EU RMR B day four & LCQ day one: As it happened
This was a live updated post with the latest from Group B of the BLAST.tv Paris Major European qualifier and the start of the Last Chance Qualifier.
— FORZE and Ninjas in Pyjamas qualified for Paris
— Aurora and BIG fall to last chance qualifier
— Vitality defeat G2 to set up a Legends decider vs Monte
— ENCE secure last Group B spot, Cloud9 in LCQ
— FaZe, Cloud9, and BIG eliminated Aurora, B8, and Falcons in LCQ
Clip: k1to expresses empathy for Falcons
So close, yet so far
21:51 - Nohte
It's heartbreak for the French. A laborious effort to recover from a 4-12 deficit on Mirage was denied at the final hurdle: Falcons brought the scoreline all the way back to take the lead at 14-13, but couldn't close things out as BIG tied things up before closing out the map with a triple kill from Johannes "tabseN" Wodarz and a quad kill from Nils "k1to" Gruhne.
Only full-French team left alive put on brink of elimination by BIG
21:19 - Nohte
Falcons are staring down an 0-2 loss in the LCQ after BIG ran away with the first half of their Mirage pick. The Frenchmen contested for the lead early on on the map and often managed to keep situations close in the mid-round, but couldn't halt BIG's relentless offense. The German side ended up ahead 11-4 at the break and are now in pole position to take a series victory.
BIG go up 1-0 over Falcons
20:32 - Nohte
The German team prevailed on Falcons' map pick of Nuke 16-13 to take the lead in the last opening LCQ series. The Frenchmen squandered multiple man-advantage situations and couldn't keep up with BIG's relentless attacks at the end of the second half, with play now headed to Mirage as tabseN and company look to close out the series in two.
tabseN's multi-kills keep BIG in the running
20:20 - Nohte
A set of phenomenal rounds from tabseN allowed BIG to get a strong start on the T side with six rounds on the trot, but Falcons are right back in the running now with five rounds of their own to tie things up, 13-13.
Falcons narrowly lead at halftime
19:58 - Nohte
BIG and Falcons do battle on Nuke
19:44 - Nohte
The final opening LCQ match is underway, and Falcons have just pulled ahead 5-4 on Nuke. The German side dropped a 5vs3 situation at 4-3 to give Kenny "kennyS" Schrub and company a window back into the game, and they seized upon it to gain the upper hand on their map pick.
FaZe oust Aurora from Major contention
19:19 - Nohte
The European combine advance directly to the Major-qualifying match as a result of having the highest Bucholz difficulty score, and will face the winner of the low-seed match between Cloud9 and the winner of BIG vs. Falcons.
Cloud9 stay alive
19:13 - Sumljiv
Cloud9 completed a dominant 2-0 win over B8, 16-9 on Ancient and 16-7 on Vertigo. Dmitry "sh1ro" Sokolov was the star man for the Russian squad, putting up 28 kills and 112 ADR on Vertigo to keep Cloud9's Major chances alive.
Cloud9 and B8 neck and neck on Vertigo
18:57 - Sumljiv
If they want to move the series to Mirage, B8 will need a much better second half this time around or end their Major qualification dream.
Aurora fight to recover from slow start on Overpass
18:49 - Nohte
It's been utter dominance from FaZe from the start of Overpass, a pistol round win being all that Aurora had to their name for the first nine rounds of the map. A B bombsite attack shutdown from Ivan "SELLTER" Miroshnikov and Evgeny "Norwi" Ermolin finally got Aurora back on the board, and they managed two more rounds before FaZe regained control.
It's 11-4 for FaZe as they look to close out the series.
Cloud9 take 1-0 lead
18:17 - Sumljiv
Looks like Cloud9 came to play. They won all but one round on their offense on their way to a 16-9 victory, taking a 1-0 lead and moving the series to their pick of Vertigo.
The Russian team pulled several disadvantageous rounds in their favor throughout the second half — Sergey "Ax1Le" Rykhtorov and Vladislav "nafany" Gorshkov converting a 2vs5 situation in the final round of play being just one example.
FaZe withstand Aurora onslaught to close out Ancient
18:11 - Nohte
FaZe maintained momentum after getting their first T round on the board and didn't let up from there — seven rounds back in their favor allowed them to close out the map, 16-13, moving the series on to their own pick of Overpass.
Cloud9 take control
18:05 - Sumljiv
Cloud9 are looking dominant on their T side, stringing together six rounds in a row after losing the pistol. Ax1Le is exploiting every inch of space B8 give up for free, with the 20-year-old topping the server on 21 kills.
FaZe halt Aurora's flawless CT side streak
17:57 - Nohte
sAw: "It's super impressive how NertZ has been able to adapt"
17:53 - Striker
Briefly after ENCE completed the comeback from 0-2 to 3-2, coach Eetu "sAw" Saha spoke to HLTV about the mental fortitude the team showed and, of course, the immaculate performance of their new player, Guy "NertZ" Iluz.
"In a way he is exceeding expectations," the coach said. "He has done it super fast, fitting into the team and finding his roles. Some of it he needed to change from Endpoint, it wasn't all one-to-one, so it's super impressive how he has been able to adapt and how he is showing his level. You could see the skill when watching him before, so in a way it was expected, but not so fast."
Read the full interview here.
B8 take slender lead into the second half
17:50 - Sumljiv
Cloud9 got off to another slow start, something we have grown used to during the RMR. This time they went down 3-7 to the B8 offense but recovered with four in a row to reduce the deficit to just one round.
The Ukrainian side have shown their proficiency on Ancient by defeating Virtus.pro and MOUZ at the RMR, and they now move into their favored side on the map — they sport a 58.1% win rate on the T side.
Aurora close the gap to three rounds at halftime on Ancient
17:41 - Nohte
FaZe's superb 7-1 start on the CT side of Ancient had Aurora on the ropes for the ear;y stages pf the first half, however, the Russian side managed to recover with a four-round spree of their own and clinched the final round of the half with a clean entrance into the B bombsite to narrow the gap between the teams to 9-6.
17:19 - Sumljiv
Last chance qualifier matches postponed by half an hour
16:22 - Striker
The first round of the last-chance qualifier has been postponed, as some teams have only now arrived at the venue and started setting up. The new start has been set for 17:15 .
Maden: "Cloud9 was our kryptonite but we beat them at the most important time"
15:56 - NER0
"When we were down 0-2 it was a bit rough, but we made it. Cloud9 were our kryptonite team, we could never beat them before. It was always really hard against them but we managed to beat them in the most important time, qualifying for the last Major — just incredible."
Last chance qualifier matchups
15:49 - Striker
Just one more BLAST.tv Paris Major spot left to be decided and there's some big names in that bunch of six teams fighting for it.
Three matches between the 2-3 teams from both European groups are up first in the last chance qualifier. From the winners, the highest-seeded team according to their Buchholz score will advance straight into a Paris-deciding match while the other two fight it out in the round ahead.
|BLAST.tv Paris Major 2023 Challengers Europe Last Chance Qualifier|
ENCE secure the Paris spot and send Cloud9 to the LCQ
15:40 - Striker
The late stages of this map had pressure written all over it, such a back and forth and scrappy affair, but ENCE secure the spot at the BLAST.tv Paris Major. You could see how much it means for Paweł "dycha" Dycha and NertZ moments after the match ended.
Eco win keeps Cloud9 in it, but then they lose the anti-force
15:34 - Striker
It's 14-12 and it's getting scrappier and scrappier. ENCE have had a rough time against low buys in this series and it comes back to haunt them again late into Vertigo, but then they respond with a forcebuy win of their own.
SunPayus responds with a 1v3
15:28 - Striker
Another sh1ro quad-kill comes at a key moment
15:24 - Striker
sh1ro turns the 2v4 disadvantage and ends it with a 1v2 clutch to equalize the score on Vertigo at 10-10. Cloud9's economy is on the verge of breaking and so is ENCE's — the next couple of rounds might just be they key to this map.
Cloud9 under big pressure
15:20 - Striker
ENCE claim a lead early in the second half after winning the early forcebuy wars and the pressure begins to mount on Cloud9 as they're a map down and just a few rounds away from being sent to the last chance qualifier.
Cloud9 and ENCE neck and neck on Vertigo
15:09 - Striker
Cloud9 secure an 8-7 lead going into the CT side on Vertigo. As usual, their start wasn't the best, but a sh1ro quad-kill in a late A play got them started and they went on a seven-round streak on the back of that.
Spinx: "We played good CS today"
14:59 - NER0
"The game itself [does not mean] too much. It's nice to beat G2 but what I'm happy about is how we played. We played good CS today, the start of Mirage was not too pretty but then ZywOo woke up and helped all of us to wake up."
"I think I prefer — I have never been Legends so far — to be Legends because you get extra days to rest, to prepare, whatever you need for the team. You can do a small BootCamp and you can see the other matches so you can learn a little bit before and they can't know anything about you. It's true, you might be a bit colder when you come but I think it'll be okay overall."
Vitality sweep G2 aside and move into third-place decider
14:50 - Rizzo
Dan "apEX" Madesclaire and company wasted no time in closing out the match after securing their opponents' map pick on Mirage to go 1-0 up in the series. Vitality first claimed a 9-6 lead on the CT side before cruising through their offensive half unopposed as Spinx and Peter "dupreeh" Rasmussen cut through G2's defenses.
k0nfig: "I really wanted to beat Astralis, I wanted to show them what they're missing"
14:35 - Striker
Speaking to HLTV after qualifying for the Major, Kristian "k0nfig" Wienecke admitted facing his former organization and teammates from Astralis last night gave him some extra motivation: "It was important for me, I really wanted to beat them, I wanted to show them what they're missing, and it meant the world for me to beat them. Of course it's really sad that they went out, but it had to be done. It was a good win."
Read the full interview here.
ENCE clinch overtime 19-16
14:21 - Striker
NertZ went quiet for a while in that Cloud9 comeback, but he was back in business in overtime with a crucial triple towards the end, bringing his total kill tally to 34. Marco "Snappi" Pfeiffer also had a couple of all-important doubles in the first and last round of overtime to secure the series lead.
Cloud9 are under pressure and head to their Vertigo pick. It's been a comfortable map for them in the past, but they've looked far from convincing on it at the RMRs with a bad start against Eternal Fire and a crushing loss to G2.
Cloud9 force overtime
14:10 - Striker
ENCE might just come to rue not finishing off the game when they had the game at the fingertips. It goes to overtime after Cloud9 once again salvage the half from a terrible start off the back of that halfbuy win.
ENCE offer Cloud9 way back in
13:52 - Striker
Vitality up 1-0 on G2 in the first Legends stage decider
13:50 - Striker
Emil "Magisk" Reif was on fire on the first map, helping Vitality come back from the slow start with a 32-13 score. Mathieu "ZywOo" Herbaut not so far behind, of course, with a 26-15 score in the 16-13 victory on Mirage.
Cloud9 recover from ANOTHER slow start
13:36 - Striker
So, get this. Cloud9 started maps down 0-7 twice against G2, down 0-9 against Eternal Fire, and 2-8 against Monte. Now, they went 1-7 to start the CT side of Ancient, but recovered well with a seven-round run, and it all started with a bit of a fumble from the ENCE squad as they gave up a 5v3 advantage on B.
Cloud9 face ENCE for last Group B spot in Paris
13:10 - Striker
A barn burner ends round five at the second European RMR tournament. Cloud9 versus ENCE begins to decide the penultimate spot at the BLAST.tv Paris Major. No big surprises in the veto: Snappi picked Ancient to kick off the series and Cloud9 went for their trusted Vertigo. Mirage to decide, if needed.
NIP through to Paris
12:54 - Rizzo
Ninjas in Pyjamas have punched their ticket to the BLAST.tv Paris Major 2023 after their 2-0 victory over BIG. The Germans put up a good fight across the two maps, especially on Mirage, but eventually conceded their pick after two sets of extra time.
Clip: hyped forces double-overtime for BIG
12:43 - Rizzo
The young German sniper secured three important frags to take down Ninjas in Pyjamas and force the Europeans into a second set of extra time.
shalfey: "Like Ford against Ferrari"
12:34 - NER0
We spoke with Aleksandr "shalfey" Marenov after he qualified for his second Major: "It feels insane. But really, it should be our third. Last time we choke, this time we choke against Monte also but this game [vs Aurora] became super... our mental was on a super high level."
He also said that playing against Aleksandr "KENSI" Gurkin and Norwi to secure the Major spot was "like Ford against Ferrari for us. This match means a lot for us and for them especially; it feels super amazing to beat them, to show that we're much better."
Force buy gives NIP a lifeline to overtime
12:29 - Rizzo
After Josef "faveN" Baumann mowed the Europeans down, Ninjas in Pyjamas's bank account was less than optimal to bring rifles and utility for everyone. Two members spearheaded the attack on the B site with Deagles, successfully detonating the bomb while k0nfig converted a 1v2 post-plant. Aleksi "Aleksib" Virolainen's men rode the gauntlet all the way and forced overtime after three round wins.
FORZE qualify for Paris
12:20 - Striker
Slowly but surely FORZE edged towards the win after that dominant defense. They close Nuke 16-10 and are set to return to the Major stage after missing out on a place in Rio.
Aurora are sent to the last-chance qualifier to join FaZe, B8, Falcons, and the losers of the Ninjas in Pyjamas-BIG and Cloud9-ENCE series in the 2-2 pool. There, they will fight for just one spot in Paris.
FORZE ahead of Aurora, BIG close the gap to NIP
11:59 - Striker
FORZE were in cruise control in the first half and picked it up 12-3 on the CT side of Nuke. Ninjas in Pyjamas, on the other hand, gave up their early 7-1 lead on BIG on Mirage and now the Germans have come back to take control early in the second half.
jks: "It's really hard to say who's No. 1 nowadays and it's super close"
11:56 - Striker
Justin "jks" Savage spoke about the current status quo at the top after qualifying yesterday.
"I think we are definitely a top-three team. It's really hard to say who's No. 1 nowadays and it's super close. Every team can beat each other in the top five, especially now with NAVI, they look like they are playing a lot better now.
"FaZe, when they are playing well, they are a super good team, and Heroic is always consistent. It's a tough call, but on our day, when we are playing super well we just have to back ourselves and say that we are No. 1."
Read the full interview here.
I thought it's usually Tom who chases Jerry?
11:48 - Striker
Andrey "Jerry" Mekhryakov has been making confidence plays all throughout the half, none cockier than his quick push into lobby and up the ladder to throw Aurora completely off balance. The in-game leader had a great first map and has continued to put up the numbers with 15 kills at 11-2.
Aurora get on the board but need more
11:44 - Striker
I spoke too early, didn't I?
11:39 - Striker
We're seven rounds in and Aurora have yet to get on the board. Viktor "Lack1" Boldyrev's flank in the sixth gave them their best chance, but even that didn't work out as Jerry denied the bomb plant in a 1v2 with just a few seconds left on the clock. It's quickly getting out of hand.
Clip: REZ holds out against BIG on A
11:38 - Rizzo
Nuke starts between FORZE and Aurora
11:27 - Striker
It's a real comfort pick for Aurora, who played Nuke 20 times in the past 3 months and won it 17 times. They also took G2 to all 30 rounds on it just a few days ago, so we can expect it to get difficult for FORZE.
Ninjas in Pyjamas take their pick home
11:10 - Rizzo
Ninjas in Pyjamas went into the second half with an 11-4 advantage, but slowed down significantly after switching to the CT side. k1to gave the European squad some trouble on the offense, but their deficit was too significant to overcome, and eventually, the duo of Ludvig "Brollan" Brolin and Daniil "headtr1ck" Valitov put an end to the map.
Chaotic map goes FORZE's way
11:04 - Striker
Aurora made another low buy work to prevent the first of four map points, but that was all they could do. Aleksandr "zorte" Zagodyrenko had the highlights in key rounds, but it was the captain, Jerry, who topped the charts for FORZE in the opening map victory.
Clip: zorte aces for map point
11:00 - Striker
What a sequence at the end to complete the ace, that's an early candidate for play of the day and one of the flashiest of the RMR:
The Ninjas extend their lead ahead of the break
10:38 - Rizzo
Ninjas in Pyjamas have secured an 11-4 lead before halftime after a fantastic offensive performance on Vertigo, in which they repeatedly exploited BIG's brittle defenses on the B bombsite. faveN and Karim "Krimbo" Moussa have been the standout players for the Germans, but their efforts have not been sufficient to balance out the mayhem caused by REZ and Aleksib.
9-6 for FORZE at the half
10:40 - Striker
Aurora limited the damage from the early stages of the half and had the chance to reach halftime just one round, but FORZE replied in kind with a pistol forcebuy win of their own, overpowering the B bombsite with just some Tec-9s and utility.
Clip: zorte 1v3s to stop an Aurora run
10:31 - Striker
BIG 1-7 Ninjas in Pyjamas
10:22 - Rizzo
BIG are showing off some of their material for IEM Rio a few days earlier than expected as they trail 1-7 behind against Ninjas in Pyjamas. The Germans have fallen behind despite taking the opening pistol round, unable to defend against the Swedish offense as headtr1ck and REZ top the scoreboard.
FORZE control Inferno early
10:16 - Striker
So far the only round that went Aurora's way was a forcebuy around two saved weapons, where FORZE's old teammates KENSI and Norwi picked combined for five kills to turn a difficult situation on the A bombsite. Otherwise, FORZE have been in control on the Terrorist side of Inferno.
First two 2-2 games begin
10:03 - Striker
The first two qualification matches have begun. Ninjas in Pyjamas face off against BIG on Vertigo, Inferno, and Ancient, while FORZE vs. Aurora gets started on Inferno, with Nuke to follow and Ancient if needed.
09:53 - NER0
Also check out this interview with apEX, conducted just after he secured a spot at his 17th Major.
09:50 - NER0
EU RMR Last Chance Qualifier
09:45 - NER0
Then we will get into the last set of best of threes, the first rounds of a 6-team bracket that will decide Europe's 17th Major spot. The teams that are entered are those with 2-3 records from Group A and B of the RMR.
This means that the losers of today's first best of threes will be flung into a second one later on tonight. With Falcons' match pencilled in for 22:00 too, we could be in for a long day of Counter-Strike.
|BLAST.tv Paris Major 2023 Challengers Europe Last Chance Qualifier|
RMR B: Legend spot decider
09:42 - NER0
|BLAST.tv Paris Major 2023 Europe RMR B|
RMR B: 2-2 games
09:39 - NER0
Three more teams will book their ticket to the Major today, via the 2-2 matches in Group B of the European RMR
|BLAST.tv Paris Major 2023 Europe RMR B|