hardzao was paiN's top-rated player with a 1.30 rating over eight maps
The Fragadelphia Invitational BLAST Premier Qualifier came to a close on Wednesday, seeing paiN overcome Extra Salt in the final to secure their spot at the European event. As a result, it will be paiN's first outing to Europe in more than two years when a vastly different lineup played StarSeries i-League Season 7 in March 2019.
Day one of the qualifier went largely as expected, with Group A favorites paiN and GODSENT brushing aside American opposition Third Impact and RBG. The only wrinkle in Group A was RBG taking GODSENT to double digits before ultimately falling 16-11 due to a combined effort from Epitacio "TACO" de Melo and Eduardo "dumau" Wolkmer.
Over in Group B, Extra Salt were the first team to make playoffs after crushing Coldest Riders 16-5 and claiming a narrow 16-14 victory over Bad News Bears on Overpass. Before facing off against Extra Salt in the winners' match, Bad News Bears started their group in strong form with a 16-7 win over Party Astronauts on Inferno.
Unfortunately for the Bears, after their nail-biting loss to Extra Salt they were handed another harsh 16-14 loss to Party Astronauts on Mirage in the decider match. Bad News Bears' loss to Party Astronauts will likely come as a hard blow, having bested the team on LAN last week at Fragadelphia 15.
In playoffs, paiN won their semi-final series over Party Astronauts 2-1, initially losing Overpass 16-11 before returning to form and battering Ben "ben1337" Smith and co. 16-8 and 16-4 on Nuke and Dust2, respectively.
On the other side of the bracket, Extra Salt struck the first blow with a close 16-12 win on Dust2 before GODSENT extended the series with a one-sided 16-4 win on Nuke. The South Africans had the last laugh though as they came back on Vertigo, picking up a one-sided 16-7 win to move onto the finals.
In the finals, Extra Salt won Inferno by dominating on their CT-side with a 10-5 lead before taking the map 16-7. Their map advantage was quickly crushed however as Rodrigo "biguzera" Bittencourt and paiN answered back on Vertigo, winning their CT-side 12-3, only conceding three more rounds on their T-side before taking the map 16-6.
After two relatively lopsided maps, Ancient ended up going the distance as paiN pulled off a comeback to take the new map into overtime. In overtime, it went down to the wire once again as paiN claimed the map 19-17 in the 36th round.
|2 - 1||
|de_inferno||7 - 16||de_inferno|
|de_vertigo||16 - 6||de_vertigo|
|de_ancient||19 - 17||de_ancient|
The team list for BLAST Premier: Fall Showdown 2021 currently looks as follows:
|MAD Lions||Movistar Riders|
|Evil Geniuses||Fall Groups|
|Fall Groups||Fall Groups|
|Fall Groups||Fall Groups|
paiN will be joined in the Fall Showdown by Argentinian-Uruguyan squad 9z and the temporarily European Evil Geniuses. They may also be joined by Liquid and MIBR should either team fail to make it through their respective groups.