Complexity Gaming, Sprout, MIBR and IHC Esports won their lower-bracket matches Thursday to survive and advance to the final set of do-or-die matches at the play-in stage of the Intel Extreme Masters event in Katowice, Poland.
Complexity swept Permitta Esports 2-0, Sprout beat Evil Geniuses 2-0, IHC Esports took down paiN Gaming by the same score and MIBR outlasted Grayhound Gaming 2-1.
The quartet of winners will play again Friday to decide the final four teams to qualify for the next round, the group stage.
The $1 million Counter-Strike: Global Offensive tournament began Wednesday with the 16-team, double-elimination play-in stage to determine the last eight spots in the group stage. First-round play-in matches consisted of a single map, while all other play-in matches are best-of-three.
The four teams that advanced on Wednesday — BIG, OG, Ninjas in Pyjamas and Cloud9 — joined the eight teams that were already seeded into the group stage: Team Liquid, Natus Vincere, G2 Esports, FaZe Clan, Heroic, MOUZ, Team Vitality and Outsiders.
Group play runs from Saturday through Tuesday, with two eight-team groups competing in a double-elimination format of best-of-three matches. The two group winners advance to the semifinals of the single-elimination playoffs. The two group runners-up go the playoff quarterfinals as high seeds, and the third-place teams from each group head to the playoff quarterfinals as low seeds.
The best-of-three quarterfinals are scheduled for Feb. 10, and the best-of-three semifinals are set for Feb. 11. The winner of the best-of-five grand final on Feb. 12 will earn $400,000 and a berth in the $1 million IEM Cologne event scheduled for July 25-Aug. 6 in Germany.
On Thursday, Complexity beat Permitta 16-8 on Nuke and 16-7 on Overpass. All five Complexity players finished with positive kills-to-deaths differentials, led by Canada’s Justin “FaNg” Coakley (43 kills, plus-12) and Hakon “hallzerk” Fjaerli of Norway (39 kills, plus-16).
Sprout squeaked past Evil Geniuses 16-14 on Ancient and 16-13 on Mirage. Laurentiu “lauNX” ?arlea of Romania powered Sprout with 51 kills and a plus-14 K-D, both game highs.
MIBR opened with a 16-13 win on Inferno before Grayhound struck back with a 16-14 result on Anubis. But MIBR owned the final map, winning 16-2 on Vertigo. Felipe “insani” Yuji led the all-Brazilian squad with 75 kills and a plus-23 K-D while Raphael “exit” Lacerda (plus-23) and Henrique “HEN1” Teles (plus-22) added 57 kills apiece.
IHC got past paiN 16-12 on Inferno and 16-11 on Nuke. The all-Mongolian roster enjoyed a balanced attack, with Tengis “sk0R” Batjargal putting up game highs of 46 kills and a plus-11 differential.
The play-in stage concludes Friday with four matches:
–ENCE vs. Complexity
–Team Spirit vs. Sprout
–Fnatic vs. MIBR
–FURIA Esports vs. IHC Esports
Intel Extreme Masters Katowice prize pool
1. $400,000, berth in IEM Cologne
21-24. $2,500 — Permitta Esports, Evil Geniuses, Grayhound Gaming, paiN Gaming
–Field Level Media