Team Vitality and Ninjas in Pyjamas had to work extra hard just to get to the semifinals, but each squad took advantage once they were there, winning Saturday to reach the grand final of the Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Intel Extreme Masters Season XVI Winter event
Both teams were knocked out in group play but rebounded to win in the quarterfinals to secure semifinal rematches with the teams they’d previously lost to. On Saturday, Team Vitality won its rematch with Virtus.pro 2-0, while Ninjas in Pyjamas (NIP) also won its rematch, 2-1 vs. G2 Esports.
Despite the 2-0 result, Vitality had to battle to secure each win. Vitality won 16-13 on Mirage before prevailing 16-13 on Vertigo.
Kevin “misutaaa” Rabier paced the French squad in each game, scoring 28 kills on the first map before grabbing 31 on the second. Overall, misutaaa had a 59-35 kills-to-deaths ratio (plus-24).
The top performer for Virtus.pro was Kazakhstan’s Alexey “Qikert” Golubev, who posted a 43-40 K-D ratio. He led the way in kills on Map 2 (22) and finished second on Map 1 (21).
NIP took out G2 Esports by winning 19-16 on Nuke, losing 16-10 on Dust II and winning 16-14 on Inferno.
Fredrik “REZ” Sterner of Sweden was the top performer on Map 1, scoring a plus-12 on 34 kills to lead NIP to victory. Nikola “NiKo” Kovac (Bosnia and Herzegovina) also grabbed 34 kills for losing side G2 (plus-6).
A plus-13 (27-14 kills to deaths) by Nemanja “huNter-” Kovac (Bosnia and Herzegovina) propelled G2 to the win in Game 2. NiKo also finished plus-5, while Ninjas were led by Nicolas “Plopski” Gonzalez Zamora with a 22-19 K-D ratio.
NIP rallied on Map 3 despite giving up 20-plus kills to three opposing players (huNter, NiKo and France’s Francois “AmaNEk” Delaunay). Ninjas answered with three 20-plus killers of their own. REZ notched 20, while teammates Patrick “es3tag” Hansen and Hampus “hampus” Poser each recorded 22.
Ninjas in Pyjamas will meet Team Vitality in the grand final Sunday.
Sixteen teams began the event competing for a share of a $250,000 prize pool. Opening-round matches were best-of-one, followed by best-of-three series for the rest of the group stage. Six teams comprised the playoff bracket, with the quarterfinals and semifinals best-of-three and the finals best-of-five.
Intel Extreme Masters Season XVI Winter prize pool:
1. $100,000 — TBD
2. $42,000 — TBD
3-4. $20,000 – G2 Esports, Virtus.pro
5-6. $10,000 — GODSENT, Gambit Esports
7-8. $6,000 — Team Liquid, Fnatic
9-12. $5,000 — OG, Astralis, BIG, FaZe Clan
13-16. $4,000 — TYLOO, MOUZ, ENCE, Heroic
–Field Level Media