Sixteen teams. One spot reserved for the Raleigh Major. Over the course of four days, squads from around the world looking to book their ticket to North Carolina would have to first clash with one another in Spain. Our coverage begins on the first two days of streamed games, after the Bring Your Own Computer (BYOC) segment that concluded on Thursday.
- Day 1 (Friday)
- Day 2 (Saturday)
A gruelling three map series between Chaos and the Japanese outfit of Father's Back saw overtime across all three maps, but in the end it was Chaos who outlasted their opposition, winning out by a margin of 8-6, 7-8, 8-7.
A spirited MCES side gave PENTA more than a few headaches as they pushed overtime to its absolute limits, but PENTA nonetheless prevailed, winning 8-7 on Clubhouse and then sweeping the floor with their opponents 7-0 on Bank.
Rogue and Na'Vi took a map apiece from their first two encounters, but it was a resilient NA side that clawed their way out of a three round deficit to win seven rounds on the bounce, defeating Na'Vi on the same map (Kafe) that had proved fruitful for them just weeks ago when they defeated G2. The final scoreline was 7-5, 4-7, 7-3.
A feisty Giants team took the lead on Consulate by a score of 7-5, but it was LFO who bounced back, winning Kafe and Coastline by margins of 7-2 and 7-4 respectively.
Maps: Bank (7-5), Clubhouse (7-1), Border (Not Played)
TSM: Merc, Biologics, Achieved, Krusher, Beaulo
Team oNe: LuKid, Reduct, rhZ, Faallz, SKaDinha
Map One: Bank
As a well known staple of the Latin American playstyle, Bank seemed like a curious map pick from TSM. T1's added unpredictability and chameleon-esque strategies compounded to the problem Pojoman's squad had in front of them. But could they take the fight to their Brazilian adversaries?
Right off the bat the answer appeared to be an emphatic "no". Winning three straight rounds, Team oNe began to look comfortable on their opponent's map pick. Round four gave us the first inkling of a turning tide as new recruit Beaulo picked up a three-piece for TSM to give them their first round.
A 4-2 split on the first half of the map gave T1 the edge heading into their attacking phase, but it was TSM who began to gain ground, putting round after round together through good teamwork and intelligence - most notably Krusher's composure in a 2v4 situation - allowed the North Americans to win five of their six rounds on defense, handing them a 7-5 win on their map pick of Bank.
Map Two: Clubhouse
Clubhouse was much more clear cut compared to Bank however, as TSM took a handy 5-1 lead after being given the defense to start their half. A timeout after finding themselves in a three round deficit seemed to raise T1's spirits as they put together a round for themselves, but from there on it was all TSM, taking the match and a map victory by a score of 7-1, even sealing the final round with a flawless attack onto Gym/Bedroom.
Maps: Villa (7-0), Coastline (7-5), Clubhouse (Not Played)
Team Reciprocity: LaXInG, Skys, FoxA, Retro, MarktheShark
Trust Gaming: Deapek, Quadzy, Leonski, Meadzzz, Avaiche
Map One: Villa
Villa was, to put it mildly, a complete shellacking from Reciprocity as they denied Trust Gaming a single round win. REC seemed to emphasise their raw gunskill as they won fight after fight against the Benelux champions. Even when it looked like Trust had a round in their hands, Skys popped up on Smoke for a sparkling 1v3 clutch on the Trophy/Statuary site.
Nothing Trust tried seemed to go their way as they found themselves repeatedly outgunned, outmaneuvered and beaten when it came to the information game. Despite being their map pick, Trust's showing on Villa looked like a long road back to even push things to a decider.
Map Two: Coastline
Undeterred by their comprehensive defeat on Villa, Trust began things off on the right foot by winning their first round, preventing a dreaded 14-0 scoreline. A 4-2 split in the first half went the way of REC and it looked like Trust were in trouble yet again, but switching sides gave them a much needed boost as they won three straight rounds to take the lead of a map for the first time.
It looked to be going all Trust's way on round eleven but with a 2v4 situation Reciprocity responded with crushing force and good teamwork to turn the tide and break what remained of the European side's resolve, collecting a map and match victory to meet TSM in the winner's bracket.
Maps: Consulate (7-4), Villa (8-7), Kafe (Not Played)
Team Vitality: BiBoo, BriD, Stigi, Quaal, Spark
Cloud9: h3dy, SweetBlack, EnvyTaylor, Neilyo, Nova
Map One: Consulate
With Team Vitality having recently been promoted from the Challenger League, some may have doubted their credentials. However, Cloud9's Season 9 APAC Finals performance had been spectacularly poor, and their domestic competition has not been anywhere near as strong as Vitality's.
Starting off on Consulate, a map familiar to both teams, the map was expected to be close, and it certainly began that way. The first half was shared equally, with Cloud9 winning three of their attacks and Vitality winning three of their defences.
Swapping over to attack, though, Vitality came alive. Consistently shutting Cloud9's roam game down, they seemed to be more than up to the challenge that the Koreans' defence could give, taking the half 4-1, and the map 7-4.
Map Two: Villa
On Villa, it looked like Cloud9 had simply run out of steam. Round after round, Cloud9's attacks fell upon the defense of the Frenchmen, and round after round they were repelled. Thankfully for the APAC team's fans, they managed to secure a sole round on attack, keeping them in the hunt for a draw pending a comeback -- not an impossible task, as has been done many times before.
Sure enough, despite losing a round early, and facing four match points, Cloud9's consistently strong defences began flummoxing Team Vitality, and very soon it was 6-6. Going to overtime, the coin flip favoured Cloud9, giving them defence, and it seemed certain the match would head to Kafe. However, a choice to go to the Living Room bomb site on the first floor -- thus far a success for Cloud9, but widely considered to be the weakest site on the map -- proved to be a mistake as Team Vitality followed up their own defensive win with an attacking one, taking the map 8-7.
Home hopefuls x6tence found themselves up against the Brazilian giants of FaZe Clan in their first group match, and gave themselves a decent showing in front of their domestic crowds, stealing away Bank from the Latin Americans by a score of 7-4, but couldn't keep the momentum going as FaZe ran out 7-4, 7-2 winners on Consulate and Clubhouse.
Maps: Border (7-3), Coastline (7-4), Villa (Not Played)
Chaos: Renuilz, Kripps, Vitoline, Secretly, REDGROOVE
PENTA: Hungry, Blas, SirBoss, RevaN, ENEMY
Map One: Border
Two teams with a wealth of information about one another, Chaos and Penta began their run in to the quarter finals on Bank. A weak looking Armory Lockers/Archives defense was deftly handled by the Swedes on the first two rounds, but it was a 4k from Enemy that looked like it could turn the tide as the two squads drew level on the same site.
From thereon however, Chaos found a working formula as they put round after round on the board. A 1v3 clutch from Kripps didn't do Penta any favours, and while they won an attack on to Customs/Storage, their ultimate opposition was time, losing round ten due to a lack of clock and handing Chaos map one.
Map Two: Coastline
Kripps had no intention of letting Penta reset and steady the ship on Coastline, as he fell upon player after player on Penta, making the best of a dire 2v4 situation on round one by spending an eternity outside the defender map boundaries, fully detected but in no way helpless.
A fire alarm briefly interrupted play but it didn't arrest Chaos' momentum, streaking to a 5-1 lead on the first split. Knowing they needed to turn things around, Penta found an extra 10% as they tried to bring things back. Another Enemy 4k gave the mixed European team some hope, but it was quickly snuffed out as Chaos capitalised on a Double Bar defense and a lack of sufficient coordination to win the match.
Maps: Border (7-4), Kafe (7-2), Clubhouse (7-0)
MCES: ZephiR, RaFaLe, NoerA, Shiinka, Lion
FB: Apple, Kenki, KI_N_CHI, DustelBox , Kakitare
Map One: Border
Starting off on what seems to be a Japanese staple, Border, Team MCES were not given much of a chance given that Father’s Back had just pushed Pro League side, Chaos, to a three-map, overtime thriller.
On attack, Father’s Back (FB) seemed unstoppable. Always entering with either an opening kill or a swiftly refragged opening death, MCES were simply unable to deal with the sheer firepower available to their opponents. Even in scenarios when the French side took the lead in man-count, FB hardly seemed to break a sweat, bringing it back to win the round on more than one occasion.
5-1 down heading into the second half, MCES started something of a comeback, but Apple began stepping up hugely, securing all four kills needed in a 2v4 while playing Maestro, and stepped up in other rounds as well. Some questionable choices from FB, such as DustelBox opening up the rightmost panel on the office wall and losing his life repeatedly, made the map a lot closer than it should have been for FB, but all’s well that ends well seemed to be the Japanese team’s motto, and they ran out 7-4 winners.
Map Two: Kafe
Now moving over to Kafe, Father’s Back would have been hoping to ride the high of their first map win, but it seemed instead that they would start running out of steam. With Kafe believed to be more of an attacker-sided map (at least as of now), they were on the backfoot, but a lack of coordination seemed to be a huge problem for them as their defences were consistently torn apart.
Heading into the second half down 1-5, they would have been hoping to do what MCES had tried earlier, but could only manage a single round on their own attack. Finally exhibiting some of the issues that had been plaguing them in the Pro League this season, they failed to keep the game from going on to the third map, losing Kafe 2-7.
Map Three: Clubhouse
Over on Clubhouse, though, Team MCES decided to flex their muscles and show to the world that they are not to be underestimated despite not being a Pro League or Challenger League team. Completely shutting down the Father’s Back attack at every turn, the 6-0 put them in striking distance of a match against PENTA, and they soon achieved their objective.
Despite a fantastic performance against Chaos the day earlier, FB were consigned to an embarrassing 7-0 loss at the hands of MCES, and their disjointed play was a particularly weak point for them, and is likely to be the reason why the players are still searching for their first point in the Pro League this season.
With the Group A decider match set to be played off-stream, PENTA’s experience against fellow European side, Team MCES, paid off as they won in a 2-0. However, PENTA had to slog through overtime on the first map, Border (8-6), before a more comfortable second map win on Coastline (7-3), leaving Villa untouched.
With the highly anticipated Rogue vs Looking For Org match played off-stream, it was the reigning US National winners that took the win in a convincing 2-0 performance. Looking For Org was unable to matchup on Coastline, losing 7-4, and while they were able to force overtime on Clubhouse, they eventually fell 8-6.
With Villa and Clubhouse set to be played, the Spanish team of Giants Gaming were unable to do much against the UK-based Natus Vincere roster, losing 7-5 on the first map, and 7-2 on the second.
Maps: Consulate (8-6), Kafe (5-7), Clubhouse (8-7)
LFO: Korey, AceeZ, Alphama, Hicks, risze
Na'Vi: CTZN, Saves, Doki, NeLo, Kendrew
Map One: Consulate
Fully intent on proving their proficiency on LAN as well as online, Looking For Org came out of the gate firing on all cylinders, handling their primary and secondary sites with aplomb. Back-to-back defenses on the Lobby/Press Room site drew things level, as Doki popped up for a 3k for their first and Navi leaned on good teamwork to grab their second.
A 3-3 split at the first half seemed to be a fair outcome, but it was the Navi defence that stagnated a little after also winning their first two rounds of the half as LFO had done before them. With proceedings tied up again at 6-6, we headed to overtime to determine a map victor. LFO bounced back from a loss the previous round on Lobby/Press to push themselves ahead, but it was the fire alarm yet again playing spoiler, robbing viewers of a chance to see the outcome of the fourteenth round play out. In the end it was LFO who took the map, and took the lead.
Map Two: Kafe
Having won Na'Vi's map pick, LFO had selected Kafe as their second battleground for the day. Perhaps identifying a possible weakness as their opponents had lost the same map to Rogue only a day beforehand, it looked like the Na'Vi boys had it all to do. Undeterred, they came out of the blocks firing, punctuating their second round with a flawless round, but as it had been on Consulate, so it was on Kafe as neither team could be separated after six rounds.
Switching sides seemed to give Na'Vi the edge on the Russian complex, as supporting cast NeLo and Saves popped up with a 4k and a 3k respectively. NeLo found himself heartbreakingly close to a round win as he prefired the correct spot that the opposing Echo was hiding in, but was ultimately a victim of time as LFO were no doubt left thanking several lucky stars.
It wasn't enough to unseat the confidence of the young guns on Na'Vi however, as they clinched the map in the twelfth round to take us to Clubhouse.
Map Three: Clubhouse
Na'Vi looked like they were three foot deep into a grave as they lost their first two rounds despite being handed the advantageous side of defense on Clubhouse. They quickly recovered to put their fans a little more at ease, ending the half 4-2, in no small part thanks to a beautifully timed C4 from Kendrew, killing the Thermite, destroying his exothermic charge and putting his teammate Hibana on extremely low HP.
LFO drew things level after round eight, but just as it seemed like they were on the ropes in a 3v5, the Franco-German team put together a masterful retake despite a stealthy execute. Saves took matters into his own hands in response, collecting every LFO member as well as his own teammate Doki to post a technical 6k.
Yet again we were pushed into overtime, and with LFO given the defense first it provided them with match point as they successfully defended Church/Arsenal. A ballsy choice by Na'Vi to visit their tertiary site of Gym/Bedroom the following round paid off, keeping LFO's attackers at bay.
Maximum rounds were required on this decider to determine a winner, and although Saves racked up fifteen kills, his efforts just couldn't break the resilience of Looking For Org, who squeaked home to put themselves back in the running. A barn burner if ever there was one, and one that both teams can be proud of.
In a stunning reversal of fortunes as compared to their Pro League season thus far, Team SoloMid (TSM) managed a 2-0 victory over fellow North American side, Team Reciprocity, winning 7-4 on Coastline, and 7-5 on Consulate.
In another surprising result, Season 10 Pro League debutants Team oNe saw themselves fall to Trust Gaming in a 2-1 loss despite having started the match with a 7-2 victory on Consulate. Trust, though, fought back with a 7-5 win on Coastline, and capped it off with a 7-2 win of their own on Villa.
Team Reciprocity quickly put an end to Trust Gaming’s high, remedying their loss to TSM with a comfortable 7-2, 7-2 win, played out on Border and Bank, and leaving Clubhouse unplayed.
Latin American league leaders FaZe Clan had been paired off against Team Vitality -- a stiff challenge -- but managed to prevail despite losing the first map, Border, by a 7-3 scoreline. A 7-5 in favour of FaZe then followed, and the Brazilians closed things out with an explosive 7-0 win on Consulate.
Cloud9 finally got their first win of the tournament -- and only their second internationally, beating x6tence 2-0, but despite a 7-4 victory on Bank, they were pushed extremely hard on Clubhouse, a map they traditionally have been strong on, only just winning in an 8-7.
In their second meeting, Team Vitality absolutely embarrassed Cloud9, beating them 7-1 on Clubhouse and 7-3 on Bank, once again not requiring the decider map of Kafe to be played.
With the two European teams pitted head-to-head in Valencia, Chaos drew first blood in a drawn-out 8-7 win on Clubhouse, but Team Vitality returned the favour with a brutal 7-0 on Villa. However, on Border, it was Chaos’ game as they took the map 7-4, and proceeded to the semi-finals.
Team Reciprocity had been one of the standout performers at the Six Invitational 2019, but Rogue looked eager to take back their mantle as one of the top two teams in North America. While Reciprocity took the first map 7-2, Rogue fired back to continue a strong streak on Kafe with a 7-5 win, and then eked out an 8-7 win on Clubhouse.
TSM’s fairytale run finally came to an end here, against LFO, who themselves secured themselves at least a respectable finish in their second offline event since their poor Season 9 Finals performance. TSM struck first, squeaking out an 8-7 win on Consulate, but LFO came back swinging, winning 7-4 on Clubhouse, and closing things out with a 7-5 win on Kafe.
Maps: Border (7-3), Kafe (4-7), Villa (8-6)
FaZe: Astro, camer4man, yoona, ion, mav
PENTA: Hungry, Blas, SirBoss, RevaN, ENEMY
Map One: Border
PENTA kicked things off on Border with an attempted first-round rush, but a quick trigger finger from FaZe Clan quickly left Hungry as the only man standing, a fair distance from the bomb site. While PENTA then got the upper hand, getting a narrow 3-2 lead, FaZe would very quickly tie things up and ensure that they went into the second half on level points.
Now on attack, FaZe Clan showed PENTA just how things are to be done on attack, taking three unanswered rounds on attack to get to match point. Down 6-3, Hungry on Smoke tried his best to pull things back from a 4v2, but was eventually swarmed, and FaZe took the map.
Map Two: Kafe
Now moving onto Kafe, Europe’s proclivity to play Kafe worked out really well in PENTA’s favour. Despite the (truly or falsely) perceived attacker-sided nature of Kafe, PENTA took the first round on defense fairly convincingly, and continued their strong run of play to take their defensive half 4-2.
FaZe did manage to put two together after the role swap, getting to 4-5, but PENTA proved to be too well practiced on the map. FaZe tried their best, but PENTA’s final two attacks were simply too much for them to handle, despite a 5v3 lead for FaZe on the penultimate round, and a third map awaited everyone to close out the night.
Map Three: Villa
Over on Villa, FaZe started off brightly enough, winning their first defensive round, and continued marching on, determined to make the defensive-sided nature of the map work for them. While they did win the half 4-2, Villa has seen greater comebacks happen, and FaZe knew that they would have to work hard to take the win.
Unfortunately for FaZe, but very much fortunately for PENTA, the second half played out as an exact mirror of the first. Now on defense, PENTA were facing two match points at 4-6, but managed to hold firm, including a great post-plant recovery, a FaZe team kill, and an Evil Eye final kill, to pull things back to push proceedings to overtime.
With PENTA favoured in overtime, getting to defend first, the odds were definitely stacked against FaZe. However, the Brazilians pushed on, winning their first attack in a surprising turn of events, and then denying SirBoss a 1v2 clutch by whittling away the time to make it to the semi-finals against Looking For Org.
Catch the rest of the action today as the remaining teams fight for their pride, DreamHack Valencia’s $75,000 prize pool and, in Chaos and Rogue’s match, a spot at the Six Major Raleigh next month.