Cloud9 became the second Counter-strike: Global Offensive franchise in the ESL Pro League Season 16 to secure a spot in the semifinals after defeating FaZe Clan. Owing to the 2-1 loss, Finn “karrigan” Andersen and the rest of the team were robbed of their Intel Grand Slam dreams.
Cloud9 will once again face off against Team Liquid on Saturday in their semifinal match. The NA squad emerged from Group D in third place and went on to defeat both Fnatic and MOUZ in the event’s playoffs. Cloud9 are heavy favorites to win the game, with odds set at $1.52 on GG.BET.
The ESL Pro League Season 16 has seen a number of upsets among teams, and now with FaZe. The tournament has so far lived up to the billing of being one of the stiffest competitions.
The series between Cloud9 and FaZe started with a narrow 13-16 win for FaZe on Inferno. Cloud9 went on to reverse sweep,winning Ancient with a 16-9 scoreline and then 16-11 on Mirage. The match was a repeat performance of the FaZe and Cloud9 face off at the IEM Dallas.
As a result of the loss, FaZe will be unable to participate in the Intel Grand Slam. FaZe emerged from the B group with a 4-1 record and advanced to the quarterfinals after a hard-fought win against Complexity.
The Russian squad started Inferno by winning the opening pistol round, earning them a 4-0 lead. FaZe quickly caught up to Cloud9 after three impressive holds of the A bombsite, which served to prepare the CT economy for the rest of the half.
FaZe’s Helvijs “broky” Saukants performed notably well and helped the team reach an 8-7 score by map’s half. The player recorded a 1.59 rating and a 100% KAST.
After both squads switched sides, neither were in the lead for long, and the scores remained as close as before. Sergey “Ax1Le” Rykhtorov kept up his impressive play from the first half, and FaZe’s Dmitry “sh1ro” Sokolov held it down on the CT side. Cloud9 were able to reach a 13-12 advantage, but FaZe produced four wins in a row on the B site, pushing them to win the map 16-13.
The next map, Ancient, saw Cloud9 in top form, and while they could not build up on their pistol victory, the team reached an eight-round winning streak after exploiting FaZe’s B site defense. FaZe’s broky was unable to do much in the first half of the map and produced only one frag and a rating of 0.46 CT. The half ended with a 6-9 scoreline.
The European team won the second pistol round, but they could not find solid footing in the second half. In the seventeenth round, their opponents managed to execute a force buy and put an end to the European team’s B-site offense.
FaZe won only one round before Cloud9 rushed forward with a 16-9 win. The victory was notably the Russian squad’s seventh consecutive LAN-Ancient win.
The deciding map was Mirage, and Cloud9 started with some aggressive rounds on the T side. FaZe were put at a 4-9 disadvantage after their opponents’ offense placed a number of hits on the A bombsite. The first half of the map ended 6-9 with Cloud9 in the lead.
After FaZe moved to the CT side, sh1ro seemed to make a play for his team, but Ax1Le was there to foil his plans. The player recorded a 1.99 rating during the second half and led his team to a 16-11 finish, moving Cloud9 up to the semifinals.