Cloud9 secures ESL Pro League Season 17 grand final appearance after defeating ENCE. Read about their victory and the upcoming grand final matchup.

Cloud9 has become the first team to qualify for the ESL Pro League Season 17 grand finals after beating ENCE in a three-map series. The European team won the first map, Ancient, 16-10, but Cloud9 won the following two maps, Overpass and Vertigo, 16-12 and 16-9, respectively, to secure their spot in the EPL S17 Finals. This is the first title-deciding match for Cloud9 since they won IEM Dallas nearly a year ago.

This match was a rematch of their IEM Dallas grand final meeting, where Cloud9 won in a best-of-five series to take home the trophy and a $100,000 cash prize. ENCE could not reverse their fortunes, and instead, Cloud9 made it two wins from two against Marco "Snappi" Pfeiffer's men. The Russian team will need to defeat the series winner between FaZe and Natus Vincere if they're to pick up the trophy and earn a second notch on their Intel Grand Slam belt, with the best-of-five grand final set to take place at 20:30 on Sunday.

Ancient - Maden's Home Map advantage strikes again.

When Ancient was first added to the pool, Maden, a member of FPX back then, proved himself to be a superstar on the map, including a massive 42-kill performance back at IEM Summer vs G2. And today, he pulled out that star performance again to get ENCE into the lead.

ENCE picked Ancient, and both teams put up a back-and-forth battle for control, with Cloud9 clinching eight rounds by the end of their CT-side effort, but ENCE's Pavle "Maden" Bošković's impressive plays kept ENCE in contention. ENCE picked up the first two rounds of the second half and took the lead for the first time before a stalwart defence by ENCE sealed a commanding 16-10 victory.

Nafany plays for Cloud9 as their entry-fragger and IGL. (Image Credit: PGL)
Nafany plays for Cloud9 as their entry-fragger and IGL. (Image Credit: PGL)

Cloud9 Retaliate as Nafany Dominates to reach EPL S17 Grand Finals

Overpass began with both squads putting up three-round sprees to once again sit at a 3-3 stalemate. ENCE climbed to nine rounds by the end of their CT-side campaign, but Cloud9 answered back and won the map, 16-12. The series moved to Vertigo, and Cloud9 took the early advantage on the T-side by winning three rounds after overturning ENCE's win in the pistol round. ENCE managed to push up to six games by the interval to remain in contention, but Cloud9 won the map 16-9 to secure their spot in the grand finals.

Throughout the series, Vladislav "nafany" Gorshkov, Sergey "Ax1Le" Rykhtorov, and Dmitry "sh1ro" Sokolov performed exceptionally well and played a crucial role in Cloud9's win.

Can Cloud9 be the Giant Slayers?

In the finals of EPL S17, Cloud9 await the winners of FaZe Clan vs Natus Vincere. On the one hand, is the international superteam of FaZe chasing the ever-elusive Grand Slam. Cloud9 denied them twice already. Can they do it in the finals to get that $100,000 Giant-Slayer bonus? Or will their opponent be CIS rivals NaVi? The rivalry between these two teams was the headline of 2021, with online games going C9's way while NaVi cleaned the slate on LAN. Either way, the finals will be a certified banger to close out EPL S17.

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