MOUZ and Bad News Eagles reeled off victories on Tuesday, both moving to 3-0, in “high matches” at the Challengers Stage of the Intel Extreme Masters XVII Rio Major in Rio de Janeiro.
The $1.25 million Counter-Strike: Global Offensive event features 24 teams — 16 from Europe, six from the Americas and two from Asia-Pacific. Eight teams were seeded straight into the second round, known as the Legends Stage. The other 16 teams are competing in the Challengers Stage for the final eight berths in the Legends Stage.
The Challenge Stage is using the Swiss system in which teams are reseeded after each round. Early rounds consist of a single map, while all elimination and advancement matches are best-of-three. The same procedures will be used in the Legends Stage, which runs from Saturday through Nov. 8.
The playoffs, which will consist of single-elimination quarterfinals, semifinals and final, are set for Nov. 10-13. All playoff matches will be best-of-three.
The winning team will earn $500,000, 4,000 BLAST Premier ranking points and automatic berths in the BLAST Premier World Final, scheduled for Dec. 14-18 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, and the Intel Extreme Masters Katowice 2023, set for Jan. 31-Feb. 12 in Poland.
MOUZ defeated Fnatic 2-1 to stay unbeaten at the event. MOUZ took the opening map 16-8 on Vertigo before Fnatic responded with a 16-9 tally on Inferno. But MOUZ used a 6-0 run on Ancient to pull away, winning 16-9. Hungary’s Ádam “torzsi” Torzsas and Israel’s Dorian “xertioN” Berman each posted 59 kills for MOUZ.
Bad News Eagles pulled off a 2-0 sweep in a showdown with Team GamerLegion, who fell to 2-1. Bad News used a 10-0 spurt to flip the map on Ancient, winning 16-9, and completed the sweep with a 16-7 triumph on Mirage. Rigon “rigoN” Gashi of Switzerland led the way for Bad News with 49 kills and a plus-22 kills-to-deaths differential.
In best-of-one “mid matches,” 9z Team — after once trailing 10-5 — rallied for a 19-17 overtime win on Nuke over Evil Geniuses. Maximiliano “max” Gonzalez of Uruguay set the tone for 9z with 35 kills and a plus-16 K/D differential.
FURIA Esports also went to overtime in a stirring comeback, beating OG 19-16 on Overpass. FURIA was one point away from defeat, down 15-12, but finished with a 7-1 flurry. Yuri “yuurih” Santos had 28 kills and a plus-9 K/D ratio for the all-Brazilian FURIA squad.
Outsiders also came back to win Tuesday, overcoming a 10-8 deficit to outduel Team Vitality 16-12 on Overpass. The Russian duo of David “n0rb3r” Danielyan and Petr “fame” Bolyshev each had 24 kills for Outsiders.
BIG fell in an early 6-0 hole on Dust II, then rattled off a shocking 16 straight points in a 16-6 victory. Florian “syrsoN” Rische carried the all-German BIG lineup with 26 kills and a plus-14 K/D differential.
In best-of-three “low match” action, IHC Esports produced a reverse sweep in a 2-1 victory over IHC Esports. IHC blew an early 5-0 lead in dropping a 16-14 decision on Ancient, but came back with successive map wins — both overtime, 19-16 victories on Inferno and Overpass, respectively. Garidmagnai “bLitz” Byambasuren scored 93 kills with a plus-26 K/D ratio for the all-Mongolia unit.
Cloud9 also needed extra time in both map triumphs, but eeked out wins on Overpass (19-15) and Vertigo (22-19). Dmitry “sh1ro” Sokolov of Russia led C9 with 73 kills and a plus-28 K/D ratio.
Intel Extreme Masters XVII Rio Major: Challengers Stage standings:
1. MOUZ, 3-0
2. Bad News Eagles, 3-0
3. BIG, 2-1
4. Team GamerLegion, 2-1
5. Outsiders, 2-1
6. Fnatic, 2-1
7. 9z Team, 2-1
8. FURIA Esports, 2-1
9. Evil Geniuses, 1-2
10. OG, 1-2
11. Team Vitality, 1-2
12. Grayhound Gaming, 1-2
13. Cloud9, 1-2
14. IHC Esports, 1-2
15. 00 Nation, 0-3
16. Imperial Esports, 0-3
Intel Extreme Masters XVII Rio Major: Challengers Stage prize pool:
1. $500,000, 4,000 BLAST Premier points
2. $170,000, 2,000 BLAST Premier points
3-4. $80,000, 1,250 BLAST Premier points
5-8. $45,000, 500 BLAST Premier points
–Field Level Media