Team Vitality and Team Liquid won their semifinal matches Saturday to advance to the grand final of the ESL Pro League Season 16 in Malta.
Vitality cruised to a 2-0 sweep over G2 Esports while Liquid defeated Cloud9, 2-1.
The $835,000 Counter-Strike: Global Offensive event began with 24 teams vying for a $175,000 first prize and a berth in the BLAST Premier World Final. Only the Season 16 champion will clinch a spot in the $1 million Final set for Dec. 14-18 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
The Season 16 winner also secures a berth in the $1 million Intel Extreme Masters Katowice 2023, scheduled for Jan. 31-Feb. 12 in Poland.
The Pro League teams were divided into four groups for the initial round-robin Group Stage. The four group champions advanced to the playoff quarterfinals, while the teams that came in second and third in each group moved on to the playoffs’ Round of 12.
All matches in the group stage and the playoffs are best-of-three until the best-of-five final on Sunday.
On Saturday, Vitality defeated G2 16-8 on Mirage and 19-16 in overtime on Inferno. Mathieu “ZywOo” of Fance led Vitality with 52 kills while teammate Lotan “Spinx” Giladi of Israel posted a team-high plus-21 kills-to-deaths differential. ZywOo added a plus-20 differential.
Liquid opened with a 16-11 win over C9 on Inferno. But C9 responded with a 16-13 win on Ancient. Liquid trailed 9-8 on Dust II but then won eight of the final 12 rounds for the clincher, 16-13. Josh “oSee” Ohm led Liquid with 63 kills and a plus-12 K-D differential. Russian Sergey “Ax1Le” Rykhtorov had a match-high 67 kills for Cloud9.
The tournament ends Sunday with the grand final:
Team Vitality vs. Team Liquid
ESL Pro League Season 16 prize pool
1. TBD — $175,000
2. TBD — $70,000
3-4. Cloud9, G2 Esports — $35,000
5-8. MOUZ, FaZe Clan — $37,500; Outsiders — $32,500; Natus Vincere — $27,500
9-12. Heroic, FURIA Esports — $32,000; Complexity Gaming, Fnatic — $27,000
13-16. Team Spirit, BIG, Astralis, Evil Geniuses — $19,000
17-20. Ninjas in Pyjamas, Eternal Fire — $17,500; MIBR, ENCE — $12,500
21-24. Endpoint, HEET — $11,000; FTW Esports, Movistar Riders — $6,000
–Field Level Media