The ESL One Europe Minor Closed Qualifier came to an end on March 8 in which several high ranked teams were unable to secure a spot and will miss out on the first major of the year.
The Upper Bracket
The first day kicked off with the upper quarter-finals which saw NiP, Heretics, Fnatic, and Complexity take the first four spots.
Dignitas encountered fellow Swedish team Fnatic in an all-out brawl, which saw the best-of-three have two overtimes in two separate maps. The series came to a close favoring Fnatic after a dominating 15-0 CT side on Overpass, leading to a 16-3 victory.
Heretics, led by French superstar Fabien “kioShiMa” Fiey, had a surprising yet convincing performance taking down both Heroic and OG without dropping a map. This was one of the biggest upsets of the qualifier, Heretics being ranked #44 v.s Heroic at #14 and OG at #18.
NiP had a slow start and seemed unsteady in their opening game against Apeks, but picked up their form winning 2-1 and advancing to the upper quarter-finals. They played against BIG who had come fresh from their victory at the FLASHPOINT Global Qualifier. This didn’t affect the Swedish side who closed out the series 2-0.
MAD Lions withdrew from the qualifier due to not being able to find a suitable roster after benching Nicolai “HUNDEN” Petersen. This paved the way for Complexity to be invited, as they failed to succeed in the open qualifiers. They showed great reform and secured a minor spot undefeated.
The Lower Bracket
The last day concluded with the lower-bracket matches which saw Dignitas, Movistar Riders, GODSENT, and Copenhagen Flames take the last four spots.
Heroic, after losing to Heretics, fell victim to another upset as they let fellow Danish underdog team, Copenhagen Flames, come out on top with a 2-0 victory.
Nordavind faced off against Dignitas and the underdogs managed to pick up the first map after Jesper “TENSKI” Plougmann’s outstanding performance, picking up 35 kills in 28 rounds. This did not falter the legendary Swedish quintet along with Håkon “hallzerk” Fjærli, a former Nordavind player, allowing Dignitas to close out the series 2-1.
BIG, a favorite team to qualify for the minor, missed out after losing 2-1 to Movistar Riders. The series saw a double-overtime on Overpass in which Florian “syrsoN” Rische picked up 44 kills but still lost the map 22-20. The victory has pushed Spanish CS into the scene by being the first Spanish majority team to qualify for a minor.
GODSENT also had their share of a double-overtime but against OG on Dust2 in which they lost the map 22-20. This came as a surprise following their dominant victory of 16-3 on OG’s map pick – Train. The closing map was Nuke where both teams showed strengths in their T side but GODSENT came out on top 16-14 taking the series 2-1.
The final eight teams which will battle again in the Europe Minor Championship for spots in the major are:
- Movistar Riders
- Copenhagen Flames