The first day of the ELEAGUE's Road to Vegas qualifiers kicked off with two top European teams fighting for an opportunity to get one step closer to the LAN Finals in Las Vegas. Danish teams Dignitas and SK Gaming squared off in a match with story lines that focused on personnel changes. Both squads have recently undergone related roster makeovers with Dignitas grabbing Kristian “k0nfig” Wienecke and Ruben “RUBINO” Villarroel after losing Philip “Aizy” Aistrup and Jacob “Pimp” Winneche. The Danish/Norwegian combo proved to be a well placed pick-up as Dignitas stormed out to a 10-5 half time lead.
SK also recently finalized their contracts with Andreas “MODDII” Fridh and Emil “Magiskb0y” Reif along with picking up Jacob “Pimp” Winneche from Dignitas, as previously mentioned. SK fought back from the half time deficit and tied the game at 15-15, but eventually lost to Dignitas who secured the first map after double overtime.
Cobblestone was up next, and while Dignitas won the pistol round, they ended up being behind 6-9 on the CT side at the half. Fortunately for Mathias “MSL” Lauridsen’s squad, they pulled it together on the T side, winning the pistol once again and managed to push SK to the edge with the scoreline at 15-12. However, a few mistakes on Dignitas’ side allowed SK Gaming to claw their way back to a 15-14 scoreline. Their hopes for a second tie game and comeback were cut short as Dignitas closed out the series 16-14 and secured their place in the semi-finals.
The second match of the day was Polish team Vexed Gaming pitted against the Ukrainian squad, Flipsid3 Tactics. Vexed has made splashes in the international scene over the last few months after qualifying for Cologne under eBettle and subsequently qualifying for the last major, Cluj-Napoca. Finishing last in groups in these high profile events took a toll on the team, and they have undergone a roster makeover as well, dropping Pior “Peet” Ćwiliński. They have not yet found a replacement, playing this qualifier with ESC Gaming’s Karol “repo” Cybulski as a stand-in. However even with an incomplete team, Vexed managed to take the first map, Inferno against Flipsid3, staying in control for throughout the game.
Once a potentially top 10 international team, Flipsid3 has struggled in recent months. With Vadim “Davcost” Vasilyev leaving the team, they were yet another team left without a 5th man. They welcomed Alexander “s1mple” Kostylev back into their team as a temporary stand-in, however with reports of team cohesion being a major factor in s1mple leaving the team, it’s not strange that Flipsid3 had issues in this series.
The second map was Mirage, which saw Karol “rallen” Rodowicz go ballistic with the AWP sniper rifle. Grabbing the opening kill numerous times, the Pole secured his team a 9-6 half, a solid scoreline for the CT side. They continued on their rampage on the Terrorist side closing out the series cleanly 16-9 and moving on to the semi finals.
The North American qualifiers started off with CLG vs Splyce, with Counter Logic Gaming just recently announcing their in-game leader Pujan “FNS” Mehta, they played with a stand-in in the form of their coach, Faruk “Pita” Pita. The series began on Mirage, with Splyce coming out of the gate ready for action, winning the pistol round and shutting down CLG’s advances for a 10-5 half. Peter “ptr” Gurney was notable in his performance with the AWP getting a lot of opening kills in middle and A site. They continued their hot streak on the Terrorist side by taking the pistol once again, all but securing the map for the up and coming North American team. Closing it out 16-6, the series moved onto CLG’s map pick, Cobblestone.
CLG was more alert on this map, grabbing the pistol and resetting Splyce’s money after a round win to continue their dominating half on the Counter-Terrorist side, finishing 9-6. Splyce’s CT side proved difficult to crack as well as they steadily won round after round as CLG failed the penetrate the B site. Some great clutch wins by Jakey “Stewie2k” Yip and Steven “rooRoooo” Herrell allowed them to shut down CLG’s attacks and close the series out, finishing Cobblestone at 16-11, and moving onto the semi finals.
The next match-up pit fan favourites Cloud 9 up against Open qualifier winner Enemy, a rising team filled with a few well known fraggers. With Sean “sgares” Gares leaving the team, Cloud9 have been on the search for their replacement and while Braxton “swag” Pierce was initially thought to appear for tonight’s matches, a last minute addition of Team Liquid’s Jacob “Fugly” Medina rounded out the squad. Starting off on Cobblestone, Enemy got off to a good start, winning the pistol and gaining a solid lead on the CT side. Consistent opening frags from the Enemy squad allowed them to keep Cloud 9’s executes at bay, ending the half with a 10-5 scoreline. Cloud 9 struck back on their own defensive side, mounting a steady comeback. Unfortunately, some great play by Kenneth “koosta” Suen and fast executes onto the B site forced Cloud 9 on the backfoot, eventually allowing Enemy to close out the game 16-10.
Enemy’s domination continued on the second map, Inferno, as they blew past Cloud 9 with a 7-0 start on the Terrorist side, and while Cloud 9 looked good with an aggressive push through Banana, their money bonus was instantly reset the following round, allowing Enemy to pick up a few more rounds on an already successful Terrorist half, ending it at a 10-5 scoreline for Enemy. Determined to bring it back, Cloud 9 manage to clutch the pistol round, successfully deflecting Enemy’s aggressive push down straight through middle. Michael “MAiNLiNE” Jaber was focused on ending the series on this map however, and as Cloud 9 pushed through the A site on the following round, MAiNLiNE executed four players with a pistol, putting an end to Cloud 9’s hopes just as fast as they had begun. Another great 2v2 clutch situation helped boost Enemy over as they defeated Cloud 9 16-8, sending the favourites packing and securing their place in the semi finals.
Today looks to be another exciting day in European team competition, as German side Mousesports face off against another Polish team in Lounge Gaming. All-star European team G2 Esports will tackle the Open qualifier winner Arcade eSports in the second match.
- 16 Dec. 12:00pm EST – G2 vs. Arcade eSports (Quarter Final)
- 16 Dec. 3:00pm EST – mousesports vs. Lounge Gaming (Quarter Final)
- 16 Dec. 7:00pm – Team Liquid vs. Dogmen (Quarter Final)
- 16 Dec. 10:00pm EST – Team Conquest vs. Complexity (Quarter Final)