Two team's hopes of attending Masters: Tokyo were shattered to pieces today as NRG Esports NRG Esports North America Rank #3 FiNESSE Pujan Mehta s0m Sam Oh crashies Austin Roberts ethos Alan Ruan ardiis Ardis Svarenieks Victor Victor Wong and Cloud9 Cloud9 North America Rank #2 Xeppaa Erick Bach leaf Nathan Orf Zellsis Jordan Montemurro runi Dylan Cade jakee Jake Anderson eliminated both FURIA FURIA Brazil Rank #3 kon4n Vitor Hugo dgzin Douglas Silva mwzera Leonardo Serrati Quick Gabriel Lima Mazin Matheus Araújo Khalil Khalil Schmidt and Leviatán Leviatán Latin America South Rank #1 Tacolilla Vicente Compagnon kiNgg Francisco Aravena nzr Agustin Ibarra Mazino Roberto Rivas Shyy Fabian Usnayo from the VCT Americas Playoffs. As a result of today's matches, North America has secured a second slot at Japan's international event. Tomorrow, NRG and Cloud9 will battle it out for the final Americas ticket while LOUD LOUD Brazil Rank #1 aspas Erick Santos saadhak Matias Delipetro Less Felipe de Loyola tuyz Arthur Andrade cauanzin Cauan Pereira and Evil Geniuses Evil Geniuses North America Rank #8 Boostio Kelden Pupello ScrewFace Kyle Jensen Demon1 Max Mazanov Ethan Ethan Arnold BcJ Brendan Jensen C0M Corbin Lee Apoth Vincent Le Reformed Jeffrey Lu jawgemo Alexander Mor butt heads for better seeding.

fns and victor image The former world champions are now one match away from the international stage. (Photo: Marv Watson/Riot Games)

NRG vs. FURIA (2-0 NRG)

NRG did not expect to drop to the lower bracket this early; after cleanly defeating Evil Geniuses 2–0 in the group stage, they found themselves on the verge of elimination when the very team they had brushed past sent them to the lower bracket. However, confident in their supersquad, the core of world champions were able to triumph over the jaguars with ease.

OpTic Gaming OpTic Gaming Inactive , the NRG core's previous team, were highly considered one of (if not the) strongest teams to play Bind against, and they showcased their enormous stratbook against FURIA in the first half of the map, gathering seven straight rounds on the defensive half before their opponents could even salvage one. Even after another clutch from Mazin saved a second round for FURIA, NRG finished the half comfortably at 10-2.

After a 3K opener from dgzin allowed FURIA to pull off a 0.03 second defuse, FURIA seemed to be back on track. Unfortunately, flawless gun rounds as well as great openers from Victor put NRG at match point. With seven rounds in a row needed to bring the map to match point, FURIA put in the effort needed to gain five more rounds, but ran out of steam as NRG closed out the map 13-9 after dgzin's opening Operator picks faltered for a brief moment.

Down but not out, FURIA answered back with a dominant first half on Haven, and a heroic C site ace from Quick greatly bolstered their economy. Despite the occasional round picked up by NRG on their attack, Quick and dgzin were constant thorns in their sides as FURIA ended the half 7-5.

Quick had no shortage of great holds on Haven.

NRG, however, were quick to adapt and flipped the script by taking the pistol to begin their comeback. After a great read on a C hit during their bonus, NRG brought the score up to 10-7 with the help of their steady economy. Although FURIA struggled back, they were only able to claim three more rounds before NRG knocked them out of the playoffs in convincing fashion.

Cloud9 vs. Leviatan (2-1 C9)

After allowing Brazil to guarantee themselves a spot at Masters following a 1-2 scoreline against FURIA, Leviatán found themselves in the lower bracket, pitted against North America's best-performing team from the group stage. Fresh off an overwhelming stomp handed to them from Evil Geniuses yesterday, Cloud9 kept their dreams of attending Japan alive by defeating their Chilean adversaries to guarantee a second North American team at Tokyo.

The map ban and pick process brought forth Haven as the first destination of the match. Despite tying the score by following C9's opening two rounds with two rounds of their own, Leviatán were unable to do much to counter the early and fast aggression that allowed C9 to dictate the first half. After multiple fast-paced site hits, C9 ended the half 9-3 off the back of stellar performances from both jakee and runi .

Refusing to pump the brakes, C9 took the next two rounds of the half before Leviatán answered back with one of their own. After a failed C hit from the enemy put C9 at map point, they struggled to take the next four rounds before a brief but hectic fight outside the A site closed out the map 13-8.

With their tournament life on the line, Leviatán quickly upped their game on Lotus by securing a small lead early. Although C9 managed to answer back with two rounds of their own, Leviatán kept their economy in check with close rounds. Both teams traded wins throughout the first half, and by the time the teams swapped sides, the score sat at a balanced 6-6.

Eager to take the series to a third map, Leviatán took the first four rounds of their attack to secure a healthy lead. A timeout from mCe brought C9 back in the game, but one from Onur gave Leviatán the pause they needed to take the map 13-10.

C9 kept Onur and the rest of Leviatán on their toes throughout Lotus.

Ascent, the deciding map, would determine which team would advance to meet NRG in their next match. The losing team would be knocked out of playoffs, effectively crushing any hopes of attending Masters.

C9 quickly pulled ahead on their attacking half after winning their pistol, claiming round after round until Leviatán stopped their five-round snowball with a lighter buy. The two teams then traded rounds to end the half 8-4 in C9's favor. While Tacolilla was quiet on Ascent's first half, kiNgg stepped up and dropped 16 kills before the switch.

Unfortunately, kiNgg's performance wasn't enough to save his team, and after winning the pistol, C9 had all the tools they needed to confidently hit sites. Eager to meet NRG in their next match, the league's second seed in playoffs decimated Leviatán and won every single round of the second half to take Ascent 13-4.

All members of C9 ended the series with above a 1.00 rating, led by jakee's 1.21 after his immaculate performance against Leviatán. The former collegiate player boasted 11 first kills on Omen alone, the same amount leaf had picked up on Jett and Neon.

Looking ahead

With North America guaranteed another spot at Tokyo, C9 and NRG look to win one more series to qualify. Japan awaits the winner of their match, while the sting of defeat will have to suffice for the loser. On the upper part of their bracket, LOUD will once again attempt to stave off EG in hopes of securing a top two seed.

Tomorrow, May 26 will witness two matches take place:

Preview image courtesy of Marv Watson/Riot Games.