The third season of the BeNeLux League recently concluded its online stage and the top four teams are now preparing for their LAN finals tomorrow. Read on to find out all that has happened and all that is expected.
The Season So Far:
With one team disbanding during the season, one team disqualified for a number of no-shows, one player banned for cheating and a number of delayed matches, Season 3 continued the Benelux league’s tradition of messy group stages but has not stopped some top quality R6 from being played across the seven-week long league.
Trust Gaming came into the league as the first ever Challenger League roster from the Benelux region and thus the clear favourites, despite failing to win the Season 2 title. Throughout the season, they have shown viewers exactly why they are such giants of the sub-region -- despite them having to focus on much higher stakes games in the Challenger League and the upcoming Major qualifiers, they went undefeated, winning all five games they played in.
This, however, doesn’t mean the league was a walkover for the team as three of five of their wins came down to the wire, with close 7-5 victories against Os Leões (now known as Solwing Esports), Flash Point Esports, and Conquer Gaming, all of whom were close challengers to the league leaders.
Also of note is the roster of ForeignFive (F5) who, while losing 7-0 to Trust Gaming, put up a strong showing against most of the other teams in the league. They ended the season with a 3-0-2 win-draw-loss record with their only other loss coming against Os Leões in a matchup they initially won but was then docked due to ESL Wire issues for one of the F5 players. This roster will likely be the main challenger to Trust Gaming as the core of this lineup also defeated the Pro League team of PENTA last month is a remarkable 7-0 scoreline within the Saturday League German national tournament.
The next team of note is Solwing Esports, which had the Pro League players of Juhani "Kantoraketti" Toivonen and Alex "SlebbeN" Nordlund playing for them during the regular season, as well as the ex-Benelux region champion of Rik “Craxan” Kerkhoven. Rounding out the top four teams we will see at LAN is the new Flash Point Esports roster which surprised a lot of people by finishing ahead of the very successful ex-Flash Point roster of Conquer Gaming and made it to the LAN Finals against the vast majority of people’s expectations.
The teams attending the LAN Finals are, therefore:
Trust Gaming: Avaiche, Deapek, Leonski, Meadzzz, and Quadzy
Flash Point Esports: AndThaMan, JinxedOwl, Sloth, The.Wishmaster, and Xoogle
Solwing Esports: Craxan, Dark, Fippsi, HzDef, and Kabouter
ForeignFive: Eastwood, Haze, Next1, PRiSM, and imEdd
We sat down with Eastwood from ForeignFive, Leon "Leonski" Snikkers from Trust Gaming, Rik “Craxan” Kerkhoven from Solwing Esports, and Brandon “Xoogle” Doemges from Flash Point to find out how they feel going into the LAN finals.
How do you and the team feel going into the LAN finals?
Eastwood: We are very excited to meet each other!
Leonski: We feel prepared and confident going into the finals.
Craxan: We feel great, as a bunch of washed up individuals, our goal was to make it to the finals. Which we did!
Xoogle: We're all very happy and excited to go to the LAN finals; for most of the people in our team it's the first time going to a LAN. It's also exciting to meet people in the Siege community that you've only played with and against online.
What does this opportunity mean for your team?
Eastwood: This opportunity doesn't mean anything for us, cause this was just a little side project with friends... besides this we have our own teams.
Leonski: Going to these finals means we can reclaim our title as the number one team in the Benelux region.
Craxan: It's a great opportunity for the younger talent in our line up to get scouted for bigger teams!
Xoogle: For us, it's about getting the experience and the exposure -- we're taking this opportunity to soak in as much experience as possible for future LAN events like Benelux LAN.
How different is it playing at home and playing on LAN?
Eastwood: Playing offline is way more fun, just because of the experience and meeting the boys.
Leonski: Playing on LAN for us means we can 100% focus on the game without having any background influences. I feel we play a lot better on LAN.
Craxan: Well, a lot of distractions and just lesser PCs. But it's a great way to show you can adapt to anything.
Xoogle: LAN is a totally different atmosphere, you can feel the pressure as people are watching you right in front of you. It will also put you out of your comfort zone as you'll be playing at a different desk, different environment, etc. For some people it may be challenging to adapt to this kind of situation, but that's also just part of the learning experience that we should use. We can only grow from here.
How do you feel about your opponent's skill?
Eastwood: No pressure at all, we just want to have fun.
Leonski: We will not underestimate any of them but we are the clear favourites.
Craxan: I know we can beat any of them.
Xoogle: I'll mention Trust as we'll be playing them first. Skill wise they have an advantage when it comes to playing on LAN. and playing on a competitive level as a team overall. In comparison to us, they have been together for more than a year. which gives them a lot of trust and confidence amongst each other. Due to playing at such a high level, it is fair to say that they are a stronger team. All we'll try to do is to try and get into their heads by doing things that they would not expect. We'll play with the philosophy of "go big or go home”.
Is there anyone in particular that you need to watch out for?
Xoogle: Not really. When it comes to our first opponent, Trust, we feel like they play as a team and not really that any of them, in particular, would be more of a reason to watch out for than the other. We will look at how to counter them as a team and not at how to counter one or more particular players in their team.
The games will be played tomorrow, the 22nd of June, starting at 2 PM UTC+2 (local time) with the grand-final scheduled at 8 PM that same evening on the rainbow6bnl Twitch channel. The games will be played in a closed LAN setting meaning that no spectators will be able to watch the games live, however, the presence of a LAN itself should help elevate the quality of games and give the players some healthy practice before a possible DreamHack Valencia appearance for some of the teams next month.
While previous seasons have invited Pro League casters of Michael "KiXSTAr" Stockley and Ghassan "Milosh" Finge to cover the LAN Finals, this closed event will instead be presented by just the local casters of Stijn "Hap" Hapers and Thiadrik "Toldersma" Oldersma, with analysis from the returning names of the Pro League analyst of Alex "z1ronic" Dalgaard-Hansen and the coach of PENTA, Jessica "Jess" Bolden.
We, therefore, spoke to Hap to ask what these finals mean for the region:
The upcoming finals are going to be a defining moment for the Benelux Scene. Even with the bumps we have had during the season with Zookeepers and Elegance's Minions dropping out, the level of play has been at the highest it has ever been. There is a lot of potential unfolding within the region, and people start taking notice of the players in the region. Take Eastwood for example, who has joined the Ex-Na’Vi line-up.
Therefore, I am really excited to see what these teams can bring and if they can challenge our regional giant, Trust Gaming. Last season we saw an upset, with Demise taking them out in the grand final; this led Trust Gaming to be more motivated to win the tournament more than ever I think. Can Foreign Five, a line-up who is looking to make Challenger League next season as well, bring them down? Or will it be someone else, that is the exciting part of Siege, anything can happen.
You can catch all the games on the rainbow6bnl Twitch account tomorrow and be sure to keep track of all of SiegeGG’s Benelux coverage on our Youtube and Twitter accounts and you can read all our previous coverage of the league right here!