Week 13 of Season 9 was nothing short of incredible. With the race to Milan becoming tighter and tighter, teams have been neck and neck in the race for a qualification spot, often having the hopes of their seasons determined by a single round. As we draw to a close, the penultimate week of week 13 has given us a clearer look at the teams that will be going to Milan.
Here’s your recap of what happened.
North America - The Door Closes for Milan
With one spot left to qualify for Milan, Monday’s games were ever so tense. DarkZero, who qualified for the first North American spot, was awarded with a well-timed bye week, which would allow them to prepare for Milan in the upcoming weeks.
The night kicked off with Rogue vs Rise Nation. Rise, who are currently tied with Excelerate Gaming for last place in North America, looked to prove their worth with a struggling Rogue roster, and started off strong with a two round lead. Hyper led his team well, picking up key frags as Nomad, and covering the flanks with well-placed airjabs. Rogue fought back hard though, winning 4 unanswered rounds, leaving the score at 4-2 at the end of the first half.
Rise once again started off the second half strongly, with Hyper at the forefront of all the action. He grabbed an impressive 3k in an attempt to give his team some momentum.
Both teams traded rounds throughout the remainder of the second half, but Rogue ultimately came out on top with a scoreline of 7-5.
The second matchup gave us Spacestation Gaming (SSG), a team whose Milan hopes had virtually slipped away last week, versus Excelerate Gaming. While SSG’s Milan hopes had not completely vanished, it would have taken a miracle for SSG to qualify.
SSG started off solidly, winning four straight rounds. Round 2, which could have easily been a win for Excelerate Gaming, actually went the way of SSG with a smart play from Chala to go for the defuse amidst the dead bodies. Soon after, SSG was 4-0 up.
What seemed like a SSG blowout quickly turned into a rally from Excelerate Gaming. Five unanswered rounds completely stunned SSG, putting them down by one round. After trading a couple rounds, Excelerate put themselves into match point, one win away from completely extinguishing SSG’s Milan hopes. Pojoman, who recently jumped back into a player role from coaching, almost won a 1v2, but SSG was able to hold him off, drawing the game, but still saying goodbye to their season.
Finally, the day’s proceeding led viewers to the most anticipated matchup of Evil Geniuses (EG) versus Team Reciprocity, both looking to secure the last spot to Milan. Both teams started off the game trading rounds back and forth, with Reciprocity finally taking their first lead of the game in the seventh round.
As the game drew closer to its end, EG were able to place themselves onto match point, one round away from qualifying for Milan. What looked like a very promising round for Team Reciprocity to bring things back was spoiled by a smart C4 from Geo, denying the plant and ultimately winning the round for EG. They snatched the second North American spot to Milan and will now join DarkZero there.
Latin America - Milan Still Up for Grabs
With both spots still open for Milan, it was open season for Latin America. This week’s matchups came down to the nitty gritty as the top four teams were looking to represent their region at Milan, and were reduced to just three in the fight
The first matchup on Wednesday was between FaZe Clan and INTZ e-Sports. The game began with an even field of play, with both teams trading rounds back-and-forth, but the experience of FaZe allowed them to hold the lead at the end of the first half by a margin of 4-2.
The second half of play was more balanced,, with the teams trading rounds once again and taking three rounds apiece. FaZe thus ultimately came out on top, beating INTZ 7-5.
The game was followed up by a match many had been correctly predicting to be a relatively one-sided affair. Ninjas in Pyjamas (NiP), who have had a great season, were looking to qualify for Milan, and took on paiN Gaming, a team that is not only well off the mark for Milan, but could also face auto-relegation this season.
The dreadful season for paiN did not show any signs of ending, as NiP muscled their way into the match and won five rounds rather easily. While paiN attempted to rally back, winning a few rounds, NiP finally put the nail in the paiN-ful coffin, beating the struggling side by a margin of 7-3, and forced them into the dreaded auto-relegation spot.
The third matchup of the day featured Latin America’s first place team, Immortals, and the fifth place team of Black Dragons. Immortals were looking to close the door on the the rest of the league and ensure they made their way to Milan, while Black Dragons had little to play for.
The first half was quite close, as Immortals took the first two rounds but Black Dragons stormed back to erase Immortal’s lead. Both teams traded rounds thereafter, but Immortals were able to gain momentum and steal the lead. They rode that momentum all the way to match point, where it was looking like a Black Dragons round. However, in the dying seconds, Immortals were able to come up with a quick succession of kills and win the game, and move one vital step closer to Milan.
Closing things out were Team Liquid and ReD DevilS. Liquid were also looking to grab a spot in Milan to represent their region, but thanks to other results, had been mathematically eliminated from the running. While Liquid started strong thanks to the superb fragging capabilities of SexyCake, Nesk and PSK, Red Devils fought back hard, putting a few rounds in their pocket. Despite having nothing to play for but pride, it was ultimately Liquid who came out on top, and won by a margin of 7-3.
Europe - The Stage is Set for Milan
With Empire still holding onto the first European spot for Milan, teams were fighting for one spot, much like North America was. LeStream Esport, who currently hold second place in Pro League, were looking to secure their spot with a win in Friday’s matchup, and they did so in style.
Things kicked off with LeStream and Team Empire, with Empire looking to bed in their replacement for Shockwave, Dan, and LeStream fighting to get that coveted Milan ticket. Things looked grim for LeStream, as Empire won the first two rounds in typical Empire fashion. LeStream fired back, however, winning three straight to place themselves in the lead. Both teams had rounds stolen from them, as AceeZ grabbed a triple with his masterful Glaz play, but the round was clutched in a 2v5 situation by Empire. What looked to be an Empire round was then snagged by LeStream with a smart play from Alphama, hiding in the smoke and denying the plant.
Empire fought back, but it was LeStream who ultimately came out on top, grabbing three crucial points, and getting them one step closer to Milan -- in fact, LSE would qualify on the day itself if G2 Esports beat Chaos later on.
After LeStream’s strong win over Empire, PENTA’s hopes to qualify for Milan were beginning to slip away. The second matchup of the day featured them taking on mousesports, and after LSE’s win, PENTA’s job had become even tougher. Both teams traded rounds during the first half, but PENTA came out swinging with a lead of 4-2. The mixed-EU team then surged into the second half and swiftly defeated mousesports by a scoreline of 7-3, and pushed their opponents closer to the danger zone as they themselves waited with bated breaths for the last match of the day.
Before that, though, was the fight between the region’s bottom feeders, as both Natus Vincere (Na’Vi) and Team Secret held eighth and seventh place, respectively. With no hopes for Milan on the table, both teams were fighting to avoid auto-relegation.
Both Na’Vi and Secret traded rounds, with Na’Vi up 4-2 at the end of the first half. Secret fought back, but Na’Vi ultimately took the game 7-4, and jumped up a spot, pushing Secret down to last place and in danger of auto-relegation.
All eyes were on the last matchup on Friday, as Chaos were looking to grab three points and push the fight for Milan into the last week of Season 9. While the Swedes started strong, winning the first two rounds, G2 fought back hard, equalizing the scoreline. Goga picked up a beautiful Ace as part of a 1v4, as he flexed his muscles to remind the world that his team were still world champions.
Chaos fought back hard with hopes of winning the matchup, but G2 managed to grab the three points, and put an end to Chaos’ Milan run. With Chaos out, LeStream took the last spot and qualified for Milan, simultaneously dashing PENTA’s hopes as well.
And that was the roundup for week 13 of the Pro League. With both North America and Europe’s spots at Milan secured, all eyes rest on the matchups next week in Latin America, where teams will have their final shot at representing their region at Milan. Stick around here on SiegeGG for constant Pro League coverage as we approach the Pro League finals.