FaZe came back from a map deficit to beat NiP in a thriller series featuring four overtimes to book their spot in the ESL One: Road to Rio – Europe upper bracket final.
The Nikola “NiKo” Kovač-led squad have extended their winning streak to nine consecutive series after the flawless group stage, but it was far from an easy battle after they gave up a sizable lead on Overpass and found themselves at a map deficit against NiP.
On Mirage, FaZe were unable to convert four map points before surviving four of the Swedes’ match point themselves to win in triple overtime, before Train saw a back-and-forth battle end in another overtime, where the European mixture prevailed under pressure.
With Vertigo taken away from them, NiP picked their other favorite, Overpass, for the first map of the series. Despite NiKo’s ace, the Swedes got off on the right foot with a well-thought-out execute towards B in the pistol round but soon found themselves struggling to break through when weapons were available for both sides.
Håvard “rain” Nygaard’s four consecutive multikills on A turned the tide as FaZe won seven in a row, but Tim “nawwk” Jonasson stopped the rot with a flashy Deagle triple and shortly after a 1v2 clutch to help his team end the half behind by just one round. With Fredrik “REZ” Sterner adding another 1v2 after sides switched, NiP regained the lead and only conceded one more as they rallied to a convincing 16-9 victory.
Jonas “Lekr0” Olofsson’s squad went on to put up a solid defense on their opponents’ pick, Mirage. After a close start, where FaZe looked better when there was full equipment on both sides, NiP went on a successful streak in which they only lost one round in six to a 1v2 clutch from Olof “olofmeister” Kajbjer in B.
Trailing by three at halftime, FaZe put themselves within one round of their opponents after rain’s quad-kill gave them the second pistol round. Losing the first gunround left them unfazed, as a halfbuy victory gave them the economic advantage and the tools to reach map point. However, NiP clawed back with four rounds in a row after beating back a couple of stack attempts as Mirage went to overtime.
There, the Swedes maintained momentum and reached series point at 18-16, but NiKo saved FaZe with a 1v2 clutch and another set of overtime followed. The same situation repeated itself when NiP had two more match points available in the second overtime only for their opponents to beat them back again, and all that effort finally paid off for FaZe in the third to force the decider.
Train offered just as much of a nail-biting battle, although not before the map reached the second half, as NiP looked in control for most of their CT side, with a dominant stretch earning them nine rounds. Shortly after, the Swedes looked to gain control of the match when they broke their opponents’ economy at 11-9 thanks to Simon “twist” Eliasson’s 1v2 clutch against a force, but the match turned once FaZe won with just pistols in the following round.
With that, NiKo & co. found themselves at the brink of victory when they had a 14-12 lead, but REZ derailed their plans with a surprising flank to force FaZe onto an eco and reach match point. But just like on Mirage, the Swedish powerhouse fell to a 1v2 clutch, this time from Helvijs “broky” Saukants, and FaZe went on to dominate overtime and came out victorious at 19-16, 2-1.