FURIA had entered IEM New York hot off a tournament victory, having swept 100 Thieves in a grand final just days prior to win ESL Pro League Season 12 North America. A flawless run through the group stage of IEM New York, including a second series victory over Evil Geniuses, had put Andrei “arT” Piovezan‘s troops at the top Group A, leaving them first in line for a semi-final bye heading into the playoffs.
New England Whalers, meanwhile, had come into the tournament fielding a stand-in, utilizing Brandon “BOOBIE” Roberts in place of Brendan “Bwills” Williams due to an early roster lock for the event, with one of their first matches seeing them fall 0-2 to EG. The Whalers still demonstrated good form as they dealt with the likes of Triumph and Rebirth in their group to assure themselves of a spot in playoffs, but it was a surprise victory over FURIA on the final day of the group stage that changed the overall standings, with Evil Geniuses taking the top spot and FURIA ending up as the third seed coming out of their group.
BOOBIE and Ben “ben1337” Smith were at the helm of the Whalers’ success on Mirage, with the team running up an 11-4 lead at the end of their offensive effort against the Brazilians. A pistol round victory and subsequent conversions in the second half offered FURIA brief respite, but it was not long before the Whalers brought an end to their map pick, 16-9.
Nuke was a closer affair as FURIA began to claw back, making up for an 0-4 start as they edged out a one-round lead by the break. Strong performances from Kaike “KSCERATO” Cerato and Henrique “HEN1” Teles helped FURIA maintain their lead after the break, with the team putting themselves moments away from a victory at 14-9. However, a comeback effort from the Whalers kicked off in full force, with the MDL team securing seven rounds straight to stave off their opposition and edge out the map win, 16-14, to take the series.