Starseries I-League Season 6 Quarterfinals Recap

The Starseries & I-League Season 6 is down to its last few teams. The Quarterfinals saw four matchups played live at the Kiev Cybersport Arena. There were some really close matches as well as a few straightforward endings. Here’s a recap of the Quarterfinals as they happened.

 

Optic Gaming vs Renegades

The match between the Danish team and the Oceanic roster was a very straightforward ending for Optic Gaming. They recently got Niko back from North and it has definitely helped the team develop into its current form. Niko is one of the most impactful players in the European scene.

Dust 2 – The Renegades Pick

Renegades picked Dust 2 while Optic Gaming went for Inferno. Renegades is a decent team on Dust 2, however, they were pretty much absent from the server against Optic Gaming. The first few rounds saw the two teams trade rounds back and forth. The Renegades buy in the third round proved successful and they immediately followed it up with a 4th round win as well.


However, Optic Gaming were quick to respond as they took control of the next three rounds on the back of some excellent plays by the Danish squad. Renegades were able to squeeze in a singular round in between, but their inability to string rounds together meant that they never had the economy to sustain a good attack.

Inferno – Optic Gaming Pick

Inferno was Optic Gaming’s pick and they were the heavy favourites to win this map. Optic Gaming has put forth some really strong performances against better teams on Inferno. Their ability to constantly put forth such results was the primary reason for all the analysts and casters favouring Inferno.

Continuing with their form from Dust 2, Optic Gaming was off to a very strong start on Inferno. They quickly won the pistol and the first gun round to ensure a 5-0 start. This was huge for the team as they were able to be in full control of their economy. While Renegades did manage to win the 6th round, it turned out to be false hope. They lost the next five rounds often saving their weapons in a bid to get a good buy in the next rounds.

 

 

However, Optic Gaming managed to finish the first half at 11-4 on their T side. This is a massive score especially on a map like Inferno. Renegades managed to win their first five rounds, similarly copying that of Optic Gaming. At this time, there were hopes of a comeback from Renegades but once Optic Gaming got a full buy with grenades and proper guns, it was an easy task for the Danish roster.

They closed out the game with a score of 16-10 and proceeded to ensure a spot in the semifinals. For now, Optic Gaming does look like a strong contender for winning the entire tournament.

ENCE vs BIG Gaming

ENCE and BIG gaming was a very close match in almost all the maps. Throughout the tournament, ENCE has looked very dominant especially in the combination of the veteran Allu and Sergej. During the Quarterfinal match, Sergej had a very low-key performance.


Allu had a slow start to the series on Overpass, but he quickly picked up the pace in the next two maps. The first map saw the two teams go toe to toe in their first half. However, ENCE quickly took the lead in the second half on the back of some really strong rifle play by Aerial. Despite not being the best player on the team when it comes to the ranking on the scoreboard, Aerial was able to ensure ENCE moves to the map point.


BIG Gaming’s performance so far in the tournament has been very lacklustre. They are not really a team that has been very consistent in their performances. The team’s performance relies heavily on Smooya being able to put up strong performances. The British player’s performance is heavily based on momentum and he relies on his teammates to egg him on. However, BIG Gaming also needs to tame him and ensure he does not go overboard.

Despite being up 15-11 in the normal phase, ENCE was not able to close out the map. BIG made the comeback and they carried the momentum into Overtime. In Overtime, BIG Gaming was constantly able to take the lead and ensure less pressure on themselves. ENCE always played catch up but ran out of steam in the second Overtime. BIG won Overpass taking a lead, albeit an unexpected on in the quarterfinal.

Nuke

Despite the first map going into Double Overtime, we have to remember that it was BIG’s map pick. ENCE put forth a strong performance managing to almost win the map in Normal time. It was a momentum based performance for BIG Gaming, however, they were not able to carry it forth to the second map.

Nuke started with ENCE taking up a strong performance on the terrorist side. Crippling BIG’s economy, ENCE was always able to put forth strong aim duels and win the rounds with ease. After going 5-0, BIG did win a round. This was a chance to string together two consecutive rounds, which would have been able to stabilize the BIG gaming’s economy.

But AleksiB decided to rush down Vents and secure the 7th round for ENCE Gaming. Smooya had no idea that someone had managed to sneak in through the vents and he was caught unawares by AleksiB. The In-Game Leader taking such strong initiative to open the map wide open is definitely something very unique.

BIG finished the first half with only 5 CT rounds, definitely not enough on this map. While BIG managed to win the pistol round and manage to win the next three rounds, it was still not enough. ENCE had an almost perfect CT side in the remainder of the maps to close out the map and take it to Train. The star on this team was definitely Allu who seemed to come alive on this map and make some really interesting playstyles.

Train

The third and final map was Train, a map which has seen exceedingly strong T sides in recent times. This map went pretty much the same way as the last map. ENCE started off strong on their T side. They had full control of the map and BIG’s economy was pretty much in shambles. However, luckily for BIG gaming, they did manage to bring back the score with some lucky pistol round wins and then strong dominance on the CT side. Regardless of the late surge in performance, BIG was only able to manage 6 rounds on their CT side.


The score after the first half was 9-6 and BIG won the pistol round. Quickly tying up the game at 9-9, it could have been anyone’s game right now. However, once ENCE got their full buy, it was almost impossible for BIG Gaming to break into the sites. They had no clue of where the ENCE roster was set up and Allu was constantly able to put forth amazing kills.

ENCE had a plan coming into this match and it was very evident in their gameplay. They would even allow BIG gaming to plant the bomb on the B site and take a 5v5 retake scenario.

In the end, ENCE won the map quite comfortably and despite Smooya having a decent time, BIG was unable to make an impact.

Vega Squadron vs Fragsters

Vega Squadron and Fragsters two of the quarterfinalists at Starseries & I-League Season 6. The two teams, while not a surprise still caused some upsets in the Group stage. The quarterfinal saw two very open maps being selected by the two teams. Cache and Dust 2 are probably the most open and aim-oriented maps in the CS: GO map pool.

Dust 2

 

Fragsters won the pistol round on their T side, but that seemed to be all that they could manage in the half. Vega Squadron had a force buy in the second round and they did not look back. Ending the half with a dominating scoreline of 11-4, it was only a matter of time before Vega Squadron would actually win the map. Chopper was at his best on Dust 2 and his confidence carried him further. He had a KDA of +20 and there seemed to be no stopping the man.


Fragsters did go off to a strong start on their CT side, but they did not have much space in terms of rounds on the scoreboard. Once Vega Squadron won a round, and started trading rounds, Fragsters economy was broken. After all, Vega just needed 5 rounds to win the map and they did so with ease.

Cache

Losing on their own map pick was definitely a big blow to the young Danish roster. However, Cache is not that different from Dust 2 relying heavily on aim duels and the skill to win important rounds. For Fragsters, however, this map seemed to be worst than the previous one. Vega Squadron was dominant throughout the roster and quickly amassed a scoreboard of 10-1. This dominance exerted by the Vega Squadron saw a lull as Fragsters managed to string a few rounds towards the end of the first half. However, this was more due to a letdown by Vega Squadron than Fragsters creating opportunities for themselves.

 

When Vega Squadron won the pistol round in the second half, all seemed lost. But Fragsters were able to bring it back with a force buy in the 17th round. While Fragsters did manage to secure a few rounds on their T side, it was only a case of delaying the inevitable. Vega Squadron reached 15-8 and had 7 map points. Fragsters managed to get the next five rounds, but Vega won the map and the series comfortably in the end.

NRG vs North

Two of the most well-known Tier two teams from North America and Europe came face to face in the Quarterfinals at Starseries. NRG is a rising team but apart from a few standout performances, the North American squad has given us much to write home about. Regardless they managed to win this series 2-0 defeating North in a very close series.

The first map was Train, one of the favourite maps for North Gaming. On a macro level, the North defence on the CT side looked solid. They had the necessary rounds strung together to create a stable economy. However, NRG managed to squeeze in enough rounds to reach a score of 7 rounds on their T side. On a map like Train, 7 rounds on the T side is a very questionable figure. Despite being considered predominantly a CT sided map, Train has seen a surge in strong T sides in recent months. Most of this stems from the weakening of the CT economy and teams’ insistence on force buying.

 

We did see North break NRG’s economy in the second half, however it happened way too early. NRG had time to recover, string together rounds and ensure a strong finish to the map. Coming back from 9-13 to finish the map at 16-14 speaks of the excellent defence by the team. Brehze and Nahte had a very good game eliminating multiple opponents often at different angles.

Overpass

Overpass was NRG’s pick and definitely a map they looked much more dominant on. Despite the score being 16-13, NRG looked in complete control of this map.

NRG started off strong winning the 2nd round despite losing the pistol. This broke the North Economy and allowed NRG to take a quick lead at 5-1. The North team seemed to be in a loop forcebuying and being forced to save on multiple rounds. Regardless of this, North did make a mini-comeback in the second half of the first fifteen rounds. However, they only managed a score of 6 rounds on the CT side. For a CT dominant map like Overpass, being down 6-9 is definitely not a good sign for the Danish squad.


The second saw both teams win rounds in streaks. North won the first six rounds on their T side. But once NRG started winning rounds, North did not have an answer. NRG was extremely dominant on their CT side once they started getting the proper buy rounds in. Overall, NRG did not look at their best in this series. Cerq was definitely absent for the most part and NRG was carried by the splendid performances of Nahte.

With this win, the two semifinal matchups are now known. The semifinal matches will take place on October 13th.

  • ENCE esports vs Optic Gaming
  • Vega Squadron vs NRG esports.

You can catch all the action live on Twitch.

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