and co. in the end, just like how we predicted, though it was a very close affair. They were shut out after failing to convert the pistol round, losing six rounds in a row as the terrorists on Overpass. From then on, they barely achieved parity for the rest of the half, only taking five rounds overall, though it took three timeouts from G2 to even keep up to this extent. Though they managed to make a comeback at the beginning of the second half, Na’Vi once again raced ahead to a 14-10 lead off the back of a clutch by Zeus. However, some individual heroics from kennyS and co. – including a quad kill hold by AmaNEk – meant that the game went to overtime, by which point the CIS side seemed to have tilted off the world, losing all three rounds on the T side and failing to claw back the deficit, losing 19-17.
In the end, the Ninjas’ failings were the more impactful as the side with a temporary IGL and GeT_RiGhT waiting to be removed couldn’t capitalize on the fact that their opponent was playing with their coach instead of coldzera. The Brazilians seemed to have their number for a very long time, but this was perhaps the first event where they were clearly treated as the underdogs. Instead, they managed to secure the victory after winning an eco at 12-12 and never looking back from that point on. A notable lowlight of the series was f0rest’s individual performance as the veteran player finished on the bottom of the scoreboard with just ten kills and twenty deaths – meanwhile, zews ended the series with fifteen and eighteen, respectively.
(Photo credit: HLTV)
0-1 bracket (bo1)
Renegades vs AVANGAR (12:00 CEST)
Na’Vi vs DreamEaters (13:15 CEST)
NiP vs CR4ZY (14:30 CEST)
North vs mousesports (15:45 CEST)
1-0 bracket (bo1)
Liquid vs NRG (17:00 CEST)
FaZe Clan vs Team Vitality (18:15 CEST)
ENCE vs MiBR (19:30 CEST)
Astralis vs G2 (20:45 CEST)