IHC stun FURIA to qualify for IEM Katowice
IHC upset the Brazilians in three maps, knocking them out of the play-in for the first Big Event of the year.
IHC and FURIA went into the second round of the IEM Katowice Play-In's lower bracket with everything on the line, the winner would qualify for the tournament and the loser would go home early. In the end, it was the Asian underdogs who seized the day on the Anubis decider after two maps that went the distance to secure passage to the tournament’s group stage.
The series started on Nuke, IHC’s pick, where they had a 9-1 record going into their map — albeit with no top team scalp on their belt. Garidmagnai "bLitz" Byambasuren’s men were quick out of the game on the attack and set the pace early, although FURIA stopped the bleeding and linked seven when down 2-6 to turn around the half in their favor.
FURIA continued to establish their position as favorites by winning the second pistol round, but IHC showed prowess by taking control on the defense much quicker than FURIA had done in the first half. This translated into the difference between winning and losing in the late rounds of the map as they secured the last two rounds to tip a 14-14 tie into a 1-0 lead in the series.
IHC won an all-important pistol round to get in the driver’s seat on FURIA’s pick, but the Brazilians were quick to put forth pacey attacks and established an early 7-4 cushion. They weren’t able to win out the half, however, as the Mongolian squad secured the last four rounds to make their upset bid tangible.
IHC made it two out of two in pistol rounds to further their lead on the Brazilians’ map pick and applying pressure on FURIA. But it was in the 24th round that IHC won a crucial attack that forced a visibly affected FURIA into a save at 11-13. Up against the ropes, Andrei "arT" Piovezan and company gave up the save and the following map point before pulling out heroic defenses all the way to the final round of regulation, 15-15.
The two teams traded players as IHC executed and planted on A in the all-important deciding round, but two kills by Kaike "KSCERATO" Cerato — who played an impressive series throughout — turned the tides in favor of the defenders who eliminated their counterparts and defused the bomb to send the map to overtime. FURIA continued to push with the heavy lifting behind and secured OT 19-16.
The series decider was none other than the newest and least treaded map in the pool, Anubis, a frightening sight for the favorites in the deciding map of a series that went the distance in the two previous maps. FURIA opened up on the attack with four rounds before IHC brought things even, 4-4. The two then went back-and-forth, although the Brazilians lept ahead late in the half to take 9-6 lead.
IHC, in keeping up with the series’ theme, brought it back to 9-9 with an impressive 1vs3 clutch by Tuvshintugs "Annihilation" Nyamdorj. From there on out the Mongolian team didn’t let their foot off the gas and methodically dismantled FURIA’s defenses round after round to take the map 16-10.
Tengis "sk0R" Batjargal, the top-player on the winning side, joined the broadcast panel on the desk and took to the microphone after the game to talk about the victory against FURIA. "Brazilian teams and my team, our playstyles are very similar," he said. "We're matching."
IHC will now have a chance to face some of the best sides in the world after knocking out the No. 9 team in the ranking when the IEM Katowice group stage kicks off on February 4.
|FURIA||K - D||+/-||ADR||Rating 2.0|
|75 - 50||+25||91.8||1.36|
|63 - 66||-3||74.5||1.09|
|59 - 57||+2||77.3||1.06|
|59 - 57||+2||62.0||0.96|
|38 - 63||-25||54.3||0.74|
|IHC||K - D||+/-||ADR||Rating 2.0|
|68 - 60||+8||82.1||1.12|
|58 - 46||+12||65.6||1.09|
|65 - 65||0||77.9||1.04|
|58 - 59||-1||78.1||1.00|
|40 - 64||-24||49.5||0.72|