The European Masters playoff teams are now set with Team Heretics and FunPlus Phoenix topping their respective groups. Of those who made it through the lower bracket, Acend were the surprise of the tournament as they upset top-ranked Ninjas in Pajamas in convincing fashion. The team beat NiP 2-0 after falling to the Kévin “akukhoS” Droolans led squad previously in the group stage. Guild Esports also made it through, taking Team Defuse to a full three-map series and overtime on the final map.
The playoffs will commence tomorrow, March 20 with the finals on March 21.
Acend upset NiP
Acend, and their star player Santeri “BONECOLD” Sassi easily dispatched the NiP squad. They took the first map, Bind, with relative ease at 13-9, and then dismantled NiP 4-13 on Icebox. Previously, NiP were one of the favorites of the tournament and many thought they would cruise their way to the playoffs.
The team had not dropped a match since late January, and even took down G2 en route to the Masters tournament. NiP previously took a close series against Acend in the upper bracket, but fell to Team Heretics, another tournament favorite. Once the two teams met up in the lower bracket, Acend had the experience of playing against the tactile akukhoS style and also took NiP to Icebox, the squad’s best map. Acend have not lost on Icebox in the four games they have played and are one of the few teams to run Viper on the map.
European Masters playoff teams matchups
Masters will be a single-elimination bracket with Acend matching up against FunPlus Phoenix, and Team Heretics battling Guild Esports. FunPlus have been one of the top teams in Europe since its inception, but do not have a tournament win to show for it. Heretics, on the other hand, are the First Strike champions but have been relatively quiet in the VCT era until recently. Both have major storylines on the line as upstarts Acend and Guild Esports challenge them for a shot at Masters glory.