Brazilian squads Imperial & paiN have made the home crowd their enemies for the weekend, with both teams defeating Aussie hopes Vertex and Grayhound in the ESL Challenger Melbourne group stages.
While a head-to-head between the two OCE squads was the likely outcome from day one, it was a painful one to endure for the crowd, who witnessed both teams make steady comebacks against their Brazilian opponents.
Fernando “fer” Alvarenga (28-19, 1.36 rating) and Marcelo “chelo” Cespedes (25-19, 1.24 rating) were on top for Imperial in their 16-13 victory over Vertex on Inferno.
Imperial showed zero respect on their CT side, breaking back after Vertex’s pistol round win to post eight straight.
Vertex could only manage three bomb plants on their way to a four round T half, but started off their defence with their second pistol round win.
Jordan “pz” White (19-21, 13 assists) was on point with the scout in the anti-eco, before Christian “ADDICT” Pendleton (22-19, 1.02 rating) & Peter “BL1TZ” Athanasatos (18-22, 0.79 rating) chimed in with a hold and retake to close the gap to five rounds.
The comeback was on, but slow–Vertex were winning rounds in sets of two and three, and it was down to whether Imperial would hit sixteen rounds first.
Despite Vertex’s aggressive CT side that didn’t respect Imperial whatsoever–a first for an Aussie squad against an international opponent in some time–Imperial held off the fast-finishing Wolfpack and consigned them to tomorrow morning’s eliminator.
Joining them will be Grayhound, who cracked double digits in their 12-16 loss to paiN Gaming.
Eight T rounds from Imperial, led by a fiery Felipe “skullz” Medeiros (23-17, 1.43 rating) would prove more than enough, but like Imperial, paiN struggled to put the ‘Hounds away.
Grayhound’s Jay “Liazz” Tregillgas (21-18, 1.23 rating) turned it up on CT, handily holding down ramp, while former core member Jordan “Hatz” Bajic (16-16, 0.94) did himself every favour in a rounded performance as an entry rifler.
Unfortunately, an anti-eco loss at 11-11 broke GH, who were all smiles regardless having played a brilliant Nuke in front of the cheering Aussie crowd.
Vertex and Grayhound battle at 11am AEST tomorrow for survival at DreamHack.
In the end it was paiN winning out the group with a 16-5 demolition of their compatriots, with Imperial now facing the winner of the Aussie derby later in the day.
Entropiq upset OG in Group A romp
Russian squad Entropiq followed up their 16-4 win over EG.PA with a composed victory over OG to book their ESL Challenger spot early.
OG, who recently emerged as big winners from BLAST Fall Premier Groups, were pushed to their limits by a fiery Wings Up in their best-of-one opener.
The Chinese squad, led from the front by Yi “gas” Ding (24-22, 1.11 rating) threatened a boil-over at 11-9 up, but OG captain Nemanja “nexa” Isakovic (30-13, 1.69 rating) took complete control of the map.
OG went on to win seven of the last nine rounds to progress to the winner’s match against Entropiq.
Entropiq began strongly on their Mirage T side, leading 6-1 before OG adapted to all but split the half down the middle.
The Russian squad took the pistol but OG countered back with the force buy, consigning Entropiq to a broken economy and a three round deficit.
But Nikolay “mir” Bityukov (32-19, 1.50 rating), assisted by Aleksei “NickelBack” Trofimov (21-19, 1.19 rating) in mid, turned the tables on OG and, through a combination of early round openings and tight bombsite retakes, all but shut OG out of Mirage.
OG will play Wings Up in the Group A decider series following their surprise 2-0 (16-7, 16-11) win against EG.PA.
It’s a debut tournament to forget for EG’s second division, who struggled severely to contain Wings Up on Inferno.
The Chinese squad posted an 11-round T half, with Junhao “ChildKing” Peng (24-11, 1.77 rating) nigh unstoppable as Wings Up claimed their map pick with ease.
EG.PA kicked off Nuke strongly with seven rounds on T, led chiefly by talisman Ben “ben1337” Smith (23-19, 1.16 rating), but what EG.PA could do, Wings Up did better.
Eight rounds on T, with balanced aggression and a stand-out effort from Yi “gas” Ding (27-18, 1,47 rating) proved more than enough to send EG.PA packing.
Wings Up will meet OG in a best-of-three rematch; for the winner, a playoffs meeting with paiN Gaming.
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