With the Challenger League and Pro League now over, a number of national tournaments in action in the past week gave plenty of viewing for action-starved fans. Read on to find out what happened in each.
- European Open Clash
- GSA League 2020
- Six Masters 2020
- Benelux League Season 5
- Spain Nationals Season 2
- Elsewhere in R6
- Must Watch Games of the Next Week
The EU Open Clash is a FaceIT ran tournament staring the 10 EU League teams and six open qualified teams who will compete to help raise money for the Doctors Without Borders charity with Ubisoft already pledging € 50,000 to the cause. Last weekend was the round-of-16 with the quarter-finals next Saturday and both the semi and grand-finals next Sunday.
With most of this week's eight games being between EU League and tier three teams, most games were pretty one-sided with the professional teams winning and progressing onwards. The only exceptions to this were by Movistar Riders as they initially went up 6-3 against Movistar who was playing with the ex-Mock-it Academy player of Mootiii before the Pro League team came back to win five rounds running to take the map.
As well as these games, there were also two games between EU League teams in Virtus.pro vs Team Secret and Team Empire vs IziDream. The former game was largely a walkover with the new Russian champions embarrassing the new German Secret lineup on map one with a 7-0 sweep on Consulate as they won almost every gunfight they took and seemed untouchable:
The game tightened up on the second map of Villa as Secret got a strong defensive half, as expected, to end the first half as the brute force of Vp subsided. The second half continued with Secret winning two of their offensive rounds to reach match point, 6-3, before Vp mounted a similar comeback to BDS as they won five rounds running to end the game 2-0.
The day prior saw the debut of Empire's new player of Always against last season's Challenger League victor of IziDream which was easily the best game of the weekend. The game went to all three maps including two round-15 finishes showing the teams to be virtually even throughout. Most of note was a number of clutches on Villa as JoyStiCk won a 1v2 on Ash to kick off the map:
And Dirza pulled off a 1v3 on IziDream's defense a few rounds later:
Eventually, the game ended in Empire's favor, 7-3, 7-8, 8-7 to set up a game against G2 Esports in Saturday's quarter-finals:
After the first two days of play, the tournament has currently raised € 4,540 / $ 5,050 for Doctors Without Borders on top of the € 50,000 already pledged by Ubisoft.
GSA’s first match of the week was the only one without the presence of an European League team, as DIVIZON and Turtle eSport faced each other. Viewers expected the former to win the match, as they had won their two previous games (one against Rogue) while Turtle had fallen in both. Playing on Consulate, the game seemed to be very close until the teams swapped sides. Now defending, DIVIZON didn’t have trouble to secure the three following rounds, which gave them their third win in the competition.
Next, after kicking off the tournament with two defeats against DIVIZON and FACT Gaming, viewers had expected Rogue to finally win its first match this week. Playing on Clubhouse, a defensive map, the European League team played the first six rounds on the offensive side. Although none of the teams had banned any hard breacher, the defenders were still expected to have an advantage. However, Rogue completely dominated their opponents and gave no chance to WarKidz, taking the map 7-0.
The next match featured the competition favourites of G2 Esports, the only European League side that hasn’t lost a match in the GSA nationals just yet. This clash, which may be Border’s last appearance in a competitive tournament, wasn’t any different for the team from Berlin, as they demolished mYinsanity 7-2. Once again, we saw unthinkable things happening in G2, as Kantoraketti played Thermite -- planting the defuser on two occasions -- and UUNO used Glaz once again. The German organization won five of their six attacks and, on defence, they used operators such as Frost, Caveira, Clash, and Tachanka. After losing their second defence as mYinsanity successfully planted the defuser after only one minute into the round, G2 retained the three points as they won the ninth round.
However, the surprise of the week was in the last match of the day. Playing in Kafe, viewers expected a win for Secret against FACT, an unknown team for a lot of people. However, FACT had beaten Rogue just before this gameweek, so anything was possible. FACT showed great strength on defence as they won five of their six defences, only conceding a round in a Kitchen defence that ended in a 1v5 situation.
The situation got worse for Secret, as just after they won their first defence, FACT cut down any hope for Secret to win the match after winning their second attack. Now on match-point, Secret successfully resisted one attack but couldn’t repeat it again as they fell in their second defence in Bar/Cocktail, losing the match 3-7.
Due to the R6 Classics games taking place last week, two of the games have been postponed leaving just two games taking place, SiNister vs Kanga and Knights vs Elevate, both of which included some quite surprising results.
With Kanga not having won a single map since mid-January, their game against the mid-table Team SiNister roster seemed like an impossible task but, with the new pickup of Novaix they really fought for the win. The first map saw Kanga storm into a 5-1 lead which included an almost flawless round one and a huge misplay by SiNister to allow Campo to win a 1v2 on round four.
As sides switched, SiNister became their comeback before Kanga went onto match point by cutting down Fishoguy's 1v3 attempt. This was, unfortunately, Kanga's only offensive win leading to overtime. Here, SiNister starting on defence decided the map as three defences were won in a row giving them a 8-7 win, Kanga's best performance of the season.
The second game was against second-placed Elevate and the Knights in fourth who were playing with their new player of Jsh playing for Arlo. Elevate were clearly favoured here yet were simply outplayed. Map one of Border was a very close game which descended into a frag-fest between Worthy with 15 kills and Juicy with 14 kills as an early lead by the Knights was pushed to overtime before two Knights wins ended the map, 8-7.
The final map was nowhere near as close thanks to Dino who secured 15 kills ahead of his closest teammate at eight. This included an ace to kick off the map:
And a double-kill to assist Juicy towards a 1v1 victory to end the first half:
The map eventually ended 7-2 to Knights putting Elevate in a precarious position. They have now fallen from second place top fifth with more games played than fourth, sixth and seventh and with games against the top teams of Ōkami and Wildcard left to go making these losses very costly for them.
The first playday on Wednesday saw three of the top four teams of Defusekids, Sector One and Epsilon all win their games in fairly confident 7-2 or 7-3 scorelines, leaving just fifth-placed UX Gaming to make an upset against mCon in third. Despite a 1v2 by PRiSM and a 1v1 by Youri, just one mCon player finished with a positive kill-death spread as the team looked largely flat in a continuation of a weak run of games of which mCon has lost three of their last four. The match eventually ended 4-7 to UX closing the gap between the victors and the top four that had opened up by the mid-season.
Despite being guaranteed relegation, XY kicked off the playday with a surprise victory over mCon, making the later teams hopes of making the Finals much thinner than they would've hoped. This result came about as, despite taking a 5-1 lead on Kafe's defence -- with XY's only win coming from a 1v1 by P1xelpeekz -- they threw this away with six straight defeats on their attack including two more 1v1 defeats against P1xelpeekz again and Ilias as well as a 1v2 by Yamaha on Lesion on round 11:
Elsewhere, 7-3 wins by Sector One and Epsilon pushed them to a guaranteed spot in the Finals alongside LowLandLions (previously known as Defusekids) who themselves defeated UX Gaming 7-4.
These results now mean that the last two playdays will be a fight between mCon and UX Gaming for the fourth and final spot in the Benelux League Finals. While mCon does have a two-point advantage, they also play much harder opponents in the first and second-placed LowLandLions and Sector One compared to UX's opponents of Epsilon eSports and El Whiz Wranglers. This puts UX in a great position to clinch fourth despite their incredibly weak first half of the season which they finished in seventh with just one map win.
The Finals themselves have also been revealed to be fully online in just less than three weeks time which will include unlimited overtime maps and a best-of-five map grand-final to decide the Benelux League winners and which team will join LowLandLions in the 2020 FaceIT Challenger League:
After losing first place to Heretics last week, a lot was at stake in this one as the Giants had to play two matches in three days. Their first opponents on the road to get back to the top were the Flamengo Stars, who played with their sixth player (Kermit) in place of Arthur. The game was played on Villa, and after the Giants went 3-3 on attack, the viewers had expected the red roster to win the match.
However, the rounds were always very close and none of the teams was able to make a clear space in the scoreboard, as the biggest difference was always one round. As the teams headed to the eleventh round with a 5-5 in the scoreboard, the Brazilian roster stepped up its game and won the following two rounds in comfortable fashion, finishing both rounds in 5v1 situations. After twelve game weeks, the Giants had fallen for the first time.
The next match featured the Giants’ Thursday opponents, the Movistar Riders. The blue squad faced TSO in Coastline, where none of the teams had fallen before their clash. The org-less roster won four of their six attacks, though, with their solid usage of Lion and a great knowledge of the Riders’ strats in Coastline. Nevertheless, the Riders were well known for their attacks, especially on Coastline. After swapping sides, being down by 2-4, the roster captained by WeskeRR won the following five offences, winning the match 7-4.
To end the day, Wygers and Cream faced each other on Villa, in highly controversial match. Cream had asked for a rehost in the fifth round after 45 seconds played, but the Spain Nationals rule clearly stated that these can only be called if a maximum of 30 seconds had elapsed. Despite Cream having the problems (one of their players couldn’t shoot or use impact grenades) they won the round, and as one of the captains did not want to repeat it, the point was given to Cream on their way to victory.
However, Thursday was the most crucial day. Wizards and AION played on Theme Park in the first game of the day, with the latter taking five rounds on defense. The match ended with a 7-1 scoreline as AION won the last two rounds and took their first win since the third week. The second match was an important one, as Heretics could secure first place if they won against Electrify. Playing on Villa, after winning four of their attacks, Heretics comfortably won three defences on the Italian map and took the map and the three points to go top.
Then it was turn for the match of the week. Although it had been scheduled for a week ago, one of the Giants’ players had been ill and both they and the Movistar Riders roster had decided to reschedule the match. The game was then finally played on the new Oregon, with this being the first time that this map was played in a competitive environment.
The first round was played in the Laundry/Supply Room and D4rk1 (of Movistar Riders) was left alone in a 1v2 situation. Although he got one kill, the Giants were able to take the win on time. The second round was played in Main Hall/Kids Room and, even though Riders quickly lost their Hibana, Scythe and D4rk1 were essential as their Maverick and Buck utility got them a clear path to the site.
The following two rounds were won by the Movistar Riders as they successfully planted the defuser in both rounds and the Riders’ adaptability to the Giants’ attacks was key to going into the second half with a 3-3 score.
It was all over for the Giants once the Riders started defending, though it didn’t look like it in the seventh round when the Riders’ player of Billordo got disconnected from the game just as the attackers were pushing Scythe, leaving his team in a 3v5 situation. However, Foskito was the hero of the round as he killed the player who had the defuser, forcing the Riders to change their attack idea. Iluzjonist and Curr3nsy then surrounded Foskito, but he defended the defuser and later killed the final attacker, completing his ace in what’s surely one of the plays of the season.
Riders successfully won the following two defences, with the highlights being a double C4 kill from D4rk1 in their Laundry/Basement defense and a Foskito triple kill from the Kitchen hatch after the Riders failed to reinforce it.
After losing the following round, the Riders didn’t give the Giants roster another chance as they won their second defence in the Laundry/Basement site. The Blue roster gave a master class on how to defend in Oregon, combining great tactics with aggression, which can be clearly seen through Foskito’s stats as he ended the match with 18 kills and 7 deaths (though he only had a 63% KOST).
After these results, the Heretics are the new leader of the competition and Riders have leapfrogged the Giants, who are third now. Cream sits in fourth place, while Flamengo, TSO, and AION fight for fifth place. The relegation battle now begins between Wygers, Wizards, and Electrify, with only one team escaping the drop, with the Wizards and Electrify facing each other next week.
Ambush shocked many this week as they took down Chaos Esports Club (who were playing with their coach of Hyperino subbed in) 7-2 to overtake Granit into second. While this loss probably isn't going to make a huge difference to Chaos as they still hold first, this is huge for Granit as they look for that Challenger League spot.
This week the Polish national league kicks off as eight fairly new teams also fight for a spot in the 2020 FaceIT Challenger League. Invicta Gaming made a very strong first impression as their roster which includes the ex-CL players of Deep and Derius defeated Magic's roster of AVEZ in a 7-1 scoreline on new-look Oregon to take an early lead.
Finally, the MNEB Hungarian nationals saw a number of draws as teams placed second, third, fourth and sixth all gained one point each while Salamander in first took down fifth-placed Genesis in a close 7-5 scoreline. This now puts Salamander with a five-point lead over WiLD in second with just two games remaining meaning they're very likely to guarantee first place next week and finish the season with an undefeated record.
Keep an eye out here at SiegeGG for coverage of all ongoing leagues during the ongoing off-season. For now, these are the five must-watch games of the next week around the world:
- Ōkami vs Pittsburgh Knights in the Six Masters on Tuesday at 13:30CEST
- Chaos Esports Club vs Granit Gaming in the Nordic Championship on Thursday at 16: 00CEST
- G2 Esports vs FACT Gaming in the GSA League on Thursday at 9:00 PM EST
- G2 Esports vs Team Empire in the European Open Clash on Saturday
- The European Open Clash semi and grand-finals on Sunday