A pair of dominant performances highlighted opening-round matches played Monday at the Intel Extreme Masters Katowice 2020 World Championship in Katowice, Poland.
In the only Group B first-round matchups played Monday, mousesports and G2 Esports each won soundly in 2-0 blowouts to set up their head-to-head battle in the second round of the group's upper bracket. They will face each other Wednesday.
The ESL Pro League S10 Finals winner mousesports made quick work of Asian qualifier TYLOO, winning 16-5 on Inferno in Game 1 before coming from behind to triumph 16-10 on Dust II.
TYLOO were runners-up of the Asian Closed Qualifier in January, but gained a spot as a replacement for Vici Gaming after one of their players could not obtain a visa from China in the wake of the ongoing coronavirus crisis. While ViCi and TYLOO both are based in China, TYLOO has been training in Ukraine.
G2, one of three European qualifiers, had an even easier time advancing. They swept tournament invite 100 Thieves in swift fashion, blasting them 16-3 on Mirage and 16-2 on Dust II.
All four first-round matches in Group A were played Monday, with three of the four victors moving on in 2-0 sweeps.
Astralis, who earned a spot in the tournament by beating 100 Thieves in the Grand Final of the Intel Extreme Masters XIV in Beijing in November, defeated Cloud9 16-7 on Overpass and then trailed 8-7 before rallying for a 16-12 victory on Train.
In the second round Tuesday, Astralis will face tourney invite Team Vitality, who swept Ninjas in Pyjamas 16-12 on Vertigo and 16-10 on Nuke.
Also in Group A, Fnatic (winners of DH Masters Malmouml; 2019) defeated the Oceanic qualifier Renegades in back-to-back maps. Fnatic won 16-4 on Dust II before rallying from a 10-5 deficit for a 16-14 victory on Inferno.
In the second round, Fnatic will play Tuesday against open invite Natus Vincere, who stunned European qualifier FaZe Clan 2-1 after dropping the opening map 16-9 on Nuke. Na'Vi responded to the 1-0 hole, besting FaZe 16-14 on Dust II and 16-10 on Overpass to advance in upper-bracket play.
Winners of the second round of the upper bracket will be assured of a spot in the six-team, single elimination playoff bracket. The winner of each group will head straight to the semifinals.
In lower-bracket action in Group A on Tuesday, Cloud9 will take on NiP, with FaZe battling Renegades.
Group B play on Tuesday will feature the two remaining first-round matches: Team Liquid vs. Virtus.pro and MAD Lions vs. Evil Geniuses. TYLOO will take on 100 Thieves in a lower-bracket match on Wednesday.
The best-of-three group stage runs through Thursday, with the top three teams from each group moving on to the playoff bracket. The 16-team, $500,000 Counter-Strike: Global Offensive tournament will conduct its playoff rounds from Friday through Sunday, with the champions of the best-of-five Grand Final earning the $250,000 top prize.
--Field Level Media