BIG advance to EPL Group B fourth-place decider over Complexity
BIG are through to ESL Pro League Season 17's Group B fourth-place decider after taking down Complexity in a three-map series, eliminating the North American roster following an overtime loss on Vertigo (17-19), a stellar T-side recovery on Ancient (16-12), and a series-ending victory on Nuke (16-12).
The do-or-die series was a repeat of the two teams' matchup in the opening round of the group stage, where the Germans prevailed after a hard-fought three-map affair to earn their first win in Malta. The veto remained the same in this game, albeit in a different order, and BIG once again took home a 2-1 victory. It was Karim "Krimbo" Moussa who stepped up and showcased strong form against Complexity, the German rifler being ever-consistent in the server to lead his team with a 72-50 K-D and 1.33 rating.
BIG now look forward to one more best-of-three left to play on Sunday. The German roster will lock horns with Movistar Riders at 19:30 , where the sole remaining playoff spot for Group B is left up for grabs. The all-or-nothing series versus the Spaniards will also be their first meeting in close to a year, with the last outing between the two teams being back at ESL Pro League Season 15 in March 2022, where Alejandro "alex" Masanet and company prevailed following a hard-fought two-map series.
A stellar showing on Vertigo from Håkon "hallzerk" Fjærli kicked off the series, with the Norwegian marksman putting up a server-leading nine frags to build Complexity a 5-0 lead on the CT-side. The Germans succeeded in getting on the board with a handful of round wins, but further heroics from the Nordic sniper — including a 1vs2 clutch in round nine and a triple kill with the SSG 08 in round 14 — allowed the North American roster to maintain their grip on the game for the remainder of the half and boast a commanding 11-4 lead at the side swap.
A 1vs2 clutch from Nils "k1to" Gruhne in the pistol round kicked off BIG's comeback effort, the German side racing to double digits after winning six of the first seven rounds, 10-12. Complexity, armed with just Desert Eagles, returned to winning ways in round 23 after Johnny "JT" Theodosiou cracked open the B bombsite with a crisp shot onto k1to, but the roster failed to capitalize on their new-found gain. The South African-led roster reached map point with two rounds to spare, but Johannes "tabseN" Wodarz and company's momentum endured to force a trip to overtime.
hallzerk continued to shine even in the added pressure of extra rounds; he recorded an ace in the second round to earn his side a 17-16 scoreline by halftime, with the Norwegian's 44 kills by the map's end being enough to ensure Complexity secured victory on Vertigo, 19-17.
JT led by example once Ancient rolled around, clutching a 1vs1 in the pistol round and rescuing his team from a dire situation with a triple kill in round two to guide his team to a 3-0 start on the T-side. Complexity remained firmly in the driver's seat for much of the half, but BIG were continuously a thorn in the North American roster's side, with sporadic round wins keeping their foes' economy honest. Regardless, the Germans' defense lacked the consistency and gall to prevent Complexity showcasing a fluid and mobile T-side effort en route to a five-round buffer at the break.
BIG nabbed their second pistol round of the series at the second half's outset, using their advantage in weaponry to bring the map to a 10-10 stalemate. Complexity attempted to pull off an aggressive and in-your-face CT-side to bring BIG's recovery to a halt, but the Germans were always one step ahead. Brushing aside their opponents, BIG conceded just two rounds throughout the entirety of their T-side, even recovering from a 2vs4 in the final round, to send the series to a Nuke decider.
Complexity enjoyed a burst of life to begin Nuke, tallying a 5-2 lead on the T-side despite k1to's server-high seven kills always having the potential of flipping the momentum back into the Germans' favor. A back-and-forth battle for control ensued at this point, neither side able to post more than one round at a time. Alas, it was BIG who clinched victory in the skirmish, using their superior finances to force Complexity down to pistols, before erecting an impenetrable CT-side — closed out by an ace from Marcel "hyped" Köhn — to end the half up by one round.
It was Complexity who reached double digits first courtesy of a four-round spree at the start of their CT-side. BIG's efficiency in finding the opening kill proved to be Complexity's downfall, however, gifting the Germans a way into rounds time and time again and forcing the North Americans into saves more often than not. By now, the wind was firmly in BIG's sails; a quick change of pace into fast hits of the bombsite left Complexity scrambling to maintain their ground, and the Germans relished adding the final two rounds they needed to advance to the fourth-place decider, 16-12.
|Complexity||K - D||+/-||ADR||Rating 2.0|
|75 - 63||+12||84.0||1.15|
|61 - 57||+4||71.6||1.02|
|43 - 59||-16||61.7||0.92|
|49 - 69||-20||61.7||0.86|
|53 - 75||-22||66.1||0.83|