There are only four teams left at the IEM Winter 2021, the last step before IEM XVI Katowice. The only teams left are G2 Esports, Team Vitality, Ninjas in Pyjamas and Virtus.pro. Quarterfinals went mostly as expected, but the losers did not bow out of the tournament without a fight. Let us take a look at what happened.
The two quarterfinal matches were GODSENT vs Ninjas in Pyjamas and Gambit Esports vs Team Vitality, as G2 Esports and Virtus.pro qualified directly for the semifinals. GODSENT was exciting in the group stage, but NIP was the better team the whole time. However, Gambit and Vitality were both incredible teams, and the winner would have a good chance of winning the whole thing here at IEM Winter.
Visit Luckbox's CS:GO matches page to find, bet on and watch the odds for the IEM Winter matches. Do not forget that the semifinals are tomorrow and the grand final will be played this Sunday.
GODSENT vs Ninjas in Pyjamas
GODSENT was one of the surprises of the tournament. They had the second lowest chance of winning the tournament with odds of 176.00 on Luckbox. However, their consistent play secured them a spot in their group's upper bracket final, and forced Heroic and BIG to go through the lower bracket, where they were eliminated.
On the other hand, Ninjas in Pyjamas, led by dev1ce, is one of the best teams to come to IEM Winter. However, they had to take their way through the lower bracket, as they were defeated early by Team Vitality. In the match between these two teams, GODSENT picked Nuke, NIP picked Overpass and Ancient was the decider.
Ninjas in Pyjamas started well and quickly finished the game on Nuke, GODSENT's homeground. b4rtiN's 19 kills were not enough to stop hampus' 27 frags. However, they quickly came back with a dominant performance on Overpass with all 5 players putting in great performances and frags. NIP won 5 rounds at the start of the second half, but this was not enough to stop GODSENT winning 16-8.
Nevertheless, the decider went easier than expected for Ninjas in Pyjamas as dev1ce stole the show. NIP 's leader AWPer had 26 frags, leading his team to victory in Ancient and advancing to the semifinals.
Team Vitality vs Gambit Esports
The second matchup of the day was ZywOo's Team Vitality vs Gambit Esports. This series is a must-watch for me, as it was very intense and had a great ending. Team Vitality, as you may have heard a thousand times, is having a very bad 2021 after a legendary 2020. Natus Vincere is not at IEM Winter, so this is their chance to win something.
Gambit, on the other hand, have won a few local tournaments that they have entered without hesitation, working their way to the top of the IEM World Championship, IEM Summer, BLAST Premier Spring Finals and most recently the V4 Future Sports Festival in 2021. In comparison, Gambit is a team aiming high, while Vitality is underperforming. Vitality chose picked Dust II for this match, while Gambit picked Vertigo. In the end, Mirage had to be the deciding map.
It started great for Team Vitality: misutaaa's 21 frags firepower helped them to a quick win on their pick. After winning the first three rounds, Vitality conceded 5 in a row to Gambit, but didn't give a single round after that. With a 16-5 win over Dust II, Vitality went to Vertigo with a lot of confidence.
And this is where Gambit Esports shined: they started Vertigo with five wins in a row, destroying any momentum Vitality had. Although Vitality then advanced one round, Gambit won the map in the second half with a 7 round winning streak. interz's amazing 28 frags against ZywOo's resistance with 21 kills definitely helped.
The final map saw an amazing battle between these titans. Team Vitality played an amazing Mirage in the first half. They did not manage to go on a streak of more than four rounds, but they finished the first half 11-4. But Gambit was not done yet. In the second half, Gambit did the same to Vitality, getting to 15-15 and securing extra time. However, ZywOo is a real beast: Vitality's performance of 36 kills won the extra time 4-2 and ended the series.
In total, ZywOo had 73 kills against Gambit's best interz of 61. It is one of the most memorable performances of the young CS:GO legend.
In the first match, Team Vitality will face a Virtus.pro that is far below its level, considering their performance in 2021. However, VP have proven that they are not to be trifled with, defeating ENCE, Gambit and GODSENT along the way.
The second round will be a much closer matchup, NiKo's G2 will face dev1ce's Ninjas in Pyjamas. Both teams had a hard time finding their feet in 2021 and a win at IEM Winter would be a big boost for both of them in 2022. They will be working hard for it and praying for VP to beat Vitality.
Before the semifinals, you should keep one thing in mind: If the boss, Natus Vincere, isn't here, everyone has a chance at the championship. You may think some of these teams are weak, but with NAVI not present, they will work twice as hard to take that chance.
Team Vitality and NIP advanced to the semifinals where their opponents were already waiting for them. You can click on the links below to visit Luckbox's match page for these games.
Virtus.pro (2.25) vs Team Vitality (1.55) - December 11, 16.00 CET
G2 Esports (1.51) vs Ninjas in Pyjamas (2.36) - December 11, 19.15 CET