Wrapping up a second day of carnage in the tropical paradise at IEM Rio Major.
CSGO is a game that’s easy to learn but with a very high skill ceiling, and this combination has turned it into arguably the most hyped, entertaining esport to watch. After yesterday’s events at the Jeunesse Arena in Rio, though, “hype” itself in an esports context has a new ceiling. The last two Quarterfinals matches of the Intel Extreme Masters Rio Major took place in front of thousands of roaring, cheering, and in many cases, excited-to-the-point-of-being-shirtless fans. Without any further ado, let’s take a look at how the games went.
Heroic vs Team Spirit
While both these teams still have plenty to prove on the biggest stages of CSGO, Heroic’s burden to do so is arguably far greater than that of Spirit. Many people in the community have referred to them as “onliners” owing to their rise during the pandemic, and it’s a moniker they have been struggling to erase.
Spirit may have been the team to pick Vertigo, but after they got the first two rounds on the T-side, it was almost all Heroic. The Danes refused to let their opponents pick up consecutive rounds, and claimed 10 on the defense to go into the second half firmly on the front foot.
Spirit were clinical with their pistols once again, but Heroic came back with a vengeance after two short rounds to claim five straight rounds and were on map point. Spirit got one back to perhaps invoke an inkling of hope, but Heroic closed the game immediately afterwards at 16-8. Spirit’s Ihor “w0nderful” Zhdanov topped the charts, but he was countered by all of Heroic, especially Martin “stavn” Lund and René “TeSeS” Madsen.
Despite losing the first three rounds on the T-side, Heroic showed just why they had chosen Overpass by taking a whopping 10 rounds on the attack. By the end of the first half, Spirit looked dejected and weary. This was going to change very soon.
Taking four rounds in succession, Spirit brought the game back to a difference of just one round. Herpes countered with three, but Spirit took another four. Just when a Game 3 seemed imminent, however, Heroic managed to close out the game 16-14. Casper “cadiaN” Møller and Jakob “Jabbi” Nygaard carried the Danes over the line despite the best efforts of Boris “magixx” Vorobyev.
Natus Vincere vs FURIA Esports
Since the Champions Stage fixtures were announced, this was the match everyone had been looking forward to. Both teams have immense support in the CS community — one in Brazil and one more globally — and these elements came to loggerheads in Rio. Both teams were playing as much for themselves as they were for the fans.
A game featuring incredible back-and-forth between the teams, Na’ Vi’s pick of Nuke began with the Ukrainians winning the force buy after losing the pistol. FURIA then took five of the next 6 rounds, but Na’ Vi took five of their own to finish the half with 8 in their name.
Their defense started just as strongly with four rounds going to them to boot, but FURIA grabbed the game by the horns and took seven of the next eight. It took an incredible three-round streak from Na’ Vi under immense pressure to eke out a win from what seemed at one point to be a sure defeat. Unlike what is usually the case, it was Viktor “sdy” Orudzhev and Ilya “Perfecto” Zalutskiy who stood tall for the CIS side.
With possible humiliation in front of thousands of fans at stake, FURIA got to work on their map pick of Ancient. They were absolutely incisive in their attacks, brushing aside Na’ Vi’s defense like it was paper. The visiting team barely had time to breathe, and could only put together five rounds at the end of a torrid first half
Na’ Vi showed signs of life at the start of the second half with four dominant rounds, but the comeback was short-lived as FURIA went on a rampage for the next five. Two rounds after that, they had evened the series with a 16-10 win. This time around the field belonged to Kaike “KSCERATO” Cerato and Rafael “saffee” Costa.
Na’ Vi have been a notoriously strong team under pressure for the last couple of years, and they seemed to be bringing their A game at last as they took 7 rounds on Mirage’s T-side despite FURIA’s best efforts which included a strong start. The Brazilians would have to pull something strong out of the bag.
Thankfully for Brazil as a whole, that’s precisely what they did. With the score at a perilous 10-10, FURIA raged through 6 straight rounds to end the series and move on to the Semifinals. Na’ Vi’s Valerii “b1t” Vakhovskyi was amazing, but André “drop” Abreu was on a whole other level, and he was the key to FURIA’s win.
Join us again tomorrow for the recap of the Semis.