BIG and Fnatic recorded victories Saturday to advance to the grand final of the Elisa Masters Espoo in Espoo, Finland.
Fnatic swept Astralis and BIG outlasted Sprout in the semifinals. They'll meet in Sunday's finale.
The $200,000 Counter-Strike: Global Offensive event began with 12 teams initially parsed into two groups, with each team playing five best-of-one matches in the group stage. The top three teams from each group qualified for the playoffs, with group-stage winners earning semifinal berths. Group runners-up clinched spots in quarterfinals as the high seeds, with third-place teams tabbed as the low seeds.
In the single-elimination playoffs, all matches are best-of-three. The champion will make $100,000 and earn a spot in the play-in portion of the $1 million IEM Katowice event scheduled for Jan. 31-Feb. 12 in Katowice, Poland.
On Saturday, Fnatic opened with a 16-9 win on Mirage and clinched with a 19-16 win on Overpass in overtime. William "mezii" Merriman of the United Kingdom led Fnatic with 51 kills and a plus-19 kills-to-deaths differential. Every Fnatic player finished with a positive K-D differential.
BIG opened with a 16-12 win on Overpass. But Sprout responded with a 16-12 win on Nuke to force the third match, which BIG claimed 16-11 on Mirage. Josef "faveN" Baumann led BIG with a plus-23 differential on 72 kills. Johannes "tabseN" Wodarz led all the all-German side with 74 kills. He added a plus-18 differential.
Intel Extreme Masters XVII Rio Major prize pool:
1. $100,000, qualify for IEM Katowice 2023 Play-In
3-4. $14,000 - Sprout, Astralis
5-6. $10,000 -- 500, ENCE
7-8. $4,000 -- HEET, Complexity Gaming
9-10. $4,000 -- Team GamerLegion, Bad News Eagles
11-12. $4,000 -- HAVU Gaming, SAW
--Field Level Media