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Heroic, Natus Vincere remain undefeated with matchup looming

Fans Mark Escamilla, left, and John Chun, right, cheer for Austin FC eMLS player John Garcia during the eMLS Cup tournament at the Moody Theater on March 13, 2022. The eMLS Cup is the championship tournament that determines which player is the best FIFA esports player in North America.Aem Sxsw Emls Cup 17
Credit: Aaron E. Martinez/American-Statesman / USA TODAY NETWORK

A championship match of sorts awaits for the leaders of Group D of the ESL Pro League Season 15 in in Dusseldorf, Germany, after Heroic and Natus Vincere each won Saturday matchups to set up a battle between undefeateds Sunday.

Heroic (4-0) blitzed AGO 16-7 on Vertigo and 16-3 on Nuke to sweep that pairing. Fellow countrymen from Denmark, Rene “TeSeS” Madsen (40 kills) and Casper “cadiaN” Moller (38 kills) paced Heroic, which saw all five starters record at least 30 kills.

AGO (1-3) was led by Maciej “F1KU” Miklas and his 32 kills.

Natus Vincere (4-0) had a little more difficulty getting past Astralis, prevailing 2-1 with the final game being a tight affair. NAVI won 16-4 on Ancient, lost 16-14 on Nuke and won 16-13 on Inferno.

The struggles came despite an overwhelming advantage provided by Ukraine’s Aleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev, who led NAVI with a plus-42 kills-to-deaths ratio (81 kills, 39 deaths). Denmark’s Benjamin “blameF” Bremer paced Astralis (2-2) with 60 kills (plus-8).

In the other match of the day, Complexity Gaming earned its first win of Group play, defeating Evil Geniuses 2-1. Evil Geniuses won the first game on Inferno 16-10 before Complexity rallied with a 16-11 win on Vertigo and a 16-10 victory on Nuke.

Complexity was led by American Michael “Grim” Wince, who racked up 64 kills (plus-14). Four different players had 50 or more kills for Evil Geniuses, including American Jake “Stewie2K” Yip, who had 59 (plus-3).

The 24-team Counter-Strike: Global Offensive event is divided into four round-robin groups in the opening stage. The winners from each group will advance to the quarterfinals while second- and third-place teams advance to the Round of 12.

All matches are best-of-three until the best-of-five final on April 10. Ninjas in Pyjamas took Group A, going 4-1 in five matches, while FURIA Esports (4-1) clinched the top spot in Group B. Movistar Riders claimed Group C, finishing 5-0.

The winner of the $823,000 event earns $175,000 and entry to the BLAST World Final 2022. That team will also garner 1,300 Pro Tour points.

Group D action concludes Sunday with three matches:
–Heroic vs. Natus Vincere
–Astralis vs. Complexity Gaming
–Evil Geniuses vs. AGO

ESL Pro League Season 15 Group D standings, with win-loss record and point differential:
T1. Natus Vincere, 4-0, +56
T1. Heroic, 4-0, +47
3. Astralis, 2-2, +10
T4. AGO, 1-3, -46
T4. Complexity Gaming, 1-3, -13
5. Evil Geniuses, 0-4, -54

–Field Level Media