LOUD LOUD Brazil Rank #1 Quick Gabriel Lima saadhak Matias Delipetro Less Felipe de Loyola tuyz Arthur Andrade cauanzin Cauan Pereira and Sentinels Sentinels North America Rank #1 TenZ Tyson Ngo Zellsis Jordan Montemurro zekken Zachary Patrone johnqt Mohamed Amine Ouarid Sacy Gustavo Rossi became the final teams to qualify for Masters Madrid, taking down Evil Geniuses Evil Geniuses North America Rank #42 Derrek Derrek Ha NaturE Nicholas Garrison supamen Phat Le Apoth Vincent Le jawgemo Alexander Mor and NRG Esports NRG Esports North America Rank #3 crashies Austin Roberts Victor Victor Wong Marved Jimmy Nguyen Ethan Ethan Arnold Demon1 Max Mazanov respectively to reach the VCT Americas Kickoff grand final. EG and NRG are both eliminated from the event. Sentinels and LOUD will play on Sunday in a Group B rematch for the Americas first seed at Madrid.

LOUD eliminate Evil Geniuses to become first Americas team at Madrid

The first matchup of the day saw a reunion between the two organizations in the Champions 2023 losers bracket matchup, albeit with five different players from that series. LOUD would open the first semifinal match by selecting Ascent, a map that they won fairly comfortably against both Leviatán Leviatán Latin America South Rank #1 tex Ian Botsch kiNgg Francisco Aravena Mazino Roberto Rivas aspas Erick Santos C0M Corbin Lee and Sentinels despite an off-meta composition.

Evil Geniuses would not let the Brazilian squad have a good time on their attack, getting jawgemo 's Operator online and then complimenting it with two Odins. Those weapons, combined with Apoth 's oppressive Cypher utility and timely flanks, propelled EG out to a dominant 9-3 lead.

Amidst the Odin warfare, the Operator still reigns supreme.

Despite not looking perhaps as well-drilled on their attack, Evil Geniuses won a critical eco round to break the LOUD economy, which they used to seal a 13-7 victory on LOUD's map pick a round later. supamen and jawgemo were spectacular throughout the series. Quick struggled to have an impact on Phoenix, picking up just six kills.

EG looked to secure their spot at Masters Madrid on their map pick of Icebox, bringing out the Deadlock selection for jawgemo once again. LOUD answered by imposing an attacking 6-1 lead as the entirety of the EG roster struggled besides jawgemo. Through eight rounds, jawgemo had 10 kills to match the rest of his team combined.

After the rough start, Evil Geniuses managed to salvage a 8-4 half. Following a pistol loss, a force-buy win looked like it could give EG some momentum, but LOUD answered with their own eco to shut EG down. LOUD would eventually win with five retake rounds on their defensive side.

Tuyz might be the best Harbor in the world.

LOUD got the win with two pistols and by converting seven of their eight low-buy rounds. EG's performance was marred by whiffs and three different eight-kill performances on their zero-duelist composition.

The series and first Madrid spot from Americas would be on the line in the final map of Sunset, where LOUD had never played previously in an official setting.

The Brazilian players looked right at home however, as their individual skill shone at the beginning of Sunset, picking up multikill after multikill. Derrek faced a similar dilemma to jawgemo on Icebox, receiving little help to compliment his 15-kill attack half.

A vintage Derrek performance wasn't enough to save EG.

That trend continued into the second half, with EG mustering little resistance before being eliminated from Americas Kickoff by a 13-5 scoreline. A critical round 16 2v4 clutch from tuyz and Less after a Derrek 3K to open the round all but sealed the series.

Evil Geniuses finished with a -40 kill differential in the final two maps. Most of the struggles came on their attack sides, with strong LOUD retakes overcoming the EG postplant setups. The controllers from LOUD were the stars, with tuyz and Less putting up world class numbers in the series.

“We didn't have much to work with on Ascent,” cauanzin said post-match. “But on the final two maps we had some material to work with from EG's match with G2, and we prepared ourselves really well to take those maps.”

Sentinels shock NRG in three map thriller

The second semifinal matchup was a showdown between two of the most hyped Americas teams, as Sentinels and NRG would meet up to decide the final Masters Madrid team. The squads would open the series on Sunset, a map that both teams have had impressive performances on since its debut.

A back-and-forth first half saw NRG take a 7-5 lead. NRG found timings and flanks constantly through the first half to cause chaos in the mid-round. A few strong retakes for NRG ended up as the difference along with a failed Sentinels force-buy after a pistol round loss. Another pistol win set up a path to victory for NRG in the second half, but Sentinels would block that route off the back of TenZ and zekken . NRG found only three first kills on their attack rounds.

TenZ had a few blunders, but his play was a big factor for Sentinels' win.

TenZ came up with a massive 4K on the final round of regulation to force overtime. The scrappiness of the map continued throughout overtime, with individual prowess showing up time and time again from both sides to keep the map in a deadlock. It was ultimately the incapability of NRG to find openings that would spell disaster for the Group A winners as Sentinels finished the thriller of a map with a 16-14 victory.

A +8 first kill differential was the main takeaway from Sunset, 10 of them coming from zekken alone. Two 30 bombs from their star duelist and TenZ on the Omen were major components of the Sentinels victory.

Just one map away from their first major tournament invite since Champions 2021, Sentinels started Ascent on the back foot. Despite a pistol round victory they faced a 8-4 deficit as Ethan was practically unkillable.

"Victor is just playing with them."

Sentinels managed a few more rounds on attack but NRG was just too strong with their utility and reads on the map. Ethan ended the map with 27 kills and a 1.43 rating to lead his team in the penultimate map.

The series and final spot at Madrid would be decided on Split. Sentinels were ready for the moment to begin with, with TenZ and zekken popping off to begin their defensive side with a dominating 5-0 lead.

It was already downhill for NRG, but this just snowballed it even more.

johnqt continued said dominance with multiple clutches to keep the successful retakes going for Sentinels. NRG had no answer for anything Sentinels were throwing at them, facing a 11-1 deficit and elimination from Kickoff. Even with a Marved pistol ace, nothing could stop Sentinels on Split as they clinched the victory.

TenZ and zekken were the star duo throughout the series, both dropping 57 kills each. Sacy and Johnqt contributed timely multikills and clutches as needed throughout the series to be a strong fallback for Sentinels. Each player on Sentinels finished with a positive rating. For NRG, it was the opposite. Victor was the only player to be positive in K/D across the three maps.

“We're a really close team,” Zellsis said post-match. “We all want to win so badly. I think the first match with LOUD was kind of a fluke, so I think we can pull out the best of five in the finals.”