It took them an extra day, but Ninjas in Pyjamas on Wednesday got their win over Team Heretics, setting up a huge final day of Group A play in the ESL One: Road to Rio - Europe tournament.
After connectivity issues for Heretics’ Alexandre “xms” Forte forced the NiP-Heretics game to be suspended with the scored tied at 1-1 on Tuesday night, NiP dominated on Vertigo on Wednesday, winning 16-4 to take the match. The result moved NiP into a first-place tie in Group A with Astralis at 5-1.
Fnatic and ENCE then swept their opponents in the day’s regularly scheduled Group A matches, tightening up the middle of the group standings and giving the final day of group play three matches with major playoff implications.
The ESL One: Rio Major, a $2 million Counter-Strike: Global Offensive event, was originally scheduled to be held May 11-24 in Rio de Janeiro, but it was pushed back to Nov. 9-22 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The regional qualifying events for Europe, North America and South America started April 22. Play in the Commonwealth of Independent States region began Thursday, with the Asia and Oceania regions kicking off Wednesday.
The teams are competing for a total of $255,000 in the online tournaments, as well as for Regional Major Ranking points to be applied toward berths at the ESL One: Rio Major.
The European event has 16 teams divided into two groups for round-robin play consisting of best-of-three matches. The top two finishers from each group advance to the upper bracket of a double-elimination playoff, with the third- and fourth-place finishers advancing to the playoff’s lower bracket.
All playoff matches are best-of-three prior to the grand final. The title match will be best-of-five, with the team emerging from the upper bracket starting with a one-map advantage.
The European champion will receive 500 Pro Tour points and 1,600 Regional Major Rankings points, plus $33,000 of the $115,000 prize pool. The runner-up will get 350 Pro Tour points, 1,500 RMR points and $21,500.
On Wednesday, Fnatic won two tightly contested maps to sweep Complexity Gaming — 16-14 on Nuke and 19-16 on Inferno — and ENCE hammered Team Vitality 16-9 on Mirage and 16-6 on Nuke. Both ENCE and Fnatic improved to 3-3, while Vitality fell to 3-3 with the loss. That creates a four-way logjam at 3-3, with only two of those teams advancing to the playoffs.
Group A pool play will conclude on Saturday with four matches. Complexity and Dignitas, both eliminated with 1-5 records, will face off in a meaningless game for playoff positioning. Vitality and Heretics will play to determine one of the 4-3 teams, while Astralis will take on ENCE and Fnatic will play NiP in matches that will determine both playoff qualifiers and who gets the group’s top seed.
The next two days belong to Group B, with a pair of matches on each day. Group B will conclude pool play with four matches Sunday.
Thursday’s scheduled matches:
G2 Esports vs. c0ntact Gaming
North vs. Movistar Riders
ESL One: Road to Rio - Europe standings, with win-loss record and point differential:
x-T1. Ninjas in Pyjamas, 5-1, +66
x-T1. Astralis, 5-1, +54
T3. Fnatic, 3-3, +7
T3. Team Heretics, 3-3, -1
T3. ENCE, 3-3, -10
T3. Team Vitality, 3-3, -19
e-T7. Complexity Gaming, 1-4, -48
e-T7. Dignitas, 1-5, -49
x-1. FaZe Clan, 5-0, +52
T2. G2 Esports, 3-2, +20
T2. Copenhagen Flames, 3-2, +18
T2. GODSENT, 3-2, -3
T5. mousesports, 2-3, +9
T5. North, 2-3, -14
T5. Movistar Riders, 2-3, -31
e-8. c0ntact Gaming, 0-5, -51
x-Clinched playoff berth
e-Eliminated from playoff contention
—Field Level Media