Last weekend, the EPICENTER Major began at the CSKA Arena in Moscow with the 16 teams competing for the $1,000,000 prize pool. With 15,000 Pro Circuit Points up for grabs and a place in The International 2019 at stake for many teams, the drama was high.
Things started slowly, though. The big guns, Team Secret, Team Liquid, Vici Gaming, Virtus.pro, and PSG LGD, all made it into the Upper Bracket. But there were a few surprises with previously in-form Fnatic going down to Royal Never Give Up. And last year’s winners of The International, OG, finished bottom of Group D.
The surprises begin
In the Upper Bracket Round 1, Team Secret faced their old CIS rivals Virtus.pro in what proved to be an amazing encounter.
The teams gruelingly split the opening two maps in the best-of-three contest, with each game lasting well over 50 minutes. That set up a deciding third map, but this time around, Virtus.pro got the upper hand early, winning in just over half an hour. They knocked the tourney favorites down into the Lower Bracket in stunning fashion.
Team Liquid (who defeated PSG.LGD), Vici. Gaming (who bested Gambit Esports) and TNC Predator (who got the better of Royal Never Give Up) made it through to the Upper Bracket semifinals. In those semis, Team Liquid and Vici Gaming prevailed to earn spots in the Upper Bracket Final, which takes place this Friday.
Lower Bracket action
There was a real shock in the first game in the Lower Bracket when Fnatic were eliminated from the tournament. They lost 1-0 to Forward Gaming, and then OG finally found some form when they earned a 1-0 win over Evil Geniuses. Alliance (who beat Infamous) and Ninjas in Pyjamas (victors over paiN Gaming) also earned key wins.
The Round 2 LB games are taking place today with one result already in: PSG.LGD moved into the third round with a 2-0 win over Forward Gaming. The huge match between Team Secret and OG gets underway very shortly.
The winners of these four games will then meet in Round 3 with the winners of those two contests going on to face TNC Predator and Virtus.pro in Round 4.
Team Liquid one step away from the Grand Slam Bonus
Do you remember when Astralis was the team to beat in CS:GO esports? How quickly things change.
Team Liquid’s rise to the top of CS:GO continued unabated at the ESL Pro League Season 9 Finals in Montpellier, France this past weekend.
After beating Fnatic in the Intel Extreme Masters XIV Sydney event in May, they felled ENCE Esports at the DreamHack Masters Dallas 2019 in early June to earn their second victory.
As for last weekend, Team Liquid entered as one of the big favorites. Initially, at least, they did not have things their way.
In their opening game in Group B, they were defeated 16-13 by North and so moved into the Lower Bracket. However, they made swift progress through the tournament there, defeating TYLOO 2-0, Hellraisers 2-1 and MiBR 2-0 to claim a playoff spot.
With mousesports and NRG esports top-seeded through to the semifinals, the quarterfinals saw Team Liquid lock horns with Astralis in an epic contest. The Danish side won the opening map before Liquid produced two superb performances to win 2-1.
That victory boosted the team’s confidence hugely, they swept away mousesports 2-0 in the semifinals. In the final round, Liquid led G2 2-1 going into the fourth map. In a staggering game, which went well into triple overtime, Liquid claimed a stunning 25-22 victory.
Team Liquid’s Jonathan “EliGE” Jablonowski was named the MVP of the tournament with a rating of 1.29 throughout.
Now, the $1 million Grand Slam Bonus is Team Liquid’s for the taking at the forthcoming ESL One Cologne 2019. It runs July 2-7.
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