ESL Pro League Season 17 Group A Day 5 Recap

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ESL Pro League Season 17 Group A Day 5 Recap

Group A comes to a close with quite a series of matches at ESL Pro League Season 17.

The final game of Group A of ESL Pro League’s 17th season has ended, and with it we have our four Playoffs participants from the group. While there were no upsets as far as which teams qualified, the order of qualification for those teams is certainly not what most people expected — and neither were their individual journeys to those destinations. For once, all the matches played went to all 3 maps, and we’ve got everything you need to know about them right here.

Fnatic vs IHC Esports 

It hasn’t been an easy tournament for Fnatic, with losses to Outsiders and G2 Esports hindering what should have been a much easier route for them had they played better. With only one of their three lives left, they had to beat IHC in order to stay alive. The Mongolians had themselves floundered multiple times as well, and although they weren’t the favorites going into this matchup, they have taken down far bigger opponents in the past. 

When Fnatic chose to start on the T-side of Inferno, IHC immediately capitalized on the situation and got off to a solid 6-0 lead. However, the Swedes struck back and struck back hard, taking every remaining round in the half to finish at a nice 6-9 score. Once switched, they started well, and after a small hiccup, resumed their winning ways to close out the map 16-9. Nico “nicoodoz” Tamjidi was on fire for the Europeans, while Tengis “sk0R” Batjargal did well for the Mongols but to no avail.

Once the game switched to Fnatic’s map Overpass, everyone was sure the Swedes would make it 2-0. This belief deepened when they finished off the first half with a decent 7 rounds. However, IHC did very well on the T-side, and Fnatic had to bring it back from 15-12 down to even take the game to Overtime. Once there, IHC proved to be the better team, winning 19-17 to level the series. Garidmagnai “bLitz” Byambasuren was superb for his team, but Fredrik “roeJ” Jørgensen’s effort for Fnatic cannot and should not be understated.

Sadly for fans of either IHC or CSGO as a whole, the decider map, Nuke, was a total blowout. IHC went off to a decent start on the T-side to lead 4-1 at that point, but they only managed to take one out of the next 16 rounds as Fnatic dominated them 16-5 to clinch the series. Dion “FASHR” Derksen and the aforementioned roeJ were rock-solid, and nicoodoz also put up the numbers with 17 kills on the AWP.

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Outsiders vs Cloud9 

The two CIS sides had disposed of tough Western European opposition to meet in the Upper Bracket Final of the group. Now about to lock horns, the Major winners were still the marginal favorites on account of their ranking, but with their defeat of G2, C9 had proved that they were here to do some serious damage. Nevertheless, this was destined to be a hard-fought, tense affair, and it was just that. 

C9’s Vertigo has proven to be deadly more than once, and that was precisely the case here as they racked up an excellent 10 rounds on the attack. Despite a short fumble on the defense, it wasn’t long before they ended the game at a comfortable 16-9 scoreline. Dmitriy ”sh1ro” Sokolov playedout of his mind to achieve 29 kills in just 25 rounds, which earned him a 1.94 rating on HLTV. Evgeniy “FL1T” Lebedev was in good form for Outsiders, but it wasn’t anywhere near what sh1ro was doing.

On to Outsiders’ map Mirage, the Major champions started well, but soon faced stiff resistance as C9 kept them at bay for the greater part of the first half to come to another 10-5 scoreline. There were some great chances for them to close things out after the switch, but they couldn’t work it out, and Outsiders came back to win the map by the barest of margins possible in regulation time. Pyotr “fame” Bolyshev dropped a crucial 30-bomb to get them there, with team leader Dzhami “Jame” Ali providing solid support.

Outsiders began sharply on the third map Ancient, picking up rounds at regular intervals to go into the second half with a solid 8 on the board. Once on the CT-side, however, they were absolutely hopeless. C9 ransacked their defenses and went on a 9-round streak to win the game 16-8 and the series 2-1, topping the group and securing a direct spot in the Quarterfinals. Abai ”HObbit” Hasenov and Sergey ”Ax1Le” Rykhtorov brought out some serious rifling chops to boost their team to the win.

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Eternal Fire vs Fnatic

The Swedes had done well to inch past IHC, but Eternal Fire had disposed of the same back in the Mid Bracket. However, Fnatic had beaten EF in the game after that, and even took a map off of G2 on their way down. Now with IHC out of the way, the Swedes were determined not to let qualification slip through their fingers, while EF themselves were ready, rested, and waiting.

After seeing how Fnatic play Inferno, Eternal Fire took full advantage by first getting a decent 8 rounds on the attack and then all but locked down the bomb sites to achieve a statement 16-9 victory. Fnatic were inadequate on the defense, and ineffective on the attack. Buğra “Calyx” Arkın was excellent for the Turks, while Ömer “imoRR” Karataş also lent a useful hand. 

Moving on to Overpass, Fnatic’s favorite map for a while now, the Swedes managed a decent 8 rounds on the attack and prepared for their defense well. Unfortunately for them, they couldn’t close out the game in the two chances they got after being up 15-13, and the game went into OT. Fnatic seemed to kick into a different gear during extended play, and won the map 19-15 to force the series into a third map. A titanic 35-kill effort from İsmailcan “XANTARES” Dörtkardeş was countered well by both William “mezii” Merriman and Freddy “KRIMZ” Johansson.

CSGO can be a bizarre game if you only focus on the statistics. On paper, every single Fnatic player played worse than even the lowest-scoring EF plate, but in a classic example of how stats aren’t everything, it was Fnatic who won. Putting on a brilliant 11-round show on the T-side, they withstood the Turkish storm and, thanks to a brilliant clutch from KRIMZ in the penultimate round, managed to secure the series and a spot in the Playoffs. XANTARES and imoRR’s efforts were left languishing as roeJ and FASHR once again came out on top.

Make sure to catch our future EPL Season 17 content, including previews, player analyses, news and more. We also have guides to help improve your game, so make sure you check those out as well.

ESL Pro League Season 17 Group A Day 5 Recap
The Old One
When he's not sighing at sub-standard teammates in Dota 2 and CS2, The Old One is writing about those two games (among other things). If you see his name around the site too many times for your liking, well, the guy just never stops writing. Yes, we've tried an intervention.