ENCE qualified for BLAST Premier Spring Showdown Europe with a 2-0 win against Apeks in the qualifier final. Apeks had advanced to final match after they defeated KOVA 2-0.

KOVA-Apeks (0-2)

Norwegian forces must have been surprised about getting another underdog as their playoff opponent. They were third-placed team in Group A by winning against GODSENT, while KOVA took second place of Group B by beating North and Nordavind.

Map veto offered no surprises. Apeks removed their permaban Train and KOVA removed Overpass. Apeks picked Mirage and KOVA picked Vertigo. Nuke would have been the decider map.

Mirage (Apeks 16-12)

Apeks looked lost in their T-side pistol, but starting from their first gun round, it was a completely different story. Dennis ”dennis” Edman showed his experience, as he was quite a menace to KOVA’s defence, and eventually Apeks had a solid 7-2 lead. KOVA found their rhythm and took five of the last six rounds. Half-time score 8-7 to Apeks.

Apeks won CT-pistol and had no trouble at all shutting down KOVA’s following force and eco buys, increasing their lead quickly to 11-7. After a couple of back and forth rounds, KOVA managed to broke the CT economy. Finnish fellowship had the perfect chance to tie the score 13-13 against full eco.

It wasn’t completely full eco though, as Kristian ”akEz” Kornbakk had saved AK from the previous round. KOVA had 5v4 against three pistols and one AK, but akEz turned the round over to Norwegians with three AK frags and some help from his teammates. KOVA had to make two force buys as a last-ditch effort, but Apeks ran to victory 16-12.

Vertigo (Apeks 16-11)

Pistol rounds weren’t favoring KOVA too much today, as Apeks started once again with a solid 3-0 lead in their CT side. KOVA took three back to make it a 3-3 tie, before Apeks found one to shake KOVA’s economy to two weaker buys. KOVA couldn’t get their attacks going, as akEz was once again making plays. Apeks might have won the half 11-4, if it wasn’t for KOVA’s Tec-9 train to take their fifth round win. Apeks had no money for the last round, allowing KOVA to make it 6-9 half-time score.

Needless to say, Apeks won pistol round and strolled to 12-6 lead, despite cost-effective rounds by KOVA. The first gun round was successful, and KOVA managed to cut the lead to 12-11. Then it was Tec-9 time, as Apeks won their half buy with three kills by akEz. The next round looked like KOVA had 3v1 retake in the bag, but dennis stopped the defuse through the smoke. Apeks went on to seal the qualifier final spot with a 16-11 victory.

Player highlight: akEz

During their three group stage maps, akEz averaged only 0.95 Rating, despite the massive 1.55 Rating performance against GODSENT with 29 kills. Unfortunately for KOVA, that same akEz was seen in the server in both Mirage and Vertigo. His eco round heroics helped Apeks close Mirage, and he dropped a 30-bomb on Vertigo. He had 51 kills, 1.42 Rating and 95.5 ADR to carry his team to qualifier final against ENCE.

ENCE-Apeks (2-0)

ENCE was the obvious favorite for the qualifier final, but Apeks put up a good fight, until the latter half of the second map. Map veto started with no real surprises as both team removed their perma bans – Train (Apeks) and Vertigo (ENCE). Apeks picked Nuke, as they aimed to extend ENCE’s eight map losing streak. ENCE picked Dust2, which hadn’t been victorious for Apeks for their last five attempts in HLTV matches. Mirage was left out as the decider, but it wasn’t needed.

Nuke (ENCE 16-13)

Apeks kept their pistol win streak going, but ENCE didn’t let them off the hook easily. ENCE lost force buy, but saved a few weapons for the following full eco. Ole Kristian ”Marcelious” Langan had to clutch 1v2 to make it 3-0. Therefore, only one gun round win was enough for ENCE to make a break. Finnish team won four rounds in a row, making some bank in the process.

Apeks took the lead back to 5-4, and finally broke the money of ENCE by winning one more. However, allu had saved his AWP, and five-seven was everything Elias ”Jamppi” Olkkonen needed to put a stop to secret push.

ENCE took back control to finish the half 8-7, and came in their T-side guns blazing. After ENCE’s five-round long dominance, Apeks finally stopped them in their tracks. The losing streak of eight Nukes seemed to continue for ENCE, as Apeks came back from 7-13 to 13-13.

ENCE decided that enough is enough, and took the lead back with a beautiful A-hall rush by Jere ”sergej” Salo and Jani ”Aerial” Jussila. The comeback died swiftly and ENCE went on to close the map 16-13.

Dust2 (ENCE 16-8)

Apeks kept impressive pace in their CT-side, starting from the pistol round. They put constant pressure for ENCE, and took 4-1 lead in the process. That one round win for ENCE was beautifully clutched by Jamppi.

The momentum shifted for ENCE’s favor, when they took their second round win and Apeks faced economic challenges. The rounds were traded back and forth, until Apeks ensured the half win by winning three rounds in a row, making it 8-6. Little did they know, that was it for their tournament.

ENCE won their last T-side round, and all their nine CT rounds to close match and the BLAST Premier Showdown Europe spot with a 16-8 victory. And they closed it with style, as Jamppi and allu smashed the opposition with the double AWP setup.

Player highlight: allu

Nobody can stop GOD allu, when he’s on point. His statistics pretty much speak for themselves:

  • Nuke: 34 kills, 116.5 ADR, 1.86 Rating, 8-1 entry duels.
  • Dust2: 20 kills, 84.6 ADR, 1.32 Rating, 3-1 entry duels.
  • Overall: 54 kills, 102.1 ADR, 1.61 Rating, 11-2 entry duels

One down, one to go

It’s the last day of Elisa Invitational. We shall see, who gets the next spot for BLAST Premier Spring Showdown Europe, among Ninjas in Pyjamas, Vitality, Astralis and ENCE.

North and Dignitas start the day 17:00 EEST, while Heroic waits in the qualifier final 21:00 EEST. Remember to follow ElisaEsports on Twitter and either ElisaViihdeSport or BLASTPremier on Twitch to catch the action.