#ENCE defeated #ATK in a three-map match to advance to the ESL Pro League Season 17 Group D upper bracket semi-final. After a 16-6 victory over Anubis, Marco #Snappi Pfeiffer and company were off to a good start. However, they were defeated 14-16 by their Vertigo pick and eventually needed a 16-9 victory over Ancient to knock their opponents out of the upper bracket.
As their strongest map over the previous three months with six victories out of nine appearances, ATK chose an Anubis pick to open the series. However, things didn’t go as planned for the North American-based lineup, and ENCE quickly found themselves up 5-0 on the T-side as a result of Alvaro #SunPayus Garcia’s faultless 8-0 K-D start. ATK didn’t score until round 10 thanks to a double kill from Jonathan #b0denmaster Bodenmalm, a win they made the most of by cutting the deficit to just five rounds by the half to stay in the game.
Without sustaining a single casualty, ATK won the second pistol round of the map, but Snappi’s men managed to steal the initiative thanks to a jumbled purchase of Desert Eagles and CZ-75s. The European combine raced to victory with ease, 16-6, forcing MisteM and company to travel to Vertigo. That victory in the pistol round turned out to be all MisteM and company could manage on the map that was inspired by Egypt.
ATK got off to a strong start on Vertigo, jumping out to a 6-2 lead on the CT-side due to contributions from Michael “Swisher” Schmid and MisteM, who by the midway point of the first half had combined for 18 frags. Although this advantage did not come easily, ATK frequently battled valiantly to register each round, which ultimately came back to haunt the NA roster as their economy was strained once ENCE resumed its winning ways. The South African-led lineup’s financial vulnerability proved to be their downfall, but encouraged by a 20-10 performance from NertZ, the team’s newest addition, ENCE ended up trailing by just one round at the side swap, frequently facing an ATK lacking complete nade sets.
ATK entered the map point thanks to a triple kill from CacaNito, but a resurgent ENCE caused the two teams to use all 30 rounds before ATK emerged victorious despite having only Mac-10s and Galils left for their final hit on the B bombsite.
Strong fisticuffing from Maden got Ancient going, and the Montenegrin continued to make an impression round after round to lead his team to a 5-1 T-side lead. As the half progressed, regular post-plant brawls, frequently featuring 4vs4 or 5vs5 retakes, favored ATK, and the international roster was able to reduce the deficit in order to keep the Europeans on their toes.
When play resumed, the Aztec map descended into a battle as both teams alternated posting brief spurts of rounds. Pawel #dycha Dycha scored triple kill. However, Dycha and his P250 changed the course of events and the team with a majority of Europeans, now full of confidence, sprinted to success with little difficulty, leaving ATK in the dust on the way to a 16-9 and 2-1 victory.