Sunday was a day of separation in Group D of the ESL Pro League Season 13 event as each of the top three teams of the group earned sweeps against the bottom half of the group.
Astralis, Virtus.pro and Team Liquid all scored wins to leave the trio all at 3-1 in round-robin play — with Astralis having beaten each of the others in previous head-to-head matchups.
After a sluggish start, Astralis downed Endpoint easily 2-0 to win their third in a row. One day after losing their first round-robin match, Virtus.pro rebounded with a 2-0 win over Fnatic, while Liquid also cruising 2-0 over Evil Geniuses.
Astrais lost the first five points of their afternoon before snapping out of it, outscoring Endpoint 16-5 the rest of the way en route to a 16-10 win on Inferno. They then barely broke a sweat in winning 16-8 on Dust II for the match win. All five starters on the all-Danish Astralis squad posted 30 or more kills, led by Andreas “Xyp9x” Højsleth and Nicolai “device” Reedtz each with a match-high 39. Shahar “flameZ” Shushan of Israel had a team-best 29 kills for Endpoint.
Virtus.pro also spotted their opponents a 5-0 lead in their opening map before storming back to take down Fnatic 16-9 on Train, then winning 16-8 on Dust II for the sweep. Mareks “YEKINDAR” Galinskis carried the load for Virtus.pro with 48 kills and a plus-18 kill/death differential, both best in the match. The all-Swedish Fnatic side was led by Jesper “JW” Wecksell, who fashioned a team-high 28 kills and minus-5 K/D differential.
Liquid took an early 3-1 lead over Geniuses on Inferno and carried that lead the rest of the way in a 16-11 first-map win. Liquid then blew out to a 14-5 advantage before clinching the sweep, winning 16-10 on Overpass. American Jonathan “EliGE” Jablonowski topped Liquid with 44 kills, with Brazil’s Gabriel “FalleN” Toledo sporting a team-best plus-14 K/D differential. Tsvetelin “CeRq” Dimitrov led the Geniuses in defeat with 48 kills and a plus-12 K/D differential.
The group stage, which concludes Monday, uses a round-robin format and all matches are best-of-three. The winners of each of the four six-team groups advance directly to the play-in for seeding in the quarterfinals or semifinals, while the second- and third-place teams advance to the round of 12, which starts Friday.
The play-in round will begin April 8 with a single-elimination bracket. Matches remain best-of-three, with the winning teams advancing to the semifinals and the losing teams dropping to the quarterfinals.
In the playoffs, which also feature a single-elimination bracket, the matches continue as a best-of-three until a best-of-five Grand Final on April 11.
Group D schedule for Monday:
-Astralis vs. Fnatic
-Team Liquid vs. Virtus.pro
-Evil Geniuses vs. Endpoint
ESL Pro League Season 13 Group D standings:
1. Astralis, 3-1, +21
2. Virtus.pro, 3-1, +14
3. Team Liquid, 3-1, +30
4. Endpoint, 1-3, 23
5. Fnatic, 1-3, -40
6. Evil Geniuses, 1-3, -2
–Field Level Media