The Six Masters was the premier Oceanic national tournament and saw the top teams in the ANZ (Australia and New Zealand) region compete to become the regional champions; a title Fnatic has currently claimed for the last two years running. Now, as the league opened up with Fnatic withdrawing from the 2020 season and the top-three set to head to the Six August 2020 Major for Oceania, here's the top-three talking points from the weekend as Wildcard Gaming took the title.
Wildcard is the best in Oceania
Having been the grand finalist at the Six Masters in 2019 but also having won at the Oceanic Nationals the same year, Wildcard Gaming's assertion as the best team in Oceania has been a long time coming. Paved in part by the departure of Fnatic from the region, Wildcard's own strength cannot be ignored as well.
After a Season 10 Finals apperance that saw Wildcard push the eventual champions to the absolute brink, Season 11 of the Pro League and the Six Invitational 2020 were two tournaments that saw the Australians disappoint. After replacing NeophyteR and Derpeh with Gio and Pat, it seemed that the fire was back. This translated into a searing run through the online Six Masters 2020 phase, which saw the team win thirteen out of fourteen games (losing just one to eventual fifth-placed LFO).
Wildcard's road to this year's Six Masters title was not without some tough fights, however, perhaps somewhat due to the roster's own mistakes but also owing to a general rise in competitiveness within the region. In the semi-finals game, perhaps expecting a comfortable victory like the second-map 7-0 over 18-points Pittsburgh Knights, the first was an arduous one for Wildcard that saw things pushed to maximum overtime, 8-7.
Nevertheless, Wildcard took the 2-0 win and moved onto the Upper Bracket Finals, facing the unlikely opponents of Ōkami. Playing on their favoured maps of Villa and Clubhouse, though, the Wildcard players needed completed a 2-0 victory again, but needed the full length of regulation time to complete the win on the first map. Thus sitting pretty in the grand final with a map advantage in the Best-of-Five there, a repeat against Ōkami that next day was perhaps less of a surprise.
What may have been a surprise would be the fight that Ōkami gave to Wildcard, however. Once again, Wildcard needed the full length of regulation time to take the first map of Kafe 7-5, while the second of Villa, saw hearts in the mouths of all who were watching. After having lost 5-7 on the map on Saturday, Ōkami had been bludgeoning Wildcard with a 5-1 half complete with clutches and hair-raising moments. However, despite being able to force overtime after strong performances across the board -- in particular from ItBeStyle -- Wildcard hung on to stave off a third played map, taking the grand final 3-0.
The win meant that through the entirety of the Six Masters 2020 season, including both the regular phase and these Finals, Wildcard only dropped one map (to LFO) in a fearsome show of strength. It is clear, then, that this Australian roster is going to be sitting at the top of Oceania for a while now, but others will be eager to topple these new champions.
Ōkami is one to watch for the future
On the other hand, grand finalists Ōkami have much to cheer for as well, despite eventually being outclassed by the winners of Wildcard Gaming. Coming into the Finals after finishing third in the regular phase -- a good 12 points behind Wildcard in first -- it had seemed that the gap between the two teams was well and truly monumental.
However, going up against second-placed Team SiNister -- one that also had had a six-game win streak in second half of the Pro League -- set the record straight. Kafe went the way of Ōkami in a 7-5, while Villa would be where the org-less roster would flex its collective muscles to take the defensive half 4-2 and then three of four attacking rounds for a 7-3 victory there.
Then, despite losing to Wildcard Gaming in the Upper Bracket Final by an identical margin to which Ōkami had beaten SiNister, the roster made it back to the grand final after a 2-0 victory against Pittsburgh Knights as well. There, despite being down a map, its players gave Wildcard extremely close fights across both played maps and certainly cemented themselves as the second-best team in Oceania.
As such, with this strong result, Ōkami may have an easier time finding an organisation to represent for the future, with it now gearing up for the Six August Major 2020 Oceania.
Team SiNister should have done better
While Wildcard Gaming and Ōkami both did well, likely hitting their minimum targets, Team SiNister fell well short. As the second-seeded team heading into the Finals and having been the only team in the second-half of Season 11 of the Pro League to win all its games, hopes were high. However, the magic rise of the team with Vincere and Derpeh on the roster seemed to come to a stumbling pause -- if not a stop -- with its performance at these Finals.
While its opening game against Ōkami was always going to be difficult, aside from a full regulation time first map, SiNister disappointed with little resistance on the second. Nevertheless, the Six Masters had opted for a double-elimination format, which meant that there was hope yet for Team SiNister. Now in the lower bracket, a comfortable win was still expected against Pittsburgh Knights as SiNister had finished the regular phase of the Six Masters a whopping 12 points ahead of the Knights.
However, an upset was on the cards as SiNister first struggled all the way until maximum overtime for the first map, before progressively having the game slip away in a 7-3 map two and 7-1 map three in favour of the Knights. As such, having come into the Finals with great expectations -- perhaps almost equal to Wildcard -- the team had disappointed greatly.
Nevertheless, it is clear that the potential for the team is still present with its past albeit recent victories. While Team SiNister should have done better here and will greatly rue the missed opportunity to play in the Six August Major 2020 Oceania, time off may just give the roster what it needs to recollect itself and gear up for the next phase of competition.
Now, get set to catch Wildcard Gaming, Ōkami, and Pittsburgh Knights in action again from the 3rd to the 9th of August, with no top-level games scheduled for the region until then.
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