Day two of EPICENTER 2019 tournament is behind us, when we got to see the remaining four teams from Group B flex their muscles against each other in a bid to secure a spot in the semi-finals. While day one of EPICENTER did not leave any CS:GO fans indifferent, it was day two that took the cake with a phenomenal performance from mousesports, who claimed the first seed and a spot in the final four.
ForZe vs Evil Geniuses
The day started with a clash between the North American powerhouse Evil Geniuses and the hometown favourites forZe, who had to admit defeat to a much greater opponent.
That is not to say, however, that forZe did not put up a fight. On the contrary, Andrey "Jerry" Mekhryakov and his squad looked very strong on Mirage, where they took a commanding 13-6 lead against Evil Geniuses who entered the match without Vincent "Brehze" Cayonte due to his visa issues and instead fielded Igor "crush" Shevchenko as a stand-in.
If we were to say crush failed to deliver as a stand-in in the first map of the series would be an understatement, seeing how he finished the map with a disastrous 0.58 Rating and -11 K/D. Despite his less-than-impressive performance, however, EG's four core members stepped up and produced a remarkable comeback, which saw them turn the 9-14 score upside down with a dominant run of seven successive rounds to edge past forZe and win the first map 16-14.
Despite his disastrous performance on Mirage, crush played well on Nuke, which contributed to EG's near-perfect 14-1 run in the first half. After the switch, crush chimed in with a double kill to help Evil Geniuses claim the T-side pistol round. ForZe held off the inevitable for a moment with a win in the second round, however, it was too little too late and EG eventually sealed the deal with a 16-4 win to claim the series 2-0.
Virtus.pro vs mousesports
It was hard not to be excited for the second match of the day, which featured two of the hottest teams in the scene - mousesports and the new and improved Virtus.pro, who made their debut appearance with their new roster, which they just recently acquired from AVANGAR.
Understandably there were high expectations put on Virtus.pro for their debut brawl, but even with the help of the home crowd, they fell short against the international squad who continued their streak and secured a narrow win to advance into the winner's match. Despite the unfortunate defeat, however, Virtus.pro showed a glimpse of greatness when they crushed mousesports (16-11) on their own map pick of Inferno.
The second map of the series was Mirage, where after losing the opening two rounds, Virtus.pro took the reins in their own hands and turned the game around to secure a comfortable 9-6 lead ahead of the second half. In their own style, mousesports hit back hard with a near-flawless performance on T-side, where they needed only four rounds to tie the match at 10-10. From there onwards it was fairly smooth sailing for Finn "karrigan" Andersen and co. who took full advantage of their momentum and secured an impressive 16-11 win to tie the series at 1-1.
Tied at 1-1, teams entered Dust2, which began at a frantic pace with teams exchanging rounds back and forth. Amid the chaotic rounds were some sensational moments, such as Dauren "AdreN" Kystaubayev's quad kill among others. While it seemed like there was little to separate the two sides, it was Virtus.pro who decided they had enough of back and forth action and proceeded to secure a 10-5 lead ahead of the second half.
After their sensational performance on T-Side, it was time to Virtus.pro to prove themselves on CT-side as well, which they managed to do with varying degrees of success. The series started off well for Dzhami "Jame" Ali who saw Alexey "qikert" Golubev secure a triple to win them the pistol round. Unfortunately, they failed to follow up to their strong start. Much like on Mirage, mouz took control of the match in the second half and came back in a commanding fashion. Mousesports won one round after another and before Virtus.pro had a chance to respond mouz already caught up and forced overtime.
The first overtime saw teams win two rounds apiece, with Virtus.pro coming back from being two down to keep themselves alive. Unfortunately, they only delayed the inevitable as they had to admit defeat to mouz who secured the final map with the help from David "frozen" Čerňanský, who scored a triple in the final round to cap off his impressive 1.20 rating over the series.
Evil Geniuses vs mousesports
What was expected to be the closest and most exciting bout of the day turned to be a fairly one-sided affair which saw mousesports continue their streak as they jumped over EG to move on to EPICENTER semis.
With Brehze's visa issues still unresolved, EG did not have any other option than to field crush once more and while the Ukrainian CS:GO pro seemingly found his place after EG's win over forZe, he once again underperformed and finished the series with 0.59 Rating. But the loss was not all on him, as the whole team failed to look as strong as in their opening match.
The series began on Train, with mousesports setting the pace, which earned them a 5-0 lead before EG put together some resistance to end the half at 7-8. The North American squad kept their streak alive and secure the opening three rounds of the second half to grab a marginal two-round lead (10-8), which was where their run has come to an end. Mousesports once more gained momentum and won eight of the remaining nine rounds to seal the first map at 16-11.
Struggling to find their rhythm EG entered Inferno lost and confused as they had no answer for mousesports' surge in form. Despite their best efforts, EG crashed and burned as they managed to grab only four rounds from the hands of mousesports who were charging towards the second win of the series. Inferno ended with a commanding 16-4 win for mousesports, who once again proved why they are regarded as one of the best teams in the CS:GO competitive scene.
EG will now be chasing their ticket for EPICENTER quarter-finals later on Thursday, December 19, when they will meet with the winner of forZe versus Virtus.pro clash, slated to take place earlier that day. Mousesports on the other side have now four days to rest and get ready for their semi-finals bout, set to take place on Sunday, December 22.