EMEA powerhouses Natus Vincere Natus Vincere Europe Rank #3 ANGE1 Kyrylo Karasov Shao Andrey Kiprsky Zyppan Pontus Eek SUYGETSU Dmitry Ilyushin ardiis Ardis Svarenieks and FNATIC FNATIC Europe Rank #1 Leo Leo Jannesson Derke Nikita Sirmitev Boaster Jake Howlett Chronicle Timofey Khromov Alfajer Emir Ali Beder have punched a ticket to the Kickoff playoffs following 2-0 victories against Team Liquid Team Liquid Europe Rank #14 Jamppi Elias Olkkonen nAts Ayaz Akhmetshin Enzo Enzo Mestari Mistic James Orfila Keiko Georgio Sanassy and Team Vitality Team Vitality Europe Rank #15 trexx Nikita Cherednichenko Kicks Kimmie Laasner runneR Emil Trajkovski ceNder Jokūbas Labutis Sayf Saif Jibraeel . They are now one match away from qualifying to Masters Madrid, and await an opponent following the playoffs draw. KOI KOI Europe Rank #155 kamo Kamil Frąckowiak ShadoW Tobias Flodström grubinho Grzegorz Ryczko starxo Patryk Kopczynski sheydos Bogdan Naumov is one of their possible rivals, with a 2-0 defeat of BBL Esports BBL Esports Europe Rank #23 Elite Efe Teber pAura Melih Karaduran Brave Eren Kasırga reazy Kaan Ürpek QutionerX Doğukan Dural keeping them alive in the tournament.

Team Liquid and KOI next play against each other in the Group B Decider. The winner of that series will then go to the Play-In stage, and the top team will join NAVI, Team Heretics, and FNATIC in playoffs.

Likewise, Team Vitality face a rematch against Ascension winners Gentle Mates, where the victor will also advance to the Play-In stage.

NAVI sweep Team Liquid with clean 2-0

The veto gave first pick to Team Liquid, who chose Split to kick off the match. NAVI selected Breeze, confident since their 13-6 win against BBL. Ascent remained as the final map.

The map started in fairly standard fashion, with ardiis and Zyppan granting their team the pistol round. They won the anti-eco, and Team Liquid took the bonus. Two more rounds for NAVI followed, putting them at a 4-1 lead.

For round six, Mistic teleported into NAVI's spawn, and they were none the wiser. This let him find two eliminations to stop a retake, and Team Liquid won another offense round. They were able to better justify their map selection in the following round, turning the score around and taking the lead 5-4.

The half ended 7-5 in Team Liquid's favor, setting them up for a favorable defense, the side on which the team has been more comfortable in the past

SUYGETSU finds three to win the pistol

Refreshed from halftime, SUYGETSU opened the second half with a triple kill. NAVI continued on to not lose a single round. There weren't necessarily any individual heroics; every team member contributed equally. The winning streak meant Liquid was on the back foot economically, only being able to full buy on two rounds in the second half. NAVI ultimately won Split 13-7.

Continuing on Breeze, the pistol round came down to a 1v1 between Jamppi and ardiis. The NAVI player was low on health, and Jamppi finished him off. The next round saw a failed set play with ardiis's Yoru, hindered by his team's lack of rifles.

He redeemed himself with back to back clutches, and NAVI went on to win the next three rounds. Team Liquid responded with four round wins, aided by triple kills from Mistic and nAts . In the end, NAVI evened things out with a final offensive round, tying the score 6-6.

The second half of Breeze mirrored map one. NAVI got off to a strong start and was clearly the more dominant team in the half. Team Liquid found a consolation round, but NAVI's defense was too difficult to crack otherwise. Zyppan stepped up for his team, getting four multikills across the half, putting him at 16 eliminations in their defense. He ended the map with a 1.51 rating, the highest in the server.

ardiis and Zyppan expertly coordinate a retake

“They're a new roster,” NAVI coach Erik commented after the match. “As maps go on, the experience shows,” he added.

This series marks the fourth time the two have met since the beginning of the VCT partnership, and the third time NAVI has come out on top. Historically, this game has been one of EMEA's flagship matchups. The NAVI core (previously on FunPlus Phoenix FunPlus Phoenix Inactive SUYGETSU Dmitry Ilyushin Zyppan Pontus Eek ANGE1 Kyrylo Karasov Shao Andrey Kiprsky ardiis Ardis Svarenieks ) and Team Liquid have faced off on 14 occasions, with Liquid only winning twice.

KOI earn rematch against Team Liquid with 2-0 win

The second match of the day would determine the first team eliminated from Group B. Both teams were hoping to redeem themselves after a poor 2023, with BBL Esports ending league play in 7th place and KOI in 9th.

The series began on Bind, where BBL had recently defeated NAVI. The two teams opted for slightly modified versions of the classic comp. BBL went with a second flash initiator with pAura 's Breach, while KOI put ShadoW on Fade.

KOI started off with a 4-0 lead on their opponent's map. Once the economy equalized on round five, BBL scored their first point. This did little for their hopes at a comeback, as KOI ended up winning the half 10-2.

ShadoW ends a 4k with a clutch

After the half, BBL were able to win a close pistol round to extend their stay. They took two more rounds, including KOI's bonus, forcing them onto a half buy. grubinho kept a hero Vandal, and kamo was tasked with leading a cautious site take with his Sheriff. After losing the first kill to reazy , the Polish duo were able to find two picks each for a thrifty win.

BBL then called for a timeout, but KOI won the final two rounds of the map, winning Bind 13-5.

Map two was Split, KOI's choice during the veto. BBL entered the map winning the pistol round and showed a fair defense half. Elite continued his good form from Bind, helping mitigate kamo's entries. It would not be enough, however, since kamo led his team to win six rounds on their attack.

KOI switch to a pacier attack to finish the half

For their own offense, the Turkish team attempted a force buy after losing the pistol. It almost paid off, but they were unable to finish off ShadoW, dying to him as they attempted to enter into B. BBL did win round 16 after their economy settled, but KOI remained unfazed. In the end, KOI won the map 13-10, despite BBL's best efforts at closing rounds out.

Ahead of the rematch against Team Liquid, starxo was confident about their chances. “What made us lose, some problems we already fixed,” he reflected about their previous meeting. “We're just gonna win it on Sunday.”

FNATIC win first of two matches needed to go to Madrid.

The Group C Winner's match featured FNATIC, who earned a bye due to their 2023 performance, and Team Vitality, who earned their place in the upper bracket after defeating Gentle Mates. This meant FNATIC had more recent footage on their opponents, but Vitality could go into the match with the momentum of a 2-0.

The map veto was a lose-lose situation for the French org. The maps that remained after the bans were Lotus, a map FNATIC has only lost twice, Ascent, a map where FNATIC have bested the likes of DRX and LOUD, and Bind, arguably their most iconic map and where FNATIC had set the standard for every other team since before being FNATIC.

Undeterred, they entered Lotus with an early lead, up 3-1 to start. An aggressive thrifty and cautious anti-eco from FNATIC put them on even footing, and they carried that momentum to an additional five round wins.

Boaster's aggression pays off

Despite Sayf 's best efforts, FNATIC ended the half 8-4. He ended the half with a 17/8 KD and 1.63 rating, but the rest of the team failed to keep up.

His controller partner, ceNder , opened the second half with a triple, gifting his team the pistol. They shut down a proactive eco outside C, and returned to the site for a bonus round win off the back of a Kicks 4k. Identifying a weakness, they once again finished on C, but paid too much respect to FNATIC's eco round and lost to time.

Alfajer extended their lead with a blind triple kill on B. Following that win, a back-and-forth ensued, lasting until round 21. FNATIC were now on match point, and Vitality needed heroics to recover. Sayf and Destrian shut down a flank to win a half-buy round, followed by a clean plant on an empty B site. Kicks put the cherry on top with an Odin triple kill, sending map one into overtime.

Only two short rounds were played outside regulation, as FNATIC easily picked apart Vitality's defense and attempted attack.

FNATIC were now one map away from playoffs. Team Vitality continued their pistol round streak, and found the opening kill on round two, but Derke and Alfajer won them the round. Vitality then accelerated their offense to find another two rounds. Their opponents were happy to oblige, confident enough in their retakes to let Vitality enter sites. For the final two rounds, runneR and Sayf helped their team win a thrifty, while Kicks brought back the Odin to recover a 3v5.

An Odin denies the ace for the second time in the map

Chronicle won a 1v2 clutch on round 13, earning FNATIC's first pistol round. He repeated the feat on round 15, breaking the rival economy. By now confidence was built up for the two-time LAN winners. An unassisted push from Derke and perfect timing from Boaster won them the last two rounds of the map.

“This year we're going for all three,” Boaster said. “You'll just have to wait and see what we have been cooking.”