Natus Vincere made quick work of Monte while MOUZ needed three games to dispatch of ENCE, as the two European clubs advanced to the ESL Pro Leagues Season 18 grand final with semifinal victories Saturday in Saint Julian’s, Malta.
Natus Vincere and MOUZ will face off for the title on Sunday.
The $850,000 Counter-Strike: Global Offensive event began with 32 teams broken up into four groups of eight. Group-stage winners advanced to the quarterfinals; runners-up advanced to the Round of 12 as the high seeds; third-place teams advanced to the Round of 16 as the high seeds; and fourth-place teams advanced to the Round of 16 as the low seeds.
The group stage is triple elimination with upper, middle and lower brackets. All matches were best-of-three, though the grand final is best-of-five. The winner earns $200,000 and qualifies for the 2024 IEM Katowice event and the 2023 BLAST World Final.
In Saturday’s first match, Natus Vincere actually trailed halfway through both maps. On Anubis, Monte led 8-7 at the break and took the first three points after to build an 11-7 lead before Natus Vincere won nine of the final 10 points, including the final six to close out the 16-12 win. Monte led 9-6 at the break on Mirage but scored only once in the second half and fell 16-10 to lose the match.
Ukraine’s Valeriy “b1t” Vakhovskiy led the winners with 43 kills and a plus-7 kills-to-deaths differential. Compatriots Viktor “sdy” Orudzhev and Volodymyr “Woro2k” Veletniuk led Monte with a combined 81 kills and plus-9 KDA in the loss.
In the second semifinal, MOUZ won 16-13 on Mirage before ENCE took Vertigo 16-11. In the deciding map, MOUZ grabbed an 11-4 lead at the break and rolled to a 16-8 win on Nuke.
Adam ‘torzsi’ Torzsas of Hungary dominated with 69 kills and a plus-23 KDA in the win, while Guy ‘NertZ’ Iluz of Israel and Spain’s Alvaro ‘SunPayus’ Garcia each tallied 58 kills and combined for a plus-17 KDA in the loss.
ESL Pro League Season 18 prize pool
1. $200,000, 3,000 BLAST Premier points — TBD
2. $90,000, 2,000 BLAST points — TBD
3-4. $50,000, 1,200 points — Monte, ENCE
5-8. $35,000, 500 points — Eternal Fire, Team Vitality, Movistar Riders, G2 Esports
9-12. $25,000 — Complexity Gaming, BIG, 9z Team, FaZe Clan
13-16. $20,000 — Fnatic, Astralis, Virtus.pro, FURIA Esports
17-20. $15,000 — Gamer Legion, MIBR, 5yclone, Team Liquid
21-28. $8,000 — Ninjas in Pyjamas, Grayhound Gaming, Heroic, Evil Geniuses, Imperial Esports, Apeks, Cloud9, Lynn Vision Gaming
29-32. $4,000 — ORKS, Rooster, M80, 9INE
–Field Level Media