The last two days the of ESL Pro League Conference have had constant action from start to finish with the double-elimination bracket allowing for great Counter-Strike to be played amongst the aspiring Pro League candidates. Thursday’s games were packed with drama, as all six series were elimination games. With that, we saw the departure of Wisla Krakow, Sharks, Renegades, RBG, Endpoint, and Order, while Eternal Fire, Anonymo, LDLC, and Sprout were able to survive another day in the lower bracket.
With the final-four set in the lower bracket, Friday’s matches were set in stone with Sprout and Anonymo prepared to battle in an elimination series at the start of the day, followed by LDLC versus Eternal Fire in the second eliminator. For these four teams, it was do or die. As for the upper bracket games, both MAD Lions and Extra Salt were aiming to be the first team to claim a spot in the Pro League and make a statement.
Sprout and Anonymo started the games with a three-map brawl that included quadruple overtime on the second map of Vertigo. Anonymo was able to win their map pick in overtime after getting trounced 16-8 on Sprout’s home pick of Ancient. When it came time for the Inferno decider, the Sprout firepower led by Josef ‘faveN’ Baumann was too much for the Anonymo squad, who was taken down 16-11, sending the Polish team home.
It did not take long to get back into Inferno, as the series of LDLC and Eternal Fire would start with it as LDLC’s map pick. This time around, we saw all 30 rounds as LDLC just barely edged out the Turkish squad off the effort of Ali ‘hAdji’ Haïnouss. When Eternal Fire’s Vertigo pick came, LDLC were able to suppress the explosive offense and take the second map 16-9, stripping Eternal Fire of their Pro League chances.
Lastly, MAD Lions and Extra Salt clashed in a match of perhaps the two hottest teams in the entire event. Both teams have only dropped one map, and have looked dominant in nearly all of their victories in pursuit of this upper-bracket semi-final matchup. Both teams sport some of the hottest AWP talents in the tournament, Volodymyr ‘Woro2k’ Veletniuk from MAD Lions and Josh ‘oSee’ Ohm from Extra Salt, and both have proven to offer massive impact to get them here. The two blossoming talents would need to bring their best to outperform the other and bring their team to the Pro League.
All three maps were played competitively, seeing 25+ rounds across all three. MAD Lions rocked Extra Salt to start the series by taking their map pick of Nuke 16-13 after a strong CT side dominated by Woro2k. Extra Salt recovered with ease on Ancient, with oSee bringing it right back to the Lions with a dominant 31 frags (15 with the AWP). After the 16-10 on Ancient, it was time for the Inferno decider. Extra Salt had the momentum coming into the third, and they used it effectively, winning the first half 9-6, and retaining the lead for the entirety of the game. With Justin ‘FaNg’ Coakley finding his form in map three for his team, MAD Lions could no longer keep up with their firepower, and Extra Salt took Inferno 16-10 to claim the first available spot in the ESL Pro League Season 15.
Not all is lost for MAD Lions, as they will have another opportunity to make it to Pro League tomorrow against Sprout in the lower-bracket semi-final on Saturday. As for LDLC, they will have to wait until the GODSENT and Movistar Riders series conclude to find out who their opposition for their elimination match is as they will play the loser of that contest. GODSENT and Movistar Riders will start tomorrow’s matches for the second qualification spot at the ESL Pro League.
- GODSENT vs Movistar Riders
- Sprout vs MAD Lions
- LDLC vs GODSENT/Movistar Riders loser