The closed qualifiers for European Minor Championship - Rio 2020 has come to a close this Sunday, March 8, with Heretics, Complexity, Ninjas in Pyjamas and Fnatic as the top four teams who secured a spot at Minor where they will compete for a ticket leading to Rio Major.
Europe Minor Championship - Rio 2020: Closed Qualifier began on S Saturday, March 7, with 16 European teams in attendance, which competed in a double-elimination bracket, where a best-of-three (bo3) format was in place to determine which four teams deserve a spot in the Minor Championship.
After two days of gruelling battles, it was Team Heretics, Complexity and the Swedish duo in Fnatic and Ninjas in Pyjamas who came out ahead of the competition and got themselves one step closer to partaking in the first CS:GO Major of the season.
Complexity enjoyed a Cinderella Story, as they thought their chances of attending Major were long gone following three unsuccessful runs through the Open Qualifiers. However, Jason Lake's team got offered a golden ticket on Friday, March 6, when MAD Lions revealed they will not be participating at the event, due to not being able to field a full team.
Despite the fact Benjamin "blameF" Bremer and co. weren't even supposed to be in attendance at Europe Minor Championship - Rio 2020: Closed Qualifier, they grabbed the opportunity with both hands and made most of it. Complexity started their venture into the Closed Qualifiers with a clash against Sprout, where they showed no mercy and came out ahead with two commanding wins on Inferno (16-9) and Overpass (16-6) to book a spot in the second round.
There they faced off against GODSENT, who previously decimated Copenhagen Flames (2-0). Despite their strong showing against the Danish team, GODSENT proved to be no match for Complexity, who swept them with two 16-11 triumphs on Inferno and Dust2, thus qualified for Minor with a perfect 4-0 record and an impressive 64-37 round record.
The second team to join Complexity at the Europe Minor were Fnatic, who started their qualifiers with a strong showing against SMASH Esports. The match ended the way many had expected, as it was the Swedish powerhouse who came out ahead 16-7 on Mirage and 16-6 on Inferno.
The whole team performed admirably well, yet it was Robin "flusha" Ronnquist who impressed the most with 1.59 HLTV Rating and +20 KD. Jesper "JW" Wecksell finished the series with 1.44 rating and +10 KD, Freddy "KRIMZ" Johansson with 1.26 rating and +12 KD, Ludvig "Brollan" Brolin with 1.22 and +8 KD, while Fnatic's In-game-leader Maikil "Golden" Selim pocketed a 1.12 rating and +8 KD.
After making easy work of SMASH, Fnatic faced off the veteran line-up of Dignitas, who made Swedes work hard to pocket a ticket for Minor. Both Vertigo and Inferno went into overtime with teams splitting one win each, before moving on to Overpass as the series decider.
Despite their strong performance on Vertigo and Inferno, things started to look grim for Patrik "f0rest" Lindberg and company as they failed to defend their bombsite from Fnatic's advances. Fnatic were seemingly playing on another level as they produced a perfect 15-0 in the first half, before Dignitas got a chance to respond with a streak of three rounds to start the second half. However, it was too late too little for them, as Fnatic managed to close out the series in 19th round, thus secured a ticket for Minor.
JW played a pivotal role in Fnatic's success on Overpass with his breath-taking 2.02 rating and +14 KD. KRIMZ was close behind with 1.80 rating and +12 KD, while Brollan, flusha and Golden up tup 1.54, 1.46 and 1.02 ratings respectively.
Unlike Fnatic, who had to work hard for their Minor ticket, their Swedish compatriots, Ninjas in Pyjamas had a much easier road to the top. For NiP, the qualifiers began with a clash against the Norwegian side Apeks. Although billed as massive underdogs, Apeks shocked NiP with an impressive display on Overpass, where they bested their adversaries 16-12. Apeks, unfortunately, failed to carry their momentum into Inferno, where they got stomped by Ninjas in Pyjamas, who secured a dominant 16-5 win to tie the series at 1-1.
The series entered Vertigo, where NiP started strong and secured an 11-4 lead before the switch. Switching over to T-side, Ninjas in Pyjamas started to struggle and saw Apeks catch up to them to tie the map at 14-14. At that point, the Swedes switched into a higher gear and closed out the map at 16-14 to seal the series at 2-1.
Although there were no standout performances from either team, it was Nicolas "Plopski" Gonzales Zamora who finished the series with the highest rating of 1.29 and +15 KD. The best-performing player on Apeks was Sander "Grusarn" Iversen with 1-04 rating and +7 KD. Grusarn was also the only Apeks member to finish the series with a positive rating.
Next up for Ninjas in Pyjamas was BIG, who failed to produce much resistance. The German squad lost both Inferno (10-16) and Vertigo (11-16) in a rather humiliating fashion. Although BIG started both maps strong, they always found a way to drop the ball in the second half and let Ninjas in Pyjamas run away with the win. Jonas "Lekr0" Olofsson ended the series as the best performing player on NiP with 1.28 rating and +11 KD, while Johannes "tabseN" Wodarz proved to be the top player at BIG with 1.22 rating and +8 KD across the series. All of his teammates finished the series with a negative rating. Can "XANTARES" Dörtkardeş and Nils "k1to" Gruhne averaged an underwhelming 0.83 across both maps.
Out of all four teams which qualified for the Minor, Team Heretics were perhaps the biggest surprise. The all-French squad started the qualifiers with a commanding win over OG who proved to be no match for Fabien "kioShiMa" Fiey and co. on both Dust2 (9-16) and Mirage (9-16). Heretics managed to translate their momentum into the second round, where they edged past Heretics with two 16-13 wins on Duat2 and Inferno and with that booked a spot at the Minor.
Europe Minor Championship - Rio 2020 will begin on Sunday, April 26 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The tournament will feature eight teams, including Fnatic, Complexity, Ninjas in Pyjamas and Team Heretics. joining them will be Movistar Riders, Copenhagen Flames, GODSENT and Dignitas who secured the final four spots by going the distance in the lower bracket of Europe Minot Championship Closed Qualifiers.
Written by KrajnikT
Tit Krajnik (KrajnikT) is an esports writer for onlineesports.com, where he reports news, features and writes other content related to the players, teams, industry and the esports scene as a whole.
He has previously worked as a news and betting-related articles writer in the "traditional" sports scene but later opted to turn his attention to esports, where he managed to combine his love for video games and the growing esports industry with his work.
Krajnik has started his journey as an esports writer by covering Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and League of Legends, which he also played since its launch, but later broaden his skill-set to include other major esports titles including Dota 2, Fortnite, Apex Legends, Overwatch, Rainbow 6 Siege and Call of Duty.