The first play-day of the ESL Pro League EU Season 12 Playoffs has delivered quite a few interesting matches. BIG have expectedly had the upper hand over Spirit, Natus Vincere scraped past mouz, and Complexity’s substitute, NaToSaphiX, managed to put up an MVP-worthy display on the last map.
BIG START OFF WITH EASY 2-0
Spirit’s biggest enemy in this Opening Match was definitely time. Between the last play-day of the Group Stage and the start of the playoffs, BIG have had plenty of opportunities to prepare for this encounter. And they have obviously done so.
BIG were set up perfectly on Inferno. The quickly snatched a 10-1 lead and ended the first half on 10-5, in spite of a small comeback by Nikolay “mir” Bityukov and company. Spirit then won the first few rounds on their CT side, but BIG ran away with the remaining rounds and secured a decisive 16-9 win for themselves. Florian “syrsoN” Rische almost got up to 30 kills and definitely outplayed all the other competitors on the server.
On Nuke, things went marginally better for the Spirit side. They managed to get points on the board earlier on in the first half, but the 9 T rounds by mousesports were too much to handle. As BIG swapped to the CT side, they kept the bomb sites under firm lockdown. Once again, Spirit fell on a 9-16 scoreline against BIG, who were fueled by the fantastic individual performances of syrsoN and Johannes “tabseN” Wodarz.
— ESL Counter-Strike (@ESLCS) September 29, 2020
BIG are now one step closer to the Grand Finals. However, they’re either facing Astralis or Heroic next. In any case, this is going to be a tough match to complete, much harder than their encounter with Spirit. For now, the Russians will have to be content with battling in the Lower Bracket.
NATUS VINCERE 2-1 MOUSESPORTS
This defeat really has to sting. The team led by Finn “karrigan” Andersen had this match versus NaVi under control. Aurimas “Bymas” Pipiras delivered a career-best performance with a 2.12 rating, 29 kills and just 9 deaths on a single, short map. On Nuke, mousesports got into the match with a 16-5 victory and already had a map advantage over Oleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev and company in the bag. The teams then faced off on Dust2.
There, it was showtime for mousesports once more. The players acquired another 10-5 lead, after which s1mple kicked into a higher gear. On their T side, mouz were unable to impress and had to watch as NaVi secured round after round. The final score was 16-14 in favor of the Russian team and mousesports were broken.
This really showed on the third map. There, they just didn’t get into the game at all. After two heroic performances, Bymas was out of steam and couldn’t deliver on Inferno anymore. On the other side, s1mple was finally warmed up and kicked mouz off the server with a 13-2 half. This should have been it, but karrigan’s team showed some fighting spirit. As the got on their T side, they secured 9 rounds in a row. It really looked as though they could mount the perfect upset. Unfortunately for them, the unthinkable happened – karrigan had a technical issue right in the middle of a clutch versus s1mple. He could have won this duel, but instead he just had to watch the round go by in CT spawn. This gave Natus Vincere the necessary push to get the last few points on the board. A 16-13 helped them towards advancing in the EPL playoffs. Unfortunately, this means that mousesports are dropping to the Lower Bracket already.
— ESL Counter-Strike (@ESLCS) September 29, 2020
THE COMPLEXITY MIRACLE
Less than a week ago, Complexity have lost one of their star players in Owen “oBo” Schlatter. This should have destroyed every chance they had in these playoffs. Their substitute, Niels Christian “NaToSaphiX” Sillassen, had been an average player under Nordavind. As an AWPer, he didn’t even fit into the mix at all, considering that Complexity are well-equipped with Valentin “poizon” Vasilev already.
So Benjamin “blameF” Bremer, the in-game-leader of the bunch, deserves even more praise. Someone who – with so little time and such a suboptimal setup – manages to defeat a top team like ENCE definitely deserves some applause. On Train, Complexity may have failed on a 6-16 scoreline, but then they took over the lead in this match-up versus the Finns.
On Mirage, the mix-team got into the groove and secured an 8-7 lead at halftime. This was enough to lock in a 16-13 win on their CT side. While Miikka “suNny” Kemppi tried his best on the Finnish camp, poizon unlocked the 30 bomb for his team. Afterwards, NaToSaphiX managed to put up an excellent show on Overpass. The Dane shot down those ENCE players with perfect ease, making it look like he has been a top player all along. A 10-5 at halftime gave Complexity quite an advantage, one they played out to perfection on their CT side. The calls by blameF were on point and NaTo made sure that the ENCE players didn’t even get to plant the bomb once. With a 16-6, Complexity snatched this Opening Match and have thus announced that they’re not to be underestimated – even with a stand-in.
NaToSaphiX, stand-in extraordinaire pic.twitter.com/8IwC8sOy3g
— Danish Allana (@Nohte) September 29, 2020
Today, the EPL Playoffs resume with the last Opener between Astralis and Heroic. The winning side will have to go up against BIG, but before that, mousesports and ENCE will fight for their tournament lives in the Lower Bracket.