00NATION progress to EPL Group C fourth-place decider
00NATION are through to the ESL Pro League Season 17 Group C fourth-place decider after taking down Grayhound 2-1, eliminating the Australians after eking out an overtime victory on Inferno (19-16), conceding their Ancient pick (10-16) and closing out the series with a confident showing on Mirage (16-9).
The win sets 00NATION up for a must-win game against Ninjas in Pyjamas on Sunday at 19:30 . The Brazilians have struggled with the loss of Epitacio "TACO" de Melo, who is away for personal reasons, and will need to dig deep and show their best game if they're to beat the Nordic combine and be one of the 16 teams to secure a playoff berth in Pro League.
Grayhound head home in 21st-28th place following their defeat to the Brazilians. The Australian side showed some potential during their time in Malta and notably bested Ninjas in Pyjamas in a three-map affair earlier in the tournament, but were otherwise outclassed by the numerous heavy hitters of the group.
Regardless, the experience of testing their mettle at a tier-one LAN will do wonders in preparing the side for their run through the upcoming BLAST.tv Paris Major Asia RMR in Mongolia, which begins on April 4 and has two berths to the Valve-sponsored event in France up for grabs.
Inferno, which was the decider in the two teams' lower bracket bout earlier in the tournament, kicked off the series. It didn't take long for the Brazilians to get comfortable in the opener, with flawless 7-0 and 5-0 performances from Lucas "nqz" Soares and Eduardo "dumau" Wolkmer enabling 00NATION to go on a four-round streak on the CT-side. The Australian lineup slowly started to claw their way back into the game despite the less-than-favorable start, a composed and thorough T-side — alongside exploiting the Brazilians' weak hold on the A bombsite — allowing the Oceanian lineup to edge ahead by one round at the side swap.
00NATION regained the lead at the outset of the second half, multi-kill rounds from coldzera and nqz giving the Brazilians the upper hand as they walked up to a 10-8 advantage. It was at this point that the tides completely turned; Grayhound, spurred on by heroics from their in-game leader Joshua "INS" Potter, added seven of the ensuing nine rounds on the back of a stalwart defense to reach map point, 15-12. 00NATION refused to bow out, however, answering back with a hard-fought and scrappy three-round spree to force a trip to overtime.
The Brazilians' late-map recovery carried over into extra rounds. Consistent round-on-round impact from Bruno "latto" Rebelatto proved to be the difference-maker — the 20-year-old was present in every round of overtime, putting kills on the board or contributing with assists to earn his team a laborious 19-16 victory on the Australians' map pick.
nqz and latto joined forces with two kills apiece to earn 00NATION their third pistol round of the series, but the Brazilian squad faltered in converting their new-found advantage. Declan "Vexite" Portelli answered the call of duty, adding 10 kills to the scoreboard to get the Australians off to a 4-2 start on the defensive side, but his heroic performance began to run out of steam, with his team's grip on the game also being whittled down as a result. Grayhound guaranteed a first-half victory thanks to proficiency in retaking, but 00NATION weren't far behind and an end-of-half two-round streak kept the Brazilians just one round down at the interval.
Grayhound were the first to reach double digits, repeating their slow and methodical T-side from Inferno to be within five rounds of forcing a Mirage decider, 11-7. 00NATION kept things close by piecing together three rounds of their own, but this momentum soon dissipated once the Australians got rifles back in hand. The Australian-majority ensemble added five rounds on the trot from this point, keeping the Brazilians in the dark with alternating hits of the two bombsites to win Ancient 16-12 and send the series to Mirage.
It was apt that the two teams were inseparable at the beginning of the Mirage decider given the hotly-contested nature of the two maps prior. 00NATION started off on the right foot with three rounds in a row, but the Australians responded in kind to tie things up. A stellar 1vs2 clutch from INS whilst 20hp in round nine gifted Grayhound a platform to run away things, although the visitors from Oceania failed in their bid to capitalize on their superior economic position. The Brazilian quintet won four rounds in quick succession to round out the half, giving themselves a slender one-round cushion heading into the T-side.
Yet another pistol round victory for the Brazilians earned coldzera and co. a way to make their way onto double digits, making sure not to fumble their weaponry advantage by taking things slow and staying together to maximize trade efficiency, 11-7. 00NATION pulled off a 3vs5 in round 19 to further rub salt into the wound, with this ending up being a series-defining play. The Brazilian roster lost just two rounds throughout the entirety of their T-side, triumphing in disadvantageous situations and ensuring they converted rounds where they were in the driver's seat, 16-9.
|00NATION||K - D||+/-||ADR||Rating 2.0|
|66 - 43||+23||68.1||1.25|
|62 - 53||+9||85.1||1.24|
|67 - 56||+11||83.5||1.15|
|49 - 58||-9||62.7||0.97|
|40 - 51||-11||53.5||0.82|