Vitality claim Legends Stage spot, Renegades eliminated
Vitality become the first team from the Challengers Stage to advance to the Legends stage after reverse-sweeping Russian opponents forZe in their spot-deciding series, dropping Nuke 12-16, winning Dust2 16-9, and taking the decider Mirage, 16-12.
Nuke kicked off the series between Vitality and forZe, where the latter started their opponents' map pick brilliantly, constantly locking apEX's side out of both sites and securing ramp control as the defenders en route to a convincing 7-1 lead.
Vitality were able to score their second round on the board in the ninth, which forZe immediately answered back to courtesy of a 2vs4 clutch from Andrey "Jerry" Mekhryakov and Aleksandr "KENSI" Gurkin. The latter part of the first half was a more competitive affair between both teams, as Vitality started to find their footing and inch closer to forZe's lead, trailing their Russian opponents 6-9 after 15 rounds.
The second half opened with a successful pistol for Vitality, along with the following round to bring forZe's advantage to just one. Jerry's crew then began pulling away from their French-Danish opponents, winning four rounds in a row which spelled troubles for Vitality's team economy.
Despite the weapon disadvantage, some remarkable pistol shots from the Danish duo of Emil "Magisk" Reif and Peter "dupreeh" Rasmussen allowed their team to convert the full-eco in the 22nd round and shift the momentum in their favor. Vitality looked like they were on the brink of a comeback, however forZe did just enough to maintain their advantage and close out Nuke 16-12, and secure a 1-0 series lead.
Dust2 was a completely different story from Nuke, with the roles of both teams having been reversed as Vitality found themselves with all the momentum and confidence in the world, completely dominating the match on their CT side. Almost no attacks forZe attempted worked in the Russians' favor, as Mathieu "ZywOo" Herbaut and company boasted a commanding 13-2 advantage at the switch.
Staring down almost inevitable defeat, forZe came out of the side swap firing on all cylinders, breathing new life into the game as the Russians put a seven round streak together to lessen Vitality's lead to five. Their sudden reawakening also came with exceptional fragging output from KENSI, who bounced back from his silent first half performance. Extremely close rounds ensued, but in the end it was Vitality who put the finishing touches on their impressive opening half to take Dust2 for themselves and force a decider on Mirage.
Mirage was the deciding map of the series to determine whether Vitality or forZe would lock in their place at the Legends stage of the Major. Jerry's squad found themselves in the lead after a six round spree saw them convert a 0-3 deficit to a 6-3 score in their favor. The French-Danish side went on a six round winning streak of their own to close out the first half, as the scoreline read 9-6 in Vitality's favor.
Neither or the two teams wanted to back down, as the game resumed which saw both Vitality and forZe playing the most tightly-contested rounds of the series so far, exchanging both kills and scoring runs. The game drew level once again at 10-10, which sparked a crucial four round spree for Vitality, with each win bringing them closer and closer to a Legends spot. forZe threw everything they had at apEX's men throughout the whole map, but eventually Vitality put the series to rest after securing the hard-fought victory on Mirage, 16-12.
|Vitality||K - D||+/-||ADR||Rating 2.0|
|60 - 44||+16||73.5||1.25|
|62 - 51||+11||90.6||1.19|
|51 - 51||0||66.0||1.01|
|54 - 56||-2||79.7||1.01|
|48 - 52||-4||63.3||0.90|
|forZe||K - D||+/-||ADR||Rating 2.0|
|56 - 53||+3||79.7||1.11|
|57 - 55||+2||74.9||1.03|
|54 - 53||+1||71.0||0.98|
|43 - 59||-16||62.8||0.84|
|44 - 55||-11||58.4||0.82|
IHC entered their elimination series against Renegades in the driver's seat, as the Mongolian side wasted no time in asserting their dominance in the early stages of the game, taking a swift 8-3 lead off the back of Tengis "sk0R" Batjargal and Garidmagnai "bLitz" Byambasuren's excellent fragging. Renegades saw a late resurgence in the first half, as they closed the gap to a mere one round deficit by halftime.
Coming out of the break, IHC wasted absolutely no time as the defenders by winning seven out of the first eight rounds, including the pistol, to secure a 15th on the board. The Mongolian lineup consistently shut down any attacks that Renegades launched, and while their Australian opponents gave their best effort to extend the game, bringing the scoreline to 10-15, it was too little too late as bLitz's squad brought their map pick Inferno to a close, 16-10.
Both Renegades and IHC put their firepower on full display, as Dust2 saw a 5-5 score after the first ten rounds with Alistair "aliStair" Johnston and bLitz being the biggest contributors for their teams early on. IHC were able to gain a slight advantage over their Australian opponents to end the first period, amassing a 9-6 lead at the half. The second half opened similarly to the first as IHC and Renegades were deadlocked once again 22 rounds into the map, with the scoreline reading 11-11. Fighting for their tournament lives, both teams put up a valiant effort however it was the Mongolians who ultimately took the map and series, keeping their Major campaign alive.
|Renegades||K - D||+/-||ADR||Rating 2.0|
|35 - 36||-1||63.4||0.99|
|38 - 40||-2||74.6||0.98|
|27 - 37||-10||72.6||0.84|
|26 - 38||-12||60.0||0.81|
|26 - 38||-12||55.6||0.77|
|IHC||K - D||+/-||ADR||Rating 2.0|
|53 - 28||+25||96.7||1.52|
|39 - 32||+7||79.8||1.18|
|35 - 31||+4||72.1||1.04|
|31 - 34||-3||74.2||1.03|
|30 - 28||+2||60.9||0.91|
The Challengers stage standings are as follows: