ESL Pro League Group D kicked off with two CIS sides facing off against each other, regional powerhouse Natus Vincere and Kirill “ANGE1” Karasiow’s HellRaisers, followed by G2 and Windigo locking horns to round out day one.
HellRaisers started off ahead on Inferno, 2-0 before Natus Vincere got their first. A big round by Aleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev with four M4 kills on B would go on to set the pace on the map as he and his team would take a hefty 10-5 lead as the Ukrainian rifler was denied a 1vs4 clutch attempt in the last round of the half by the last standing T, ANGE1. Winning the second pistol round, and with s1mple still at the helm, Na`Vi went on to close the first map out without much trouble, 16-7.
The second map, Dust2, started out going the way of Natus Vincere as they won their second pistol round, this time on the CT side, for an early 3-0 lead. HellRaisers managed to link four in a row to take an early lead, but it was once again the Russian-majority side that took control of proceedings to close the first half 10-5. Igor “crush” Shevchenko was able to give his team some hope with a 1vs2 clutch on the pistol round, but it would be too little too late as the scoreline would end up like the first map, 16-7 for Natus Vincere.
As the favorites in the second match on today’s ticket, G2 started off taking the lead on the attacking side of Mirage as Windigo struggled to find their footing, although Valentin “poizon” Vasilev and company were able to bring it back to a respectable 6-9. The second side saw a change of pace with Windigo getting the upper hand of the majority-French side taking a 14-13 lead, but G2 were finally able to close it out late in the map, 16-14, with Nemanja “huNter-“ Kovač leading the charge.
G2 were able to take an early 4-2 lead on the attacking side of Nuke despite losing the pistol round, although it was Windigo who were able to hold on steadily on the defense to take a 10-5 lead at the half. Incredibly chaotic rounds ensued during the second half, although it was once again G2 who were able to maintain composure and take several rounds in a row to hit match point and go on to close the map and match, tallying their first victory in London.