The second open qualifier was a treat, teams such as Complexity fell before the final hurdle.
Sprout and Nordavind made it out of the EU Minor Open Qualifiers and through to the closed qualifiers along with teams like NiP, fnatic and MAD Lions. NaToSaphiX showed up when it mattered to drag his new team through, while his replacement on Sprout, Oskar, did the same for them. This was the second of four Open Qualifiers, with BIG and Dignitas making it through from the others, with the next round of 16 starting on the 8th of February.
Complexity bombed out of the EU Minor Open Qualifiers, and might be wishing they’d stayed in the comparatively easy NA Minor Qualifiers. They got smurfed on by MINISE of PACT, a player who was often impressive on Kinguin, back in the day. The Pole dropped 34 frags in 26 rounds with a 112.9 ADR, completely destroying coL who were dumped out in the first round.
The ‘juggernaut’ will have a few more chances - with two more Open Qualifiers left, not all hope is lost, but it’s fair to suggest that with so much money and hype invested into this team, Open Qualifiers should feel like a breeze. Best of ones in an online scenario can obviously be a nightmare, but if they don’t make it in four, then maybe it’s just not meant to be.
Another team who went out in the round of 16 was Endpoint. The triple-UK infused roster weren’t expected to go too far, and a first round match-up with ex-Virtus.pro didn’t exactly give them the best chance - ex-VP were the highest ranked team in the tournament.
ex-VP, however, were taken out by eventual qualifiers Nordavind, thanks to a vintage performance from RUBINO. A hard-carry performance from the ex-North Norwegian rifler saw Nordavind take Nuke 16-8, and moved he and NaToSaphiX one step closer to getting back to where they feel they belong.
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PACT, the giant-killers of round one, took down Danish side Copenhagen Flames in a super close game of Train. Teenager TMB stole the show despite the loss, going 27-18 but being just unable to carry his team over the line. The rifler seems to be the next in the Danish production line of talent, and keeping an eye on him for future games might be intriguing.
One set of juggernauts went out in round one, but Serbian team Juggernauts made it through after beating mix team ad hoc. They went no further, however, after meeting another Polish team, AGO, in the quarter finals. AGO moved on to face Sprout, after the German team moved past AGF and AVEZ with no mistakes.
With one best of three left for all four teams - Nordavind, PACT, AGO and Sprout - to make it through to the closed qualifier, a lot was on the line. Nordavind made a reverse sweep, largely in thanks to NaToSaphiX, who butchered the Polish team with 66 kills in three maps. MINISE, who was the key factor in PACT’s win over coL in the first round, was invisible on the final maps - though not as bad as darko, who went 3-18 on map three with the Closed Qualifier in their sights.
In truth, it wasn’t as close as a reverse sweep sounds, as Nordavind were comfortably better on their map pick, Overpass, and the final map, Nuke, with a 16-9 and a 16-8 win respectively.
Sprout had new signing Oskar to thank for muscling past AGO in two relatively tight maps. While Inferno was 16-10, Mirage went down to the final round. Oskar ended the series with a +20 K/D and a 1.37 rating, but almost more importantly, a bunch of highlight clips. The AWPer was one of the main reasons mousesports were so dangerous on Mirage, and it seems he’s transferring his skills to the other German team.