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Photo by: ESL

After a marathon of a series featuring 75 rounds of Counter-Strike, Team Vitality qualified for the New Legends stage of IEM Katowice Major. The French survived against Chinese underdogs Vici Gaming and joined Challenger winners NRG Esports and Renegades in the next stage.

Fitting the name, Inferno became a hellish affair for both teams. Vici Gaming stayed in the lead for the majority of the match and by round 21, they were two points away from winning the map at 14-7. This is when Vitality rallied. Spearheaded by a fantastic performance by Mathieu “ZywOo” Herbaut the French not only equalized but took the lead too. As round 30 went to the Chinese, however, an OT was to be played.

VIT and VG kept ping-ponging rounds between each other for a total of three OTs. Andrew “Kaze” Khong was outstanding for Vici in these crucial rounds and ended the map as the top fragger on the server at 42, but even his firepower could not save VG. In the third overtime, Vitality were the faster team to 25 and looked to taking the series on Nuke.

Nuke hasn’t been VIT’s best map by any stretch but Vici struggled on it even more. The teams split the first half 8-7 in Vici’s favor but the Frenchmen took firm control on their CT side. VG clutched only four rounds in the second half for a 16-12 score in VIT’s favor. Nathan “NBK” Schmitt and co. were set for the New Legends stage.

This is a sigh of relief for the French scene, whose two major teams haven’t been in conversation for tier 1 for quite some time. While VIT’s are guaranteed a minimum top 16 finish in Katowice, G2 Esports’ run is still under question. The “samurai” have been struggling, to say the least, and are playing Fnatic in a do-or-die match tomorrow.

As for the currently ongoing 2-1 winners pool, TYLOO plays AVANGAR next, followed by ENCE vs. Winstrike.

New Legends Stage teams (11/16)

— Astralis
— Natus Vincere
— Team Liquid
— compLexity Gaming
— HellRaisers
— FaZe Clan
— Renegades
— NRG Esports
— Team Vitality

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