North America and Europe’s last hopes of the Major rested on two teams that had never never won a tier-one semi-final before.
Soniqs had also never reached this level before, but were buoyed by one of their newest signings as Geometrics had helped the squad beat his old teammates in the quarter-finals and had won a Six Invitational grand-final earlier this year.
BDS, meanwhile, had beaten their own countrymen in their quarter-finals, making this semi-final an uncertain meeting for them. As a result, they were to play their first official best-of-three against foreign opponents since losing to Oxygen Esports six months prior at the Charlotte Major.
With both teams now here, the contest began on Border.
The first lead of the series went to Team BDS, despite Elemzje suffering the opening death, as this would be a factor of BDS’s game that they consistently struggle on while playing Border. Despite a well-planned start to round two, it was BriD that fell first, while in round three he died first once again while attempting a rushed plant.
Despite this early death, round three was still in a 3v3 situation, quickly traded into a 2v2. Elemzje got the plant down while covered by Renshiro, before Elemzje got the final kill.
The back-and-forth went back into Soniqs’ favour even though BDS finally got an opening kill, as they were left in a 1v3 position.
Two rounds later, the first half ended 3-3, with no team having put two rounds together in a row. So far every round but round three had been somewhat of a blowout.
As Soniqs moved onto the attack, things continued as before. A Gunnar triple kill left BriD in a 1v4 position in the first back-to-back round win of the map and the first lead for the Soniqs.
Round eight was another close contest initially. as Shaiiko broke a 3v3 stalemate by killing both Gryxr and Rexen before getting a cheeky knife kill onto Geometrics with two seconds remaining.
On round nine, Geometrics managed to get the defuser down without BDS realising it. The round came down to a 1v1 between Gryxr on three kills and Shaiiko on four, which was narrowly won by Gryxr playing down the clock and staying alive.
After so many close rounds Soniqs won round 10 with just a lone death to hit map point, while BDS won one of their own in a flawless fashion.
Finally, an ace from Kanzen -- the first ace of the playoffs -- ended BDS’s map pick with a Soniqs map win.
Shaiiko wasn’t going to go out so quickly.
He started Clubhouse with a triple kill in the opening round, while BriD won a 1v1 over Gryxr by simply running away and waiting for the clock to hit zero.
Two more triple kills in the following two rounds from Shaiiko meant that the Europeans had already won the half and were quickly approaching a map three.
Round five saw someone else get on the scoresheet, as Gryxr earnt a double kill to go up in a 4v2. Nevertheless, BriD brought it back in a matter of four seconds with a triple kill on Gryxr, Rexen, and Geometrics, who were all caught unaware.
The following round, BDS brought back a 3v5 and then 2v4 position as BriD died to secure a double kill, which included dropping Geometrics while he was planting. LikEfac then earnt a double kill of his own, as he traded off of Elemzje to earn a technical 1v1 victory.
Finally, Soniqs got on the board as BriD was unable to bring back a 1v5 position on their opening offensive round.
This was just a slight delay to their victory, as in the very next round, BDS sent the game to map three.
Renshiro, a player we don’t usually see getting the flashiest of plays on BDS, opened Bank’s attacks with a quadruple kill on Sledge, as he dropped in from the Vault hatch and killed every player that tried challenging him.
The following round, BDS brought a 2v3 back to a 2v1. Kanzen was once again left to clutch. He killed Elemzje just after BriD got the defuser down, only for BriD to jump up and trade off the kill.
Soniqs finally got on the board with an almost perfect defense in the basement, however, the map was going very much in BDS’s favor. A particularly impressive quadruple kill from Elezmje brought back a 2v3 to win the half early.
Planting in an unusual position, LikEfac got the defuser down with three seconds remaining in a 4v3 position, only for Gryxr’s double kill to put the game in a 2v2. Renshiro then ended BDS’s final attack of the day just as he began Bank -- with a quick double in the basement to win the half 5-1.
To their credit, Soniqs responded excellently. While Bank is usually an attack-sided map, it usually does not lead to such a dramatic comeback, as Soniqs lost just three lives in the following two rounds.
By round nine, Soniqs were two rounds from tying the game up, while BDS were two rounds from the series win. Shaiiko’s double kill was stopped by Gryxr, as Gunnar got the plant down. LikEfac, though, earnt a kill on Kanzen exiting the elevator and then rotated to the cubby hatch, killing Gunnar from above.
This set up a 1v1 against Gryxr, which LikEfac won with a clean headshot before disabling the defuser to hit match and grand-final point in his debut professional stage.
The following round, despite a double kill from Geometrics, North America was eliminated from the tournament and sent BDS through to face Brazil in front of a European crowd.
This will be Elemzje’s fourth global grand-final, having lost the ESL Pro League Season 3 grand-final but having won both the DreamHack Valencia 2018 and Allied Minor 2019 Minor events.
Renshiro, meanwhile, previously won both the Pro League Season 2 grand-final and DreamHack Austin 2018, while BriD previously lost the DreamHack Valencia grand-final to Elemzje.
With LikEfac qualifying for the grand-final he is just the third player to reach a Major grand-final in their debut stage alongside Rogue’s Spoit, who lifted the title three months ago ,and TT9’s Scyther, who reached the SI 2019 grand-final on Team Empire.
BDS’s win also sets up a EU vs LATAM grand-final. This will be the seventh time these two regions have met, with Europe winning in the Pro League Season 4, 6, and 8 Finals as well as the Berlin Major, while LATAM won the Season 7 Finals and Mexico Major.
Despite winning the match, Shaiiko was outshone by Gryxr who also earned the highest SiegeGG Rating of the game. BDS, meanwhile, had BriD as their best player, while the whole of BDS earnt between 19 to 29 frags.
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