Heroic, MOUZ reach Group B upper finals at ESL Pro League Season 17

Heroic and MOUZ each picked up wins on Thursday in the second day of Group B play, setting up a meeting in the upper-bracket final at the ESL Pro League Season 17 in Malta.

MOUZ advanced with a 2-0 sweep over FURIA Esports, while Heroic squeaked past BIG in a hard-fought 2-1 victory. In mid-bracket action, Movistar Riders swept Complexity 2-0 while SAW snuck past Imperial Esports, 2-1.

The $850,000 Counter-Strike: Global Offensive tournament began with 32 teams divided into four group for the double-elimination opening round.

The group-stage winners move into the quarterfinals, with the group runners-up heading to the Round of 12 as high seeds. The four third-place teams enter in the Round of 16 as high seeds, and the four fourth-place teams go to the Round of 16 as low seeds.

Group A was completed last week, with Cloud9 coming in first, Outsiders in second, G2 Esports in third and Fnatic in fourth. Group C play will begin on March 8, and Group D play will start on March 15.

The tournament champion will receive $200,000 plus berths in the Intel Extreme Masters Cologne this summer and the BLAST Premier World Final in December.

On Thursday, MOUZ jumped out to an 8-0 lead in an eventual 16-12 win on Mirage, then fell behind 7-1 on Ancient before using a 12-0 run en route to a 16-9 triumph. Australia’s Christopher “dexter” Nong topped MOUZ with 44 kills and David “frozen” Cernansky of Slovakia posted a team-best plus-12 kills-deaths differential.

Heroic had a much tougher time in their three-map battle against BIG. Heroic was one point from taking Nuke to start the match, only to see BIG reel off seven straight points for a 16-15 lead into overtime. But Heroic pushed back, winning 19-16. After BIG evened the bout with a 16-13 win on Inferno, Heroic tallied six straight times to complete a 16-14 win on Vertigo. Jakob “jabbi” Nygaard led Heroic’s all-Danish unit with 76 kills and a plus-20 K/D differential.

FURIA and BIG fell to the middle bracket, where Friday they’ll face Movistar and SAW, respectively. Movistar claimed a 16-8 win on Vertigo before pulling off a shocking 16-13 comeback win on Ancient, rallying from a 10-0 deficit. Alejandro “mopoz” Fernandez-Quejo Cano carried the all-Spanish Movistar squad with 53 kills and a plus-20 K/D differential.

The SAW-Imperial match may have been the day’s wildest. SAW won the first map 16-7 on Vertigo, finishing with eight consecutive points. Imperial answered by taking Overpass 16-7 on the strength of a map-clinching 9-0 spurt. Imperial then led 11-2 on the final map (Nuke), but SAW fought back and won 19-17 in overtime. Ricardo “roman” Oliveira of the all-Portuguese SAW lineup and Jhonatan “JOTA” Willian from the all-Brazilian Imperial team each produced 57 kills in the thriller.

Group B action continues on Friday with a pair of matches in the mid-bracket semifinals:
–FURIA Esports vs. Movistar Riders
–BIG vs. SAW

ESL Pro League Season 17 prize pool and points distribution
1. $200,000, 3,000 BLAST Premier points, qualification for Intel Extreme Masters Cologne and BLAST Premier World Final
2. $90,000, 2,000 BLAST Premier points
3-4. $50,000, 1,200 BLAST Premier points
5-8. $35,000, 500 BLAST Premier points
9-12. $25,000
13-16. $20,000
17-20. $15,000 — Eternal Fire
21-28. $8,000 — MIBR, IHC Esports
29-32. $4,000 — Evil Geniuses

–Field Level Media

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