The two teams touted as possible title contenders for EPIC.LAN 38 fought their way through the tournament to each earn their own spot in the grand final. Coalesce cruised through the upper bracket with minimal difficulty to make their first stage appearance as a team, and Viperio had some extra work to take care of along the way as they dropped to the lower bracket before their finals birth.
Coalesce proved that their first victory was against Viperio in the upper bracket final was no fluke, as they took the grand final of EPIC.LAN 38 in a 2-1 fashion. Despite both teams losing their own map picks, Coalesce won the war of attrition in the series despite being down 10-5 at the half on map three, Overpass. They gathered their composure, tied together a streak of round at the beginning of the half, and carried the momentum through to the end to win the match.
Viperio went down fighting and mounted an impressive comeback on Anubis, falling short at the end to a half-buy round on A. Vertigo seemed to show that Viperio were ready to bite back and carry it through all the way to the final map, and even won the half on their T side of Overpass to boot. Despite this, Coalesce were able to reign victorious in the two team’s second match-up. Viperio can still walk away extremely proud with their performance at EPIC.LAN 38, and with the RMR to look forward to in April, the only way is up.
Coalesce repeated their feats from their last match-up in the upper bracket finals, where they managed to convert the first pistol round to kick-start their CT side. Javier “Ping” Griffiths had some key entries in the early stages of Anubis to string together a handful of rounds, but this was cut short after an AWP clutch from Tobias “shyyne” Sæther concluded the round on A. Individuals continued to set up for Coalesce, as Ryan “dox” Young posted a round-deciding multi-kill to deny the bomb plant on B and the round for Viperio. Back and forth rounds continued, but the CTs were able to steady the ship and cruise their way to a 10-5 half.
Coalesce continued this form into their attacking half, where they secured 14 rounds with relative ease. Finally, Viperio were able to find some opening kills and quash the streak of rounds from their opponents. Marco “MMS” Salomone sprung to life with a three-man spraydown in A Main, and the cash reserves for Viperio were beginning to stack up. They made an admirable effort to post twelve rounds despite the looming danger of match point for Coalesce, but a quick A execute and double-kill entry from dox‘s Tec-9 was enough to deny the comeback, winning Viperio’s map pick 16-12.
A pistol round win for Coalesce kicked off map two on Vertigo. With an impressively high winrate in recent times on the map, Viperio were expected to have their work cut out for them in this uphill battle. After securing the first gun round, Viperio gathered themselves and tied it up at four rounds a piece thanks to a 1v1 clutch from Callum “Girafffe” Jones on A. Tom “arTisT” Clarke proved to be a thorn in their sides after impressive rounds from his AWP, and in round 14 he made a round-winning call to stack B and shut down Coalesce’s execute. Viperio’s good form continued on, and they won the half 10-5.
Viperio finally won a pistol round, and they looked set to steamroll their way to a map win. shyyne put a stop to this after saving an AWP and using it in the following round to break their money with an assortment of pistols in his teammates hands. The A hold of Coalesce was clearly the weakness that Ciaran “biscu” King’s men chose to exploit, and while dox tried to plug the holes in the sinking ship, Viperio took advantage of the chaos on the defence to earn match point and to ultimately win the game 16-8.
Overpass began with another pistol win for the side of Viperio, who hit the ground running on their T side. They converted their first gun round, but dox pulled off a stellar 1v3 with a single spray from a saved M4 to give Coalesce another fighting chance early in the half. These heroics assisted in stabilizing the CT’s economy and building up their momentum, but was cut short by another round loss on round 10, resetting their money. Viperio won the half after financial troubles continued to plague the defenders of Coalesce, and their streak continued into another 10-5 half.
A pistol round clutch from Oscar “AZUWU” Bell injected some life into Coalesce in the second half, and while keeping Viperio’s money on the ropes for the first handful of rounds, they were nearing a tied scoreline. shyyne was plunged into a 1v2 against a force-buy, and was narrowly bested by arTisT to try and extend Viperio’s lead with full utility at their disposal. Coalesce brought it back to a tie game, and after an important 1v2 AWP collateral from shyyne in a post-plant on A, dox‘s men were poised to take the lead and run with it. Chaotic rounds ensued, and on round 25, Oliver “leaf” Jackson closed it out with 3 impactful frags to earn 14 rounds, and Coalesce took it all the way to win map three 16-12.