As Group A nears its close, we look back at the fourth day of play at the ESL Pro League Season 17.
Matches for the first group in this season of ESL Pro League have almost come to an end, and after Day 4, we already have the first Playoffs team settled. Unlike those before, the penultimate day of Group A also brought with it plenty of drama and the first two eliminations. The matches were much closer, and with so much on the line, more exciting overall. If you were unable to catch the matches while they were happening live, here’s what you need to know about them.
ESL Pro League Season 17 Group A Day 4 Matches
Things got started with the down-but-not-out IHC Esports taking on a dejected, seemingly lifeless Evil Geniuses. This was followed by a clash of cultures as MIBR took on Eternal Fire in a do-or-die match, and the last match of the day saw a high-level European battle between G2 Esports and Fnatic.
IHC Esports vs Evil Geniuses
With consecutive defeats leading them into the depths of the Lower Bracket, IHC’s campaign hadn’t panned out as they would have wanted. The Mongolians had one chance to at the very least go out with a little dignity, and thankfully for them their opponents were arguably one of the worst teams in top-level CSGO right now. EG had suffered defeats in a similar fashion to IHC, and they also had one shot at even marginal redemption.
Things started off on IHC’s usual pick of Inferno, where the Asian team managed a solid 8 rounds on the attack after having fallen behind 7-2 at one point. Spurred on by their 6-round spree at the end of the first half, they came back strong despite losing the Pistol Round in the second half, and closed out the game 16-10 before a lackluster EG had the chance to do much with their attack. Garidmagnai “bLitz” Byambasuren and Tengis “sk0R” Batjargal were equally proficient for the winning team.
Moving on to EG’s pick Overpass, however, the dangers of IHC’s shallow map pool began to show. The Mongolians seemed lost on the defense as they conceded a whopping 11 rounds, and once on the attack they barely made a dent before bowing out on an embarrassing 16-6 scoreline. This time, it was Timothy “autimatic” Ta and Sanzhar “neaLaN” Ishakov’s time to shine.
Moving on to the decider Nuke, IHC surprised many by picking up a terrifying 10 rounds on the attack, with EG looking as listless as ever. When the switch was made, any hopes of an American comeback were quickly snuffed out as IHC got more in 7 rounds than EG did in 15 to win the match 16-6 and secure the series. sk0R was incredible once again, but he had plenty of support from teammates Tuvshintugs “ANNIHILATION” Nyamdorj and bLitz.
MIBR vs Eternal Fire
The Brazilians had shown some stiff resolve by making short work of the dangerous IHC earlier in the Group Stage, but had fallen pretty flat against the top-tier side of G2. Meanwhile, EF had been relatively decent against G2 — at least on one map — and although they had lost that as well as their match against Fnatic, they were still the favorites going into the match.
The Turks had shown before that Anubis is a map they favor heavily, and they once again justified the pick with a 10-round attacking half. On the defense in the second half, they were given a bit of a challenge, but nothing they couldn’t handle as they finished things off comfortably at 16-10. Newcomer Felipe “insani” Yuji was excellent for the Brazilians, but it was the efforts of İsmailcan “XANTARES” Dörtkardeş, Yasin “xfl0ud” Koç and Engin “MAJ3R” Küpeli that spoke loudest.
Moving on to MIBR’s pick Vertigo, EF chose to start on the T-side, and surprised their opponents with 10 hard-earned rounds. A similar story as Anubis followed on the defense, as they managed to hold their nerve despite a solid effort from their opponents to finally win 16-11 to lock in the series in their favor. This time, XANTARES was far and away the best player on the server, with his right-hand man Buğra “Calyx” Arkın helping out well.
G2 Esports vs Fnatic
The final match of the Mid Bracket promised some solid action, and although each individual match did not deliver much in the way of competition, the series did go to all three maps. G2 had begun their comeback following their loss at the hands of Cloud9, while Fnatic were coming off of a defeat to reigning Major champions Outsiders, but had beaten Eternal Fire (albeit closely) afterwards.
Fnatic choosing Vertigo was a little strange to some, and it turned out that such people were right when they only got a poor 4 rounds on the T-side. Switching over to the other side, the Swedes began well enough, but it didn’t take much time for G2 to crack that defense and shut the game down 16-8 in their favor. Ilya “m0NESY” Osipov was, as he usually is, at the top of the leaderboard for G2, followed closely by his brother-in-arms Nikola “NiKo” Kovač.
G2’s magic on Nuke seems to have worn off, because they were awful on it first against Cloud9 and now against Fnatic. Despite winning the Pistol, the French side only managed a paltry 3 rounds in the first half, with Fnatic’s impenetrable defense not even allowing the former to so much as plant the bomb in the last 9 rounds. Switching over, G2 could show no such prowess, and the game ended on a pathetic 16-4 scoreline against them. Nico “nicoodoz” Tamjidi had a brutal 2.09 rated performance, with William “mezii” Merriman also doing superbly.
Unfortunately for the Swedes, their victory parade was short-lived as G2 prevented them from getting a good T-side score on Inferno before themselves going over and getting the first four rounds to get to a 14-5 lead. Fnatic did put up a defense, but it wasn’t nearly enough, as the match ended 16-9 in favor of the French clan. NiKo was on point with his rifle, while Justin “jks” Savage and Rasmus “HooXi” Nielsen of all people stepped up strongly.
Join us again tomorrow for the final wrap-up of Group A, and we’ll also give you previews and more of Group B, so stick around.