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G2, Natus Vincere clinch top seeds for IEM — Cologne playoffs

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G2 Esports and Natus Vincere won the upper-bracket finals of their respective groups Sunday to earn the top two seeds for next week’s playoffs at the $1 million Intel Extreme Masters Season XVI — Cologne.

The two clubs earned byes straight into the semifinals. Gambit Esports, Astralis, Virtus.pro and FaZe Clan also punched their tickets to the playoffs Sunday.

G2 defeated Gambit 2-1 in the Group A upper-bracket final. G2 sandwiched a 16-13 win on Mirage and a 16-14 win on Inferno around a 16-10 defeat on Vertigo.

Four players had more than 50 kills for G2, led by Nikola ‘NiKo’ Kovac of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Francois ‘AmaNEk’ Delaunay of France had G2’s only positive kills-deaths differential, a plus-6. Gambit’s Sergey ‘Ax1Le’ Rykhtorov of Russia led all players with 66 kills.

NaVi also won its Group B final 2-1 over Astralis despite a setback on the middle map. NaVi opened with a 16-7 win on Ancient, but Astralis forced overtime on Dust II and eventually won it in double OT, 22-19. NaVi rebounded and finished things off with a 16-5 victory on Inferno.

Aleksandr ‘s1mple’ Kostyliev carried NaVi with 89 kills, 21 more than any other player. He finished with an eye-popping plus-41 differential.

Gambit and Astralis took second place in their respective groups.

FaZe Clan pulled off two wins in one day to take third place in Group B. FaZe advanced to the lower-bracket final by beating Team Vitality 2-0, with wins of 16-11 on Mirage and 16-14 on Dust II. Then, they outlasted Heroic 2-1 in the final — first with a 16-10 win on Mirage, then a 16-11 defeat on Nuke before the deciding 16-10 triumph on Ancient.

Virtus.pro eliminated BIG with a 2-0 win in the Group A lower-bracket final, clinching third place in the group. Virtus.pro went to overtime in both maps, winning 19-15 on Dust II and 19-16 on Inferno.

The six remaining teams will compete in the playoffs on Friday through Sunday, July 18, with the winner of the grand final set to take home $400,000. On Friday, Astralis will meet Virtus.pro in one quarterfinal with the right to battle G2 on the line. On NaVi’s side of the bracket is the other quarterfinal match, also Friday, pitting Gambit against FaZe.

The tournament marks the first competitive CS:GO event played on LAN in roughly 16 months due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Though the teams are facing off in person, they are in a studio setting as opposed to an arena with fans.

Intel Extreme Masters Season XVI – Cologne prize money, Pro Tour points, BLAST Premier Points:

  1. $400,000, 1,800 Pro Tour points, 3,200 BLAST points — TBD

  2. $180,000, 1,400 Pro Tour points, 1,600 BLAST points — TBD

3-4. $80,000, 1,100 Pro Tour points, 1,000 BLAST points — TBD

5-6. $40,000, 825 Pro Tour points, 400 BLAST points — TBD

7-8. $24,000, 575 Pro Tour points, 200 BLAST points — Heroic, BIG

9-12. $16,000, 325 Pro Tour points, no BLAST points — Team Liquid, Ninjas in Pyjamas, FURIA Esports, Team Vitality

13-16. $10,000, 125 Pro Tour points, no BLAST points — mousesports, Complexity Gaming, Renegades, Team Spirit

17-20. $4,500, 60 Pro Tour points, no BLAST points — Team LDLC, OG, Sprout, Evil Geniuses

21-24. $2,500, no points — Bad News Bears, MIBR, Team One, ViCi Gaming

–Field Level Media

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