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Copa Elite Six Groups: Liquid and NiP Lead, Atheris Only Mexican Team Left

After four days of competition, the ESC Group Stage is finally complete. Keep on reading to see what happened, and what teams made it through.

The Elite Six Cup — also known as Copa Elite Six — is a LATAM regional tournament that includes the six best teams from Brazil and the two best from Mexico and South America each. 

Brazil has always been miles apart from their neighbours in pace, skill and understanding of the game. However, both the Mexican and South American regions have improved thanks to the creation of new national leagues and the help from some of the biggest Hispanic organizations. After years of wait, these teams want to prove that they are ready.

Being the first edition of the competition, the hype around it is immense. Are the Mexican and South American teams ready to play against Brazilian sides? 

Let’s find out in this article, where we will have a look at the first stage of the competition: the groups.

ESC Format

The draw that decided the groups was carried out right after the conclusion of the last game-day in the Brasileirão.

The groups followed a single round-robin system, where the top team from each group would directly advance to the semi-finals, while the second and third placed teams would have to play a quarter-final game first. 

Group stage games will be Best-of-One (Bo1), playoff games will be Bo3, and the Grand Final will be Bo5.

The Groups

Day 1

  • FaZe Clan 7-5 FURIA Esports
  • Ninjas in Pyjamas 7-1 Malvinas Gaming
  • MIBR 7-2 9z Team
  • Team Liquid 7-3 Fenix Esports
  • Ninjas in Pyjamas 7-2 Atheris

These two teams had faced each other on Saturday on the final day of the Brasileirão. Then, FaZe Clan had won on Clubhouse, 7-4. This time, FaZe once again secured the win, but the match followed a totally different script.

FURIA started things off on the right foot by winning five consecutive attacks on the German map. Considering the defensive character of the map, viewers expected a tough loss for FaZe Clan. But nothing could be further from the truth.

The FaZe Clan duo of Gabriel “cameram4n” Hespanhol and Lucas “soulz1” Romero led the roster on an impressive comeback, pulling off seven round wins in a row for a 7-5 win. Both players’ appearances made up for their teammates' low rating, while the FURIA rookie of Rennan “R4re” Vitor de Paula had a difficult debut in the Elite Six Cup as he had the lowest rating on his team.

Meanwhile, the Hispanic rosters were crushed, as Saúl “Morphed” Torres was the only non-Brazilian player able to score a positive rating. 

Day 2

  • MIBR 7-4 Team oNe
  • Team Liquid 7-0 9z Team
  • Ninjas in Pyjamas 8-6 FaZe Clan
  • Atheris 7-4 Malvinas Gaming
  • MIBR 7-1 Fenix Esports

The next day, FaZe took on NiP in a bid to make it two wins in two, but came off worse for it. The Brazilian rosters went to Villa in what was an important game for the group, as the winner would take the lead in the race for Group A’s first place.

FaZe got off to a flyer, as they won five of the first six rounds. However, despite being ahead by a score of 5-1, it felt like this was anyone’s game. In fact, four of FaZe’s five rounds had come thanks to clutches. Leonardo “Astro” Luis was the face of the first two, as he completed a 1v3 clutch in Round 1, before completing a 1v2 clutch in the next. Lucas “soulz1” Romero in Round 3 and Jaime “Cyber” Ramos in Round 5 kept FaZe Clan ahead of their rivals.

But things quickly changed after swapping sides. Despite FaZe being on match point after the conclusion of Round 8, the Ninjas went on a rampage, as every effort from their opponents was in vain. 

The players of NiP, led by their kage Murilo “Muzi” Moscatelli, who eventually finished the match with 19 kills under his name, successfully forced overtime. Suddenly, the Ninjas’ were the favorites to take the win. And that is exactly what happened, as a 4k by Julio “julio” Giacomelli in Round 13 and a 3k by Muzi in the very last round of the game gave two points to the Ninjas’ squad. Meanwhile, FaZe Clan’s possibilities of finishing in first place took a massive blow.  

It is also worthy to mention MIBR’s results, as their two wins against Team oNe and Fenix Esports were added to their win versus 9z Team from Day 1. Team Liquid’s flawless win against 9z and the first Mexican win in the competition, with Atheris defeating Malvinas, were the other notable results on Day 2.

Day 3

  • Ninjas in Pyjamas 7-5 FURIA Esports
  • FaZe Clan 7-0 Malvinas Gaming
  • Team oNe 8-6 Team Liquid
  • Fenix Esports 7-2 9z Team
  • Atheris 7-5 FURIA Esports

After a very hopeless start for the Hispanic viewership, fans had been desperately waiting for a win from their region’s teams. Mexico had never been expected to dominate the Brazilian teams yet, but the wait for a win was wearing on.

But, it was worth it. In the last game of Day 3, Atheris faced FURIA in what was Daniel “Novys” Novy's first match against his ex-teammates. And what a performance this was from the Brazilian. 

The Mexicans won the very first round of the game after a well-executed attack onto Garage, dropping from one of the hatches in Lobby. Three kills from Novy were pivotal as his partner in crime, Christopher “SkMzY” Espinosa, successfully planted the defuser in Cafeteria. The same duo came again to save the Mexicans in Round 3, as they both found two kills. 

Despite a strong start by Atheris, it was FURIA who set the pace as they quickly put themselves 5-2 up. But, just like in their first game against FaZe Clan, the Brazilians would eventually lose the game. 

Atheris’ defences were rock-solid and, combined with FURIA’s slow attacks, helped the Mexicans to actually complete the comeback. Lucca “MKing” Cesana on Maestro and Luis “Guicho” Manuel on Smoke were vital, as the previously mentioned duo of Novys and SkMzY had the freedom and the ease to slow down FURIA’s pushes. 

The game was set and done after MKing put to an end Thiago “Lenda” Torres’ attempt to force overtime with an Evil Eye. FURIA was out of the playoff race. 

On the other hand, Atheris secured a spot in the playoffs, as Malvinas Gaming would join FURIA as the last two teams at Group A. Meanwhile, a shocking loss for Team Liquid against Team oNe put MIBR ahead in the race for Group B’s first place. However, both sides would play each other on the following day.

Day 4

  • Team Liquid 7-2 MIBR
  • Team oNe 7-2 9z Team
  • FURIA Esports 7-2 Malvinas Gaming
  • FaZe Clan 7-3 Atheris Esports
  • Team oNe 7-2 Fenix Esports

The last day of the group stage saw Team Liquid and MIBR playing to end at the top of Group B. Despite everyone expecting a close game, MIBR did not stand a chance. 

After a solid performance on attack, Liquid finished 5-1 ahead after the first six rounds. The supremacy remained, as the game finished three rounds later with Liquid beating their opponents by 7-2. 

Every player at the Cavalaria Brasileira finished with positive ratings, with Paulo “psk1” Augusto and Thiago “xS3xyCake” Reis leading the team.

Dominance was the word of the day, as no game saw more than 10 rounds played. All the Brazilian representatives beat their Mexican or South American counterparts, which made this a perfect day for the Brazilian fans. 

It was not a perfect day for the South American teams, however, as this was their last day at the event. Their performance was far worse than what anyone had expected, as they finished with a combined record of eight losses, 56 rounds lost and only 13 rounds won.

Quarter Finals and Semi Finals

With the groups now completed, we have Team Liquid and Ninjas in Pyjamas at the top of their respective groups. This means that both teams will have to wait until Sunday to play again.

Before seeing them back in action, we will have a Brazilian clash between FaZe Clan and Team oNe. This is an interesting one, as FaZe had been expected to finish in first in Group A. As they failed to do so, the theoretical Grand Final between them and Liquid could be seen in the semi-finals match.

After that, Atheris and MIBR will face off in what could be an historic day for the Mexican region and a rematch for MKing against his former organisation.  A win will send Atheris to a semi-final match against the current Six Invitational finalists, but they face MIBR, a side that has only lost against the current favorites of Team Liquid.

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