IEM Winter has entered the Playoffs phase and the quarterfinals have already been played. The winners, unsurprisingly, were the favorites: NiP and Vitality. Both of them had a very tough match against their opponent but in the end, they managed to be victorious. In this article, you will learn what happened and what is likely to happen in the Semifinals.
IEM Winter Quarterfinal 1: GODSENT versus NiP
NiP entered this match as the clear favorite, even though GODSENT had performed much better than expected in Group B. TACO and his crew defeated Heroic and BIG before losing against Virtus.pro in the Upper Bracket Round 3. Still, NiP was obviously the stronger competitor. device and his team may have finished 3rd in Group A, but this group was much tougher than Group B. In addition to that, NiP is ranked 6th while GODSENT is ranked 24th. The skill difference, at least on paper, is immense.
The match needed 3 maps to conclude: Nuke, Overpass, and Ancient. GODSENT’s best maps overall are Mirage, Vertigo, and Inferno. So the fact that none of them were played was a big disadvantage for them. NiP had done well on Ancient and Nuke prior to this match, and their only weakness was Overpass. Just as the stats indicated, they lost Overpass badly but won the other two.
The next match for the Swedish organization will be against G2 and its odds of success are very slim. G2 has already defeated Liquid and Vitality, and its 2nd place at the recent PGL Major clearly indicates that NiKo and his crew are here to win the trophy.
IEM Winter Quarterfinal 2: Vitality versus Gambit
Vitality and Gambit are very close to each other in the global rankings. So we knew that the match would be tough. But we also knew that Vitality was the favorite. The French squad is not only better ranked than its opponent, it’s also playing better at the moment. In the Group Stage, Vitality defeated MOUZ and NiP before losing against G2 (1 – 2). The fact that ZywOo managed to win a map against NiKo’s team and wasn’t far at all from winning the match suggested that Gambit was in trouble.
Another indicator that Gambit was likely going to lose is the CIS team’s performance in Group B. Despite not having to deal with Heroic, which got eliminated very quickly, Gambit still struggled to qualify for the Playoffs. First it lost against Virtus.pro (0 – 2), even though it shouldn’t have, and then barely won against FaZe Clan (2 – 1) and Fnatic (2 – 1).
The match started with an easy victory for Vitality on Dust II. The final score was 16 – 5 and the French team got a bit complacent because of that. On the second map, Vertigo, Gambit seemed doomed. Not just because of what had happened on the first map but also because of the statistics. Vertigo was Vitality’s strongest map. But despite that fact, sh1ro and his crew managed to win convincingly. The final score was 16 – 9.
The 3rd map was Mirage and Vitality took a massive lead. The score was 11 – 4 at half-time and everyone assumed that victory was near. But in fact, it wasn’t. The second half went so poorly for the French that overtime was needed to decide the dispute. The final score was 19 – 17 in favor of ZywOo’s team.
In the Semifinals, Vitality will face Virtus.pro. The match will likely be challenging for both sides, but the French have a big advantage.
Photo credit: IEM|Stephanie-Lindgren