EPICENTER 2019 is the last S-Tier CS:GO event for 2019. Held at the Crocus Expo Hall in Moscow, eight teams will be vying for its $250,000 grand prize. Two groups of four teams each will play a double elimination best of three. The group winner will automatically advance to the semifinals. Meanwhile, the 2nd and 3rd placers will be high and low seeds for the quarterfinals, respectively.
Of the eight teams participating, Epic Esports Events invited four teams and each of the rest played through qualifiers. The four invited teams are Evil Genuises, Natus Vincere, Virtus.pro and Team Vitality. From the EU Qualifiers, the two seeds are Heroic and mousesports. From CIS, we have forZe. Finally, we have EHOME from the Chinese Qualifier.
Personally, I’m betting on mousesports as a heavy favorite here. They’re one of the hottest teams in the last quarter of 2019. This team won the last three events they’ve been in. The most prominent of the three being ESL Pro League Season 10 in which they dispatched Astralis in the semis.
Day 1 matches
Team Vitality vs EHOME
With that said, mousesports won’t be playing until Day 2 when Group B teams knock each other out. In the first day of EPICENTER 2019, Vitality opened up the event with a swift dismantling of Chinese team EHOME. In Map 1 (Inferno), the Frenchmen opened up on their CT side with a strong performance. They ended the first half with a 12-3 advantage. However, after the switch, EHOME won the first seven round of their own CT side, bringing the score to 12-10. Thankfully for Vitality, they managed to win three out of the next five to close the game.
They made sure not to repeat the same mistakes on the second map (Nuke). Vitality’s opening half on T side proved too much for EHOME, with the score ending at 14-1. Vitality then won the final two rounds of the series, swiftly closing the map and the win.
Natus Vincere vs Heroic
In the following match, Na’Vi took care of their business against Heroic. In the first map (Inferno), Na’Vi used a strong T side start to build an 11-4 lead. Heroic tried to catch up to them in the second half but the Ukrainian side stopped their run at three rounds. Na’Vi then proceeded to win the next five out of six rounds to earn their first win of the best of three.
On Nuke, Heroic couldn’t build on their pistol round win, losing the next five and went 5-10 in the first half. They would then go on to lose all of the remaining rounds in the second half as Na’Vi made sure close the series early.
This match rewards the winner with an outright berth to the semifinals. With a strong CT opening half on Dust 2, Na’Vi ran away with a 16-4 win to go up 1-0 in the series. Kirill “Boombl4” Mikhailov led the way for the Ukrainian team with his 28 frags.
However, Team Vitality struck right back with a stomp of their own on Inferno. Mathieu “ZywOo” Herbaut brandished 25 frags of his own to tie up the series 1-1.
Finally, Team Vitality rode the momentum of their Inferno win to a 2-1 victory. Oleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev probably played the worst game of his career, ending with 4-17 KD and a 0.30 rating. Cédric “RpK” Guipouy led Vitality this time with 22 kills, with ZywOo adding 20.
With the win, Vitality will be waiting for their next challenger in the semis while Na’Vi will wait for the winner of the losers’ match between EHOME and Heroic.