While the Pro League doesn't kick off for another week, a number of national tournaments have been in action around the world:
- ESL Premiership Spring 2020
- Spain Nationals Season 2
- Australia's New Leagues
- Magyar Nemzeti E-sport Bajnokság - Season 1
- EPS - Season 4
- Ongoing Qualifiers
- Must Watch Games of the Next Week
ESL Premiership - Secret in Trouble?
Despite the three-times reigning champions of Natus Vincere choosing not to compete this season, the British National league still includes the two Challenger League lineups of Team Secret and MnM Gaming who came into the tournament as the standout favourites. Now, however, with three play days played, we have seen a number of surprise results come in to blow the tournament wide open.
After winning their initial game in week one, Secret faced their main opponents of MnM Gaming in a sneak peek of what to expect this upcoming Challenger League season. In total, LeonGids got over half of all his team’s kills (11/21) as Secret lost 2-7 on Coastline while MnM's Jonka sat as the standout player with 10 kills to three deaths as his team dominated Secret throughout.
While many dismissed this as a possible fluke loss, Secret then lost again on the following day against the fairly unknown team of Burning Foxes in a similar 7-3 scoreline, which led to clear frustrations from the team and for LeonGids to state the following:
Elsewhere in the league, shooting to the top came MnM Gaming and Fierce Esports who have both won all of their three games so far with just 10 and seven rounds lost respectively. Interestingly from the 12 games played across the three playdays so far, a total of nine have ended in somewhat one-sided scorelines (7-3 or worse) with the lone exceptions coming from Burning Foxes' defeats to MnM (5-7) and Fierce (4-7) as well as a draw between Audacity Esports and Randy's. This means, with the games from the three "favourites" already played and with good results against all three of them, we can expect the Foxes to start climbing up the table in upcoming weeks from their current fifth-place position.
Just below them in the league sees Demise in third place despite them only just making it into the competition via the Last Chance Qualifier. With qualification for the Challenger League Closed Qualifiers and the pickup of the caster of James "Sternab" Parkinson as a coach just before the season, they have certainly impressed recently which they have followed up with wins against Randy's and Enclave and a loss against MnM, 7-3.
Now, going forward attention will be on Fierce as we see if they can stay on top as they face MnM and Secret this week in the toughest games of their season.
Spain Nationals - 3 Weeks Of Action
The Spain Nationals games were played on Tuesday and Thursday. These were the matches for the third week.
The third week began with the Giants Gaming Spanish roster playing against Flamengo Stars, on Consulate. The giants started defending and won three of the first four rounds, including a triple kill with C4 by VASS1LY. However, the Flamengo Stars roster reacted just in time and successfully completed their next two attacks, heading to the second half of the match with a draw. Despite their good response, Giants Gaming finished the match with four very well planned attacks – two of them finished in 5v1 situations.
The two following matches were played on Clubhouse. The first of them featured Team Heretics and Team SinOrg, one of the three teams without an organization behind them. The Heretics started defending, the side that usually has an advantage in this map. Nevertheless, the first half of the match ended with a close 4-2 in favour of Team Heretics. The orgless team quickly tied the map with two successful defences; however, in the ninth round, a key kill for Deivid on baroz and a great attack from Tunel left Team Heretics in a 4v1 situation, where they had no problems to plant. With the defuser planted, Nubaii was killed a couple of seconds later.
This advantage disappeared some minutes later, as Team SinOrg won the following round. However, Team Heretics got to win the following two rounds after a good attack on CCTV in a 4v2 situation – although it quickly turned to a 2v2 as TheRulo got a double kill with a C4 – and the Gym attack, this time even more one-sided as Team Heretics finished it flawlessly.
What a game! Finally @TeamHeretics wins 7-5 against @TeamSinOrg and gets 3 points in its game. #R6SpainNationals
The last game matched Cream Esports against Wygers, a game that couldn’t be closer. Cream’s roster started defending and finished the first half with a 3-3, a result that gave Wygers the advantage as this is a very defender-sided map. Their first defensive round ended with a 4v1 situation, which seemed to anticipate a dominance from the White Tigers. However, Cream Esports won the following two attacks and nearly getting a third as they were in a 5v3 situation, although they couldn’t win the round as their final push was quickly stopped thanks to the Smoke canisters and great positioning from the defenders.
The following round was closer, but this time Cream got to plant the defuser in a 3v3 situation. LioN tried to clutch the round in a 1v3 situation, and although he killed one, Naarko crushed his hopes. The last round of the match was a rush from Cream through blue stairs to the Armory, but Wygers read perfectly the situation and stopped the attack, leaving Wispy alone in a difficult 1v3. Although he almost planted the defuser, LioN got the last kill, ending the match with a draw.
The Thursday matches weren’t that close, except the second one. The day started with AION facing Team Wizards on Bank, a game that the snakes quickly won (7-3). The team has started with the right foot, led by who is now the best player in the league, batfat. We must highlight that this is one of the four rosters that qualified through the promotion tournament.
The second match of the day was the most anticipated one. Team Heretics, one of the favourite teams to win the regular phase, faced Electrify Esports, one of the stand-out teams of the season as they even qualified to play the Challenger League closed bracket.
The match was played on Kafe, a map well known for being extremely defensive. The heretics started defending and won four out of six rounds, which led them to the second half ahead on the scoreboard. The second half was a repeat of the first one as the attackers won two rounds and the defenders four, which means that the game ended with a draw.
Movistar Riders and Team SinOrg closed the week with another match on Kafe, this one more one-sided as the Riders won five out of the six first defensive rounds. The game quickly finished as they won their two only attacks. The game final result was 7-1, which is the clearest result so far.
This means that AION Esports and Giants Gaming are the provisional leaders of the Spain Nationals, with the snakes in first place as they have the better round difference (+10, one more round than Giants). Team Heretics are third with seven points, while Movistar Riders and Cream Esports are fourth and fifth respectively. Team SinOrg are currently sixth, one point over Electrify, a team that despite showing positive sensations still hasn’t won a single game. Flamengo Stars, Wizards and Wygers are placed in the last three spots, all of them with only one point.
Australia’s New Leagues - Womens, “Pro”, Console, Amateur and Collegiate Leagues Kick-Off
A total of AU$12,875, as well as AU$440 a week is on offer across a number of tournaments was recently announced for the ANZ subregion which includes the highest prize pool for any console tournament worldwide, the second-ever officially supported Women's League, one of the first 2020 Collegiate leagues to kick-off and both an amateur and pro tournament which will be sure to attract some big names to tier-three ANZ leagues.
The biggest league to kick off is the LPL Play Season One tournament which will be split into two separate events; the "pro" and amateur leagues. The "Pro" division offers AU$5,000 in prizemoney (in which the winner earns $3,000) across a best-of-three double-elimination bracket which currently sits two weeks in. The tournament includes the Pro League team of Team SiNister who will be by far the favourites as they have already won both their games so far in straight maps putting them in the winners' final.
Also kicked off is the Women’s league which sees playdays every Wednesday and offers a massive AU$3,000 prize pool making it one of the biggest on offer to date. The league includes five teams and will take place across five playdays cast by the Pro League voice of Konstantin "Cthulhu" Nuridzhanyan as well as the new names of Imasukai and MilBoss. At the moment, Trinity began the league with the most impressive performance as they beat Viking Army 7-0, 7-0 but with Vertex ESC also taking their game 2-0 and Enix yet to play, there’s plenty of action yet to go.
For console players, AU$220 per fortnight per platform is on offer via the LPL Play Console Weeklies. This tournament offers a free open tournament every fortnight in which the winner qualifies for the closed tournament the following week. This closed bracket then offers the cash prizes and is otherwise only open to the service’s subscribers. You can learn more about the tournament here and keep up to date with all the LPL tournaments on their Twitter account.
Finally, just announced was the AU$2,875 Australian Collegiate league which saw their signups close last week meaning we’ll likely see further updates on the teams and format involved in the coming weeks.
MNEB: Season 1 - Hungarian Nationals Kicks Off
The first week of the Hungarian Nationals kicked off last week with a number of new teams. Since last season, the runners-up of RIFT Esports added in the team captain of WiLD MultiGaming, the team that bested them in the grand-final, and joined the Salamander organisation where they qualified for the Challenger League twice. While their first attempt in Season 10 ended when they were disqualified, they have since repeated the achievement showing themselves to be the stars of Hungarian R6. While the nation’s two most successful players of Ferenc "SirBoss" Mérész and Balázs "blas" Kővári both won’t be competing in the league despite currently being without a team, this gives the league a pretty high-quality level as compared to the Italian or Spanish nationals in which none of the competing teams has been able to qualify for wider European tournaments.
So far this season, both WiLD and Salamander won their opening game with relative ease leading eyes towards Saturday’s matchup between these top two seeded teams as Salamander would want to prove themselves as the clear favourites.
EPS - Season 4
This tier-three North American league kicked off last weekend with two games on Saturday and three on Sunday scheduled every week till the beginning of May. Across these days ten teams will fight for the top share of the $2,500 prizepool before the eventual Finals on May 10th in what currently sits as one of the very few ongoing tournaments in the region outside of the Pro and Challenger Leagues.
This week saw four out of five of the games take place with the closest of these being between Ferny's Tacos and Meta Gaming. This game came down to the wire as all 12 rounds were played with the difference being made up largely thanks to this 1v4 by rainb-w:
The other streamed game, however, was more one-sided as Halfway Crooks took down Bonk! 7-2 despite the Bonk! player of Wittloc achieving a 14-6 kill-death count alone across the eight rounds. Offstream meanwhile two games were played, Arial Arise vs Five Guys and Original Esports vs Revenant Esports in which Arial and Original took clear wins, 7-3 and 7-4.
We will see the delayed match of Coronavirus vs Team Oblivion play tonight while next weekend we will see the following matches take place on the epsesports Twitch account:
Ongoing Qualifiers - The Russian Major League, Nordic Championships and Benelux League
While just two notable national tournaments are ongoing, a number of them currently see their qualifiers ongoing for their first season in 2020 such as with the recently announced Benelux Season 5 league which you can read about here.
Probably the biggest national at this stage is the Russian Major League which completed their Closed Qualifiers last week as Пацюки (“Rats”) and 43rti qualified for Season 4 of the League. Both these teams include four Russians and a single Ukrainian player with the best-known player being the ex-forZe and Unique Team player of Kirill “SmashByAsh” Belozerov on 43rti.
Also ongoing is the Nordic Championship qualifiers as 11 teams compete to be one of the two who will join six invited teams in the €36,000 2020 season. Included in these qualifiers are the ex-Benelux lineup of FACT Gaming and the old Benelux organisation of Conquer Gaming who both made it past day one and will compete in Sunday’s finals to earn the spot going forward:
Finally, we have leagues such as the PG Nationals relegation playoffs which you can check out here and the upcoming French Open Cup where six spots are up for grabs to join IziDream and BDS at a national LAN in Paris in mid-April. Keep an eye out here at SiegeGG for full coverage of these tournaments closer to the time.
Must Watch Games of the Next Week
By far the most important upcoming games is the Japanese National Grand-Finals in Tokyo this weekend as NORA-Rengo’s national team will face the leading team in the region’s Pro League, CYCLOPS Athlete Gaming on Saturday. The extended qualifiers which led up to this LAN event (which you can read about here) have already caused a shock as NORA-Rengo J has already won four out of five games against Pro League teams despite not even attempting to qualify for the region’s Challenger League making them a real contender for the title. As well as the Finals, a third-place playoff between GUTS Gaming and DetonatioN Gaming will also be played while a showmatch involving Giants Gaming was cancelled due to Coronavirus fears.
With this in mind, here are the five must-watch games of the next week around the world:
- AION e-Sports vs Cream Esports in the Spain Nationals tonight at 9:30pm CET
- Fierce Esports vs Team Secret in the ESL Premiership on Wednesday at 10pm CET
- Fierce Esports vs MnM Gaming in the ESL Premiership on Thursday at 10pm CET
- Salamander vs WiLD MultiGaming in the MNEB on Saturday at 4pm CET
- CYCLOPS vs NORA-Rengo J in the Japan Championships on Sunday at 9am CET
Check back here at SiegeGG for continued coverage of the global Rainbow Six leagues and further updates as we draw closer to the Season 11 Pro League Finals.