The PGL Major has entered its final phase, with the teams finally taking to stage in the Champions Stage.
Don't miss any of the action and results with this live blog.
SUN 22:40 - FaZe Clan do it
FaZe Clan have become the first international roster to win a Major. They beat NAVI on the second map of the grand final 16-10.
For karrigan and rain, the victory means redemption for the lost final of the ELEAGUE Boston Major 2018.
SUN 22:00h - Another record?
Will PGL Antwerp break the record for highest concurrent viewers?
At the start of the second map in the grand final, peak viewership broke through the 2 million concurrent viewers barrier.
The current record was set at the previous Major, PGL Stockholm, at 2.7 million.
SUN 21:25h - FaZe hold it together
FaZe has taken the lead in the series, but it was nothing like we described earlier.
NAVI came out in the second half swinging, quickly wiping out FaZe's lead and even reaching map point at 15-13.
But FaZe held it together and scraped to overtime.
Once their, they'd found their strife again, and secure a 19-16 victory.
Up next is NAVI's pick, Nuke.
SUN 20:38h - A strong start for FaZe
FaZe have started their map pick in a dominant fashion. On the T-side, they managed to win the first eight rounds of the half before NAVI could somewhat recover.
A 10-5 advantage for FaZe, going into the favorable CT-side, could mean that the action might be done relatively soon.
SUN 20:00h - The action has begun
Right on schedule, the grand final of the PGL Antwerp Major has kicked off.
In a couple of hours, we'll. know if NAVI can go back-to-back, or if FaZe can win their first.
SUN 19:50h - The picks are in
Those are the three maps that will decide who wins this Major.
With NAVI's recent resurgence on Nuke, it seems vital for FaZe to win their own pick, Inferno.
If we go to a third, Ancient will make it's second appearance in the Grand Final of a Major.
SUN 19:20h - The map pool of both teams
One of the most interesting parts about the grand final will be the maps the teams will play.
As with every Major, the final is a best-of-three.
At first glance, they have a very similar choice of maps, with one big caveat: FaZe Clan has proven that they can win on both teams' permaban, Nuke.
This gives a huge advantage in the first rotation of bans, as FaZe can choose to float the map and opt into banning something like Dust II.
This means that FaZe can avoid playing the one map where NAVI seems to have a statistical advantage.
On the five remaining maps, the margins are very slim, with FaZe holding small statistical advantages on Inferno, Overpass, and Nuke, and NAVI having an edge on Mirage and Ancient.
SUN 19:00h - The finals is upon us
With the shenanigans of the showmatch behind us, and team Smoke getting rightfully booed out of the arena for using AK-47s, it's now time to cast our attention to the grand finals about to kickoff.
The teams can be seen setting up on the stage now, with the action set to start in less than an hour.
SUN 18:00h - Showmatch about to begin
Get ready for some Negev spray downs, Revolver spam, and knife kills: The official showmatch is about to start.
Team Smoke and Team Flash are made up of players already eliminated from the Major, with NIP's es3tag and Outsiders' YEKINDAR captaining.
The appetizer for the grand final will take place on Overpass.
SUN 12:10h - The race for MVP
The race for the MVP medal between the finalists is still too close to call.
NAVI's Oleksandr "s1mple" Kostyliev and Valerii "b1t" Vakhovskyi are tied in a neck-to-neck race, with s1mple having the slightest of advantages.
The highest-rated FaZe player is somewhat surprisingly Havard "rain" Nygaard. But the Norwegian will have to make up quite some ground in the grand final.
SAT 22:30h - The dream final is on
NAVI against FaZe Clan. The defending champion against the number one team in the world. The final that most people wished to happen.
The minute the playoff brackets became public, it was the only thing that was on people's minds.
karrigan against boombl4.
s1mple against broky.
We will get the dream final, tomorrow at 18h.
SAT 21:45h - Dominant NAVI
Do we already know the second finalist? Or can ENCE pull off the comeback?
If we have to draw conclusions from the first map, NAVI can rest assured about the spot.
A quick 16-7, on ENCE's map pick non the less, heavily sways the odds in their favor.
SAT 20:40h - The picks are in
The final series of the day between ENCE and NAVI will (hopefully) have the upcoming maps:
- Nuke (ENCE)
- Dust II (NAVI)
- Mirage (Decider)
SAT 19:25h - FaZe lock in Finals spot
FaZe Clan is the first team to secure a spot in the grand final of PGL Antwerp. Following an overtime thriller on Dust II, the team managed to oust Spirit.
For FaZe, this means that they are one step closer to reaching Finn "karrigan" Andersen's goal of finally winning a Major.
Spirit sees a surprising run to the playoffs ended. The team still has to be proud of their achievement.
SAT 17:30h - FaZe take the first
The series has kicked off with an absolute nailbiter. On their own pick, FaZe took early control of the map.
A 10-5 half seemed to set up a quick result, but Spirit mustered somewhat of a comeback to make the final score more competitive: 16-13.
Next up is Dust II, Spirit's pick.
SAT 16:30h - The maps are in
The maps for the first semi-final of the day are in:
- Mirage (FaZe Clan)
- Dust II (Spirit)
- Nuke (Decider)
the crowd was very appreciative for Vertigo being the first ban.
SAT 15:40h - A crowd worthy of a Major
Over the past two days, the Sportpaleis has remained quite empty. The venue seats over 23 thousand people at full capacity, but has been nowhere near that number for the quarter-finals.
But today, the fans are showing up in droves.
SAT 15:30h - The players are setting up
With the first semi-final between FaZe Clan and Spirit starting in an hour, the players are setting up on the stage.
SAT 15:20h - Down to four
ENCE, FaZe Clan, Team Spirit, or Natus Vincere. One of these teams will win the PGL Antwerp Major.
From thousands of teams competing on the Open Qualifiers for the RMR, down to four competitors.
Will we see FaZe Clan and NAVI square off in the dream final, or can either ENCE or Spirit cause an upset?
We will find out today.
FRI 23:15h - NAVI take Nuke
Our final semi-finalist at the PGL Antwerp Major is NAVI. The CIS roster took down Heroic 2-1, after a dominant showing on the third map, Nuke.
They will face Heroic tomorrow.
FRI 22:05h - We're going to Nuke
Despite an impressive late-game comeback from Heroic, it's NAVI that manages to lock in Ancient. A 16-14 win for the CIS squad brings us to the third, decider map: Nuke.
NAVI used to be close to untouchable on the map, but ever since Vitality beat their winning streak at BLAST Fall Finals, they have looked like they are not comfortable.
FRI 20:45h - Heroic take the lead
Heroic has taken the first map in their series against NAVI. Casper "cadiaN" Moller - booed throughout the entire map as the Antwerp crowd showed their disapproval of his trash-talk - had a crucial clutch round late in the game.
Next up is Ancient, where NAVI has been undefeated in recent months.
FRI 18:50 - Next up: NAVI-Heroic
In just under an hour, the second match of the day will go underway.
In NAVI, Heroic will meet their (former) boogeyman, as they didn't manage to win a single series against the CIS powerhouse in two years.
But this Major, the Danes finally beat their demons, as they took down NAVI in the RMR.
For NAVI, it's all about getting a second star on their name, as the reigning Stockholm champions seem to have found their form just in time.
FRI 18:30 - ENCE take it in two
ENCE has secured a spot in the semi-finals. Following the convincing showing on Vertigo, Buke fell their way too.
With Lotan "Spinx" Giladi once again proving that he's in the form of his life, ENCE can now look ahead to a matchup[p against Heroic or NAVI.
FRI 17:25h - A strong start is enough
ENCE has stolen away CPHF's map pick, Vertigo. A dominant CT-side was enough for the roster, as they managed their 12-3 lead at halftime to a 16-10 victory.
CPHF misses out on their best chance of winning a map in the series, as ENCE has looked dominant on Nuke thus far.
FRI 16:20h - The vetoes are in
The vetoes for the first quarter-final of the day are in, and the action is about to kick off:
- Vertigo (Copenhagen Flames)
- Nuke (ENCE)
- Ancient (Decider)
FRI 15:50h - CPHF versatility against an ENCE in form
Copenhagen Flames is one of those rare teams that can play every single map in the pool to a certain extent. Yes, they would rather not play Dust II, but they can also float the map if it gives them a favorable counter-pick.
But with ENCE, they face a team that is red hot.
The ESL Pro League was their breakout tournament, but ever since they've looked like a truly elite team.
ENCE has the expectation. If they falter in the quarters against CPHF, they've got to be disappointed.
For the Danes, making it any further than this would be a cherry on top, and possibly a last hoorah.
FRI 13:20 - Second day of the playoffs
The second day of the playoffs is about to go underway. Kicking off the day is ENCE and Copenhagen Flames, in a battle of cinderella stories.
ENCE are the slight favorites going into the match, but never underestimate the power of the Falmes.
The second series of the day will be an absolute banger, with two teams that could have made it to the grand finals.
Heroic had a slow start to the tournament, as they suffered losses to both ENCE and Spirit. But can the Danes peak at exactly the right time?
Defending champions NAVI entered the tournament surrounded by doubts. Rumors about this being the last time we will see this exact lineup have been going around for weeks, and their form has taken a hit compared to last season.
But the CIS squad seems to have found their strife in Antwerp.
THU 23:10h - Chopper superiority
In another chapter of their Cinderella story, Spirit has qualified for the semi-finals. The ragtag Russian squad beat Furia 2-0.
Coming into the event, Spirit was considered to be an entertaining yet too inexperienced roster. But veteran in-game leader Leonid "Chopper" Vishnyakov has proven once again that he can turn anything into gold.
THU 21:00h - An upset in the making?
Spirit continues to show great form, as they stole away Furia's map pick of Mirage. They won a thrilling map 16-12.
Young rookie Pavel "S1ren" Ogloblin had a lights-out performance, as the Major debutant formed a deadly duo with AWPer Abdul "degster" Gasanov.
Up next is Ancient, where Spirit previously managed to take down Astralis and Copenhagen in the Major.
A potential third decider would be played on Mirage.
THU 20:05h - We have our first semi-finalist
It looked shaky at times, but FaZe Clan have locked in a spot in the semi-finals of the PGL Antwerp Major. They won the third map after falling behind early 16-8.
The tournament favorites will face the winners of Spirit-Furia on Saturday.
THU 19:10h - The stats going into Inferno
As any team competing at a high level, both teams are more than proficient on Inferno.
For FaZe, Inferno is one of their most popular maps, as they've played it 11 times in the past three months, and hold a 67% win rate on it.NIP plays it slightly less, eight times, but holds a better record at 75%.
THU 19:00h - All. Tied. Up.
We're going all the way as NIP ties up the series to secure a third, decider map. The Swedes took Overpass 16-13.
In-game leader Hampus "hampus" Poser topped the charts with 30 kills to his name.
The decider will be Inferno.
THU 17:35h - FaZe Clan take the lead
FaZe Clan has dealt the first blow in the opening quarter-finals of the playoffs. They looked shaky on their own map pick, Nuke, as NIP went into halftime with a 9-6 lead.
But with Robin "ropz" Kool finally waking up on defense, FaZe clawed their way back to a 16-10 victory.
Next up is NIP's pick, Overpass.
THU 16:40h - The action kicks off
With a pistol-round win for NIP, the action at the Champions stage of the GPL Antwerp Major has begun.
The first map between NIP and FaZe Clan will have the following maps:
- Nuke (FaZe Clan)
- Overpass (NIP)
- Inferno (Decider)
THU 15:40h - The gates have been opened
Image: Josse Van Dessel
Sportpaleis is slowly filling up with fans, the Champions Stage is set to start is less than an hour.
A surprisingly high amount of Vitality and G2 jerseys can be spotted in and around the venue.
THU 14:20h - A perfect day for Counter-Strike
The local government has issued an official warning for storm weather in Antwerp.
Perfect weather to stay inside and watch some Counter-Strike.
THU 11:40h - The Sportpaleis is ready
PGL has dropped a first view of the inside of the venue for the playoffs of the PGL Antwerp Major. In the picture, it's hard to see any details, but the word on the street in Antwerp is that it's the same stage as in Stockholm, with only a couple of but very significant changes.
The Sportpaleis seats 23.000 at full capacity, but the number of fans in the arena will likely be around 15.000.
— PGL (@pglesports) May 18, 2022
THU 11:00h - Antwerp wakes up
Good morning Counter-Strike fans. The wait is finally over.
In the past two weeks, we've seen 24 teams battle for a spot in the playoffs, with only eight teams remaining today.
In just a couple of hours, The Sportpaleis will open its doors to thousands of fans with the first two quarter-finals.
NIP and FaZe Clan will kick off the action, as the tournament favorites face perhaps one of the most surprising teams in the event.
Later on, underdogs Furia and Spirit will battle for a spot in the semi-finals.