As the ESL Season 11 of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive winds through a second group stage on the European side of the bracket, the four survivors of the North American group await their turn to take the spotlight starting Thursday.
Team Liquid, Evil Geniuses, Furia Esports, and MIBR will vie in a mini-tournament through Sunday for the right to face the European winner. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic forced a scramble to set up the 23-team international field that began play March 16. The Nevada Gaming Control Board approved eSports betting late last month, the first time it had done so since 2017, to add to a highly limited market with nearly all professional sports suspended worldwide due to COVID-19.
The four teams have been separated into two brackets: the Upper Bracket, which has the first- and second-placed teams, and the Lower Bracket containing the third- and fourth-placed teams. The winner of the Upper Bracket match will directly advance to the Grand Final, while the loser will face the winner of the Lower Bracket for the other spot. Every match is a best-of-3 except the Grand Final, which is a best-of-5.
The Lower Bracket: (3) Furia Esports vs. (4) MIBR
If there is a Cinderella story among the four teams, MIBR (2-3) most certainly fits the bill. The Brazil-based team is 19th in the current CS:GO World Rankings — the lowest of the quartet — and also appears to be finally shaking off the doldrums of a coaching change last month after Wilton “zews” Prado was replaced by Ricardo “dead” Sinigaglia.
MIBR’s two wins came against the two teams that did not qualify for the playoffs — 100 Thieves and Swole Patrol — and it clinched its Lower Bracket spot in the final group match with a 2-0 sweep over the latter. MIBR looks to be a top-heavy team as Vito “kNgV-” Agostenelli and Ignacio “meyern” Meyer both rank in the top 14 for kill-to-death ratio at 1.28 and 1.24, respectively, and Meyer also is fourth with a 62% headshot ratio. Epitacio “TACO” Pessoa has a team-best three aces but also owns the squad’s worst K/D ratio at 0.98.
Fellow Brazilian squad Furia Esports (3-2), which beat MIBR 2-1 during group play, finished the round-robin with a stunning flourish as it overcame a 10-5 deficit on the Nuke map versus 100 Thieves in the decisive third round. Furia, ranked 11th in the world, went the distance in four of its five group matches and owns a victory over group leader Team Liquid.
Team captain Andrei “arT” Piovezan has had his ups and downs, entering this round with a 0.98 K/D, but Kaike “KSCERATO” Cerato has picked up the slack with an impressive 1.32 ratio, which is tops among North American players and fourth overall. Vinicius “VINI” Figueiredo ranks right behind Meyer with a 61% headshot ratio but also sports a 0.92 K/D.
Quinta às 17h teremos mais um FURIA x Mibr! 🇧🇷
Trouxemos pra vocês um retrospecto geral desse confronto. Bora conferir? pic.twitter.com/EaH3ef0AUk
— FURIA (@furia) April 7, 2020
In the head-to-head matchup, Furia posted convincing victories in the Train and Mirage Maps, while MBIR claimed a stage win in the Inferno Map. MBIR’s top map in group play was Inferno (3-1), while Furia ran the table in Mirage (4-0).
The Upper Bracket: (1) Team Liquid vs. (2) Evil Geniuses
Team Liquid (3-2) claimed the top spot in the group by virtue of its 2-1 victory over Evil Geniuses on April 3, which will have been its only contest in 12 days heading into Friday’s rematch. All five members sport a K/D ratio of 1.07 or better, paced by Russell “Twistzz” Van Dulken’s 1.28. Van Dulken also sports a 66% headshot ratio, which ranks third overall.
The 20-year-old Van Dulken also leads Season 11 with eight aces and has formed a lethal tandem with Jonathan “EliGE” Jablonowski, who is second with six. Overall, Team Liquid — the highest-ranked North American side in the world at No. 6 — has posted 21 aces, which contributed to its league-best plus-21 round margin.
Evil Geniuses (3-2), ranked right behind Team Liquid at No. 7, may have been the most exciting team in North America, going the distance in four of five group matches while emerging with a slender plus-1 margin (201-200) in round score. One of the oldest gaming teams in the United States, Evil Geniuses only re-entered CS:GO last September after acquiring NRG ESports.
Vincent “Brehze” Cayonte leads the squad in K/D (1.23) and headshot percentage (52%), but Evil Geniuses also boasts three players with at least a 1.15 K/D in Tsvetelin “CeRq” Mangalski and Ethan “‘Ethan” Arnold. Evil Geniuses has rallied to win two of its three matches but also suffered both its losses after winning the first map.
A close game and even closer series ends with us topping our #ESLProLeague Group 💪
— Team Liquid (@TeamLiquid) April 4, 2020
The teams had to play a mini-tiebreaker after the decisive third map finished tied 15-15, with Team Liquid posting a 7-4 win in a continuation on the Inferno Map. Team Liquid posted at least one round win on six different maps while winning both when contested on Nuke, while Evil Geniuses recorded a round victory on five different maps and went 2-1 on Inferno.
What is Counter-Strike: Global Offensive?
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is a multiplayer first-person shooter video game played on a PC platform with teams consisting of five players. One team tries to perpetrate an act of terror by placing and detonating a bomb at one of two predetermined sites on a map. The other group, counterterrorists, tries to defuse the bomb over the course of a round that lasts 1 minute, 55 seconds.
The counterterrorist team can also win the round by eliminating the enemy team before it plants the bomb. The bomb detonates 40 seconds after being planted, but it can be defused in either five seconds if the counterterrorist team has a kit or 10 seconds if it does not.
A match consists of 30 such rounds in which each side plays one role for 15 rounds before switching to the second on the same map. The first group to win 16 total rounds wins one match in the best-of-3 format, and all bets must be accepted before the start of the match.
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