fnatic relegate Eternal Fire to the Last Chance bracket at EPL
The European squad came out ahead in the first three-map series of ESL Pro League Season 17.
fnatic secured their place in Group A's lower final after a 2-1 victory over Eternal Fire. The winners started off the series on a low after their gamble to leave Anubis (11-16) unbanned in the veto, but managed to come back and seal the victory with wins on Overpass (16-11) and Nuke (16-11).
Jamie "keita" Hall's men last faced the Turks at the Road to Rio European RMR, where the Europeans came out victorious from the 2-2 match to deny the Turks their last chance to reach the Major.
The victors secured their place in the lower bracket final, where they will face the winner of G2 vs. MIBR on Saturday at 16:00 for a spot in the first playoff round. Meanwhile, Eternal Fire will have to run the gauntlet in the Last Chance bracket and win two consecutive best-of-three matches if they want to reach the knockout stage.
fnatic's surprise decision to leave Anubis unbanned in the veto was surprising not only to viewers, but also to Engin "MAJ3R" Küpeli: "They surprised me in the veto because they did not ban Anubis...I think they have a plan, I don't know what plan is this, but we'll see in the server." The in-game was right to be surprised as it was the first time fnatic allowed Anubis to be picked in a series, doing so against a squad that played the map 13 times this year with a 61.5% win rate.
Their choice backfired almost immediately as fnatic conceded the opening pistol round and the early lead to the defenders. William "mezii" Merriman and Fredrik "roeJ" Jørgensen were fantastic in the first half with 1.63 and 1.48 ratings, respectively, but their performances were not enough to claim a significant lead over Eternal Fire. The Turkish squad survived a 7-8 defensive half before moving to their preferred T side.
Eternal Fire remained energized after swapping sides and celebrated each of their round wins as they stole back the lead and closed the first map 16-11 with a hit on the B site. Yasin "xfl0ud" Koç and Ömer "imoRR" Karataş were the standout players for the offense, but IGL MAJ3R was not far behind.
fnatic came into their pick of Overpass looking to even out the series and send steal back momentum from their opponents. A slow start in the pistol round quickly gave way to European dominance in their T half as roeJ and Dion "FASHR" Derksen began to fire on all cylinders, sweeping Eternal Fire through seven consecutive rounds. MAJ3R and company briefly recovered late in the half to salvage a 5-10 scoreline, but they seemed lost ahead of the break.
The mezii-led squad claimed their first pistol round of the series before failing to convert the next, a mistake that crushed their CT economy and allowed Eternal Fire to string together wins and reduce the deficit to 10-11. FASHR continued to top the scoreboard as fnatic halted Eternal Fire's advance and closed the map 16-11.
Ismailcan "XANTARES" Dörtkardeş and company continued with their great record in pistol rounds this series as they claimed their fourth during Nuke's T side. Buğra "Calyx" Arkın was paramount in Eternal Fire's offense and it was his triple-kill outside that gifted his team a 6-5 advantage, but fnatic and Freddy "KRIMZ" Johansson recovered late in the half and strung four rounds on the bounce to take a 9-6 lead before the break.
fnatic recovered from a slow start to their T side and took six consecutive rounds to steal the map 16-11, and the series 2-1. The trident of FASHR, mezii, and Nico "nicoodoz" Tamjidi was too much for Eternal Fire to handle, and Calyx going quiet in the second half definitely did not help their cause.
|Eternal Fire||K - D||+/-||ADR||Rating 2.0|
|49 - 56||-7||72.5||1.04|
|56 - 57||-1||67.0||1.04|
|47 - 48||-1||66.8||0.97|
|47 - 54||-7||61.0||0.90|
|41 - 53||-12||60.5||0.84|