The formidable have triumphed, but not without being tested at ESL Pro League Season 16.
The Round of 12 of the ESL Pro League Season 16 Playoffs had it all — thrillers, stomps, comebacks, and, unfortunately, a plethora of technical issues. Every single match went to the third map — as can be expected from encounters between teams of this caliber — but ultimately, only four teams could advance to the next round.
If you haven’t been keeping up with the streams, here’s everything you need to know about what went down in Malta.
FaZe Clan vs Complexity
Considering the sheer difference between the rankings of these teams, this match had no business being as close as it was. Complexity played out of their minds and, at one point, were 2 rounds away from one of the biggest upsets in any edition of Pro League, but were unfortunately unable to close the game.
On the first map, Overpass, COL came out swinging and stunned FaZe (and indeed the entire CSGO world) with a convincing 16-9 victory. Michael ”Grim” Wince was on fire with a massive 1.73-rated performance and was able to stomp out Håvard “rain” Nygaard’s attempts on FaZe’s side.
On Inferno, Grim played his heart out once again, but this time his teammates just couldn’t provide enough support. Canadian superstar Russel “Twistzz” Van Dulken was in his element, and pushed his team to a 16-14 win.
By the third map, FaZe were in full flow. Try as complexity might, they succumbed without much contest. Once again, rain was the leading man for the multinational organization’s 16-8 dominance, with Twistzz not far behind.
Fnatic vs Team Liquid
This matchup was always going to be hotly contested, but where most people thought Fnatic would take it, Liquid came out on top. The first map could have been anyone’s game, but despite an attempted comeback, the Swedish-English clan couldn’t stand up to the might of the Americans.
Although Fnatic players had more kills in total, Liquid won Inferno 16-13 by simply being better at closing out essential rounds. Nico “nicoodoz” Tamjidi was brilliant for the three-time Major winners, but Jonathan “EliGE” Jablonowski was equal to the task for his team.
Up next, Fnatic’s 16-9 statement on Overpass was spurred on by nicoodoz’s 1.48-rated performance, with Fredrik “roeJ” Jørgensen also stepping up to provide additional firepower.
All’s well that ends well, however, and it ended very well for Liquid as they took Ancient 16-10. Latvian danger man Mareks “YEKINDAR” Gaļinskis seemed to wake up from his slumber as he fronted the slaughter with 28 important kills, with Roej and EliGE following quite some way behind.
Heroic vs Natus Vincere
Arguably the most eagerly-awaited matchup of the Round of 12, this was always going to be a tough match. Na’ Vi had been Heroic’s bane since the resumption of offline tournaments, and although the Danes have been putting up increasingly better performances, the Ukrainians seem to ‘simply’ have their number.
Heroic were up 9-1 at one point on Mirage, but it’s testament to Na’ Vi’s tenacity that they managed to hunker down and come back to a 16-14 victory. Casper “cadiaN” Møller had the best performance of all by far with a 1.47 rating, but a team effort from his beastly opponents won out.
Inferno was another 16-14 affair, but this time it was Heroic coming out on top despite a fantastic performance from Oleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev. Once again, it was cadiaN stepping up to lead the underdogs to victory.
Sadly for everyone except die-hard Na’ Vi fans, Overpass was a one-sided 16-7 stomp from the CIS squad. This time around s1mple was accompanied in the dismantling of his opponents by both Valerii “b1t” Vakhovskyi and Denis “electroNic” Sharipov.
FURIA Esports vs Outsiders
After showing great promise in the Group Stage, FURIA were tipped to be one of the semifinalists, if not better. However, their run was cut short by a determined Outsiders squad who are out to prove their own worth after a slew of poor results.
It’s hard to imagine that FURIA would fall off so hard after the kind of performance they put up on Ancient. Kaike “KSCERATO” Cerato and Yuri “yuurih” Boian dominated as the South Americans closed out the match 16-11, with Dzhami “Jame” Ali’s efforts going in vain.
Having seemingly lulled FURIA into a false sense of security, Outsiders showed just how strong they were on Vertigo with a powerful 16-10 win. Evgeniy “FL1T” Lebedev and Pyotr “fame” Bolyshev topped the scoring ranks.
By the time Inferno rolled around, Outsiders were firing on all cylinders. They crushed any remaining FURIA hopes with a 16-6 thrashing, with FL1T being preposterously good and Jame following up with good support.
Now that you’re all caught up, you can go watch the rest of the matches as they unfold. Join us again when we recap and review the Quarterfinals.