The third day of the North American LCQ saw The Guard The Guard North America Rank #3 trent Trent Cairns reach the upper finals with a win over Cloud9 Cloud9 North America Rank #5 Xeppaa Erick Bach leaf Nathan Orf vanity Anthony Malaspina , and Shopify Rebellion Shopify Rebellion North America Rank #12 bdog Brandon Sanders dazzLe Will Loafman mada Adam Pampuch become the first team eliminated from the event after losing to Sentinels Sentinels North America Rank #14 TenZ Tyson Ngo shroud Michael Grzesiek zekken Zachary Patrone dapr Michael Gulino .

The Guard vs. Cloud9 (TGRD 2-0)

The first match of the upper semifinals took place between Cloud9 and The Guard. The last time these teams fought was back in Stage 1. C9 won the group stage matchup, but The Guard got the last laugh in the playoffs that qualified them for Reykjavik.

Starting on Fracture, The Guard opened up day three with a pistol win. Back to back flawless rounds got their economy off to a blistering start. A half buy victory got Cloud9 on the board, but they quickly fell into an early hole.

Facing a 5-1 deficit, C9's in-game leader vanity willed his team back into the half. He got multikills in back to back rounds with the Judge to reverse the momentum. Some well timed defensive aggression and quick rotations helped C9 storm back into a 7-5 lead at the half.

The Guard have been Judged and found wanting.

Again, The Guard won the pistol round. They had a good chance to regain the advantage with a very close bonus round, but a 4K by Xeppaa saved the round for C9. First deaths started to punish C9's chances on their attack. They walked into double Operator setups posted on aggressive angles and struggled to regain the man advantage. The Guard's defense held firm to pull away with the map 13-9.

Despite 20 kills from vanity, C9 could not survive the weaker performances of their star players. Xeppaa and leaf both failed to pass any of The Guard's players in kills. On top of that, C9's double controller agent composition with Raze, Chamber, and Fade struggled to break into the sites. They had no flashes to break the aggressive angles held by The Guard.

After losing their own map pick, C9 would have to win The Guard's pick of Ascent to force map three. It was not lost, however, because Ascent was tied for their most won map since the beginning of Stage 2.

C9 won their defensive pistol, but their economy was kept on the ropes when they lost four players against the second round save by their opponent. Their economic struggles kept them from full-buying until the fifth round. That full buy did net them a win, but a 3K clutch by trent kept The Guard rolling to a 7-5 halftime lead. Although Ascent is traditionally one of the most defender-sided maps in the game, The Guard found spike plants without falling into a man disadvantage over and over again.

trent with a 3K for a huge clutch.

It was The Guard's turn to win their defensive pistol. The spike was planted by C9 to help them force buy into the second round, which they won. Both teams battled back and forth until trent landed a 4K in a chaotic retake to get his team double digit rounds.

The Guard struggled almost as much as C9 did to prevent the spike plants. They had to set up retake after retake to stay in the game. Up 11-10, they placed a Killjoy ultimate to force C9 out of the A site, but leaf ran forward to overrun their entire team while they prepared to reclear the site.

C9 looked to take the lead against a weak buy, but neT finally anchored successfully from the back of the A site with only a Sheriff. The Guard converted a close map 13-11 in the final round of regulation.

Sometimes it takes a heroic play to save the day.

Newest C9 addition curry struggled on Ascent with only five kills. Across the series, The Guard posted much more consistent performances. After losing, C9 were dropped to the lower bracket to face the winner of EG vs. NRG. The Guard move on to the upper finals.

Sentinels vs. Shopify Rebellion (SEN 2-0)

Instead of playing the second upper semifinal game, the schedule dictated a lower bracket match to end the day. One of Sentinels or Shopify Rebellion would be the first team eliminated from the LCQ. SR's roster won both matchups against Sentinel's old roster — the roster without shroud or Zellsis — this year.

In the vein of FPX or PRX, mada pulled out the Yoru for SR. The opening pistol of Breeze was a slaughter. Sentinels ran face first into the brick wall of bdog and TiGG at the A main chokepoint. In the second round, they ran into moose and dazzLe in the B main chokepoint. Sentinels kept their foot in the door with a thrifty win capped off by a shroud 3K. He got another late round clutch to tie the map at four rounds apiece, but moose returned the 1v2 to retake the lead. SR held onto the narrow lead for the rest of the half.

Vintage shroud moment.

On the defensive half, Sentinels found their rhythm. They stormed out of the gate with four rounds in a row. The Yoru selection by mada finally had an impact, using his utility to befuddle TenZ on the A site. Big multikills quickly put Sentinels back on track. They comfortably took the map 13-8.

Unlike the Copenhagen finalists, SR were unable to maximize the Yoru pick as mada had almost no impact on the map. He only notched five kills against 18 deaths. On the other side, shroud and dapr combined for six 3Ks.

SR didn't get off to the start they wanted on their map pick, Fracture. Sentinels pulled off a 5v5 retake in the pistol and set the pace of the map. Constant defensive aggression with Zellsis' Neon helped spring Sentinels to an early lead.

It took a 3K from moose in a thrifty round for SR to find their footing. Sentinels economy fell apart immediately as SR went on a 6-0 run. Sentinels finally stemmed the bleeding in the final round of the half by pushing into SR's spawn and controlling the pace again. SR still led 7-5 at the half.

Quickly executing onto spike sites was the name of the game for Sentinels' attack. Again they ran out to a huge lead at the start of the half to take the 10-7 lead. SR looked poised to settle for a single round in the second half again, but a 4K from mada gave them a sliver of hope. They took advantage of it by winning four straight rounds, the final three extremely close, to force overtime.

Both teams struggled to defend in overtime. In the second overtime, both rounds were flawless for the attackers. Sentinels finally got a defensive win in the third overtime, but a moose 4K snagged SR their defensive round in return. An incredibly fast push by Zellsis somehow got behind SR when they pushed at the start of the round, and Sentinels finally converted the map 17-15.

You wouldn't think to look behind you at the start of the round.

Zellsis was the star of the show on Fracture. He posted a massive statline of 12 first bloods against only three first deaths. Across the series, Sentinels had a very balanced team performance. All five players sat in the 195-225 ACS range.

Sentinels will face the loser of FaZe and 100T in the second round of the lower bracket. With that win, the 41.1% of VLR pickems that picked Sentinels to reach Champions remained alive. SR became the first team eliminated from the event. They will not have a shot at participating in Champions this year.

Looking Ahead

Day four of the LCQ takes place on Sunday, August 7. FaZe Clan FaZe Clan North America Rank #4 POISED Kevin Ngo BABYBAY Andrej Francisty will face 100 Thieves 100 Thieves North America Rank #2 bang Sean Bezerra Cryocells Matthew Panganiban stellar Brenden McGrath Derrek Derrek Ha Asuna Peter Mazuryk to decide who battles The Guard in the upper finals, and Evil Geniuses Evil Geniuses North America Rank #11 Boostio Kelden Pupello C0M Corbin Lee Apoth Vincent Le Reformed Jeffrey Lu jawgemo Alexander Mor vs. NRG Esports NRG Esports North America Rank #7 s0m Sam Oh will eliminate the second team from the event.