A tough group that featured quite a few interesting surprises has run its course
One down, three to go, and we glance back at what was. When we last saw Group A, the two biggest baddies on the block were ruling the roost, with two more hopefuls waiting on the sidelines. Those two teams did manage to qualify — as did another team that was successful early on — but it went down to the wire. It wasn’t until the final round of matches that the fates of four of the teams in the group were decided.
Group A Day 3, 4, and 5 Results
If you’re absolutely clueless about how this group began, you might want to check out our recap of the first two days. For everyone else, Day 3 began with by far the most shocking result of the tournament as underdogs Endpoint dunked favorites Natus Vincere 2-0. This was followed by Team Spirit taking full advantage of the poor form of Ninjas In Pyjamas to whitewash them, while Team Vitality edged out a tenacious Fnatic.
Day 4 saw NIP finally shake off their jitters and beat Endpoint before Fnatic easily beat Spirit. The last game of the day was the eagerly-awaited Vitality vs Na’ Vi, and Vitality came out on top with a well-engineered reverse-sweep. On the final day, it was NIP’s turn to take out a shaky Na’ Vi, while Vitality and Fnatic comfortably cleaned up Spirit and Endpoint respectively.
Final Group A Table
Vitality leads the group head and shoulders above the rest with 15 points and a +40 round spread, with Fnatic coming in second 6 points and 4 rounds behind. The last team to qualify was Na’ Vi, who squeaked through despite losing three matches simply by virtue of their better round differential. Spirit, NIP, and Endpoint have, unfortunately, been eliminated.
ESL PRO LEAGUE SEASON 16 RECAP — Group A
With the results out of the way, let’s take a closer look at the matches themselves.
With nothing to lose, Endpoint took on Na’ Vi in the first match of Day 3. Cracks had been visible in the performances of the usually ironclad Ukrainian giants, and the underdog British team seemed to strike at the right places to expose them. Kia “Surreal” Man and Guy “Nertz” Iluz top fragged in Ancient and Dust 2 respectively as Endpoint thrashed Na’ Vi 16-7 and 16-10.
With one win and one loss, Spirit were in a decent position to squeeze into the second round, and they crushed NIP 16-9 on Mirage and 16-7 on Nuke to further their chances. On both maps, it was the heroics of Boris “magixx” Vorobyev that gave them the edge, with Pavel “s1ren” Ogloblin also stepping up on Nuke.
In the final match of the day, Vitality and Fnatic locked horns. Fnatic smashed Vitality in the first game, with newcomer Dion “FASHR” Derksen leading the lines for a 16-6 win. However, Vitality came back and showed great maturity to win Inferno 16-12 and Mirage 16-11, with their own recent addition Lotan “Spinx” Giladi putting up excellent numbers in both and superstar Mathieu “ZywOo” Herbaut showing his fiery potential in the second.
The next day, NIP finally got their first win by deflating a hopeful Endpoint. They dominated Vertigo 16-7 and managed to win Inferno 19-15 in Overtime, with stellar performance Ludvig “Brollan” Brolin in both maps and Fredrik “REZ” Sterner in the second.
Having fallen behind after a powerful start, Fnatic executed a commanding performance to defeat Spirit 16-11 in Nuke and 16-9 in Mirage. FASHR was once again the hero on Nuke, but when he couldn’t pile up the kills on Mirage, the other four carried him through, with William “mezii” Merriman undoing the hard work of Spirit’s Robert “Patsi” Isyanov and s1ren.
The cream of the crop was undoubtedly the grudge match between Na’ Vi and Vitality. The most eagerly-anticipated match of arguably the entire group stage saw the Ukrainians taking the first map — Inferno — 16-10. After this, however, Vitality showed tremendous resolve to win Mirage by the barest of margins before completing their comeback with a 16-12 win on Overpass. Oleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev countered the efforts of ZywOo on Inferno, Peter “dupreeh” Rasmussen was Vitality’s main man on Mirage, and ZywOo once again topped the charts on Overpass.
Coming into the last day, Vitality had secured qualification, and there was still a chance for everyone else except Endpoint to qualify. In such a situation, Na’ Vi’s poor run of form continued as they floundered against NIP. The Swedes won Inferno 16-8 with REZ outplaying the rest, lost 16-9 to Denis “electroNic” Sharipov’s dominance on Mirage, and swung back around to deliver a sucker punch to their opponents for a 16-11 win on Overpass powered by Brollan.
Spirit’s chances for qualification were still up for grabs, but Vitality was too high a mountain for them to conquer. The CIS squad lost 16-6 on Nuke and 16-10 on Vertigo, with ZywOo and Spinx once again being the standout players and Emil “Magisk” Reif getting an honorable mention for his contribution in the first map.
The last match of the group had Fnatic take out Endpoint in a comfortable clean sweep. The formerly dominant CSGO clan rampaged around on Ancient 16-8 with FASHR and Fredrik “roeJ” Jørgensen getting the best scores, and took Overpass cleanly with a scoreline of 16-10. Old hand Freddy “KRIMZ” Johansson got the most frags in the last game.
With Group A done, there will be a two-day lull with show matches in-between before Group B begins. Join us when we cover the action from that group.
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