The StarLadder Major quarter-finals went underway in Berlin, Germany, bringing fans the best that CS:GO has to offer. Two out of the four quarter-finals have been played, each bringing their own unlikely result.
The first quarter-final of the day saw Finnish squad ENCE coming up against Australian side Renegades. Many expected ENCE to come out victorious after they had steamrolled the group stage, though Renegades look to be mirroring Cloud9’s iconic Major run as they continue to tear through each team they face. Moving on to map one, Renegades’ pick of Mirage looked to be a wash as the Aussie squad raced to an 11-4 halftime score. The T-side was no kinder to ENCE, granting them only one round before Renegades closed out the map 16-5.
The series then moved onto Nuke, the map pick of ENCE. The Finnish side boasted an 80% win rate on the map, while Renegades had not won the map at all in the last three months. All was going as expected as Renegades looked outclassed on their CT side, though a different story began as the sides switched. The Aussie squad rallied back to take the lead on their offensive side. ENCE were only able to put up three rounds on their CT side, losing the map 12-16.
The second quarter-final saw French side Vitality go head-to-head with CIS underdogs Avangar. Vitality, currently ranked as the second best team in the world, were expected to make a deep run in this event. Avangar is a young team full of Major play-off newcomers, save for Dauren "AdreN" Kystaubayev who won PGL Krakow 2017 with Gambit. Vitality is a roster packed with veteran skill, headlined by one of the scene's best young talents - Mathieu "ZywOo" Herbaut. Even with the odds stacked against them, Avangar started off the series with a commanding lead on Vitality's pick of Mirage. Though the scoreline evened out at halftime, the CIS squad took control in the second half and won the map 16-9.
The second map brought us to Avangar's pick, Inferno. In a mirror of the first map, Avangar took a swift 6-2 lead before giving up seven straight rounds to end the half 6-9. Now in the lead, Vitality kept up the pace to win the map with a 16-11 scoreline. ZywOo put up a world class performance on map two, ending Inferno at 28-12 K/D.
The series then went to Dust2 as the decider, and Avangar once again kicked off the map by taking a massive lead. A 12-3 halftime score didn't inspire much confidence, though ZywOo's ace clutch in the second pistol round gave fans some hope. While the French side did manage to put up seven rounds in the second half, Avangar took the victory at 16-10.
This will be the first Major semi-final appearance for both Renegades and Avangar. The last two quarter-finals will take place on Friday, September 6th. Avangar and Renegades will meet in the semi-finals on Saturday, the winner earning themselves a spot in the Berlin Major's grand final.