Team Liquid and Gambit Esports won their respective upper-bracket quarterfinal matches to kick off the $1 million BLAST Premier World Final on Tuesday in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Liquid upset Fall Finals champion Natus Vincere 2-1 and Gambit defeated Heroic 2-0. Natus Vincere and Heroic moved into the lower bracket, where they will face one another Wednesday.
Eight teams are competing in a double-elimination bracket for the season-ending championship. All matches are best-of-three, and the winning team will receive $500,000.
Liquid opened their match with a 16-11 win on Overpass before NaVi countered with a 16-7 victory on Dust II. The decisive map was Inferno, where Liquid won, 16-7.
Keith “NAF” Markovic of Canada led the way for Liquid with 64 kills and a plus-23 kills-to-deaths differential, both game highs. Jonathan “EliGE” Jablonowski had 56 kills and a plus-8, and Jake “Stewie2K” Yip had 47 kills (plus-2). Nobody finished with a positive differential for NaVi; Ukraine’s Valeriy “B1T” Vakhovskiy led with 49 kills.
Gambit beat Heroic 16-11 on Inferno and 16-10 on Vertigo for its sweep.
Gambit star Dmitry “sh1ro” Sokolov of Russia guided his team with 45 kills and a plus-16 K-D differential. Teammate and countryman Vladislav “nafany” Gorshkov chipped in 43 kills and a plus-12, and Timofey “interz” Yakushin, also of Russia, had 39 kills with a plus-15.
Rasmus “sjuush” Beck of Denmark posted 34 kills for Heroic.
The tournament continues Wednesday with three matches:
G2 Esports vs. Ninjas in Pyjamas, upper-bracket quarterfinal
Team Vitality vs. Astralis, upper-bracket quarterfinal
Natus Vincere vs. Heroic, lower bracket round 1
BLAST Premier World Final prize pool:
1. $500,000 — TBD
2. $250,000 — TBD
3. $120,000 — TBD
4. $50,000 — TBD
5-6. $25,000 — TBD
7-8. $15,000 — TBD
–Field Level Media