(Photo credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports)
Apeks and Fnatic earned 2-0 sweeps on Friday to advance to the mid-bracket semifinal of Group C at the ESL Pro League Season 18 event in Malta.
Apeks squeaked past Imperial Esports on two close maps and Fnatic beat 5yclone. Imperial and 5yclone dropped into the lower-bracket semifinals as a result.
The $850,000 event features 32 teams broken up into four groups of eight. Group-stage winners advance to the quarterfinals; runners-up advance to the Round of 12 as the high seeds; third-place teams in each group advance to the Round of 16 as the high seeds; and fourth-place teams advance to the Round of 16 as the low seeds.
The group stage is triple-elimination with upper, middle and lower brackets. All matches are best-of-three until the grand final, which is best-of-five.
The Counter-Strike: Global Offensive tournament runs through Oct. 1. The winner earns $200,000 and qualifies for the 2024 IEM Katowice event and the 2023 BLAST World Final.
On Friday, Apeks got past Imperial 16-14 on Overpass and 16-13 on Ancient. Joakim 'jkaem' Myrbostad of Norway (47 kills, plus-6 kills-to-deaths differential) and Martin 'STYKO' Styk of Slovakia (46 kills, plus-6 K-D) made the difference for Apeks in the even match. Brazil's Joao 'felps' Vasconcellos had 46 kills and a plus-6 K-D for Imperial.
Fnatic edged 5yclone 16-14 on Inferno before clinching the match with a 16-7 result on Vertigo. Frenchman Aurelien "afro" Drapier guided Fnatic with 42 kills and a plus-16. No one on 5yclone finished with a positive K-D; Yi "JamYoung" Yang of China led the team with 32 kills.
Group C action continues with three matches on Saturday:
--Apeks vs. Fnatic (mid-bracket semifinal)
--9z Team vs. M80 (lower-bracket quarterfinal)
--Imperial Esports vs. 5yclone (lower-bracket semifinal)
ESL Pro League Season 18 prize pool:
1. $200,000, 3,000 BLAST Premier points -- TBD
2. $90,000, 2,000 BLAST points -- TBD
3-4. $50,000, 1,200 points -- TBD
5-8. $35,000, 500 points -- TBD
9-12. $25,000 -- TBD
13-16. $20,000 -- TBD
17-20. $15,000 -- Gamer Legion, MIBR, TBD
21-28. $8,000 -- Ninjas in Pyjamas, Grayhound Gaming, Heroic, Evil Geniuses, TBD
29-32. $4,000 -- ORKS, Rooster, TBD
--Field Level Media