Two spots for the New Challenger Stage of the IEM Katowice Major are now filled as AVANGAR and ENCE Esports emerge victorious at the CIS and Europe Minors upper bracket finals.
The European Minor started with the showdown of the remaining favorites North and ENCE, who took down Team Vitality and Valience respectively after their surprise run at the group stage.
Map 1: Train
ENCE’s map pick, train started with an exchange from both teams that ended 8-7 in favor of the Finns. The tight competition continued until the latter part of the 2nd half where North tried to get away as far as 14-11 where Valdemar "valde" Bjørn Vangså took over with an Ace and a quad kill. But as soon as the Danes were one kill away from map point, Sami "xseveN" Laasanen denied them, taking the game to overtime.
Just like the regulation, neither team was able to lead as much as three rounds. The exchange continued until ENCE managed to come on top 22-20 to take a much contested opening map.
Map 2: Inferno
With confidence on their side, ENCE jumped straight to Inferno firing all cylinders with a 6-0 run. Nicklas "gade" Gade tried to mend the bleeding with a triple kill to take North on the scoreboard, but his effort was futile as ENCE wrapped the half as far as 13-2.
The Finns continue to near themselves at the Majors by adding two more rounds right after the switch including an ace from Jere "sergej" Salo. North responded with a 5-0 run but again it wasn’t enough as Aleksi "allu" Jalli and his boys march towards a 16-7 win.
The CIS Minors meanwhile presented a match between Kazakhstan and Russia with AVANGAR facing off against Winstrike Team. Both teams came from group B, sending their counterparts Team Spirit and Gambit Esports down to the lower brackets.
Map 1: Dust 2
The Kazakhs opened Dust 2 on the CT side with a 5-0 run. Kirill "Boombl4" Mikhailov aided Winstrike’s cause as they strung in 6 rounds to lessen the gap to 7-6 but AVANGAR fended them off by winning an eco to take the half 9-6.
All things AVANGAR then happened at the switch. Aidyn "KrizzeN" Turlybekov opened the pistol with a triple kill that eventually turned into a 7-0 dismantling for AVANGAR to take Dust 2 16-6.
Map 2: Train
Winstrike has to get themselves together at Train, and it looked like they did so with David "n0rb3r7" Danielyan opening an opportunity for them by taking a triple kill at the pistol, resulting for a 3-0 start. However AVANGAR imposed another threat as they charged on the gun rounds with Timur "buster" Tulepov leading the way for an 11-4 half lead.
Pressure mounted on Winstrike at the switch. But fortunately they managed to stage an 5-1 run to close the gap down to 12-9. The Kazakhs never found two consecutive rounds for themselves as Winstrike ties the series with a 16-14 victory.
Map 3: Mirage
For the third consecutive map, Winstrike found themselves trailing in the opening half. AVANGAR opened the decider map on T side with a 7-0 run before the defenseless Winstrike could even answer. The half went on to the Kazakhs’ way 12-3.
Winstrike would go on a 4-0 run at the switch, but AVANGAR learned their lessons from Train as they strung 4 consecutive rounds of their own to book the first CIS ticket to the Majors.
The fight for the final Europe and CIS spots of the IEM Katowice Major continues today with the lower bracket finals. The winners will join AVANGAR and ENCE while the losers will be relegated to the 3rdplacer play-ins.