Team Spirit and Team Liquid each won their upper-bracket, round-three, group finals on Sunday to advance straight to the semifinals of the Intel Extreme Masters Season XV World Championship.
In Group A, Spirit rallied past Astralis after losing the opening map 16-11 on Inferno. Spirit came back with a 16-13 decision on Train before a dominant 16-1 win on Dust II to wrap the series 2-1. Russia's Nikolay "mir" Bityukov was one of four Spirit players with positive kills-deaths differentials, with 58 kills and a plus-13 ratio.
Liquid went the distance with Natus Vincere in their Group B 2-1 victory. Starting off with a narrow 16-14 win on Overpass, Liquid dropped the second map to Na'Vi, 16-7 on Dust II. Liquid rebounded with a 22-19 overtime win on Inferno. American Jonathan "EliGE" Jablonowski led Liquid with 73 kills and a plus-10 K-D differential.
Astralis and Na'Vi move into the playoffs' quarterfinals and will next play on Friday. Na'Vi will face Gambit Esports for the right to face Team Spirit in one of Saturday's semifinals. Astralis will battle Virtus.pro for the other semifinal spot against Team Liquid.
Gambit and VP earned their quarterfinal playoffs spots by winning their respective groups' lower-bracket finals on Sunday. Gambit swept G2 Esports in the Group A lower bracket, winning 16-11 on Vertigo and 16-11 on Dust II. VP eliminated FURIA Esports with a 2-0 sweep in their lower-bracket Group B final, taking Overpass 16-14 and Mirage 16-10.
In early action on Sunday, FURIA ousted FaZe Clan in Round 2 of the Group B lower bracket. FURIA opened with a 16-8 win on Mirage, then dropped Overpass 16-14. They rallied to win Train 16-4 and secure the match 2-1. In the second lower-bracket matchup, VP swept Team Vitality 2-0, notching a 19-17 win on Inferno and 16-12 win on Overpass.
The event began with a 24-team field competing for a share of a $1 million prize pool, with the champion earning $400,000, 1,800 Pro Tour points and 3,200 Blast Premier points. The runner-up will receive $180,000, 1,400 Pro Tour points and 1,600 Blast Premier points.
All group-stage matches and playoff matches are best-of-three except for the grand final on Feb. 28, which will be best-of-five.
Intel Extreme Masters Season XV World Championship results, with prize money, Pro Tour points and Blast Premier points:
1. $400,000, 1,800 Pro Tour points, 3,200 Blast Premier points
2. $180,000, 1,400 Pro Tour points, 1,600 Blast Premier points
3-4. $80,000, 1,100 Pro Tour points, 1,000 Blast Premier points
5-6. $40,000, 825 Pro Tour points, 400 Blast Premier points
7-8. G2 Esports, FURIA Esports -- $24,000, 575 Pro Tour points, 200 Blast Premier points
9-12. Evil Geniuses, Heroic, FaZe Clan, Team Vitality -- $16,000, 325 Pro Tour points, no Blast Premier points
13-16. mousesports, BIG, OG, Ninjas In Pyjamas -- $10,000, 125 Pro Tour points, no Blast Premier points
17-20. Cloud9, Renegades, Complexity Gaming, MIBR -- $4,500, 60 Pro Tour points, no Blast Premier points
21-24. Movistar Riders, Team One, Wisla Krakow, Fnatic -- $2,500, no Pro Tour points, no Blast Premier points
--Field Level Media