The GG.BET Shuffle IEM Chicago qualifier kicked off on September 24, with 20 teams battling it out for a spot at the prestigious ESL event. OpTic reached the grand final following victories over Vitality and ENCE in the playoff bracket, while LDLC had to beat G2 and Heroic in the quarter and semi-final stage, respectively.
The series kicked off on LDLC's map pick, Overpass, but it was OpTic who got off to a flying start as CTs, stringing six rounds in a row without much effort. Then, David "devoduvek" Dobrosavljevic and co. looked set to win their first round, but Jakob "JUGi" Hansen clutched a 1v2 situation for his team to remain in the driving seat. It was only in the 11th round that LDLC were finally able to get on the board, but that did not change the course of the game as the half ended with a 13-2 scoreline.
Now playing as CTs, LDLC found a lifeline as they lost only one of the first six rounds of the half to reduce the deficit to 7-14. OpTic hit map-point on a Deagle buy, however, and took the lead in the series after closing out Overpass two rounds later, 16-8.
Mirage was the polar opposite of the previous map as LDLC started things off with a massive run, losing a single round of the first ten. OpTic then tightened up their defence and managed to win three more rounds, but their opponents remained in control for an 11-4 half-time lead.
In the second half, OpTic quickly cut the gap to just four rounds after winning the second pistol, an anti-eco and the first gun round. Still, a successful shoddy buy marked the beginning of a five-round winning streak from LDLC, who sealed a 16-7 success to take the series to a third map.
The decider map, Train, began with LDLC picking up a 3-0 lead as Terrorists before OpTic turned the score around with Kristian "k0nfig" Wienecke leading the way, A highly-contested period ensued as neither side could stamp their authority on the game, with OpTic eventualy taking a 9-6 lead.
LDLC came out of the break the livelier of the two sides and kept a very tight defence to grab a 13-11 lead. OpTic's next round win was immediately countered by the Frenchmen, but they still managed to recover and equalise the score at 14-14. It looked like the momentum had shifted back in OpTic's favour, but LDLC strung two rounds together to wrap things up and secure the final spot at the North American event.
|LDLC||K - D||+/-||ADR||Rating 2.0|
|François 'AmaNEk' DelaunayAmaNEk||59 - 40||+19||77.4||1.24|
|Alex 'ALEX' McMeekinALEX||61 - 57||+4||84.9||1.15|
|David 'devoduvek' Dobrosavljevicdevoduvek||50 - 52||-2||71.4||1.04|
|Logan 'LOGAN' CortiLOGAN||46 - 51||-5||65.6||0.95|
|Antoine 'to1nou' Pirardto1nou||36 - 48||-12||57.6||0.84|
|OpTic||K - D||+/-||ADR||Rating 2.0|
|Marco 'Snappi' PfeifferSnappi||60 - 52||+8||94.1||1.21|
|Jakob 'JUGi' HansenJUGi||51 - 46||+5||71.4||1.07|
|Nikolaj 'niko' Kristensenniko||47 - 52||-5||67.7||0.98|
|René 'cajunb' Borgcajunb||47 - 49||-2||61.3||0.89|
|Kristian 'k0nfig' Wieneckek0nfig||43 - 53||-10||61.3||0.83|
IEM Chicago 2018 will run from November 6-11 at the Wintrust Arena, where 16 teams will duke it out for their share of a $250,000 prize pool. The full team list for the event looks as follows: