The upper bracket semi-final kicked off on Dust2, Evil Geniuses’ map pick, where the North American side picked up the pistol on the offensive side thanks to a triple kill from Tsvetelin “CeRq” Dimitrov. NiP unexpectedly struck back immediately in the following round as they secured a full eco victory to snatch economic control in their favour early on and lock down a 3-1 lead.
A dynamic CT side from NiP proved to be effective in subduing the Evil Geniuses attack moving forward, with the Swedish side shutting them down time and time again to extend their advantage to a commanding 11-4 lead at the halfway mark, with Patrik “f0rest” Lindberg leading the scoreboard with 23 kills.
The dominance from NiP persisted onto their T side as Evil Geniuses were unable to find any success on the defence. After the Ninjas secured the pistol off the back of a Simon “twist” Eliasson triple kill, there was no way back into the game for the North American squad as the Swedes swiftly closed out the map to pick up a hugely one-sided 16-4 victory.
Heading into Nuke, Evil Geniuses looked like a new team as the North Americans stormed to a 5-0 advantage on the defence, with Vincent “Brehze” Cayonte leading the charge after a poor first map. A quad kill from Nicolas “Plopski” Gonzalez Zamora got the Swedes on the board and a subsequent two rounds followed in their favour. NiP were hot on Evil Geniuses‘ heels moving forward, but a CeRq 1v1 clutch enabled the North Americans to stay ahead by the skin of their teeth to head into the halfway mark with an 8-7 lead.
The second half witnessed both sides pick up a three-round streak each before NiP eventually came out on top with the lead and the economic advantage. Evil Geniuses managed to tie the game up twice, but an intelligent 1v1 clutch from f0rest once more swung the map back into NiP’s favour. A twist 1v2 defuse looked to be the nail in the coffin for Evil Geniuses, but the North Americans buckled down to narrowly grind out the map 16-14 and force a decider.
Coming from a tantalising Nuke contest, NiP were determined to come out of the gates hot on the decider. Despite losing the pistol, the Swedes did just that as they cruised to a 6-1 lead on the T side of Inferno, with all players firing on all cylinders. Evil Geniuses managed to secure an additional round with light weaponry, but NiP hit straight back to keep control firmly in their grasp. Jonas “Lekr0” Olofsson and his squad would not let their foot off the gas for the remainder of the half, with the Swedish side claiming a 12-3 lead.
A triple kill from Fredrik “REZ” Sterner in the second half pistol edged NiP closer to victory as the Swedes soon hit 14 rounds. Evil Geniuses mustered one more round from a 1v2 clutch from Tarik “tarik” Celik, but the score difference proved insurmountable for the North American side as NiP closed out the map dominantly 16-4, and the series 2-1.