Astralis, Movistar Riders make semifinals at IEM Cologne

Astralis and Movistar Riders earned 2-1 victories Friday to advance to the Playoff Stage semifinals at the Intel Extreme Masters Season XVII in Cologne, Germany.

Astralis came from behind to beat MOUZ and Riders took down Team Liquid in quarterfinal matches to reach the tournament’s final four. Astralis will play Group A champion Natus Vincere in the semifinals, while Riders will square off with Group B champ FaZe Clan.

Twenty-four teams competed at the $1 million IEM Cologne event, with 16 advancing from the Play-In to the Group Stage. The top six teams qualified for the Playoff Stage, with the grand final set for Sunday. Playoff matches are best-of-three until the grand final, which is best-of-five.

MOUZ opened strong with a 16-8 win on Mirage, but Astralis answered with a 16-9 triumph on Nuke. At the decisive third map, Ancient, Astralis held on 16-12 to advance. Denmark’s Benjamin “blameF” Bremer starred for Astralis with 63 kills and a plus-25 kills-to-deaths differential.

Movistar Riders started with a 16-9 win on Ancient, but Liquid tied the match with a narrow 16-14 win on Inferno. Riders went through thanks to a 16-12 win on Vertigo. Alvaro “SunPayus” Garcia led the all-Spanish winners with 71 kills and a plus-25 K-D, while Raul “DeathZz” Jordan Nieto added 60 kills and a plus-9.

The Playoff Stage continues Saturday with two semifinal matches:
–Natus Vincere vs. Astralis
–FaZe Clan vs. Movistar Riders

Intel Extreme Masters Season XVII — Cologne prize pool and points distribution:
1. $400,000, 3,200 BLAST Premier points
2. $180,000, 1,600 BLAST Premier points
3-4. $80,000, 1,000 BLAST Premier points
5-6. $40,000, 300 BLAST Premier points — MOUZ, Team Liquid
7-8. $24,000, 300 BLAST Premier points — Ninjas in Pyjamas, FURIA Esports
9-12. $16,000, no BLAST Premier points — Team Vitality, G2 Esports, Cloud9, Team Spirit
13-16. $10,000, no BLAST Premier points — Heroic, ENCE, 00 Nation, Outsiders
17-20. $4,500, no BLAST Premier points — Sprout, BIG, Imperial Esports, TYLOO
21-24. $2,500, no BLAST Premier points — paiN Gaming, Complexity Gaming, ORDER, MIBR

–Field Level Media

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