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FaZe, Astralis book berths in playoff stage at IEM Cologne

Players from around the globe participate in the Call of Duty League Pro-Am Classic esports tournament, livestreamed on YouTube, at Belong Gaming Arena in Columbus on May 6, 2022.Call Of Duty Esports Tournament
Credit: Adam Cairns/Columbus Dispatch / USA TODAY NETWORK

FaZe Clan and Astralis stamped their tickets to next weekend’s Playoff Stage by earning sweeps in Group B action Saturday at the Intel Extreme Masters Season XVII in Cologne, Germany.

FaZe knocked off Team Spirit 2-0 while Astralis defeated Cloud9 by the same 2-0 result to reach Sunday’s Group B upper-bracket final. Sunday’s winner claims a spot in the semifinals while the loser moves on to the quarterfinals.

In Group B lower-bracket play on Saturday, FURIA Esports also blanked Outsiders 2-0 and Team Liquid ousted 00 Nation 2-1, with two of the three maps going to overtime.

In Group A, MOUZ rallied to beat Team Vitality 2-1 and Ninjas in Pyjamas did the same to G2 Esports, with the winners setting up a match in the lower-bracket final on Sunday.

Sixteen teams reached the Group Stage at the $1 million IEM Cologne event, split into two groups of eight. From there, six teams will qualify for the Playoff Stage with the grand final set for July 17.

The Group Stage features two double-elimination brackets, where all matches are best-of-three. Group winners will advance to the semifinals of the Playoff Stage and the second- and third-place finishers will move to the playoff quarterfinals.

FaZe used a finishing 5-0 burst to claim the opening map 16-10 on Ancient before pulling the trick on Nuke, coming back from an 11-5 deficit to win 16-13. Havard “rain” Nygaard of Norway led FaZe with 42 kills, while Russel “Twistzz” Van Dulken joined Nygaard with a plus-7 kills-to-death differential apiece.

Astralis had an easier time in reaching the group’s upper-bracket final, scoring victories on Inferno (16-11) and Mirage (16-8). Benjamin “blameF” Bremer carried the load for the all-Danish Astralis team with 53 kills and a plus-24 K/D differential — both match highs.

FURIA trailed 13-10 in the first map on Inferno before reeling off the final six points for a 16-13 decision in the lower bracket of Group B. FURIA then tallied 14 of the final 17 points in a 16-8 victory on Vertigo. Yuri “yuurih” Santos posted match highs with 46 kills and a plus-13 K/D ratio.

Also in Group B, 00 Nation led 12-4 on their first map (Overpass) before Liquid fought back, though 00 Nation pulled out a 25-22 victory in overtime. Liquid endured seven lead changes in regulation before evening the match with a 19-17 win on Mirage, then dominated on Ancient with a 16-8 win. Jonathan “EliGE” Jablonowski posted 90 kills and a plus-25 K/D ratio to lead Liquid.

On the lower end of Group A, MOUZ blew a 6-1 lead on Inferno in dropping the opener 16-12 to Vitality, but tied the match with a 13-1 run in taking Overpass 16-10. MOUZ then outdueled Vitality 16-12 on Nuke to take the match. Hungary’s Adam “torzsi” Torzsas notched 56 kills while Slovakia’s David “frozen” Cernansky recorded a plus-13 K/D differential for MOUZ.

G2 built an 11-1 advantage on Ancient, holding on for a 16-11 triumph for a 1-0 lead. NiP responded with a 13-1 lead on Nuke en route to a 16-13 win to tie the match. Then NiP rattled off the third map’s first nine points in winning 16-12 on Inferno. Sweden’s Hampus “hampus” Poser topped NiP with 65 kills and a plus-9 K/D ratio.

The Group Stage continues Sunday with six matches:
–Movistar Riders vs. Natus Vincere (Group A: upper bracket, Round 3)
–MOUZ vs. Ninjas in Pyjamas (Group A: lower bracket, Round 3)
–FaZe Clan vs. Astralis (Group B: upper bracket, Round 3)
–Cloud9 vs. Team Liquid (Group B: lower bracket, Round 2)
–Team Spirit vs. FURIA Esports (Group B: lower bracket, Round 2)
–Cloud9/Liquid winner vs. Spirit/FURIA winner (Group B: lower bracket, Round 3)

Intel Extreme Masters Season XVII – Cologne prize pool and points distribution:
1. $400,000, 3,200 BLAST Premier points
2. $180,000, 1,600 BLAST Premier points
3-4. $80,000, 1,000 BLAST Premier points
5-6. $40,000, 300 BLAST Premier points
7-8. $24,000, 300 BLAST Premier points
9-12. $16,000, no BLAST Premier points — Team Vitality, G2 Esports, TBD
13-16. $10,000, no BLAST Premier points — Heroic, ENCE, 00 Nation, Outsiders
17-20. $4,500, no BLAST Premier points — Sprout, BIG, Imperial Esports, TYLOO
21-24. $2,500, no BLAST Premier points — paiN Gaming, Complexity Gaming, ORDER, MIBR

–Field Level Media