fnatic, FPX top IEM Winter Open Qualifier 1
Squads that crashed out of the IEM Fall Regional Major Ranking tournament early and failed to qualify for the Major, fnatic and FunPlus Phoenix, bounced back on Sunday with a successful run through the IEM Winter open qualifier gauntlet.
The British-Swedish side that used Owen "smooya" Butterfield as a stand-in and the European mixture led by Luka "emi" Vuković have joined ENCE, Spirit, mousesports, and Complexity in the closed qualifier, with the final two teams set to be decided through the second open qualifier on October 15-16.
fnatic's qualification came at the expense of GamerLegion, K23, and finally, Galaxy Racer. The last match went the distance and required fnatic to come back from 11-4 down on Overpass to defeat Galaxy Racer on the decider. It is worth noting that the all-Swedish team was coached by Richard "Xizt" Landström, who has been working with Simon "twist" Eliasson and co. on an informal basis since his retirement as a player in September.
Despite a successful run with smooya, the British AWPer that posted a 1.35 rating across five maps played isn't expecting to compete with fnatic in the Closed Qualifier on October 18-19. fnatic could employ the services of their academy team AWPer Iulian "regali" Harjău or look for a different option that could fill the gap left by the benching of Jack "Jackinho" Ström Mattsson.
The path to the closed qualifier was tougher for FunPlus Phoenix, who had to beat two top-30 teams in Lyngby Vikings and Entropiq to reach the final match. Then, they managed to edge out Eternal Fire in a thriller BO3, concluding with an overtime victory on third map Nuke.
Among other notable teams that were competing at the event were MIBR, who impressed in their debut with Adriano "WOOD7" Cerato and Matheus "Tuurtle" Anhaia, as well as academy player Breno "brnz4n" Poletto. The Brazilians beat DBL PONEY on route to the round of 16 but couldn't get any further as they were eliminated by Entropiq after overtime.
Sinners have followed up a heartbreaking RMR run with a quarter-finals elimination by the hands of Eternal Fire, finishing in the same spot as Chinese side Lynn Vision who are bootcamping in Europe ahead of the BLAST Premier Fall Showdown.
Team list for IEM Winter 2021:
Closed qualifier teams: