9pandas seized at the EU RMR LCQ
Photo via PGL".

A CIS legend returns to the CS2 Major stage as 9Pandas qualify for Copenhagen

One had to fall for the other to rise.

9Pandas squeaked by GamerLegion in an exciting series decided by the narrowest of margins to win the last chance qualifier of the EU RMRs, earning themselves a spot in the first CS2 Major. It will mark seized’s first Major appearance since the 2018 ELEAGUE Atlanta Major.

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It took three maps and three overtimes in total, but 9Pandas completed their improbable run through the stacked European RMR CS2 events to become the seventeenth team from the old continent to punch their ticket to the PGL Copenhagen Major. Wins over SAW and 3DMAX were enough to earn a spot in the last chance qualifier, where their impressive upset win over Astralis set them up for a decider match against GamerLegion for the final qualification spot.

NAVI seized playing at a tournament
Seized back in his yellow-and-black days. Photo via Na`Vi

The close-fought nature of the match was immediately apparent as two 6-6 halves in regulation pushed the first map of Overpass to overtime, with GamerLegion barely notching a 16-14 win on their own map pick. With 9 Pandas striking back on Ancient 13-8, it was all eyes on Nuke, and Cedar Creek delivered a memorable finish to the series.

9Pandas raced to a 9-1 lead on the CT side and looked good to close out the series in decisive fashion, but Snax and co. found the last two rounds of the half and mounted a strong defense of their own, with the Polish legend holding the line in an important 1v2 clutch as the series seemed to be ticking inexorably towards overtime.

And yet, on round 24, with limited weapons and scraps of utility, 9 Pandas breached the defenses of the upper site and finally closed out the series at the last possible moment in regulation. It was the glowiing show throughout, with the 30-year-old Russian posting a +37 K/D in the series and a 1.66 HLTV 2.0 rating on Nuke to carry his team to Copenhagen.

This means the Paris Major finalists won’t be back to the next Major, and Snax, who was not a part of these showpiece competitions since his stint with MOUZ at the FACEIT London Major in September 2018, will have to continue to wait despite a series of impressive individual showings. Instead, it’s another veteran who will make a triumphant return to the biggest stage of Counter-Strike esports: seized, a stalwart of old NAVI rosters, whose last gasp at top-tier play came in the form of a stint on FlipSide and an early elimination at the ELEAGUE Atlanta Major in January 2018, will be the one to turn the clock back instead.

The action continues with the American RMR and the Asia-Pacific qualifiers.


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Author
Luci Kelemen
Weekend editor at Dot Esports. Telling tales of gaming since 2015. Black-belt time-waster when it comes to strategy games and Counter-Strike. Previously featured on PC Gamer, Fanbyte, and more, Occasional chess tournament attendant and even more occasional winner.