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Liquid, Astralis advance to ESL Pro League Season 15 quarterfinals

A crowd full of Austin FC fans cheered for Austin FC's 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 16
Credit: Aaron E. Martinez/American-Statesman / USA TODAY NETWORK

Team Liquid and Astralis pulled off victories in the Round of 12 playoffs Wednesday, advancing to the quarterfinals of the ESL Pro League Season 15 at Dusseldorf, Germany.

Liquid cruised past Heroic 2-0 while Astralis stayed alive in a thrilling three-map 2-1 win over Entropiq. Heroic and Entropiq were eliminated from the competition, while Liquid will next face Group A champion Ninjas in Pyjamas and Astralis will take on Group B winner FURIA Esports.

Liquid, the third-place finisher in Group C at 3-2, trailed Heroic, the second-place squad in Group D at 4-1 midway through the opening map 9-6 on Ancient. But Liquid scored the next 15 points, first taking 10 straight to win the opening map 16-9. Liquid then won the first five on Vertigo to win 16-10 in order to advance.

American Jonathan “EliGE” Jablonowski led Liquid with 46 kills, while Josh “oSee” Ohm of the U.S. posted a match-best plus-16 kills-to-deaths differential.

Astralis, which took third in Group D at 3-2, trailed 12-7 to open their match against Entropiq, second place in Group A at 4-1, before rallying for a 16-14 decision on Nuke. Astralis then blew an early lead on Vertigo, pushed the map to overtime only to lose 19-15 to even the battle. In the decisive third map on Overpass, Astralis led 12-5 but a 9-1 Entropiq run gave them a 14-13 lead. But Astralis scored the final three points to move on.

Benjamin “blameF” Bremer starred for the all-Danish Astralis unit with match-highs in kills (82) and K/D differential (plus-22).

The 24-team Counter-Strike: Global Offensive event was divided into four round-robin groups in the opening stage. The winners from each group advanced to the quarterfinals while second- and third-place teams advanced to the round of 12. All matches are best-of-three until the best-of-five grand final on April 10.

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.

Quarterfinal action continues Thursday with a pair of matches:
–Ninjas in Pyjamas vs. Team Liquid
–Movistar Riders vs. ENCE

ESL Pro League Season 15 prize pool:
1. TBD — $175,000, 2,800 BLAST Premier points
2. TBD — $70,000, 1,400 BLAST Premier points
3-4. TBD — $35,000, 875 BLAST Premier points
5-8. TBD — $17,500, 262.5 BLAST Premier points
9-12. Players, Heroic, Entropiq — $32,000; Fnatic — $27,000
13-16. MOUZ, Team Vitality, BIG, AGO — $19,000
17-18. G2 Esports, Outsiders — $17,500
19-20. GODSENT, Complexity Gaming — $12,500
21-24. LookingForOrg, Sprout, Party Astronauts, Evil Geniuses — $6,000

Teams were awarded a $5,000 bonus for each Group Stage win, leading some teams to earn more than others that were tied for the same finish.

–Field Level Media