Team Liquid, Natus Vincere, G2 Esports and FaZe Clan each recorded a sweep to advance to the upper-bracket semifinals of Group A play at the Intel Extreme Masters event in Katowice, Poland.
Team Vitality also completed a sweep to move on to the upper-bracket semifinals in Group B. OG notched a 2-1 win over MOUZ in the other Group B contest.
The $1 million Counter-Strike: Global Offensive tournament began Wednesday with the 16-team, double-elimination play-in stage to determine the final eight spots in the group stage. First-round play-in matches consisted of a single map, while all other play-in matches were best-of-three.
The four teams that advanced on Wednesday -- BIG, OG, Ninjas in Pyjamas and Cloud9 -- joined the eight teams that were already seeded into the group stage: Team Liquid, Natus Vincere, G2 Esports, FaZe Clan, Heroic, MOUZ, Team Vitality and Outsiders.
Group play will run from Saturday through Tuesday, with two eight-team groups competing in a double-elimination format of best-of-three matches. The two group winners advance to the semifinals of the single-elimination playoffs. The two group runners-up go the playoff quarterfinals as high seeds, and the third-place teams from each group head to the playoff quarterfinals as low seeds.
The best-of-three quarterfinals are scheduled for Feb. 10, and the best-of-three semifinals are set for Feb. 11. The winner of the best-of-five grand final on Feb. 12 will earn $400,000 and a berth in the $1 million IEM Cologne event scheduled for July 25-Aug. 6 in Germany.
On Saturday, Team Liquid defeated IHC Esports after posting a 16-13 win on Inferno and 16-6 victory on Overpass. Canadian Keith "NAF" Markovic had 52 kills and a plus-30 kills-to-death differential to pace Liquid, while Tengis "sk0R" Batjargal finished with 41 kills and a plus-5 ratio for the all-Mongolian IHC side.
Team Liquid advances to face Natus Vincere, which dispatched Cloud9 following a 16-13 win on Ancient and 16-6 victory on Inferno. Russian Denis "electroNic" Sharipov had 42 kills for Natus Vincere, while countryman Dmitry "sh1ro" Sokolov paced Cloud9 with 40 kills and a plus-10 kills-to-death differential.
G2 Esports defeated BIG after recording a 16-12 win on Anubis and 16-8 victory on Inferno. Russian Ilya "m0NESY" Osipov had 41 kills for G2, while the all-German BIG side was paced by Florian "syrsoN" Rische (36 kills, plus-5 kills-to-death differential).
G2 advances to face FaZe Clan, who dispatched Team Spirit 16-5 on Ancient and 16-12 on Nuke. Denmark's Finn "karrigan" Andersen and Norway's Havard "rain" Nygaard each had 37 kills for FaZe, while Russian Pavel "s1ren" Ogloblin had 32 kills for Spirit.
Vitality toppled Pyjamas after posting a 16-10 win on Mirage and a 16-9 victory on Inferno. Frenchman Mathieu "ZywOo" Herbaut had 47 kills and a plus-16 kills-to-death differential for Vitality, while Sweden's Fredrik "REZ" Sterner had 39 kills and a plus-6 kills-to-death differential.
OG overcame a 16-9 setback on Inferno by posting a 16-13 win on Overpass and 22-19 victory on Mirage. Russian Abdul "degster" Gasanov had 77 kills and a plus-18 kills-to-death differential to pace OG, while Israel's Dorian "xertioN" Berman had 73 kills for MOUZ.
Intel Extreme Masters Katowice prize pool
1. $400,000, berth in IEM Cologne
17-20. $4,500 -- ENCE, Sprout, MIBR, FURIA Esports
21-24. $2,500 -- Permitta Esports, Evil Geniuses, Grayhound Gaming, paiN Gaming
--Field Level Media