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North upset NiP to advance to ESL Pro League Finals

North beat NIP

On Friday night, North played against NiP with a spot at the ESL Season 10 Pro League Finals on the line. Heading into the series, NiP looked the likely candidate to win the match, with the easier route into the finals. As Chad “Spunj” Burchill said, North has to win 2-0 in order to advance. The Danish squad managed to hold out against NiP on Overpass, before dominating the Swedes on Nuke. This is an incredible result considering NiP’s maintenance as a top 10 team. With this result, let’s look at how it happened and what it means for North.

North win 2-0

North came into the series as the underdog. It’s no secret that North has fluctuated in world standings for quite some time, looking strong at one event, then fumbling in the next. This can happen as quickly as within a series – looking back at DreamHack Malmo.

In the final game of Group A, North faced off against NiP to determine the second seed of the group. The first map played out on Overpass, which went into a double-overtime in which North claimed victory in a chaotic match. The Danes found most of their dominant success on the B site. On both halves, North had great individual performances, with Philip “Aizy” Aistrup’s 4k in a 2v4 situation. In addition, Nicklas “Gade” Gade found a 3k on the B site defence. Plays like these definitely translated into North’s map one victory, with three North players positive on the scoreboard, to NiP’s 1. In fact, NiP only pulled the game back off of Simon “twist” Eliasson’s clutch, which shows you how well North played as a unit.

NiP keeping themselves in the game with a clutch from twist

Moving onto the next match, North crushed NiP on Nuke. This was a surprise since North now has a 37.5% win ratio in the last 3 months on Nuke. Heading into the game, North gained immediate control on the CT side and held the half as expected. North switched side with an 11-4 scoreline, mirroring their lead on Overpass. However, North would not let the game slip this time, as they continued to steamroll ahead into a 16-5 win – earning themselves a spot in the Odense arena.

North once again lead with an 11-4 half

What this means

North should be proud of themselves after this result. After having a moment of strength followed by moments of weaknesses, North seems to be back on track. North being able to 2-0 NiP after their successful deep runs at recent events is a sign of their ability to attack opponents head-on. Clearly, their performance on Nuke is a sign of successful strategical planning before going into the series.

In addition, North’s victory has brought up a regional rivalry: Denmark vs Sweden. Over the past few months, Swedish CS seems to be on the rise after Fnatic’s resurgence at DreamHack Malmo. As for NiP, they have yet to win an event, but they have been climbing higher in the standings as each event passes. North taking down NiP is quite a powerful hit to this narrative, and no doubt Swedes will watch carefully as Fnatic battle it out in Group B.

Finally, North making it into the ESL Pro League Season 10 Finals marks a third Danish team at the event. Astralis and Heroic are already attending the finals, and North is now able to join them. The ability for North to keep themselves in the picture is a sign this roster still has a life span.

The only question that remains is whether North have what it takes to contend with the worlds best teams at a LAN event? If history is to tell us anything it’s a no. Although, defying the odds so far as shown they can play spoiler, just like Heroic has. These two Danish sides now have one of the most interesting storylines in the Pro League Finals.

The remainder of the ESL Pro League Season 10 Group stages play out this weekend. You can watch the Pro League group stages for all regions here.

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