The last day of the group stage at ESL One Birmingham Online brought a lot of surprises in the Europe and CIS division. Last minute stand-ins, along with the elimination of NIP in the sixth place in Group B, although they overall had more wins and fewer losses than the third and fourth placed squads, made the highlights.
HellRaisers, FlyToMoon, CyberLeagcy and Ninjas in Pyjamas finished the group run tied with a 4-3 overall series score. HR and FTM secured 2-0 victories on the last day, however, in the overall game score they were below Cyber Legacy and NIP. The results raised a lot of questions and frustration among the participants, one of the most vocal about the matter being NIP’s Jonáš “SabeRLight-” Volek, who pointed out on Twitter that the ESL One tiebreaker rules are apparently not about the skill and about how many games a team wins, but about winning “the correct matches” and “about luck.”
At the end of the group play, NIP had an overall match score of 11 wins and 7 losses, while HellRaises, who made the playoffs from the third place in the group, had an overall match score of 8-8. The fourth placed team in the group, FlyToMoon have also less wins and more losses than NIP, respectively 10-8.
In FlyToMoon’s case, the last day was even weirder. They desperately need to take their last series in the group play 2-0 to force a tiebreaker and just before the first game against Cyber Legacy they announced that their carry Alik “V-Tune” Vorobey was unable to compete, thus they played with Roman “RAMZES666” Kushnarev standing in. He went 12-0-15 on Slark in game one to simply destroy Cyber Legacy. V-Tune’s issues sorted out in time for the second game and he rejoined his team. He also played Slark and finished 8-0-11, but the spotlight of that second match was stolen by Victor “GeneRaL” Nigrini on an 16-0-13 offlane Queen of Pain.
In group A, NAVI were also in desperate need of a victory to keep the playoffs dream alive, but their offlane player couldn’t fight on the last day losing his internet connection due to weather conditions. The team’s coach, Andrey “Mag” Chipenko, stood in for the series against Team Liquid, but unfortunately for them, the battle finished 2-1 in favor of the European team, who saved themselves from an early elimination with that win.
ESL One Birmingham Europe and CIS playoffs will kick off Tuesday, June 2nd with Vikin.gg, FlyToMoon, HellRaisers and Team Liquid fighting for survival via lower bracket rounds. The upper bracket series are set to start on the 3rd of June with Team Secret, Alliance, VP.Prodigy and Team Nigma dueling for a spot in the finals.