MIBR and paiN lead charge in first round of ECL Season 40 playoffs

A hindered ATK and Party Astronauts fell victim to upsets in the first round.

The battle for ECL supremacy began last night, as the top eight teams in Season 40 competed in the first round of the playoffs with the hopes of inching one step closer to the ESL Pro League Season 16 Conference slot. As the season nears the end, only the top prospective teams are left, all chomping at the bit to create distance from their peers and establish themselves as the team most deserving to enter the next stages of professional Counter-Strike.

The undefeated MIBR faced off against a familiar foe in Orgless, a team that recently took a BO3 victory over the Brazilian lineup just under two weeks ago in an ESEA Cash Cup. Despite their general struggles, Orgless was able to secure the win in three maps and looked to replicate it where it mattered most, inside of the ECL playoffs. Orgless' pick of Ancient got off to a dismal start, losing the first half of their pick 4-11. When they swapped over to the CT-side, things drastically changed. The team went on three separate three-round win streaks to nearly bring the map to overtime. However, MIBR securing match point in round 25 proved to be too strong of a safety net for the team, and they managed the single round they desperately needed to close it out 16-13. Returning talent Kenneth "koosta" Suen played perhaps his best map since joining the lineup, but it was not enough to prevent MIBR from taking his teams' map pick.

MIBR's Nuke pick started near-perfect for Orgless, going on a ten-round win streak after splitting the first two rounds with their opponents. Orgless closed the first half 12-3 and looked poised to take the series into an Overpass decider. However, MIBR had other plans. MIBR ripped eight straight rounds to start their CT-side and only gave up two of the final seven rounds to sneak back into the lead in the final moments and secure the 16-14 victory and 2-0 series win. Orgless took MIBR to the limit through two maps, but fell short in crunch time. The experience of in-game leader Damian "daps" Steele was enough to keep them in the match, but not enough to get over the hump of a red-hot MIBR that is pursuing an undefeated season, as well as the EPL Conference opportunity.

Orgless
0 - 2
MIBR
All maps
Orgless K - D +/- ADR KAST Rating 2.0
United States Kenneth 'koosta' Suen 39 - 36 +3 71.2 78.0% 1.08
United States Michael 'Swisher' Schmid 44 - 44 +0 85.8 59.3% 1.04
Canada Damian 'daps' Steele 37 - 43 -6 72.4 61.0% 0.92
United States Brendan 'Bwills' Williams 34 - 45 -11 64.0 66.1% 0.82
United States Marshall 'Minus' Sedowicz 33 - 42 -9 59.1 71.2% 0.81
MIBR K - D +/- ADR KAST Rating 2.0
Brazil Matheus 'Tuurtle' Anhaia 47 - 41 +6 93.3 78.0% 1.24
Brazil Marcelo 'chelo' Cespedes 43 - 41 +2 91.1 76.3% 1.19
Brazil Raphael 'exit' Lacerda 36 - 33 +3 58.9 72.9% 1.04
Brazil Adriano 'WOOD7' Cerato 39 - 35 +4 66.8 67.8% 1.03
Brazil Jhonatan 'JOTA' Willian 43 - 39 +4 75.8 67.8% 1.02

Things did not go as smoothly for the top seed on the other side of the bracket, ATK. Entering the playoffs at 6-1, they looked prepared to go deep into the playoffs as a legitimate contender to take it all the way. Beginning the playoffs bracket against Strife, who limped into the playoffs with the worst record at 3-4. Just 50 minutes before the match began, ATK AWPer Jonathan "b0denmaster" Bodenmalm announced on Twitter that they would be down a starter, as Erik "truth" Hansen Dyrnes was in the hospital due to an illness and would not be able to play. Playing in his place for the match was coach Daniel "sprayxd" Kogan who, despite his best efforts, was unable to offer consistent effort through the three maps.

In spite of the peril, ATK were able to make the most out of the situation. Although they were not operating at maximum efficiency, ATK with sprayxd made all three maps close, losing 12-16 in both lost maps as well as securing victory in one. Albeit unfortunate for ATK, Strife wasted no time capitalizing on the opportunity. In-game leader Bobby "stamina" Eitrem and rifler David "J0LZ" Jolin made the most out of the situation, ending the series with nearly identical statistics off two impressive performances.

ATK
1 - 2
Strife
All maps
ATK K - D +/- ADR KAST Rating 2.0
Jonathan 'b0denmaster' Bodenmalm 61 - 48 +13 74.6 66.7% 1.14
United States Ian 'motm' Hardy 59 - 56 +3 83.4 65.5% 1.10
Rhys 'Fadey' Armstrong 55 - 59 -4 70.3 64.3% 0.97
Daniel 'sprayxd' Kogan 44 - 57 -13 62.7 70.2% 0.89
Gareth 'MisteM' Ries 46 - 63 -17 62.3 65.5% 0.85
Strife K - D +/- ADR KAST Rating 2.0
United States Bobby 'stamina' Eitrem 65 - 52 +13 89.2 72.6% 1.26
Canada David 'J0LZ' Jolin 68 - 51 +17 81.1 76.2% 1.25
United States Matthew 'D4rtyMontana' Paplawskas 52 - 55 -3 69.0 66.7% 0.99
Canada Paul 'aris' Wilson 50 - 52 -2 66.2 71.4% 0.96
United States Keller 'SLIGHT' Nilan 48 - 55 -7 65.2 63.1% 0.90

After catching ATK minus a player, Strife will have to find success over a paiN lineup that looks nearly unstoppable. The 5-2 paiN entered the playoffs red hot after off three-straight 2-0 victories over fellow ECL competition. In the first round, they would be put to the test against Party Astronauts, a team that was one MIBR-loss away from being the sole undefeated team instead. However, the Brazilians made lighter work of the Astronauts than many had anticipated, winning 16-10 on Nuke and 16-6 on Overpass. paiN's CT-side through both maps was too much for the Astronauts to handle. Wesley "hardzao" Lopes was a brick wall on the defensive end, amassing an astounding 35-11 K/D, 120.5 ADR, and 2.01 rating on the CT-side through both maps.

After returning from their European adventures, Party Astronauts failed to muster any impact against paiN. None of the members closed the series positive in K/D or rating, and beyond an impressive CT-side Nuke from AWPer Josh "PwnAlone" Pigue, there was nothing to remember on the side of Party Astronauts.

paiN
2 - 0
Party Astronauts
All maps
paiN K - D +/- ADR KAST Rating 2.0
Brazil Wesley 'hardzao' Lopes 54 - 26 +28 101.9 83.3% 1.63
Brazil Gabriel 'NEKIZ' Schenato 39 - 23 +16 86.0 81.2% 1.38
Brazil Vinicios 'PKL' Coelho 35 - 33 +2 80.1 72.9% 1.20
Brazil Gabriel 'nython' Lino 34 - 26 +8 74.6 81.2% 1.19
Brazil Rodrigo 'biguzera' Bittencourt 29 - 31 -2 75.0 81.2% 1.13
Party Astronauts K - D +/- ADR KAST Rating 2.0
United States Josh 'PwnAlone' Pigue 37 - 38 -1 78.5 58.3% 1.10
United States Ben 'ben1337' Smith 31 - 36 -5 66.6 68.8% 0.97
Canada Jonathan 'djay' Dallal 26 - 37 -11 64.0 60.4% 0.80
United States Wesley 'viz' Harris 23 - 38 -15 54.9 60.4% 0.67
Canada Jonathan 'Jonji' Carey 22 - 43 -21 61.2 60.4% 0.63

Lastly, Carpe Diem and Gaimin Gladiators did battle for the first time since Anthony "CLASIA" Kearney took his talents to Carpe Diem in the final days of the regular season. In the grudge match, Carpe Diem asserted themselves as the superior team against a Gaimin Gladiators lineup that was shuffling in the final week leading into the playoffs. This was due to a denied emergency transfer that would have brought in talent Otto "garfield" Netteberg and coach Kory "SEMPHIS" Friesen to the starting lineup.

With the two new additions excluded, Gaimin had to lean on stand-in Zack "XotiC" Elshani for the playoffs. Unfortunately, XotiC and company were no match for CLASIA and crew, as Carpe Diem maintained a firm lead in the second hand on both maps, never giving Gaimin even an iota of opportunity to claw back into the match.

Carpe Diem
2 - 0
Gaimin Gladiators
All maps
Carpe Diem K - D +/- ADR KAST Rating 2.0
Canada Jadan 'HexT' Postma 44 - 32 +12 83.0 81.5% 1.33
Canada Colby 'Walco' Walsh 46 - 34 +12 90.0 79.6% 1.33
United States Anthony 'CLASIA' Kearney 41 - 33 +8 85.2 68.5% 1.24
United States Connor 'chop' Sullivan 38 - 35 +3 77.1 74.1% 1.15
United States Jerric 'wiz' Jiang 29 - 29 +0 56.8 72.2% 1.02
Gaimin Gladiators K - D +/- ADR KAST Rating 2.0
United States David 'cynic' Polster 41 - 43 -2 96.1 70.4% 1.08
United States Zack 'XotiC' Elshani 30 - 36 -6 60.9 61.1% 0.90
United States Jeorge 'jeorgesnorts' Endicott 34 - 41 -7 75.5 64.8% 0.90
United States Dominick 'JazzPimp' Dimpfel 33 - 39 -6 65.5 61.1% 0.78
United States Carson 'nosraC' O'Reilly 22 - 40 -18 60.6 64.8% 0.75

With the opening round of matches finalized, the first four teams have been relegated to the lower bracket, and the stage is set for the upper bracket semifinals. Those that are in the lower bracket have no more room for error, as another BO3 loss here would mean the end of their playoff run.

The matches happening later today at 08:00PM are:

Upper Bracket

Brazil paiN vs United States Strife
United States Carpe Diem vs Brazil MIBR

Lower Bracket

World ATK vs United States Party Astronauts
United States Gaimin Gladiators vs United States Orgless

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