With the Pro and Challenger League already in action, we saw a number of national tournaments in action over the last week in action also:
- Russian Major League - Season 4
- Nordic Championship - Season 5
- Operation League Thailand/Taiwan
- EPS League - Season 4
- Elsewhere Around the World
- Must Watch Games of the Next Week
Russian Major League: Season 4 - 43rti Falls Behind
After Empire rejoined forZe at the top of the table last week with two victories over two of the lower-seeded teams, they began this week against the mid-table team of Yarik E-Sports. While Empire started off strong, a lost round two and a close 1v1 victory on round five did make the first half on Clubhouse feel much closer to begin with before Empire began running away with it to an eventual 5-1 scoreline.
As we moved to Empire's defensive half, they successfully took the CCTV site as the attackers hardly made it into the building before finally closing it out on round eight as fil was left in an unwinnable 1v5.
The first and third-placed teams of forZe and 43rti both found victories of their own positions while fourth-placed CrowCrowd was held to a draw against sixth-placed Team Unique thanks to 16 kills by FMX as the top three teams open up a notable gap at the top of the standings.
The second playday of the week on Friday saw Unique impress again as they followed up their draw against the fourth-placed team with a draw against the third-placed lineup of 43rti. The game on Clubhouse started off with a series of rushed plant attempts as the attackers, 43rti, kept on running out of time in the round to mount an organised execute. Despite this, the rounds went back and forth up until round six when Unique mounted a flawless Church/Arsenal defence to take the half, 4-2.
Despite sides switching, the rounds went about the same with the single extra round win in the first half making up the difference right up until the 12th round when 43rti won their first back-to-back round thanks to a triple kill from Always on Smoke:
The remaining top teams of Empire, forZe and CrowCrowd all found wins to finish of the day with the closest game coming between Empire and the seventh-placed team of WinRequest who, despite sitting with just four points in the season so far, took five rounds off of the reigning champions with just a JoyStiCK triple kill between them securing another much-needed point.
With this, forZe retains their three-point lead at the top of the league's table with a very clear gap opening up between the top and bottom four. Next week sees a big test for Empire as they face both 43rti and CC who'll they'll need to beat to keep any hopes in overtaking forZe.
Nordic Championship: Season 5 - Chaos Takes Lead
This week Chaos continued their impressive run of form as they took down Sixth Pick 7-2 while GiFu was very almost held to a drawn against Riddle Esports despite them having yet to find a single point in the league so far. After going up 3-1 on their Coastline attacks, Riddle then blew their lead as they lost five straight rounds as GiFu consistently got the defuser down with a man advantage.
With a 6-3 lead, GiFu looked to close out the game, however, here Riddle once again picked up their game with an intense 1v1 victory by Boogie over Kalenski on round 10 followed by a shutdown Blue bar push on round 11 before, finally, GiFu took the map on round 12 as they pushed into the Hookah site, got the plant down and cleared out the defenders flawlessly.
Probably the game of the day, however, came between the undefeated Danish roster of FACT Gaming and the ex-Benelux lineup of Granit Gaming who's only defeat so far came against Chaos, 7-4. The game kicked off with FACT defending on Kafe where the two teams kept neck and neck all the way to round six where double kills by both JinxedOwl and Hippo on a roam by the White Stairs gave them a 4-2 lead as the teams swapped sides.
With FACT now on the attack, the team rushed the site leaving Badger in a 1v4 situation which he lost after bringing it down to a 1v1 giving FACT a 5-2 lead before a triple kill by JinxedOwl pushed the team on map point.
With this, Granit kicked off a comeback from 6-2 down to a draw thanks to a 1v1 victory by Oscr on round nine, a triple kill by JTc on round 10, and an almost flawless round 12 as they pushed the game to a draw. With both JTc and Oscr for Granit achieving just less than a two kill-death ratio (13-7 and 12-7), these two were instrumental in the comeback which shows that the team is a league leader despite its early defeat.
With these results, as well as a draw between joint third-placed GamerLegion and last placed GODSENT, the current standings see Chaos take an early lead with the five following teams all within a single win of each other showing that the season is still anyone's to take.
Operation League Thailand and Taiwan - Season 2 Continues On
The Operation League Taiwan and Thailand leagues are two separate tournaments which kicked off their second season last month. The Taiwan league saw eight teams compete over seven weeks to be crowned the Taiwanese champions and for a net prize pool of $16,500. After the initial regular season, the reigning champions of 7th Heaven trailed Team Notorious in second, with the new lineups of DCC and THEM Gaming joining the two others in the playoffs.
This, therefore, meant game one of the playoffs saw Notorious face THEM Gaming which, as many suspected considering their huge point difference, Notorious took in straight maps. After steamrolling THEM on Border, 7-1, Kafe was somewhat even as the two teams kept even up until the fifth round when THEM failed to make it into the building before being cut down giving Notorious the lead.
After ending the half, 4-2, Notorious looked to push straight onto match point taking round seven before THEM attempted a comeback winning round eight in a somewhat one-sided round. Eventually, the series ended as Notorious secured an extremely messy round nine to go onto match point which they secured two rounds later.
The other playoff game saw 7th Heaven face DCC which, while theoretically, a much close game ended about as one-sided, 7-4, 7-4, on the same map picks. This comes as 7th standout player of Rainy secured 15 kills to just six deaths on map one while sCyborg topped him with 17 kills to five deaths to close out the series. For DCC, however, just a single player went positive across the series as Sp1tEStiCK secured 23 kills to 17 deaths across both maps.
With these results, this sets up an online grand-final on April 25th between 7th Heaven and Team Notorious -- a matchup which Notorious won 7-2, 7-4 in the regular season -- in which the winner takes home ~$8,400 compared to the losers ~$4,000. Just prior to this matchup will also see the third-place matchup between THEM and DCC in which DCC will be the standout favourites following their 7-1, 7-2 victory less than a month ago.
While this goes on, the Operation League Thailand tournament is also being played. While this includes a smaller ~$9,000 prizepool, it is a much bigger tournament in that it includes 12 teams, will continue for 11 weeks and, crucially, includes two different Pro League teams in QConfirm and Xavier Esports who finished in first and third place this season respectively.
At the moment the season fits three weeks into its 11-week schedule meaning it is relatively early days, however, things are already looking south for Xavier Esports as they've already lost maps against both QConfirm and Young Blood who currently sit in the top two positions. This puts QConfirm clearly at the top as the only undefeated team, while second to sixth place are separated by just two points meaning the standings could drastically change by the end of the next olayday.
As for now, the league has delayed all games for a week to resume next Monday due to games clashing with the Songkran national holiday (effectively the Thai New Years celebration) as we are set to hit the mid-season by the end of the month.
EPS League: Season 4 - League Cancelled
Unfortunately, due to many complications with both the league itself and the state of the North American Tier-3 scene, EPS made the difficult decision of cancelling Season IV a few days before Play-week six. The final standings, and what would have been the potential playoff hopefuls, are as follows:
- 1st: Cr9ck
- 2nd: Team Oblivion
- 3rd: Ferny’s Tacos
- 4th: Meta Gaming
- 5th: Halfway Crooks
- 6th: Ranked Stars
- 7th-10th: Brazilians from the Favela, Bonk!, Coronavirus, Original Esports
The League Directors stated the reason for cancelling the season was for "a multitude of reasons, including the current state of the world, that will make it impossible to continue our show" implying it is due to the current financial collapse caused by the Coronavirus epidemic. Keep an eye out here for news when the league returns later this year.
The league wishes the best of luck to all of the teams that participated, the staff, and the countless fans that supported it.
Elsewhere Around the World - MNEB Nationals, Finnish Esports League, XP Women's League and LPL Pro League
While Salamander found a very clear 7-1 victory in the Hungarian nationals this week, the same could not be said for four of their close rivals as both Budapest Five vs WiLD MultiGaming (placed second and third) and Team Plague vs VOLGARE (placed fifth and sixth) ended in a draw allowing Salamander to increase their lead to five points. These draws did, however, mean that both Plague and VOLGARE rose a single place in the standings ahead of Illés Akadémia Spirit as we approach the end of the first half next week.
The ongoing Finnish national league reached its mid-season this week as we reached playday nine of 18. So far, the Benelux players of Erkkari's new team of Chillisti sits at the top of the table with 18 points while the Nordic Championship team of Sixth Pick is down in third with 11. Further down another ex-Benelux League player of ScorpZ is also present on Conquer Gaming way down in seventh with less than a third of the points of Chillisti after Chillisti defeated them earlier this week.
The LPL Pro League came to an end this weekend after Team Sinister smashed LFO (ex-Oddity Esports) in a 7-5, 7-3, 6-8, 7-2 scoreline to win the A$3,000 victors payout of the A$5000 total prize pool. In third place finishes Team Ferox after they were initially disqualified and then reinstated which led to a number of complaints in the Australian community as summarised in the Twitlonger and comments below:
Also in the ANZ region saw the end of the XP Women's League as Trinity and Vertex ESC who had been neck and neck the entire month-long season faced off in the final. Despite Vertex already defeating Trinity 7-2 on Clubhouse, the grand-final once again saw this map be picked and come to an end with the same scoreline while, instead of Bank as seen in their last matchup, Kafe was picked which ended in a just as one-sided scoreline of 7-1. With this Vertex becomes ANZ's first-ever Women's R6 champions to join the LATAM champions of "Black Dragons e-Sports Female", the EU victors of Team QUEEN and NA's title-holders of Artemis.
Must Watch Games of the Next Week
Keep an eye out here at SiegeGG for our separate coverage of the Pro and Challenger League games later this week. Outside of the Pro League, these are the five must-watch games of the next week around the world:
- Team Empire vs 43rti in the Russian Major League tonight at 18:00CEST
- GiFu Esports vs FACT Gaming in the Nordic Championship on Thursday at 20:00CEST
- Team Empire vs CrowCrowd in the Russian Major League on Friday at 19:00CEST
- Salamander vs Team Plague in the MNEB on Saturday at 18:00CEST
- The 6 Open Cup grand-finals on Sunday at ~20:30CEST