The group stages in Vegas conclude somewhat predictably with the obvious underdogs going home. Unable to make the playoffs were: TyLoo, Cloud9, OpTic, Misfits, Complexity, Renegades, Fnatic and FaZe. Perhaps the only real surprise is that OpTic or FaZe, both of whom look quite strong. They Failed to get out of the groups while arguably weaker teams such as Mouz and NiP did escape. Then again, NiP are still rated the 6th best team in the world on HLTV for a reason. Nobody can plan against NiKo playing like an absolute monster for the entire tournament. All in all, an unsurprising list of teams make it to the MGM grand arena.

Gambit vs. North

The first quarterfinal of the day began on Nuke – a map that North are considered top 2 in the world on. A poor CT score of 4-11 made the game very difficult for Gambit from the outset. Stellar performances by Zeus and AdreN made the map closer than it ought to have been. Even though AdreN’s consistent skill on LAN backed up by an inspired Zeus couldn’t take them over the line.

Gambit attempted to throw a curveball by picking Inferno instead of their dominant map (Cobblestone) which was not banned at the time. This was a decision that would ultimately come back to bite them as North very quickly made it to a score of 15-6 after a 10-5 CT side victory. 2 rounds previously, Gambit aided North’s quest for victory hugely by failing to defuse a bomb with 3 members (and one kit) alive while all the terrorists were dead. Incredibly, Gambit managed to win 9 consecutive rounds and take it to overtime. HObbit and AdreN perform well throughout, and the first overtime ends in a stalemate. Finally, in double overtime, North bring it across the line on the tenth time of asking. Heartbreak for Gambit, 2-0 for North.

VP vs. Mouz

In map 1, VP showed the world why they are still a force to be reckoned with on train. After a subpar CT score of 8-7 it would appear that Mousesports might have a chance. However the so-called “Virtus Plow” got into gear on the T side where they cruised to a comfortable 16-8 victory on their map choice.

Mirage was a different affair entirely. If NiKo wasn’t already playing exceptionally well in Vegas, he certainly stepped it up for his final map with Mousesports. Multiple high-impact kills with the Deagle and a K/D of 36/22 led the team to within touching distance of map 3. A combined team effort from VP snatched the map at the death, winning 16-14. FaZe awaits for NiKo and they will certainly have smiles on their faces after watching such a dominant performance.

Astralis vs. NiP

The most one-sided quarterfinal by a country mile. The best team in the world systematically demolish NiP in a decisive fashion. As with the first quarterfinal, the underdog team attempted to gain an advantage by picking Inferno. However, it was only to see it backfire spectacularly. Astralis cruised to a 16-6 victory and Xyp9x stole the show by confusing NiP with a clever boost towards CT spawn and mowing down all 5.

The second map wasn’t very different. Astralis comfortably won the map they chose, NiP never really got going as the scoreline suggests and the Danes glide past the Swedes into the semifinals.

Na’Vi vs. SK

The first map, Mirage, was undoubtedly the most exhilarating map of the tournament so far. After a 10-5 victory on the less favoured T side, Na`Vi fail to close out the game due in no small part to fer’s godlike performance in regulation time. The first two overtimes came and went with each round being as nail-biting as the last, still there was nothing to divide the two teams. Finally, in the third overtime, SK break the pattern and take a 2-1 lead at halftime. This time, they do manage to finish the game and steal Na`Vi’s map choice away by the smallest of margins.

Moving on to the map choice of SK (Train), Na`Vi didn’t exactly give up, but they never really stood a chance. The score may suggest a return to the old Na`Vi that self-destructed in the MLG Columbus final, but in reality SK just came up with all the answers to the questions asked by Na`Vi. SK are a highly skilled and well-disciplined team on Train, hence they picked it, and they demonstrated to the viewers exactly why that is.

The Future

Now the semifinalists have been decided, the brackets dictate that VP will play Astralis, while SK will face North. Strap yourself in for a rematch of the ELeague major final!