Natus Vincere and FaZe Clan earned the final two bids to the semifinals of the ESL Pro League Season 17 on Friday in Saint Julian's, Malta.
Natus Vincere swept Heroic 2-0 in quarterfinal action, while FaZe Clan went the distance with forZe and pulled out a 2-1 win in their quarterfinal match.
NaVi and FaZe will meet head-to-head in Saturday's semifinals, with the winner advancing to Sunday's grand final.
The $850,000 Counter-Strike: Global Offensive tournament began on Feb. 22 with 32 teams divided into four groups for the triple-elimination opening round.
The group-stage winners moved into the quarterfinals, with the group runners-up landing in the Round of 12 as high seeds. The four third-place teams entered the Round of 16 as high seeds, and the four fourth-place teams went to the Round of 16 as low seeds.
The tournament champion will receive $200,000 plus berths in the Intel Extreme Masters Cologne this summer and the BLAST Premier World Final in December.
On Friday, NaVi defeated Heroic 16-13 on Anubis and 16-8 on Inferno. Oleksandr "s1mple" Kostyliev of Ukraine guided NaVi with 46 kills and a plsu-16 kills-to-deaths differential. Martin "stavn" Lund of Denmark had a team-high 42 kills for Heroic.
FaZe Clan opened with a 16-13 win on Inferno, but forZe countered with a 16-14 squeaker on Overpass. The decisive map was Mirage, where FaZe pulled away 16-6.
Three players carried FaZe: Robin "ropz" Kool of Estonia (67 kills, plus-23), Russel "Twistzz" Van Dulken of Canada (63 kills, plus-14) and Helvijs "broky" Saukants of Latvia (60 kills, plus-13). Russia's Evgeny "r3salt" Frolov led forZe with 61 kills.
The tournament continues Saturday with the two semifinal showdowns:
--Natus Vincere vs. FaZe Clan
--Cloud9 vs. ENCE
ESL Pro League Season 17 prize pool and points distribution:
1. $200,000, 3,000 BLAST Premier points, qualification for Intel Extreme Masters Cologne and BLAST Premier World Final
2. $90,000, 2,000 BLAST Premier points
3-4. $50,000, 1,200 BLAST Premier points
5-8. $35,000, 500 BLAST Premier points -- MOUZ, Team Vitality, Heroic, forZe
9-12. $25,000 -- Outsiders, FURIA Esports, G2 Esports, paiN gaming
13-16. $20,000 -- 00 Nation, Fnatic, Team Liquid, Movistar Riders
17-20. $15,000 -- Eternal Fire, BIG, Ninjas in Pyjamas, Astralis
21-28. $8,000 -- MIBR, IHC Esports, SAW, Complexity Gaming, OG, Grayhound Gaming, Rare Atom, Team Spirit
29-32. $4,000 -- Evil Geniuses, Imperial Esports, Rooster, ATK
--Field Level Media