Imperial send Cloud9 packing in Antwerp
A triple-overtime Overpass win and a landslide victory on Mirage saw Imperial pull off the massive upset.
Imperial have sent the world's fourth-best team, Cloud9, packing in Antwerp after an impressive performance in a three-map series against the Russian side. The 'Last Dance' squad entered the series with a triple-overtime win on Overpass before falling short on Vertigo, and the best-of-three affair came down to Mirage, where a stalwart defense saw Gabriel "FalleN" Toledo & co. dominate their opponents 16-3.
Imperial are now one series away from the playoffs after getting off to a slow start in the Legends Stage and surviving two consecutive elimination games. They will face off against Copenhagen Flames next in the final do-or-die match, which will determine one of the last three teams advancing to the bracket stage.
Cloud9 have been eliminated from the tournament after what has been a disappointing showing from the team around Vladislav "nafany" Gorshkov. They exit Antwerp with a 1-3 record, with their only win coming against Outsiders in the opening round before they suffered losses to Ninjas in Pyjamas, FaZe, and now Imperial.
The series began with a spectacle of a showdown on Overpass, where Imperial have gone undefeated since their inception. The first six rounds weren't much to go by, with Cloud9 getting off to a dominant start, but once Imperial got on the board in the seventh it was clear that it was going to be a competitive affair. And it was so much more.
Key entries and quick trading in entering the A bombsite gave the Brazillians five rounds in the first half, and going into the second a 1v1 clutch from Vinicius "VINI" Figueiredo got them the space to close the gap. Despite letting go of the first few gunrounds, Imperial quickly got back on their feet on the back of a FalleN triple, and the veteran AWPer continued to be a nuisance for the Russian squad on the A site.
Regulation wasn't enough to decide the opener, with a Fernando "fer" Alvarenga clutch at 13-14 denying Cloud9 a late closing. The first two sets of overtime saw Imperial show their resilience, surviving two map points in each, and in the third the Last Dance went undefeated on the defense, courtesy of several impact plays from FalleN, before closing it down 25-23 after a retake situation on B.
Vertigo was up next as Cloud9's trusty pick, and the Russian side equalized the series in relatively comfortable fashion. Imperial stayed competitive in the first half when they were on the CT side, with a pistol round win and a conversion helping them stay within touching distance along with a fer 1v2 later on, but once sides switched it was all about Cloud9.
Abay "HObbit" Khassenov and Timofey "interz" Yakushin both had some key moments on the defense to help even out the series with a convincing second half display, and the match went to Mirage.
Putting together a stalwart defense after a forcebuy win in the second round, Imperial beat back everything Cloud9 threw at them, and even when the rounds came down to a close finish the Brazilians had Ricardo "boltz" Prass and fer to clutch it out. Cloud9 could only muster two more rounds on the T side, which gave them no space for error going into the second half, and there Imperial rallied to a quick 16-3 closing.
|Cloud9||K - D||+/-||ADR||Rating 2.0|
|66 - 61||+5||85.0||1.16|
|63 - 62||+1||80.7||1.06|
|59 - 53||+6||60.5||1.01|
|44 - 54||-10||53.6||0.91|
|55 - 61||-6||65.4||0.91|
|Imperial||K - D||+/-||ADR||Rating 2.0|
|79 - 56||+23||91.7||1.29|
|61 - 52||+9||70.9||1.12|
|60 - 61||-1||69.9||0.98|
|45 - 58||-13||71.4||0.90|
|45 - 62||-17||52.4||0.77|
With just one more round left to be played in the Legends Stage, this is what the standings are: