Team Heretics were crowned champions of First Strike Europe Regional Final after defeating SUMN FC in a series that saw a 13-1 on Ascent, 7-13 on Icebox, 13-5 on Haven, before a nailbiter of a fourth map, with Bind ending 13-11, allowing Heretics to take home $40,000 and the First Strike Europe trophy.
Team Heretics started the best of five on Ascent, with them locking in their normal composition. SUMN were set to mix things up yet again with Domagoj “doma” Fancev selecting Jett, his fourth agent change throughout the event. With a messy retake attempt, Heretics held the site and took the pistol, before using a well rehearsed execution to take the follow up. SUMN then went on to win the next retake, before another B-execute by Heretics gave them their third. Flawlessly taking a fourth, Heretics started feeling confidence and momentum, bringing their lead up to 10-1. For the twelfth round, SUMN took matter into their own hands, pushing up B main, but were shut down by Žygimantas “nukkye” Chmieliauskas’s Blade Storm, giving Heretics an 11-1 half.
After taking the A site, SUMN got the spike down but were swarmed again by the Heretics, giving them map point before being completely shut out of the B site, closing the map at 13-1.
With the start of Europe’s first Icebox, both squads chose to play a Viper, Sage, Jett, and Killjoy, with Jake “Boaster” Howlett choosing into Sova, and Dustyn “nieSoW” Durnas preferring the Raze. Pistol round started slow with SUMN pushing into a stacked site, and eventually losing after the spike plant. Forcing back in, SUMN pushed the opposite site but great crossfires closed the round out, with fundamentals giving Heretics a third. Great rotational play and calls from SUMN allowed them to pick up a post plant on A, followed by repeat Boaster 3ks to bring the score to an even 3-3. The following three rounds then went in SUMN’s favour despite some worrying situations.With a miraculous 4k, niesoW replied with a dangerous 4k to bring Heretics back into contestion. SUMN didn’t let their momentum be halted however, taking another round. Viper’s Pit combined with Sage’s wall allowed Christian “loWel” Garcia Antoran to gain a 2k and use the Resurrection on a teammate to end the half at 7-5.
An unchecked doma and some great classic shots from James “Mistic” Orfila gave SUMN the second half’s opener, which they built on with two. Lowel then took an impossible round, taking two with less than a second to spare, with Auni “AvovA” Chahade’s Viper’s Pit forcing SUMN to save in the sequential round. Muhammad “Moe40” Hariff traded rounds back again with another 4k, winning SUMN the retake. The following retake was also taken in a heroic fashion with Mistic holding the defuse against 3 remaining Heretics members, who won the map, 13-7, with a wonderful hold on the B site, evening the series at 1-1.
With the third map, both squads returned to the compositions seen from them earlier in the tournament. Heretics opened up the scoreboard with the pistol, almost slipping in the follow-up, losing four players. Kostas “tsack” Theodoropoulos scored SUMN their first with a well positioned 1v2. The British core then followed up by cleaning up the fourth round before rushing into lowel’s A site, held off by a sturdy 4k. SUMN and Heretics then traded rounds out, which allowed Heretics to buy superior weaponry and flawlessly reobtain the C site, before winning the following four, ending the half at 9-3.
Heretics opened the next half with their tenth due to a 1v2 from nukkye, cleaning up the following two, giving them map point at 12-3. Walking through a dark cover, Boaster saved his squad from demise with a wonderful 3k to deny the map, with his squad following with a clean 5v5 retake. A lurking Melih “pAura” Karaduran and a double from niesoW’s Hunter’s Fury then completely opened up the map, allowing Heretics to close out the map, 13-2.
SUMN’s Bind saw Heretics return to their normal composition including AvovA’s Brimstone. SUMN decided to shake things up yet again with doma moving back to Raze, keeping Boaster on Omen and Mistic on Viper. Heretics started the map by taking the pistol and ensuing two force buys keeping it close throughout, before shutting out SUMN’s eco round. SUMN finally found some footing on the fifth round with doma’s Showstopper and Boaster’s 3k, which they instantly built on by taking the next round with a free B site. A 3k hold from niesoW trades a round back into Heretics’ favour building onto their defensive half by stringing together another round, forcing SUMN to take a tactical pause.
With the score at 6-2, the pause came to an end, SUMN tried to punch themselves into the A site, but nukkye and his Operator denied all control. Re attempting the previous round, SUMN successfully took A and then used all of their post plant utility to stop any ability to defuse the spike. The Operator and nukkye then resynergied, stopping all entries into the A site, but SUMN were the ones to finalize the half, 4-8, using their Viper’s Pit to hold off the B site.
Heretics opened their attack by extending their lead by two rounds, bringing them up to double digits but SUMN’s captain, Boaster, answered back with yet another multikill, before edging them out to find their sixth. Moe then completely obliterated Heretics’ push with an Ace, and continued with a doma 4k 1v2 to save another round. With lowel clutching a close round, Heretics do find an eleventh, but is quickly returned with a solid B site retake from SUMN. Then taking another, SUMN’s B site was then tested but the hold was great, bringing them back to level pegging at 11-11. With a double fake and teleport, Heretics then took and held the B site, before a nail biting A execution saw Heretics be crowned as the champions of First Strike Europe.
First Strike Europe Regional Final
The Final Standings for First Strike Europe Regional Finals:
1. Team Heretics – $40,000
2. SUMN FC – $20,000
3-4. G2 Esports – $10,000
3-4. FunPlus Pheonix – $10,000
5-8. Team Liquid – $5,000
5-8. nolpenki – $5,000
5-8. Orgless – $5,000
5-8. Purple Cobras – $5,000