MIBR and paiN set up all-Brazilian Upper Bracket Final in ECL Season 40 playoffs

ATK, Carpe Diem, Gaimin Gladiators, and Strife fight for survival in the lower bracket.

The ESL Challenger League Season 40 playoffs continued with even more high-octane Counter-Strike for spectators to enjoy. Starting with eight teams left fighting for survival, the margin for error amongst one another is razor-thin. Two of the four matches last night were lower bracket games, meaning we are down to the final six teams.

Although all matches started at the same time, paiN and Strife were the two teams representing the top half of the upper bracket. Both of these teams came into the first round of the playoffs as the lower-seed and had to achieve upsets in the standings to get here. With paiN taking out the Party Astronauts and Strife upsetting ATK, the two underdogs were set to clash for one of the two available upper bracket final slots.

Things immediately kicked off in favor of the white-hot paiN, a team that entered this match on a four-match win streak all coming in the form of 2-0 victories. They started Strife's pick of Mirage with an 8-0 lead and never looked back. Strife managed to get two rounds before the end of the half, but their offensive gameplan was no match for the might of paiN’s CT efforts. Wesley "hardzao" Lopes led the charge in the stonewalling of Strife in the first half, closing the fifteenth round with a 20-3 K/D, 124.1 ADR, and 2.05 Rating. Strife managed to double their efficiency in the second half, earning four rounds before the unavoidable 16-6 victory in favor of a surging paiN squad. With no time to recoup, the two teams were on to paiN’s pick, Nuke.

It went well comparatively for Strife. They managed six in the first half, and although they were behind after fifteen on the CT side, were not totally out of it yet. This of course changed once paiN were again defending. Once the sides swapped, paiN reminded everyone of how in-form they are with another stellar defensive showing. They went on a 10-1 tear in the second half, smothering any opportunity Strife had of making it close. The performance of hardzao and company was far too much for Strife to handle, as paiN took Nuke 16-10 and the series 2-0 to secure the first spot in the Upper Bracket Finals. As for Strife, they will begin their fight in the lower-bracket trenches later tonight.

0 - 2
All maps
Strife K - D +/- ADR KAST Rating 2.0
Canada Paul 'aris' Wilson 33 - 35 -2 71.9 50.0% 0.96
Canada David 'J0LZ' Jolin 29 - 39 -10 65.7 60.4% 0.79
United States Matthew 'D4rtyMontana' Paplawskas 24 - 41 -17 58.2 56.2% 0.62
United States Bobby 'stamina' Eitrem 18 - 43 -25 50.1 52.1% 0.54
United States Keller 'SLIGHT' Nilan 20 - 41 -21 51.7 41.7% 0.51
paiN K - D +/- ADR KAST Rating 2.0
Brazil Wesley 'hardzao' Lopes 58 - 23 +35 120.1 91.7% 1.79
Brazil Gabriel 'nython' Lino 40 - 22 +18 81.4 81.2% 1.47
Brazil Vinicios 'PKL' Coelho 37 - 30 +7 96.2 79.2% 1.31
Brazil Rodrigo 'biguzera' Bittencourt 32 - 23 +9 66.4 85.4% 1.26
Brazil Gabriel 'NEKIZ' Schenato 32 - 26 +6 77.1 77.1% 1.17

Fighting to secure their place with paiN in the upper bracket final was Carpe Diem and MIBR, the highest-seeded teams left inside of the upper bracket. Carpe Diem entered this match after taking out Gaimin Gladiators 2-0. MIBR, entering the bracket undefeated, has been unstoppable in their pursuit of the EPL Season 16 Conference. They only dropped one map in the regular season to Party Astronauts, and otherwise have been untouchable. With Party Astronauts eliminated early in the bracket, MIBR look to be the favorites to run away with first. As the clear underdogs, Carpe Diem had a tall task ahead of them for this match.

Things started off decently for the Carpe Diem squad, as they secured six rounds in the first half of their map pick of Vertigo. Things were not looking ideal for them, but heading into the CT-side on the second half, Carpe Diem had a tangible opportunity to secure pistol and make their map pick competitive. Things swiftly got away from them as MIBR secured the pistol and six of the following eight rounds. The second half went in favor of MIBR in a blink of an eye, and they easily took the Vertigo 16-8. With MIBR’s pick of Dust2 next, time was running out for their opposition.

Dust2 was an absolute treat for spectators. MIBR won pistol plus one, but Carpe Diem responded with an eight-round win streak to take a commanding 8-2 lead. MIBR found themselves at the end of the half and went on a five-round streak of their own to secure seven. Carpe Diem started to run away with the game to start the second half, taking the first four to start MIBR’s CT-side. With their opposition nearing match point, the Brazilians had to lock it down. They did just that, going on win-streaks of five and three respectively, giving up just two of the final eleven rounds to their opposition. After allowing six plants to start the second half, MIBR would only allow one in the final five rounds to narrowly survive Carpe Diem 16-14 and win the series 2-0.

The defensive adjustment for MIBR was the catalyst for their recovery, and now MIBR is just one win away from the grand final. The two Brazilian teams, MIBR, and paiN, will do battle tonight at 08:00PM to determine the first team to play for the ESL Conference slot. Carpe Diem, now in the trenches of the lower bracket, will begin the climb back in hopes of getting revenge on MIBR.

Carpe Diem
0 - 2
All maps
Carpe Diem K - D +/- ADR KAST Rating 2.0
United States Anthony 'CLASIA' Kearney 38 - 46 -8 82.4 68.5% 0.96
Canada Colby 'Walco' Walsh 30 - 38 -8 70.3 64.8% 0.95
Canada Jadan 'HexT' Postma 29 - 38 -9 62.1 63.0% 0.84
United States Connor 'chop' Sullivan 29 - 39 -10 57.4 53.7% 0.73
United States Jerric 'wiz' Jiang 23 - 37 -14 44.8 55.6% 0.70
MIBR K - D +/- ADR KAST Rating 2.0
Brazil Marcelo 'chelo' Cespedes 49 - 28 +21 90.8 77.8% 1.46
Brazil Matheus 'Tuurtle' Anhaia 45 - 31 +14 84.1 75.9% 1.32
Brazil Jhonatan 'JOTA' Willian 41 - 33 +8 85.3 79.6% 1.26
Brazil Raphael 'exit' Lacerda 38 - 26 +12 75.6 85.2% 1.23
Brazil Adriano 'WOOD7' Cerato 25 - 32 -7 50.8 68.5% 0.87

In the lower bracket, meanwhile, ATK and Party Astronauts were set to do battle after being upset by their lower-seeded opposition in the first round of the playoffs. With ATK now in full force after playing without Erik “truth” Hansen Dyrnes in the match against Strife, the lineup had something to prove with the team operating at one-hundred percent. Beyond that, these two teams have bad blood that stemmed from a Cash Cup BO3 in February, as well as the PGL Americas RMR Open Qualifiers earlier this month. The tension spilled over into Twitter afterward both times, leaving room for a potential rivalry between the two teams.

With the stage set, the two teams did the dance inside of the lower bracket, with the first battleground being the Astronauts’ pick of Overpass. Things were neck and neck through the first half, with Party Astronauts securing the one-round lead off a streak that included seven of nine to close it. ATK answered back with a near-identical seven of eight to start the second half, bringing us to a 14-9 scoreline. Party Astronauts clawed it back with three of their own, but ATK had their sights set on closing out their oppositions’ map pick. Following the Astronauts' rebuttal, they came back with two of their own to close it 16-10 heading into their chosen battle site of Mirage.

Mirage was exactly what ATK needed to get back into the game, as the Astronauts dominated the first half on their CT-side. ATK was able to sneak in a few rounds in between major streaks of four and six rounds respectively, but otherwise, couldn't stop the onslaught as Party Astronauts breezed to a 12-3 scoreline. The efforts of AWPer Josh “PwnAlone” Pique and rifler Jonathan “Jonji” Carey proved to be too much for ATK to make their map pick competitive. With ATK losing their map 7-16, the two teams would meet at the final destination of Inferno, as is tradition.

ATK came in guns blazing to start the decider, as they lit up the scoreboard with an 8-1 start. Party Astronauts earned five of six to bring it back to a 6-9 deficit, but clearly had work to do entering the final half of the BO3. Things got worse for the Astronauts, as ATK successfully took four of the first five to set up a 13-7 lead. With the series match point, all ATK had to do was find a way to close it out. After a last-minute five-round win streak from Party Astronauts, ATK got the plant, secured the fourteenth, and put themselves on the path to closing the game. Two more rounds for ATK secured the map 16-12, as well as a tough 2-1 series to keep them fighting for one more day. Their fight for survival continues later tonight against Carpe Diem.

2 - 1
Party Astronauts
All maps
ATK K - D +/- ADR KAST Rating 2.0
Rhys 'Fadey' Armstrong 60 - 57 +3 81.3 67.1% 1.06
Jonathan 'b0denmaster' Bodenmalm 56 - 54 +2 73.8 65.8% 1.04
United States Ian 'motm' Hardy 59 - 57 +2 79.4 60.8% 1.03
Gareth 'MisteM' Ries 53 - 55 -2 73.1 67.1% 1.01
Erik 'truth' Hansen Dyrnes 36 - 59 -23 60.2 62.0% 0.73
Party Astronauts K - D +/- ADR KAST Rating 2.0
United States Josh 'PwnAlone' Pigue 65 - 49 +16 82.8 75.9% 1.29
Canada Jonathan 'djay' Dallal 63 - 52 +11 84.2 74.7% 1.21
Canada Jonathan 'Jonji' Carey 56 - 55 +1 82.8 74.7% 1.12
United States Ben 'ben1337' Smith 55 - 53 +2 77.0 67.1% 1.09
United States Wesley 'viz' Harris 43 - 56 -13 62.8 68.4% 0.85

Last night’s matches closed out with an elimination series between Gaimin Gladiators and Orgless. Although both in the lower bracket, Orgless had an opportunity to work themselves out of the rut against a Gaimin Gladiators that had to shuffle in the final moments of the regular season following the departure of Anthony “CLASIA” Kearney. Looking at these two teams, Orgless was staring at their last-best opportunity to find the momentum to make a run against a lineup of much less experienced players. Although things were played relatively close, Orgless lacked the firepower necessary to get over the hump against Gaimin. Unfortunately, both maps told the same story for Orgless.

The first half of both maps would stay close throughout, but the explosiveness of the young Gaimin squad proved too much in the later stages of the maps and Orgless couldn’t keep up either time. The one or two-round deficit spiraled out of control on both maps after Gaimin Gladiators snatched momentum with win streaks of their own. Jeorge “jeorgesnorts” Endicott entered the server with something to prove, as his 49-31 K/D, 90.9 ADR, and 1.40 Rating were all server-best as his team took the series 2-0 to advance further into the lower bracket. With Gaimin surviving, they will be pitted against Strife in the second round of the lower bracket later tonight.

Gaimin Gladiators
2 - 0
All maps
Gaimin Gladiators K - D +/- ADR KAST Rating 2.0
United States Jeorge 'jeorgesnorts' Endicott 49 - 31 +18 90.9 74.1% 1.40
United States Carson 'nosraC' O'Reilly 40 - 34 +6 84.5 68.5% 1.25
United States Zack 'XotiC' Elshani 43 - 34 +9 79.1 70.4% 1.22
United States Dominick 'JazzPimp' Dimpfel 35 - 30 +5 60.4 79.6% 1.08
United States David 'cynic' Polster 32 - 37 -5 75.4 72.2% 1.02
Orgless K - D +/- ADR KAST Rating 2.0
United States Kenneth 'koosta' Suen 46 - 36 +10 85.3 64.8% 1.16
Canada Damian 'daps' Steele 37 - 38 -1 78.0 57.4% 0.97
United States Brendan 'Bwills' Williams 26 - 41 -15 66.9 63.0% 0.80
United States Marshall 'Minus' Sedowicz 32 - 43 -11 58.5 55.6% 0.73
United States Michael 'Swisher' Schmid 24 - 41 -17 61.5 59.3% 0.73

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

Upper Bracket

Brazil MIBR vs Brazil paiN

Lower Bracket

World Gaimin Gladiators vs United States Strife
United States ATK vs United States Carpe Diem

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