After three days of competition, six teams will proceed to the playoffs of the ESL Pro League season nine finals.
NRG upset Astralis in Group A and mousesports beat FaZe in the Group B final, so they’ll get to rest tomorrow after qualifying directly into the semifinals. Team Liquid, Astralis, FaZe, and G2 Esports will have to play an elimination match tomorrow, however.
The first quarterfinal will be FaZe vs. G2 at 8am CT. FaZe have looked better since adding Filip “NEO” Kubski to the in-game leader role. The move took pressure off their star Nikola “NiKo” Kovač and they’re playing more structured Counter-Strike. They’ve defeated TYLOO and North at the ESL Pro League season nine finals so far.
G2, on the other hand, are finally showing some promise. The French team have made their second consecutive playoff appearance following their performance at DreamHack Masters Dallas three weeks ago. Kenny “kennyS” Schrub has been their best player so far. They’ve defeated Greyhound, Cloud9, and Heroic at the tournament.
All the spotlights for tomorrow will be on the Liquid vs. Astralis matchup, though. They’re the two best teams in the world, respectively, and one of them will go home earlier than anticipated. This will be their first encounter since BLAST Pro Series Miami in April. The North Americans became the best team in the world earlier in June, surpassing Astralis.
Liquid lost to North in the first round of the tournament. They had to grind their way out of the lower bracket, defeating TYLOO, HellRaisers, and MIBR in best-of-three matches.
Astralis were having a clean tournament until they lost to NRG. The Danes had no trouble defeating Cloud9 and Heroic, though. But they were looking shakier today against NRG, a lineup that’s never gone beyond the semifinals.
The six teams are battling for their share of the $600,000 prize pool and one point in the Intel Grand Slam. The team that wins four out of 10 premier tournaments hosted by ESL, DreamHack, or IEM will receive $1 million. Liquid are leading with two points and Astralis have one point.
Liquid will play against Astralis tomorrow at 11:50am CT after the FaZe vs. G2 match.