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Counter Strike Global Offensive (CSGO)

Gambit, NiP rally and advance at IEM — Cologne group stage

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Gambit Esports, Ninjas in Pyjamas and Natus Vincere went the distance Thursday on the first day of group stage action at the $1 million Intel Extreme Masters Season XVI — Cologne.

BIG, G2 Esports and Team Vitality also notched wins to open the stage.

The group stage will run through Sunday, with two groups of eight teams formatted into double-elimination brackets. The top three clubs from each group will advance to the playoffs July 16-18. Eight of the 16 group stage teams directly qualified before the tournament, while eight more advanced via the play-in stage held Tuesday and Wednesday.

One of those play-in qualifiers was Ninjas in Pyjamas, who won their third straight match of the week by taking down Team Liquid 2-1 Thursday to open Group A. Liquid started with a 19-17 overtime win on Overpass, but NiP responded with lopsided victories of 16-6 on Dust II and 16-2 on Mirage.

Gambit also battled from a map down against mousesports. After mousesports went ahead with a 16-14 result on Inferno, Gambit blew them out 16-3 on Vertigo and took the deciding win 16-12 on Mirage. Gambit and NiP will meet in the second round of the Group A upper bracket.

Also in Group A, BIG continued their winning ways from the play-in round and downed Virtus.pro 2-0, taking Dust II 16-13 and Inferno 16-12. G2 Esports defeated Complexity 2-0 with wins of 16-14 on Vertigo and 16-6 on Dust II.

Direct qualifier Natus Vincere opened their tournament with a 2-1 win over Renegades in Group B action. Renegades took Inferno 16-10 before NaVi responded, winning 16-6 on Dust II and 16-4 on Nuke.

Team Vitality swept FURIA Esports, winning 16-10 on Overpass and 16-14 on Nuke, and will meet NaVi in the second round of Group B.

No teams were eliminated Thursday; all six teams that lost their matches instead moved to the lower brackets in their respective groups, where every match from now on will be win-or-go-home.

The tournament in Cologne, Germany, 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.

Six matches are scheduled for Friday:
Gambit Esports vs. Ninjas in Pyjamas (Group A upper bracket)
BIG vs. G2 Esports (Group A upper bracket)
mousesports vs. Team Liquid (Group A lower bracket)
Virtus.pro vs. Complexity (Group A lower bracket)
Astralis vs. FaZe Clan (Group B upper bracket)
Heroic vs. Team Spirit (Group B upper bracket)

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 — TBD
    9-12. $16,000, 325 Pro Tour points, no BLAST points — TBD
    13-16. $10,000, 125 Pro Tour points, no BLAST points — TBD
    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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