Team Spirit continued their hot streak at the PGL Major Antwerp in Belgium on Thursday, winning for the sixth consecutive time to join FaZe Clan in claiming the event's first two semifinal berths.
After going 3-1 in the initial Challengers Stage and following with a 3-0 mark in the Legends Stage earlier this week, top-seeded Spirit began Champions Stage action with a solid 2-0 win over No. 8 seed FURIA Esports.
The No. 5 seed FaZe squad grabbed the other spot in the final four Thursday by virtue of a 2-1 victory over fourth-seeded Ninjas in Pyjamas.
Thursday marked the opening of the Champions Stage, an eight-team single-elimination bracket played on the heels of the Challenger Stage (May 9-12) and Legends Stage (May 14-17). The Swiss System format was used to determine which eight teams would advance in each prior stage.
All matches in the first two stages were best-of-one except elimination and advancement matches, which were best-of-three. Champions Stage seeding is based on final standings in the Legends Stage.
Spirit, whose only loss came in overtime early in the Challengers Stage on May 9, endured a wild opening map against FURIA that includes six lead changes. Spirit used a map-ending 5-0 run to win 16-12 on Vertigo, then outscored FURIA 12-2 down the stretch to take Ancient 16-8.
Pavel "s1ren" Ogloblin led the all-Russia Spirit unit with 45 kills and Abdul "degster" Gasanov produced a plus-15 kills-to-deaths differential for the victors. Rafael "saffee" Costa notched a team-high 37 kills for the all-Brazilian FURIA lineup.
FaZe stormed back from an early 9-5 deficit, using a 11-1 spurt to defeat NiP in the opening map on Nuke. The Ninjas drew even on Overpass, using a map-ending 6-1 run for a 16-13 triumph on Overpass. NiP charged to an 8-3 lead on the decisive map (Inferno), but FaZe tallied the final 13 points of the match in a 16-8 win.
Robin "ropz" Kool of Estonia topped FaZe with a team-high 61 kills and a match-best plus-13 K/D differential. Hampus "hampus" Poser led all scorers with 64 kills, adding a plus-10 K/D ratio for NiP.
The Champions Stage continues Friday with two quarterfinal battles in a single-elimination format:
--ENCE vs. Copenhagen Flames
--Heroic vs. Natus Vincere
--Field Level Media