Ninjas in Pyjamas and ENCE earned 2-1 victories Thursday to reach the semifinals of the ESL Pro League Season 15 at Dusseldorf, Germany.
NiP took down Team Liquid in one quarterfinal, while ENCE rallied to beat previously undefeated Movistar Riders. NiP and ENCE will square off in the semifinals Saturday.
NiP earned a bye into the quarterfinals by finishing on top in Group A play. They split the first two maps with Liquid on Thursday in narrow fashion, with NiP winning 16-14 on Ancient and Liquid responding 16-14 on Overpass.
On the deciding map, Inferno, NiP fell behind 7-2 but won seven straight points to go ahead for good in a 16-12 victory.
Fredrik “REZ” Sterner of Sweden led NiP with 79 kills and a plus-21 kills-to-deaths differential. Fellow Swede Nicolas “Plopski” Gonzalez Zamora added a team-high 27 kills and a plus-12 on Inferno. For Liquid, Jonathan “EliGE” Jablonowski of the U.S. had 72 kills and Keith “NAF” Markovic of Canada had 71 with a plus-16.
Riders eked out a 16-14 win on Mirage before ENCE plowed through the rest of the match, putting up a 16-2 win on Vertigo before finishing with a 16-5 triumph on Nuke.
Pavle “Maden” Boskovic of Montenegro had match highs of 62 kills and a plus-20 K-D for ENCE. All five ENCE players had positive differentials and at least 46 kills. Alvaro “SunPayus” Garcia led the all-Spanish Riders with 46 kills.
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 Friday with two matches:
–FURIA Esports vs. Astralis
–Natus Vincere vs. FaZe Clan
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. Movistar Riders — $42,500, Team Liquid — $32,500; 262.5 BLAST Premier points
9-12. Players, Heroic, Entropiq — $32,000, Fnatic — $27,000
13-16. MOUZ, Team Vitality, BIG, AGO — $19,000
17-20. G2 Esports, Outsiders — $17,500, 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