Pro League has certainly lived up to hype expectations this season, with tight point differentials and total upsets from across the spectrum. Now with only two weeks to go, only one team has been able to secure their spot for Milan- that being the Russian juggernauts of Team Empire. With that being said, week 12 brought us lots of upsets and only leveled the playing ground to have us questioning who’d be able to go to Milan, and who’d be getting cut.
If you want to know how things panned out this week, or maybe you missed out, here’s your recap of week 12.
North America - Open Season for Milan
Monday’s games were nothing short of exciting, with a continuation in the excellent series between SSG and Rogue and the hyped matchup of Evil Geniuses and DarkZero. Also, Team Reciprocity had a nice bye for this week, only to arrive home to a completely different Pro League than we had before.
The first game gave us Rise Nation versus Excelerate Gaming, both promising teams that have picked up new coaches in Remorce and Pojoman, respectively. Collectively, they look to avoid that 7th place relegation spot. Rise winning round one, the only round that attackers won in this game, was followed up by a five-round streak for Excelerate before Rise would pull back the scoreline in their favor to a 7-5.
This matchup proved the one-sidedness of Villa and the defensive meta, with a total of eleven rounds going to whoever defended. High on the leaderboards not only do we see the massive fragging power of Hyper, but we also see Acid proving his worth with an impressionable 1.26 Rating and 83% KOST. Achieved has us still questioning where his honeymoon moment had gone, with Excelerate now having to go back to the drawing board.
Next brought us another chapter in the epic saga of Spacestation Gaming versus Rogue, a matchup popularized in the USN Semi-Finals and repeated since then. Both teams within realistic boundaries to head to Milan under certain conditions, a win for either team would be more than necessary. However, in a very back-and-forth game, both teams end up in a draw, each earning one point.
From the side of Spacestation, ThinkingNade raises himself high with a 1.24 Rating, earning at least one kill every single round. Slashug also stands tall for Rogue with a 1.44 Rating and an uncontested 3-0 on Opening Kills. SSG now stand only three points below Team Reciprocity, and could realistically have a shot at going to Milan. Rogue sits at fifteen, with that likelihood not realistic whatsoever.
Finally, there was the most anticipated matchup of the week, Evil Geniuses versus DarkZero. This not only is the second time these teams have clashed but also BC’s first time playing against his old teammates. In a match that billed DarkZero as the favourites with the map pick going to Oregon, EG comes out huge with a 7-4 victory and the three points.
Yung and nvK stake their claims as excellent players, both with an 82% KOST. DarkZero aimed for some interesting bans in Dokkaebi and Vigil, but EG would reinforce their status as a team not to be fettered with on Oregon.
The results post-playday put EG and DZ on 23 points, with Reciprocity still sitting on 20. Spacestation looks to creep up for that second LAN Spot, but we could soon have a third team with 23 points if Reciprocity looks to repeat history for the third time this year.
Latin America - Never Mind, Gap’s Closed
As last week gave us a gap in the top four teams, this week comes in with a closure to such. Immortals and Liquid seemed to have some struggles, but FaZe and NiP are hot on the tail to reach Milan and represent Latin America once again.
Team Liquid versus paiN Gaming was not exactly what the public expected. A top-four team, versus a team that had a win-draw-loss record of 1-2-8. This was passed off as an easy Liquid victory, but little did they know. paiN playing with their coach, Norden, rather than the statistically unexciting Gabrilos gave way to their most impressive performance this season. As paiN hit match point on round ten, Liquid extinguished the flame with the last two rounds and a tie.
Next, should’ve been another dominant showing by Immortals against INTZ. Following last week’s 7-1 dragging against paiN, Immortals should’ve taken this victory easily to continue their immense lead in Latin America. It would be the unexpected, unprecedented showing from INTZ to close this out in a tie. INTZ remind Latin America once again that they are not a team to be slept on.
In another matchup with driving storylines, we see Muringa and ion take on their former rosters in FaZe Clan and Black Dragons. The matchup was hyped, to see the ‘dark horse’ of LATAM take down the stacked lineup in FaZe, but we didn’t see that. Karma seemed to catch up with FaZe from their earlier loss to Team Liquid at the hands of poor internet connectivity, this time hitting Black Dragons hard. How fitting that this all happened on the same map.
Lastly, Ninjas in Pyjamas continue to find their footing with new player muuzi. In their matchup with ReD DevilS, NiP takes a very staggered and back-and-forth matchup on Oregon. We continue to see Psycho’s absolute dominance this season, earning a 5-1 in opening duels and 1.54 Rating. With this victory, NiP is very much within grasp of heading to Milan.
At the end of the day, Immortals and FaZe are now tied, with two points separating FaZe from NiP. Liquid is still hot on NiP’s tail, only two points behind them as well. Liquid cannot afford to lose another LAN spot at the end of a season like this, but NiP is definitely making them work for that opportunity.
Europe - The Race for Second Place
With Empire locked in for first seed, Europe now becomes a down-the-wire chase for the second place seed to Milan. LeStream and Chaos are locked in a tantalizing matchup to determine whether LSE can secure second place or Chaos still retains a fighting chance to keep the Cinderella run this season going.
Before that, we saw yet another installation of the saga of G2 versus Empire. The DreamHack Winter Semi-Finals rematch, the Six Invitational Grand Final rematch, this matchup was sure to fall in the hands of G2 especially considering that they had chosen Border as the staging ground. Empire takes an early lead in the first half and even hit match point with round ten in their pocket, but G2 pull it back to tie. G2 went back to more traditional roles for this matchup, with Kanto having one of his most unimpressive performances this season alone.
Then came the matchup of LeStream-Chaos, a match with such gravitas that Chaos could stall LSE’s chances of making Milan once again. Both teams, especially Chaos, having amazing seasons in the early half but falling short in the second half. The Coastline matchup gave LSE a run for their money as the plays from Secretly and Renuilz dominated the game. In the end, Chaos would attain a very necessary victory 7-2.
The recent performance of Natus Vincere has been underwhelming since the org’s pickup announcement, but today turned yet another chapter in that story. In a matchup that Na’Vi was decidedly supposed to win against mousesports, mouz turns the tide and upsets the black-and-yellow movement. Despite the efforts of Cry1NNN, who seems to have had an excellent freshman Pro League season overall, the plays from Gomfi and SHA77E prove the Finn’s dominance in Siege.
Finally, we follow Team Secret’s continual story in an attempt to gain more points this season and evade auto-relegation. Suffice to say, the climax would not be achieved against PENTA. In a 7-1 shutout on Coastline, the European powerhouses catapult themselves to fourth place, three points behind Chaos and one above G2.
Europe’s standings at the end of the week put LSE and Chaos two points away from each other, with PENTA behind Chaos by three. Next week’s matchups are must-wins for either one of these three teams to realistically end up with the second place matchup. EU’s competition has been down-the-wire all season and doesn’t look to stop now.
Well, that’s this week’s roundup for you! Competition is still as close as ever and teams are more than likely feeling the heat with Milan slowly approaching in the horizon. Stick around here on SiegeGG for constant Pro League coverage as we approach the Pro League finals.