fnatic edge past Outsiders in Katowice
fnatic spoiled Aleksandr "KaiR0N-" Anashkin's debut with Outsiders after a lengthy three-map series.
fnatic advanced to the Group B upper bracket semi-final at IEM Katowice after taking down Outsiders, 2-1. The multinational lineup struck first with a hard-fought victory on Vertigo (16-12) and conceded a lopsided Mirage (8-16) before sending the Russians down to the lower bracket after eking out an overtime victory on Overpass (19-16).
The series was a rematch of the quarter-final bout at the IEM Rio Major, where Outsiders continued their title-winning run through the Valve-sponsored event with a 2-0 victory over the European ensemble. This time, however, it was the William "mezii" Merriman-led roster who came out on top, a piercing offensive effort punishing Outsiders' decision to float Vertigo in the veto, with the European combine maintaining their unblemished record on Overpass in the third map to progress to the Group B upper bracket's second round in Poland.
Outsiders now fall down to the lower bracket in Katowice, with the Russian-majority squad set to go up against Ninjas in Pyjamas for a chance at staying alive in Poland. A positive takeaway for Outsiders came in the form of KaiR0N-, who impressed in his debut with the roster by putting up a 1.13 rating and 61-57 K-D differential, the second-best showing in the team.
The two rosters duked it out on Vertigo to start the series and the European side immediately made their presence known, with two triple-kill rounds and a server-leading eight frags from mezii enabling fnatic to build an early 5-2 lead on the T-side. This slaughter of Outsiders continued as the half progressed, and repeated houndings of the A Ramp, coupled with a stellar 1vs3 clutch from Dion "FASHR" Derksen, tore gaping holes in the Russians' defence round after round to let fnatic charge to a commanding 12-3 scoreline by the interval.
Outsiders enjoyed a burst of energy at the outset of the second half, adding five rounds to their tally thanks to consistent impact from Petr "fame" Bolyshev and KaiR0N- to bring the deficit down to 8-13. The Russians' recovery picked up steam, even clawing their way back to within three, 11-14, but fnatic narrowly pulled ahead. Fredrik "roeJ" Jørgensen and Freddy "KRIMZ" Johansson joined forces with Five-SeveNs in round 26, gunning down all five Outsiders members to reach match point, before fnatic went on to close things out a short time later, 16-12.
The hotly contested nature showed few signs of dissipating once Mirage got underway, with fnatic and Outsiders both exchanging sprees of rounds to have the Russians sit one round ahead, 5-4, to start. It took an all-important triple kill from KRIMZ in round 10 for fnatic to get back on the board, but the squad couldn't capitalise on the Swede's heroics. Outsiders went on to add a further three rounds by the half's end, outmanoeuvring their foes with superior map control usage and impenetrable post-plant holds to lead by one round at the side swap.
KaiR0N- tapped down four to earn Outsiders their second pistol round of the series, with the Russian-majority composition converting the following two rounds to extend their lead to four, 11-7. From this point on, the map was all Outsiders, with Dzhami "Jame" Ali's troops justifying their veto selection by chaining together five rounds in quick succession en route to an overpowering 16-8 victory. The Russian captain was in particularly strong form throughout the map, leading the charge with 20 AWP kills, 92 ADR, and a 1.75 rating.
Outsiders took a step towards overall victory at the beginning of Overpass, overturning fnatic's initial two-round spree with four of their own on the T-side. The European combine responded with vigour, though, and showcased why they boast a 100% success rate (7/7) on the map by posting six rounds on the trot to lock in a first-half victory, 8-4. More valiant efforts from Jame kept Outsiders in contention, but his counterpart, Nico "nicoodoz" Tamjidi, sniped down three near Fountain in the 15th round to give fnatic a three-round advantage at halftime.
Outsiders launched another comeback effort once on the CT-side, with Evgenii "FL1T" Lebedev answering the call with rock-solid defensive holds to propel the team to double digits, 10-11. It took a 1vs2 clutch from nicoodoz in the 22nd round for fnatic to rekindle their winning form, using the momentum-shifting play to race ahead, 14-10. It turned to KaiR0N-, who had a relatively quiet map up until this point, to step up for his team; the Russian prodigy put his foot to the floor, picking up 10 frags over the next six rounds to keep his side alive and force a trip to overtime to settle things.
The match remained neck-and-neck as the two teams made their way into extra rounds. The nature of the game was summarised perfectly by a 1vs2 clutch from mezii in round 33, the British in-game leader gunning down two in the post-plant to ensure his team picked up two rounds heading into the switch. Outsiders had run out of gas at this stage, back-to-back hits of the B bombsite floundering under of maelstrom of fnatic firepower to gift the European squad a 19-16, and 2-1, victory.
|Outsiders||K - D||+/-||ADR||Rating 2.0|
|67 - 40||+27||73.7||1.28|
|61 - 57||+4||81.5||1.13|
|61 - 56||+5||77.2||1.12|
|57 - 60||-3||69.3||1.00|
|44 - 56||-12||60.0||0.85|
|fnatic||K - D||+/-||ADR||Rating 2.0|
|63 - 54||+9||74.7||1.18|
|54 - 54||0||65.9||1.01|
|56 - 69||-13||77.4||0.97|
|49 - 52||-3||56.6||0.92|
|47 - 64||-17||70.7||0.88|