NIP take down Liquid, Gambit edge past mousesports in IEM Cologne openers
Favorites of group A managed to secure victories after two exciting series.
NIP and Gambit will face in the upper bracket semi-finals of IEM Cologne after dispatching of Liquid and MOUZ, respectively. The first series started with an explosive Overpass game won by Liquid, but fizzled out as NIP stomped their opponents on Dust2 and Mirage. "They were strong in the pracs leading up and were strong again,"Jonathan "EliGE" Jablonowski commented about the loss on Twitter.
On the other hand, all eyes were on Gambit who were playing their first LAN event since becoming the best team in the world during the online era. The Russians weren't as dominant as usual, but took care of business in three maps and showed composure with a comeback on the decider, Mirage.
NIP but couldn't withstand Michael "Grim" Wince early on Overpass as the youngster started coming online. In his LAN debut for Liquid, he pushed his team into the lead with a number of multikill rounds, including an ace, but Nicolai "device" Reedtz picked up the pace as NIP were 14-9 down. The Dane inspired a comeback, the map went into overtime, but Keith "NAF" Markovic's and Gabriel "FalleN" Toledo's late-game heroics pulled the North Americans over the line.
Liquid were looking hot to close it out in two as they managed a 6-2 lead to start their own map pick, Dust2, but things fell apart out of nowhere. Hampus "hampus" Poser was leading his team's comeback by example (16-8 K-D by half time), and NIP managed to chain 14 rounds to take the map 16-6. The domination continued on Mirage as the Swedes kicked off with a 9-0 run on the offense, firing on all cylinders. The decider was concluded in no time, 16-2, with device pulling out the PP-Bizon in the last round to add insult to injury.
MOUZ showed up strong on the offensive side of Inferno, taking the lead and controlling the economy as soon as rifles came into play. Following a 10-5 half, Gambit rallied back, winning the key rounds to keep MOUZ' economy low. Just when things looked like we were heading into overtime, Christopher "dexter" Nong and co. managed to close it out with a force-buy A hold (16-14).
The second map was nothing like the first, as Gambit confirmed their status as titans of Vertigo. The Russian side went on a streak of 9 rounds to start the game, Abay "HObbit" Khasenov's ace helping the cause, and never looked threatened as they closed out the map 16-3, extending their win streak on Vertigo to 12.
Mirage again delivered nail-biting action. MOUZ were in control early as CT, despite Sergey "Ax1Le" Rykhtorov's Galil ace, taking an 8-3 lead. Then ,the world's best team showed composure and stole away a low-buy round which propelled them to a respectable 9-6 finish. MOUZ edged closer to the upset with a 3-0 following the switch, but fell flat against the rifles. Round after round, Gambit shut down the approaches, seeing them win the map after a 10-round streak.
|Liquid||K - D||+/-||ADR||Rating 2.0|
|49 - 55||-6||69.7||0.98|
|43 - 55||-12||57.2||0.85|
|42 - 59||-17||70.0||0.84|
|43 - 59||-16||68.0||0.81|
|38 - 59||-21||56.2||0.71|
|NIP||K - D||+/-||ADR||Rating 2.0|
|73 - 37||+36||94.0||1.58|
|60 - 47||+13||88.1||1.23|
|55 - 43||+12||77.6||1.21|
|56 - 45||+11||74.5||1.15|
|43 - 43||0||67.0||1.03|
|Gambit||K - D||+/-||ADR||Rating 2.0|
|60 - 50||+10||88.9||1.31|
|60 - 45||+15||77.8||1.26|
|56 - 49||+7||76.0||1.15|
|44 - 39||+5||65.2||1.14|
|53 - 46||+7||74.0||1.13|