It was not a day for extended drama as three sweeps highlighted the first day of Group B play on Wednesday at ESL Pro League Season 16 in Malta.
FaZe Clan put on the biggest show by crushing FTW Esports 2-0, while G2 Esports dumped MIBR and Outsiders took down BIG -- both by identical 2-0 scores.The $835,000 Counter-Strike: Global Offensive event features 24 teams vying for a $175,000 first prize and a berth in the BLAST Premier World Final. Only the Season 16 champion will clinch a spot in the $1 million Final set for Dec. 14-18 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
The Pro League teams are divided into four groups for the initial round-robin phase. The four group champions will advance to the playoff quarterfinals, while the teams that come in second and third in each group will move on to the playoffs' Round of 12.
All matches in the group stage and the playoffs are best-of-three until the best-of-five final on Oct. 2.
FaZe trailed only once all day, giving up a 1-0 lead in the opening map on Inferno before using a 7-0 blitz for a 16-4 win. FaZe scored another 16-4 victory on Overpass to claim the match. Latvia's Helvijs "broky" Saukants led the way for FaZe with 49 kills and a plus-26 kills-to-deaths differential, both match highs.
G2 also scored an easy opening-map win by virtue of a 16-5 victory on Dust II, before using a match-ending 11-3 run to win 16-10 on Ancient for the sweep. Bosnia's Nikola "NiKo" Kovac posted a match-best 39 kills while cousin and teammate Nemanja "huNter-" Kovac tallied a match-high plus-13 K-D differential.
BIG put up Wednesday's biggest fight before losing. Outsiders won successive maps by a 16-9 margin on Dust II and 16-11 on Inferno. All five Outsiders players produced positive K-D differentials, with Evgenii "FL1T" Lebedev of Russia topping all with 45 kills.
Group B will be contested from Sept. 7-11, Group C from Sept. 14-18 and Group D from Sept. 21-25.
Thursday features three Group B matches:
Outsiders vs. FTW Esports
G2 Esports vs. BIG
FaZe Clan vs. MIBR
ESL Pro League Season 16 group standings, with win-loss record, score differential and points:
1. Team Vitality, 5-0, 40, 15 points
2. Fnatic, 3-2, 36, 9 points
3. Natus Vincere, 3-2, 6, 6 points
4. Team Spirit, 2-3, -9, 6 points
5. Ninjas in Pyjamas, 2-3, -31, 6 points
6. Endpoint, 1-4, -42, 3 points
1. FaZe Clan, 1-0, 24, 3 points
2. G2 Esports, 1-0, 17, 3 points
3. Outsiders, 1-0, 12, 3 points
4. BIG, 0-1, -12, 0 points
5. MIBR, 0-1, -17, 0 points
6. FTW Esports, 0-1, -24, 0 points
--Field Level Media