Outsiders have advanced to the ESL Challenger Rotterdam grand final following a 2-1 victory over MOUZ in the first semi-final series of the tournament. The team around Dzhami “Jame” Ali now have a few hours to rest as they await their opponent in the title decider — the winner of ENCE–Eternal Fire.
The first Rotterdam semi-final was a taste of what is to come at the IEM Rio Major and gave Outsiders a mental advantage ahead of their match against MOUZ in the opening round of the Brazilian event’s Challengers Stage in two weeks’ time.
The two teams won each other’s picks before it came down to Ancient, where Dorian “xertioN” Berman‘s superb efforts on the CT side weren’t enough to push MOUZ over the line. fame matched the Israeli’s performance, putting up 29 kills and 9 openers to lead Outsiders out of a 0-8 start on the deciding map.
Outsiders pulled themselves out of a hole on Ancient on the back of fame’s nine openers
MOUZ struck first in the series on Inferno in what ended up a much more difficult map than it first looked. They had everything under control throughout the first half, starting on the CT side, with clutches from xertioN and David “frozen” Čerňanský in key moments helping them stay on top and secure 10 rounds.
A crucial Christopher “dexter” Nong Deagle double at 11-13 then seemed in vain when Alexey “Qikert” Golubev denied MOUZ the momentum with a clutch of his own in the next round, but another 1v1 from the Australian in-game leader turned the tide once more. Breaking their opponents’ economy on the back of their captain’s plays, MOUZ strung four rounds together to close the map 16-14.
Mirage was up next as MOUZ‘s pick. dexter & co. got away from the line first with a pistol round win, but began to struggle after the first three rounds against a strong Outsiders defense. Evgenii “FL1T” Lebedev and David “n0rb3r7” Danielyan led the way as the Russian side put together a 10-round half, with the latter stepping up with a key 1v2 to deny MOUZ a chance to regain momentum early in the half.
Another good start to the half from MOUZ turned into nothing in the second half. Jame‘s quad-kill stopped the European team in the first gunround, and from there Outsiders remained in control, with the AWPer closing the map with a 1v3 clutch at 16-9.
Looking determined to close out the series in quick fashion, xertioN stepped up to the plate on the CT side of Ancient with a superb display. He started out the map with a Dual Berettas triple in the pistol round and went on to add four big multikills to his name on the way to a double-digit half, in the end amassing 22 kills over the first 15 rounds to give MOUZ a big advantage.
But Outsiders did not relent despite a 0-8 start to the map, with a fame 1v1 breaking the streak and the Russian then helping Outsiders pick up another key round with just pistols a couple of rounds later as he opened up the B bombsite for them with a Tec-9.
The 19-year-old continued to put up great numbers once on the CT side, where Outsiders mounted their comeback with a retake on the A bombsite in the pistols and soon took their first lead as MOUZ seemed to have no answers. A couple of solitary rounds weren’t enough to break Outsiders‘ bank, and the Russians rallied to a 16-12 victory to claim their spot in the Rotterdam final.