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Vitality, Cloud9, Fnatic claim final Legends berths at IEM Rio

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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.

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Credit: Aaron E. Martinez/American-Statesman / USA TODAY NETWORK

Team Vitality, Cloud9 and Fnatic won do-or-die Challengers Stage matches on Thursday to secure the final three berths in the Legends Stage of the Intel Extreme Masters XVII Rio Major in Rio de Janeiro.

Vitality defeated OG 2-1, Cloud9 swept Team GamerLegion 2-0 and Fnatic beat 9z Team 2-0 in the fifth and final round of matches in the Challengers Stage. The three losing teams were eliminated from the tournament.

The $1.25 million Counter-Strike: Global Offensive event began with 24 teams — 16 from Europe, six from the Americas and two from Asia-Pacific. Eight teams were seeded straight into the second round, called the Legends Stage. The other 16 teams competed in the Challengers Stage for the final eight berths in the Legends Stage.

The Challenge Stage used the Swiss system in which teams are reseeded after each round, with winners facing off in “high” matches the following round, and losers advancing to “low” matches. Early rounds consisted of a single map, while all elimination and advancement matches were best-of-three. The same procedures will be used in the Legends Stage, which runs from Saturday through Tuesday.

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.

Vitality opened with a 19-17 overtime win over OG on Vertigo. OG responded with a 16-6 victory on Inferno before Vitality put it away by taking Dust II 16-8.

Mathieu “ZywOo” Herbaut of France and Emil “Magisk” Reif of Denmark led Vitality with 60 kills apiece. ZywOo had a plus-19 kills-to-deaths differential while Magisk was at plus-7. Adam “NEOFRAG” Zouhar of the Czech Republic paced OG with 66 kills and a plus-12 K-D differential.

Cloud9 beat GamerLegion on Overpass and Mirage by identical 16-13 scores.

Dmitry “sh1ro” Sokolov of Russia led Cloud9’s balanced attack with 46 kills and a plus-14 K-D differential. Mihai “iM” Ivan of Romania had 40 kills to lead GamerLegion.

Fnatic got by 9z, winning Mirage 16-11 and eking out the clincher on Nuke 16-14.

Nico “nicoodoz” Tamjidi of Denmark posted 46 kills on a plus-14 K-D for Fnatic. Uruguay’s Franco “dgt” Garcia matched nicoodoz’s 46 kills while logging a plus-10 differential to carry 9z.

Intel Extreme Masters XVII Rio Major: Challengers Stage final standings (x-Advanced to Legends Stage; e-Eliminated)
x-T1. MOUZ, 3-0
x-T1. Bad News Eagles, 3-0
x-T3. Outsiders, 3-1
x-T3. BIG, 3-1
x-T3. FURIA Esports, 3-1
x-T6. Fnatic, 3-2
x-T6. Team Vitality, 3-2
x-T6. Cloud9, 3-2
e-T9. Team GamerLegion, 2-3
e-T9. OG, 2-3
e-T9. 9z Team, 2-3
e-T12. Grayhound Gaming, 1-3
e-T12. Evil Geniuses, 1-3
e-T12. IHC Esports, 1-3
e-T15. 00 Nation, 0-3
e-T15. Imperial Esports, 0-3

Intel Extreme Masters XVII Rio Major 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
9-11. $20,000
12-14. $20,000
15-16. $20,000
17-19. 9z Team, Team GamerLegion, OG — $10,000
20-22. Evil Geniuses, Grayhound Gaming, IHC Esports — $10,000
23-24. Imperial Esports, 00 Nation — $10,000

–Field Level Media