The second round of EPL Season 9 Qualifiers Group Stage ended with eight teams qualifying for EPL Season 9 Finals. However, one of the best teams in the world, NaVi failed to reach EPL Finals. Let’s take a look at what happened.
EPL Season 9 Qualifiers – Europe
After Group Stage 1 in Europe finished, eight teams continued playing for another four spots in EPL Finals in Marseille. They were separated into two groups that were pretty unequal when it came to the quality of teams. Group B appeared to be much stronger than Group A, where Fnatic, HellRaisers, Aristocracy and OpTic Gaming were competing.
The favorite for topping the group, Fnatic, didn’t start off in a good manner as OpTic Gaming managed to upset them in 3 maps series match. Afterward, they faced HellRaisers where they had an imperative to win. They did so after three tough maps. On third map (Train), Fnatic made an unbelievable comeback after being seven rounds down at half-time. Anyway, they conceded only one round when they went on a favorable, CT side.
In the last round, the Swedes had a relatively easy job against Aristocracy (ex devils.one) on Nuke (16-13) and Mirage (16-11). It turned out that HellRaiser’s smooth victories versus Aristocracy (16-10, 16-13) and OpTic Gaming (16-11, 16-7), were insufficient for the first place in the group. However, both Fnatic and HellRaisers successfully qualified for EPL Season 9 Finals, whereas Aristocracy and OpTic gaming ended up with only one triumph as the third and fourth team.
As said, competition in EPL Season 9 Qualifiers Group B was significantly stronger than in Group A. NaVi, North, Heroic, and BIG failed to top their groups in the first Group Stage, so they ended up in Group Stage 2 with second chance to reach EPL Finals.
The favorite for winning the Group failed badly. NaVi failed to reach EPL Finals after losing two matches in Group B. Firstly, they faced North in a very tight match which kicked off on Overpass. Ukrainians (NaVi) had a big advantage after side switch (11-4), but they allowed North to come back and win the first map (16-14). On the next map (Mirage), NaVi had to catch up, and they succeded in doing so.
On the map of decision (Dust 2), NaVi again had a huge advantage (10-5), but they failed to put the game to bed and North again bounced back to upset NaVi at the beginning of EPL Season 9 Qualifiers Group Stage 2. This was perhaps the main reason why NaVi failed to reach EPL Finals.
EPL Season 9 Qualifiers – Americas
EPL Season 9 Qualifiers in America didn’t feature upsets like European section did. Almost all favorites qualified for EPL Finals in Group Stage 1 already. However, MiBR, Cloud9, and Renegades didn’t manage to top the Group in the first Group Stage, so they had to play once again. But, only two teams could advance.
In Group A, MiBR had to finish above Renegades, which they succeeded. Brazilians won all their matched, dropping only one map on their way to EPL Finals. They defeated Isurus (16-10, 16-14), compLexity (11-16, 16-1, 16-13), and Renegades (16-2, 16-14). As Renegades also defeated the other two teams, the last match between them and MiBR was decisive. MiBR embarrassed them on Mirage and then won close leg on Train to qualify for EPL Finals.
Given that only one team per group goes further in EPL Americas Section, Renegades will not compete in Marseille.
In the other Group, Cloud9 was favorite for securing the first place. The only team that was close to them was Ghost Gaming. However, former Major champions with new squad didn’t lose any match on their path through Group Stage 2. Firstly, they bested eUnited in three maps series after losing the opening map (Inferno). EUnited was close to taking the game to Overtime on the second map (Nuke), but Cloud9 managed to end the game before Overtime. On the map of decision (Dust 2), Cloud9 had an easy job (16-7).
In the second match, Golden and co. cruised through Train (16-2) and Inferno (16-11) against Infinity to clinch the second win.
In the last match, Cloud9 met Ghost Gaming who previously recorded two victories as well. Ghost Gaming started off very well on Inferno securing the first map with score 16-13. However, Cloud9 bounced back on Nuke (16-8) and Dust 2 (16-10) to qualify for EPL Season 9 Finals in Marseille.