Group B started with the Swedish side Ninjas in Pyjamas taking on Avangar in the Group B opener match. The two teams represent a diverse playstyle as well as a battle between former legends and new upcoming team. Eventually, Avangar won the series 2-1 after defeating NIP over a course of three maps.
The Maps in the series were as follows:
- NIP picked Overpass
- Avangar picked Cache
- The third map is Dust 2.
First map – Overpass.
Overpass was the Ninjas’ Map pick and we expected a much dominant performance from the Swedes. The map started with NIP losing the pistol rounds to Avangar, but they were able to bounce back once they got their full buy. NIP quickly ensured that they won five rounds after their first full buy. The score was quickly 5-2 before Avangar finally managed to pull one round back together.
Avangar did manage to string together multiple rounds towards the last part of the first half. This was crucial towards the end of the map as it provided Avangar with a cushion of rounds to launch their comeback. The final score at the end of the first half was 8-7, despite a strong showing almost throughout the first half by NIP.
Once NIP moved to the CT side, they just were never able to ensure a good performance on the CT side. Avangar was almost always able to trade frags and break through the NIP economy. NIP did manage to win a few rounds in between, but it all seemed to be part of a grander plan. Avangar never allowed NIP to string two rounds together. NIP, in turn, was almost never able to make any sort of bank even in the rounds that they won.The final score of the match was 16:13 in favour of Avangar, a far cry from the competitive first half.
Map 2: Cache.
The second map for the series was Cache, a map that has seen NIP with excellent performances. The current NIP roster is not really well known for its Cache gameplay, however, they are still one of the stronger teams on the map. Despite Cache not being their map pick, NIP was able to win the map with relative comfort.
Contrary to Overpass, NIP’s CT defence was the star on this map. They allowed almost no space to Avangar and quickly managed to take the score to 10-2. Avangar managed a few rounds towards the end of the first half, but it seemed much like an afterthought. However, we have seen on Overpass how Avangar was ablet o use these extra rounds to dominate the second half.
Unfortunately for them, they were not able to replicate a similar style of performance on Cache. NIP’s pistol round wins on the second half was followed by three more rounds taking the score to 14-5. Eventually, it was a matter of time before NIP managed to close out the game with relative ease.
NIP won this map to take the series to a third and final map on Dust 2.
Third Map – Dust 2.
Dust 2 was always going to be a very difficult map for NIP. They have hardly had any practice on the map, much similar to the other European teams in Counter-Strike. Their lack of experience on this map was very evident in their gameplay.
The third map had a disastrous start for the Swedish roster. They lost the pistol round and the next seven rounds as well. With the score 0-8, NIP never looked like they had any control over the pace of the game. Get_Right continued his excellent form of the series into this map, however, there was very little synergy on the roster despite having a decent performance. The team was unable to trade frags effectively giving away many 1v1s to Avangar. On an open map like Dust 2, NIP only managed 5 rounds on their T side. This is a very risky score as Dust 2 can be considered to be a T sided map.
Things definitely looked out of control for the Swedish roster when they lost the second pistol round. Their inability to win pistol rounds as well as the lack of proper smokes and grenades on Dust 2 cost them the map. Avangar won a few rounds on their T side and very soon the score was 15-6. With over 9 series points for the Avangar roster, NIP had no room for error.
Eventually, Avangar won the series against NIP and move on to the winner’s finals in the Group. They will play against the winner of Team Liquid vs Swole Patrol.