Written By PeeKay - 2021-09-12
Day 3 of Masters Berlin featured a group B opening match and two hugely exciting matches in the form of a group C winners match and a group D round robin match.
KRU Esports started off their preferred map pick of Ascent with a statement of a pistol round, shutting down the B push with excellent Killjoy and Sova utility. They won the following anti-eco with ease and constant A long pressure made sure they won the bonus against rifles to make it 3-0. The good times kept going for KRU deep into the half, performing consistently against pistols and rifles on the A defense. ZETA Division offered a bit of resistance throughout, notably with a 4k by Kouji "Laz" Ushida on the Sheriff and a couple of close rounds, but the first half was a clear steamroll to a 11-1 scoreline.
ZETA gave KRU a taste of their own medicine on their defender half, winning the first four rounds with unrelenting aggression in key parts of the map. Viewers might be forgiven for thinking there might be a comeback from the Japanese squad after they strung together a number of rounds to make it 8-12, but their A-site retake failed them in the end and the South Americans claimed the map.
Split was a surprising pick by ZETA, given they have only played the map 11 times before, but that didn’t show at all as they took a flawless pistol on their attacker side. They didn’t lose for the following six rounds either, exploiting KRU’s aggressive tendencies and taking frequent mid control. Things changed in the eight round of the half, where an absolutely crazy retake on the B site ended in the South Americans picking up the first round of the half. Just two rounds later, Joaquín "delz1k" Espinoza was the hero for KRU as he picked up a massive 1v4 to keep the map competitive and propel them to a 5-7 half.
If KRU fans had been given hope at the end of that first half, ZETA Division took it away rather quickly in the second. A pistol round win, followed by anti-eco and bonus wins with suppressive Judge plays, saw the score rise to 10-5. The Japanese showed their expertise on the map, not dropping a single map on their defense to run all the way to a 13-5 scoreline.
Bind started off with an absolute brawl on B and then a complete mess on A which ended the way of ZETA Division. For once, however, the map started off competitive for both teams, trading kills and rounds all the way to 4-4. Toward the end of the half, however, KRU’s utility usage gave them the edge as they pulled the lead to 7-5.
The second half was yet another grueling fight for both teams. Players on either side made big plays, but yet again like the first half, KRU were just about able to win rounds in close situations and clutch moments. Keznit was a key player who tipped the tide in multiple situations, and the South American squad ended Bind 13-7 and took the series 2-1. The result put ZETA Division in the lower bracket and left a Japanese team yet to win a series at Berlin.
The much awaited debut of Sentinels versus G2 Esports at Berlin started off with the North Americans’ pick of Split. The European mix started on the favored defender side, but failed to capitalize on their advantage for the first two rounds. They fought right back on the third however, using the rifles to deny a bonus on the B site, but Sentinels secured the following round with a brawly A hit. The North Americans pushed to 6-2 and just while it looked like things were about to get nasty for G2, they managed to salvage some rounds to make it 8-4 at the half.
The second half starts in incredible fashion for Sentinels, with ShahZam pulling off a massive clutch to give them the initial advantage. Sentinels keep pushing to match point at 12-5, with G2 unable to crack the defense and especially unable to deal with ShahZam yet again, who keeps on getting picks and earns himself an anti-eco ace to boot. The Europeans steal a round in the mix, but can’t weather the storm and fall 13-6 on Split.
G2 Esports started off strong on their Icebox pick on the attack side, winning the pistol on the back of Mixwell and riding the momentum to a 4-0 lead. Sentinels put the European train to a screeching halt with brutal A aggression, with TenZ and ShahZam cleaning up the opposition. The two teams exchanged rounds late into the half, but nukkye’s incredible presence and impact, especially on the A site, turned the tide in G2’s favor, ending the half 8-4.
After a disappointing first half of Icebox, Sentinels were determined to give us a game. They took the pistol with a solid B hit and followed it up with a flawless A anti-eco hit. Two more rounds being picked up in convincing fashion equalled the scoreline to 8-8. After a timeout however, G2 managed to finally read Sentinels’ attack and put up an unbreakable defense, winning five in a row to make it 13-8 and take the match to a third map.
Haven was where the two giants would close out the series, and Sentinels instantly took control with a quick 4-0 scoreline, much of the work being done by TenZ with the Marshall. Even once the rifles were in play for G2, they were repeatedly unable to crack down the A and C site defenses. Finally in the 9th round, the Europeans found their first on the C site to make it 8-1, but Sentinels weren’t fazed, winning the rest of the rounds with significant ease to finish the half 11-1.
The story of the second half was far from short, G2 starting off strong with a pistol win and then streaked seven rounds in a row, only losing one in the process. But you can only resist Sentinels for so long, as they eventually managed to crack the C site defense to close Haven 13-8 and the series 2-1.
The result puts G2 Esports at 3 points after two games and Sentinels at 3 after one played as part of the double round robin format.
The second EMEA vs NA matchup and the last of the day kicked off on Ascent and Gambit enjoyed themselves in the beginning, winning the pistol and anti-eco before losing to 100 Thieves’ rifles in the third and fourth round. Being tied at 2-2, Gambit’s d3ffo found himself alone versus three with just the blades, but he pulled off not only the 1v3 but also getting an ace in the process. The half only got closer and closer, both teams winning ecos and coming down to clutches repeatedly. Eventually, Gambit closed it 7-5, and seeing their high win rate on Ascent’s defense, things were looking dire for 100 Thieves.
The second half pistol was a reflection of the first half, a close 4v2 retake that almost ended in Hiko clutching in the post plant at A. That was the closest we’d see the clash get: Gambit took a stranglehold on the map and convincingly took six rounds in a row, slicing through the North Americans like a hot knife through butter to end the map 13-5.
The second map of the series took us to Icebox, 100 Thieves’ pick, and theoretically their strong suit. Things didn’t go as planned however, as other than a handful of rounds here and there, Gambit looked on top for all of the half. On the back of an unbelievable performance by sheydos, they won not only the pistol but also a majority of the rifle rounds, making waste of both the A and B site, to make it 9-3.
If 100 Thieves’ had to make a comeback, the pistol round would be a perfect time to do so. They came close, but were unable to deal with the Russians’ defense and lost the succeeding anti-eco as well. Only a couple of points from winning the series, it seemed like complacency kicked in for Gambit as they let the game slip out of their hand, allowing 100 Thieves to climb all the way up to 11-11. With Gambit’s economy broken, 100 Thieves took their chance and got themselves to map point with a B play, and then Hiko finished it off in signature style with a 1v3 clutch to end it 13-11.
If any of the previous maps in this series were tactical and smartly played, Split started off completely the opposite. nAts’s impact was the only constant factor as both squads took jabs at each other and exchanged messy rounds all the way to 4-3 in 100 Thieves’ favor. That’s where the North Americans showed their true colors, taking full advantage of the defender half to string together rounds all the way to end, closing it 9-3 at halftime.
100 Thieves continued the momentum from the previous half into this one, winning out the pistol round cleanly. The following rounds had a different story, with Gambit winning their eco and fighting back all the way up until 7-10. That’s where the story ended, as Hiko did Hiko things to win a dramatic clutch with a 4k inside the Viper’s Pit to grab 11-7 for the Americans, and then they followed it up to get to 12-7. Facing a match point, Gambit crawled up to 12-10, but 100 Thieves dealt the final blow on the B site to take the map 13-10 and series 2-1. That means the North Americans will be going to Masters Berlin Playoffs and Gambit will go to the lower bracke
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