8Ballers, lol123 survive open bracket; finalise IEM Fall OCE closed qualifier

The action resumes this Friday as the road to Stockholm approaches its climax.

Just six teams remain in the hunt for Oceania’s sole representative spot at the PGL Stockholm Major, with 8Ballers and lol123 (ex-Chiefs) surviving the open qualifiers to secure their positions in Friday’s IEM Fall Closed Qualifier.

LookingForOrg (ex-Dire Wolves) and Vertex await them in Friday’s double-elimination last chance bracket, where the top two will qualify for the IEM Fall main event later this month.

8Ballers were first through the open qualifier gauntlet on Saturday, joining the closed qualifier invites after sweeping their way through the bracket. Wins over MIRACLE RUN, G.I. Joe and Ground Zero Gaming set up a best-of-three playoff against Caught off Guard.

Caught off Guard landed the upset of the qualifier with a shock win over lol123 in the semi-final 16-11, but the underdogs couldn’t convert their form into a win in the grand final.

A clinical 10-3 T half on Dust 2 saw 8Ballers take the edge in the best-of-three, and they wouldn’t be stopped on their way to the closed qualifier on Vertigo. Anish “bogeymanh” Singh (25-11, 112 ADR, 2.08 HLTV rating) landed 20 headshot kills to shut out Caught off Guard 16-5 and 2-0.

Attempt two for lol123 included wins over 9ballerz, Dynasty and MIRACLE RUN, while Rooster had no troubles dispatching of really weird, DoMilk and Ground Zero.

lol123 have, for the better part of the year, kept Rooster at bay — 4-0 in series and 8-2 in maps in the head-to-head — but Rooster were out for blood on Nuke. Michael “chelleos” Hawkins (33-16, 107 ADR, 1.64 HLTV rating) led Rooster to a CT side comeback, taking the opener 16-14.

Chelleos wasn’t done there. A massive 49-kill effort in the second map of Mirage from the Rooster sniper, including 28 AWP kills, kept his team in the hunt for a series sweep. But a combined 81 kills from Peter “BL1TZ” Athanasatos and Jay “soju_j” Jeong got lol123 over the line in triple overtime, 25-23.

Rooster would finally run out of gas on Inferno, with Hugh “HUGHMUNGUS” Anderson (23-14, 98 ADR, 1.48 HLTV rating) heading a 9-0 T side run to secure the map, series and closed qualifier spot 16-8.

The loss means Rooster will not be able to back up their result in May, where they beat out Dire Wolves to finish third at EPIC League Oceania. For both 8Ballers and lol123, however, their hopes to qualify for the first CS:GO major in two years remain alive, no matter how narrow they may be.

Should Renegades or Order — both invited to the main event — make the grand final, their prior RMR points earned at EPIC League would mean they would secure the tickets to Sweden and deny any of the open qualifiers a chance at major glory.

Nicholas Taifalos
Nicholas Taifalos
Nicholas "Taffy" Taifalos got his start publishing the escapades of some of Australia's pioneers in Counter-Strike and Dota overseas. Now, he turns his eye to events closer to home, from grassroots projects to the height of Oceanic competition and everything in-between. He still hopes for the day Dota makes a glorious return to the pinnacle of OCE esports.



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