Natus Vincere and FaZe Clan cruised into the upper-bracket final in Group C with victories Thursday at the ESL Pro League Season 18 event in Malta.
NaVi swept Apeks 2-0, while FaZe charged past Fnatic 2-1.
In Thursday’s other action, Imperial Esports beat 9z Team 2-0 and 5yclone did the same to M80 in the first round of the mid bracket. 9z and M80 dropped into the lower bracket quarterfinals.
The $850,000 event features 32 teams broken up into four groups of eight. Group-stage winners advance to the quarterfinals; runners-up advance to the Round of 12 as the high seeds; third-place teams in each group advance to the Round of 16 as the high seeds; and fourth-place teams advance to the Round of 16 as the low seeds.
The group stage is triple-elimination with upper, middle and lower brackets. All matches are best-of-three until the grand final, which is best-of-five.
The Counter-Strike: Global Offensive tournament runs through Oct. 1. The winner earns $200,000 and qualifies for the 2024 IEM Katowice event and the 2023 BLAST World Final.
On Thursday, NaVi rolled to a 16-7 win on Anubis and a 16-5 result on Inferno to defeat Apeks. Ukrainians Valeriy “b1t” Vakhovskiy (39 kills, plus-20 kills-to-deaths differential) and Oleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev (39 kills, plus-19) led NaVi.
After absorbing a 16-12 loss to Fnatic on Ancient, FaZe beat them 16-14 on Inferno before slamming the door with a 16-3 win on Nuke. Russel “Twistzz” Van Dulken of Canada racked up 73 kills on a plus-30 for FaZe.
Imperial beat 9z 16-11 on Nuke and 16-10 on Anubis. Ricardo “boltz” Prass led the all-Brazilian Imperial squad with 44 kills and a plus-14 K-D.
5yclone had wins of 16-10 on Nuke and 16-14 on Anubis to knock off M80. China’s Yi “JamYoung” Yang tallied 52 kills and a plus-22 for 5yclone.
Group C action continues with two matches on Friday:
–Apeks vs. Imperial Esports (mid-bracket quarterfinal)
–Fnatic vs. 5yclone (mid-bracket quarterfinal)
ESL Pro League Season 18 prize pool:
1. $200,000, 3,000 BLAST Premier points — TBD
2. $90,000, 2,000 BLAST points — TBD
3-4. $50,000, 1,200 points – TBD
5-8. $35,000, 500 points — TBD
9-12. $25,000 — TBD
13-16. $20,000 — TBD
17-20. $15,000 — Gamer Legion, MIBR, TBD
21-28. $8,000 — Ninjas in Pyjamas, Grayhound Gaming, Heroic, Evil Geniuses, TBD
29-32. $4,000 — ORKS, Rooster, TBD
–Field Level Media