NiP survive Swedish showdown
NiP move on to the playoffs of the ESL Pro League Season 3 finals after defeating fellow Swedish team fnatic 16-9 on Train.
Both fnatic and NiP managed to dismiss the North American threats marshalled against them in their Group B opening matches of the ESL Pro League Season 3 finals, defeating Cloud9 and Liquid respectively.
The two teams then moved into a best-of-one winners' match on Train, to determine the second team who would have smooth sailing into the playoffs of the $512,000 tournament after just two best-of-one games (G2 having been the first team to accomplish this feat).
Patient defense from fnatic got the ball rolling on the #3 ranked team's CT-side as they won the pistolround and survived both anti-ecos, however NiP quickly began to assert themselves early on and quickly equalised the score after winning the first gunround.
NiP continue their climb back into the elite with a best-of-one victory over fnatic
Robin "flusha" Rönnquist began to step up for his team by picking up multiple and crucial M4A4 kills across three rounds (including on a force buy), with fnatic inching ahead to a 6-4 lead as the first half went on. However, with both Adam "friberg" Friberg and Jacob "pyth" Mourujärvi displaying some finesse, NiP took the lead by the half's end, and finished up 8-7 after a fairly successful T-side.
A chaotic second pistolround on the A-site went NiP's way, as well as the following anti-eco round, but fnatic then bought up P250's and got a number of kills to reset NiP's economy with flusha leading the way (and then picked up an anti-eco round with NiP choosing to save).
With the score at 10-9 for NiP, Richard "Xizt" Landström's men turned up the heat again and won two back-to-back CT-side rounds to extend the lead and force fnatic to buy up pistols. From here on out, NiP entered crunch mode and closed out the game against fnatic, winning 16-9.
The final match of the day at the ESL Pro League Season 3 finals is curiously a best-of-three game, and even more so is an incredibly crucial match as Luminosity and Astralis (the #1 and #4 ranked teams in the world) will fight in a Group A elimination match to see which titan goes home early.
stich writes for HLTV.org and can be found on Twitter