Natus Vincere swept FaZe Clan to clinch first place in Group C at the ESL Pro League Season 18 event on Sunday in Malta.
Both clubs advanced to the playoff stage, as did 9z Team, which won two matches Sunday in the lower bracket to earn the fourth and final berth out of the group. Fnatic took third place in Group C on Saturday.
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.
Natus Vincere dominated FaZe Clan 16-4 on Anubis before clinching the match with a 16-13 win on Nuke. Valeriy “b1t” Vakhovskiy of Ukraine led NaVi with 46 kills on a plus-23 kills-to-deaths differential.
9z Team opened the day with a sweep of Apeks in the lower-bracket semifinals. 9z won 16-8 on Overpass and 16-9 on Mirage. David “dav1deuS” Tapia Maldonado of Chile (42 kills, plus-12) and Franco “dgt” Garcia of Uruguay (41 kills, plus-16) led 9z in the match.
That set 9z up with 5yclone in the lower-bracket final. 5yclone opened with a 16-6 win on Overpass, but 9z rallied by taking Inferno 16-8 and Nuke 16-6. Argentina’s Santino “try” Rigal had 53 kills on a plus-15 for 9z and dav1deuS put up 56 kills on a plus-13.
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, TBD
29-32. $4,000 — ORKS, Rooster, M80, TBD
–Field Level Media