(Photo credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports)
Monte, Eternal Fire, 9z Team and MOUZ opened the ESL Pro League Season 18 playoff stage with victories in the Round of 16 on Tuesday in Saint Julian's, Malta.
Monte defeated Fnatic 2-1, Eternal Fire swept Astralis 2-0, 9z Team outlasted Virtus.pro 2-1 and MOUZ blanked FURIA Esports 2-0. The four losing teams were eliminated from the tournament.
The $850,000 Counter-Strike: Global Offensive event began with 32 teams broken up into four groups of eight. Group-stage winners advanced to the quarterfinals; runners-up advanced to the Round of 12 as the high seeds; third-place teams advanced to the Round of 16 as the high seeds; and fourth-place teams advanced to the Round of 16 as the low seeds.
The group stage is triple elimination with upper, middle and lower brackets. All matches are best-of-three until the grand final, which is best-of-five.
The tournament runs through Sunday. The winner earns $200,000 and qualifies for the 2024 IEM Katowice event and the 2023 BLAST World Final.
On Tuesday, Monte opened with a 16-9 win on Anubis, fell to Fnatic 16-12 on Overpass and answered by winning the clincher 16-6 on Vertigo. Ukraine's Sergiy "DemQQ" Demchenko paced Monte with 54 kills on a plus-7 kills-to-deaths differential, and three of his teammates finished with 51 kills.
Eternal Fire, the all-Turkish club, scored wins of 16-14 on Vertigo and 16-7 on Inferno to knock out Astralis. Ismailcan "XANTARES" Dortkardes led Eternal Fire with 45 kills on a plus-19 K-D.
9z Team sandwiched 16-14 wins on Mirage and Overpass around a 16-10 loss to Virtus.pro on Inferno. Franco "dgt" Garcia of Uruguay guided 9z with 56 kills on a plus-5 differential.
MOUZ blasted FURIA 16-5 on Nuke and 16-4 on Mirage. Finland's Jimi "Jimpphat" Salo had 38 kills and a plus-24 for MOUZ.
The playoffs continue Wednesday with four Round of 12 matches:
--Complexity vs. Monte
--BIG vs. Eternal Fire
--Movistar Riders vs. 9z Team
--FaZe Clan vs. MOUZ
ESL Pro League Season 18 prize pool
1. $200,000, 3,000 BLAST Premier points -- TBD
2. $90,000, 2,000 BLAST points -- TBD
3-4. $50,000, 1,200 points -- TBD
5-8. $35,000, 500 points -- TBD
9-12. $25,000 -- TBD
13-16. $20,000 -- Fnatic, Astralis, Virtus.pro, FURIA Esports
17-20. $15,000 -- Gamer Legion, MIBR, 5yclone, Team Liquid
21-28. $8,000 -- Ninjas in Pyjamas, Grayhound Gaming, Heroic, Evil Geniuses, Imperial Esports, Apeks, Cloud9, Lynn Vision Gaming
29-32. $4,000 -- ORKS, Rooster, M80, 9INE
--Field Level Media