Today, Acend Acend Europe Rank #1 zeek Aleksander Zygmunt cNed Mehmet Yağız İpek starxo Patryk Kopczynski BONECOLD Santeri Sassi Kiles Vlad Shvets became the first Challengers 1 finalists of Stage 3 after overcoming Guild Esports Guild Esports Europe Rank #7 Sayf Saif Jibraeel Yacine Yacine Laghmari bonkar Malkolm Rench Leo Leo Jannesson draken William Sundin 2-0. In the lower bracket, G2 Esports G2 Esports Europe Rank #3 keloqz Cista Wassim Mixwell Oscar Cañellas koldamenta Jose Luis Aranguren AvovA Auni Chahade nukkye Žygimantas Chmieliauskas edged out FunPlus Phoenix FunPlus Phoenix Europe Rank #4 Zyppan Pontus Eek ANGE1 Kyrylo Karasov Shao Andrey Kiprsky ShadoW Tobias Flodström dimasick Dmitriy Matvienko 2-1, keeping the lower bracket run alive as G2 seek redemption with its new roster.

Acend vs. Guild (ACE 2-0)

Hostilities broke out on Breeze, a map that wasn't in Acend's plans. Still, they went in all guns blazing and started winning round after round. By the time the half was over, the European squad had slotted in 11 rounds against the Swedes. Guild showed great resilience switching sides, winning five rounds and managing to close the gap to 11-6. A critical 4K from Mehmet "cNed" Yağız İpek on round 18 shattered the already fragile morale of the Swedes, handing his squad the 13-6 map win.

"We didn't expect to play Breeze. After our practice match, Laurynas "Nbs" Kisielius told us that we're playing Breeze", Patryk "starxo" Kopczynski said in the post-match interview. "Everyone was shocked, no one on the team wanted to play it because we don't like this map. But we just played it... and I think it went kind of... good."

Few players can pull off a round like this and still look so zoned out

Guild had a much better start to Haven, staying in the lead throughout nearly the entire first half. The tide turned when Acend switched to defense, allowing them to start putting rounds on the board, only letting up one of them. Vlad "Kiles" Shvets had a breakout performance in this second map, top fragging with seven 2K's, the most in the match, and 215 ADR. Acend took the map 13-8 and advanced into the grand final.

G2 Esports vs. FunPlus Phoenix (G2 2-1)

The fight for survival was between FPX and G2. Both teams were qualified for the EMEA Challengers Playoffs, but one of them would go home early at the end of this series. Seeds, prize money, and pride were still in play, and no team is willing to let any of it go.

The two teams showed exactly that on the Bind opener. Even though G2 started stronger and managed to chain more rounds, Jose "koldamenta" Luis Aranguren's squad was only up by two rounds at the end of the first half. FPX began to put the pressure on in the second half, eventually taking the lead 11-10. G2 clutched out the last three rounds, and held on to the 13-11 win. Žygimantas "nukkye" Chmieliauskas looked extremely comfortable at the top of the leaderboards, with over 320 ACS and nearly a 2 K/D ratio.

As lost as it may have looked, nukkye clutched it out against four to secure a first half victory

From the deserts of Bind to the frigid Icebox, Andrey "Shao" Kiprsky stepped up to the plate and put in amazing frags to earn the team a 10-5 lead. In spite of FPX reaching map point, G2 started slowly crawling back and pushed the map into overtime. It was still FPX's, taking the two rounds they needed to tie the series up with a 14-12. Shao finished the map with 34 frags and an outlandish 355 ACS at 241 ADR.

The fight went to Haven, where nukkye kept showing his master class. FPX kept the fight close in the first half with calculated plays, but G2 took over the game once they began attacking. The squad went on a rampage that took them from 7-5 to 13-6, scoring a clean victory over the Kyrylo "ANGE1" Karasov squad and guaranteeing them one more chance at reaching the grand final.

nukkye and Cista "keloqz" Wassim combined 130 frags with rounds like this

There are still two more days remaining in Stage 3's first EU Challengers event. Tomorrow, July 10, Guild and G2 will play the Bo5 lower bracket final as one last hurrah before the winner plays against Acend in the Bo5 grand final, played on July 11.