With the group stage and quarterfinals now in the books at IEM Oakland, all eyes now look upon FaZe Clan, Cloud9, SK Gaming, and Ninjas in Pyjamas to dish it out in the semifinals with a $300,000 prize pool on the line.
Thursday after the group stage, four teams battled it out in the quarterfinals in Burbank, California. SK Gaming made it look easy taking a 2-0 sweep over OpTic Gaming, while Cloud9 edged Gambit in a 2-1 affair to punch their ticket to the Oracle Arena stage.
Matchups: Ninjas in Pyjamas vs SK Gaming; FaZe Clan vs Cloud9
Advancing: FaZe Clan and Ninjas in Pyjamas
Fredrik “REZ" Sterner has led the group stage throughout the week with an impressive 1.40 rating. Sterner’s performance shows as the team topped Group A with a single loss to SK Gaming, making the process seem smooth. Although Fredrik “REZ" Sterner wasn't the only member of NiP who led the week as Patrik “f0rest" Lindberg also trailed for the top performer. Christopher “GeT_RiGhT" Alesund and William “draken" Sundin were also consistent in their individual run through the groups, earning the direct invite to the semi’s.
It’s no surprise that SK Gaming’s top performers were Gabriel “FalleN" Toledo, Fernando “fer" Alvarenga, and Marcelo “coldzera" David with Ricardo “boltz" Prass also contributing as he finds his role in the team. However, the map pool for SK is their only fault as that will give NiP the upper-hand going into the semi’s. SK will more than likely will be forced to play Cache but will avoid Inferno since neither team has performed well of late. NiP could also pick up Cobblestone or Train as SK seems to only feels comfortable on Overpass.
The dominating five of FaZe Clan look to continue their dominance of North American teams by picking up their third consecutive tournament in only a few of months. While they opened the group stage with a shaky win over G2 Esports, they managed to come out with a 4-1 record when it was all said and done. FaZe will now look to win over Cloud9 once again in the semi’s as they did during their championship run at ESL One: New York.
The North Americans of Cloud9 will have home advantage going into the semifinals of the Oracle Arena as the team had notable wins over SK Gaming and Astralis. Although they did hit a few bumps along the way with two losses going to a strong Ninjas in Pyjamas on Overpass and Team EnVyUs on Cobblestone. Placing second in Group A, Cloud9 had a tough series against Gambit but managed to edge with a 2-1 score thanks to Tarik “tarik" Celik and Tyler “Skadoodle" Latham picking up big round wins to advance into the semi’s. However, the depth for Cloud9 may not be enough to stop FaZe in the long-run, even with expecting Train to make an appearance since the team currently stands 7-0.