MOUZ continued their flawless run through group play and won their way to a playoff berth at the ESL Pro League Season in 18 on Saturday in Malta.
For the third straight day, MOUZ pulled off a 2-0 sweep — this time over MIBR — in winning the middle bracket playoff spot in Group B.
MIBR was knocked down to the lower bracket, from where they still have a chance to emerge, although they will need to win two matches on Sunday to advance.
In Group B lower-bracket play, Monte eliminated Heroic with a 2-1 win and Evil Geniuses ousted Rooster 2-0. EG will face MIBR on Sunday in the lower-bracket semis, with the winner to battle Monte for the lower-bracket playoff spot.
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 Saturday, MOUZ was staring at a 12-8 deficit on Vertigo before storming back to win 16-14 on the first map. They carried that momentum into Inferno, jumping to an 8-0 lead in an eventual 16-5 clinching victory. Israel’s Dorian “xertioN” Berman had a match-best 38 kills, while he and teammate Hungarian teammate Adam “torzsi” Torzsas each produced a plus-7 kills-to-deaths differential.
In the lower bracket, Monte torched Heroic down the stretch in their opening map, finishing with an 11-1 spurt in a 16-10 win on Mirage. Heroic responded by winning the most competitive map of the day, taking a 22-20 overtime win on Overpass to even the match. Monte again rallied in the final map, ending with a 7-0 run in another 16-10 victory, this time on Ancient. Viktor “sdy” Orudzhev of Ukraine starred for the winners with 81 kills and a plus-19 K/D ratio.
Also on Saturday, EG put together two different 7-0 runs in winning 16-6 over Rooster on Mirage, then scored the final 12 points of the match in a 16-10 triumph on Nuke. Canada’s Jadan “HexT” Postma led all players with 40 kills for EG, while New Zealand’s Michael “chelleos” Hawkins posted 39 for Rooster in defeat.
Group B concludes Sunday with two matches:
–BIG vs. ENCE (upper-bracket final)
–MIBR vs. Evil Geniuses (lower-bracket semifinal)
–Monte vs. MIBR/EG winner (lower-bracket final)
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, TBD
21-28. $8,000 — Ninjas in Pyjamas, Grayhound Gaming, Heroic, TBD
29-32. $4,000 — ORKS, Rooster, TBD
–Field Level Media