Team Liquid and Virtus.pro won their respective mid-bracket quarterfinal matches Friday to move a step closer to the playoff stage at the ESL Pro League Season 18 event in Malta.
Liquid outlasted Cloud9 2-1 and Virtus.pro took down Eternal Fire 2-0 to move on. The winner between Liquid and Virtus.pro on Saturday will claim third place in Group D.
The $850,000 Counter-Strike: Global Offensive 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 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 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 Friday, Liquid opened with a 16-11 win on Ancient before Cloud9 countered with a 16-14 result on Inferno. The deciding map was Mirage, and Liquid pulled out a 16-12 victory. American Josh “oSee” Ohm had 22 kills on Mirage and 63 total to lead Liquid, finishing with a plus-16 kills-to-deaths differential.
Virtus.pro, the all-Russian side, eked out wins of 16-10 on Vertigo and 16-12 on Inferno to beat Eternal Fire. Dzhami “Jame” Ali led them with 42 kills on a plus-19 K-D.
Cloud9 and Eternal Fire dropped into the lower-bracket semifinals.
Group D action continues Saturday with three matches:
–Virtus.pro vs. Team Liquid (mid-bracket semifinal)
–9INE vs. Lynn Vision Gaming (lower-bracket quarterfinals)
–Eternal Fire vs. Cloud9 (lower-bracket semifinals)
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, 5yclone, TBD
21-28. $8,000 — Ninjas in Pyjamas, Grayhound Gaming, Heroic, Evil Geniuses, Imperial Esports, Apeks, two teams TBD
29-32. $4,000 — ORKS, Rooster, M80, TBD
–Field Level Media