The Australian team made sure to ruin Mathieu “ZywOo” Herbaut‘s 19th birthday as they came back from a map down to defeat Vitality and book, for the first time in the team’s history, a spot in the grand final of a Big Event, in which they will face the winner of the mouth-watering clash between Astralis and FaZe.
The former Renegades squad, who are playing their first event under 100 Thieves, stuttered at first then moved into high gear, powered by a dominant display from Justin “jks” Savage, who ended the match with a jaw-dropping 2.50 rating in a one-sided Inferno affair.
Vitality were at one point within touching distance of match point on Nuke but fell at the final hurdle – and one has to wonder what would have happened had they not been without coach Rémy “XTQZZZ” Quoniam, who missed the match through illness.
The French side got the series off on the right foot as they stormed into a 5-0 lead on the Terrorist side of Mirage – 100 Thieves‘ map pick – off the back of a messy pistol round. The Australian team replied with a five-round streak of their own despite looking a bit shaky at times, but they should not be able to take the lead. Vitality tightened up their defense after that, with ZywOo and Alex “ALEX” McMeekin leading the charge as the team chalked up nine rounds before switching over to the Terrorist side.
The second half began with the French team further adding to their lead after bursting through the B site in the pistol round. A 1v2 clutch by Jay “Liazz” Tregillgas in the first gun round still gave 100 Thieves‘ fans some hope, but Vitality continued to dictate the pace of the game and simply did not let their opponents build on their round wins, locking down the map in convincing fashion at 16-8.
100 Thieves responded with a flawless CT pistol on Nuke, but then disaster struck for them as Vitality wreaked havoc with the CZs and turned a 3v5 situation around. The game then endured a scrappy period as both sides struggled to get a footing in the game before a 1v4 clutch from Cédric “RpK” Guipouy set his team in the driver’s seat.
Vitality grabbed that momentum to carve out a 6-3 lead, but 100 Thieves came fighting back to bring the deficit to just one round before the break, though they were certainly disappointed at having squandered the chance to end the half on top after losing the final round against pistols.
Now playing on the Terrorist side, Vitality took the pistol round, but there was no follow-up as 100 Thieves rallied back on a force buy and took control of proceedings, with the scoreline blooming to a 12-9 advantage for the Australians.
But all of a sudden, 100 Thieves lost their grip on the game. Vitality tightened up and gradually took the upper hand, getting just three rounds away from victory. They would not be able to go all the way, though, as the Australians picked up the pace to lock down the map in the 30th round, even showing great composure as they fended off a late comeback attempt from their opponents that could have easily turned the game around.
With the wind in their sails, 100 Thieves ran rampant from the offset on Inferno and dominated the French side with a near-flawless defense. The Australian players were brimming with confidence, especially jks, who ended the half with a 22-3 score as his team cruised to a 13-2 lead.
More misery was to come for Vitality, who were picked apart in the pistol round as 100 Thieves plowed their way through the B site. The on-fire Australians refused to take their foot off the gas and quickly wrapped things up against the helpless Frenchmen.