After over four months and a total of 18 game-weeks played, the Spain Nationals came to an end on the 3rd of July. The Spanish competition, owned and built by CABAL, has offered great matches and content despite the big impact that COVID-19 has had, especially in Spain.
Here’s all you need to know about the event and the teams taking part.
After a slow start -- a draw against the Spanish Electrify Esports and a 7-5 loss against their archenemies of the Vodafone Giants -- Movistar Riders has shown great capacity to solve its internal issues. In fact, since that loss, the team won every other game save for three draws. The team led by WeskeRR finished the first leg in third place, just behind the favourites of Giants and Heretics. Thanks to an excellent second leg -- eight wins and one draw -- the "Blue Bus" is now the main candidate to take home the Spanish Brick and the spot to play in the upcoming Challenger League.
Movistar Riders has shown great strength on a good number of maps, especially during the second leg. In general, the team has enjoyed Coastline, but its best map is Kafe which was played and won all six times (including a 7-0 against Cream Real Betis and a 7-5 win against second-placed Team Heretics). The Riders are also well known on the Russian map as they with an innovative Oryx-augmented Freezer hold.
On the other hand, Movistar Riders has been consistently banning Villa, with a possibility of the team hiding it for these Finals. And in terms of bans, Mira (12) and Thatcher (8) are the most common operators to be crossed out by the blue roster, which is generally the global meta as well.
Heretics' has been, without any doubt, the most consistent team in the league -- at least until the 16th round. After the 15th week, the Heretics had been first with 35 points and no losses on the scoreboard. Despite this, Cream RB burned their hopes to be the first team to end a Spain Nationals season in unbeaten form; in the following week, Movistar Riders delivered their second loss and, what was a two-point lead for the Heretics in Week 15 was a five-point lead for the Riders three weeks later.
As we explained in our first Spain Nationals S2 article, this Team Heretics roster was born with the union of some of the biggest talents in the country, as the Spanish organization signed Juk4 and Kuriboh -- winners of the previous Spain Nationals -- chOi, ex-Movistar Riders player with appearances in the Pro League, sakke, the ex-Giants and Riders player, and barozj, another ex-Giants player with Pro League experience.
Although this was the initial roster -- which played the first 18 game-weeks -- Team Heretics decided to sign p0Lo, who was playing for Team GamerLegion, in place of chOi. This means that we will see p0Lo and barozj playing for the first time together since their appearance for Ninjas in Pyjamas in the Season 10 Pro League Finals in Japan.
The Heretics, just like the Riders, have got a big map pool. Their best displays have been seen on Kafe and Border, with the latter removed from the league to introduce Oregon. They have also played many times on Consulate, having played six times there since Week 11. Finally, in terms of operator bans, their targeted operators are Thatcher (9), Mira (7) and Echo (5).
After finishing the first half unbeaten -- seven wins and two draws -- the Giants had to deal with various problems in the second part of the season, as iTherox had to leave the roster due to medical reasons. The spot was then filled in by the coach and ex-pro, DriD. Finally, after all these problems, the team finished with three losses and another draw on the scoreboard.
The solution to these problems was in the hands of their new signing, Couto. The Brazilian player was Flamengo's IGL and so far has been one of the stand out players in the league in his debut season. Despite Flamengo finishing in sixth place, he was the top fragger of the regular phase with 199 kills at 0.98 per round. His teammate of Iluzjonist was right behind, which means that the Giants' current frag power is probably the best in the league.
Although the Vodafone Giants map pool is for such tough competition, the team has always banned Kafe and Clubhouse, two of the most played maps in the league while having Villa as a standout. In terms of operators, the Giants have only banned eight different ones, which is the lowest number in the league by far. Thatcher (6) and both Capitao and Ying (5) are the most frequent offensive bans while on defence, they always ban either Mira (8) or Echo (8), with the exceptions of Vigil and Kaid.
Cream Real Betis
After completing an impressive first leg that left it in a comfortable place, Cream secured its ticket to the Finals with another highly skilled stint. The white and green team has had some really good matches, especially its last game against Team Heretics (7-3), which was Heretic’s first loss in the competition.
Despite this impressive win, Cream always struggled against the top-three sides. During the first leg, its results were a 7-0 against Team Heretics, 7-4 against Giants, and 6-6 against Movistar Riders. On the second leg, although Cream got its first win against a top-three team, it lost once again versus Giants (7-4) and lost against Riders (7-0).
This team, which was acquired by Electrify three months before the organisation’s entrance in the APAC scene, ended the first half with many points to improve. Its situation got even worse after the transfer market, as Electrify started the second half with three more losses.
However, the team reversed the situation in the 13th round after beating Wizards 7-0. From there, the players have been on a hot streak with a league-best six-games won on the trot. Their best performances so far have been against Giants Gaming (7-3) and against Flamengo, which helped the team to end the league in fifth place.
Electrify is the team that has banned the most operators, with Hibana (5), Wamai, and Mira (5) as its most banned operators. Their winrate with Wamai banned is 80%, which is particularly impressive.
The half Spanish half Brazilian team has shown viewers that having a combination of languages in their roster can be an option. With Spanish and Portuguese callouts, the team lead by Couto has done a great job despite not being with an organization.
The signings done during the transfer market -- Nakinak and batfat -- have brought experience, something that the initial roster didn't have. Their results against the top-four have been decent, especially during the second half, as they lost to Riders (7-2) but drew against Heretics and won against Cream Real Betis and Vodafone Giants, 7-3 and 7-5 respectively.
One of the main aspects of this team is the great variety of operators used in their line ups, giving game time to operators that don't usually appear in the competitive scene. This is also applied to bomb sites, as Flamengo is the only team -- except Riders (against Flamengo) -- that has defended in the Mining site on Kafe (five times) and Library site on Villa (six times) although Wygers and AION also attempted the Italian site once.
However, this team will have to play the Finals without its IGL, Couto, as he has since signed for Giants. Kermit, who was the sixth player in the roster, will step up in his place. With Flamengo set to face off against Couto and the Giants in the first round, this is a grudge match not to be missed.
After a very complicated transfer window, Team SinOrg kicked off the second leg with some very promising results -- a draw against Electrify and a 7-0 against Wygers.
However, overall, in this second leg, its results have been poor despite a draw against Electrify. All the rest of the points won by SinOrg have come against lower placed teams (a win against Wygers and AION, and a draw against Wizards). This also happened in the first leg, with only three points in total -- out of 17 -- have come against better placed sides. This is something to have in mind as SinOrg shares a group with Heretics, Giants and Flamengo.
AION certified its spot in the Finals after beating Giants in the very last round of the regular phase. Having kicked off the league with a very promising start, winning the first three rounds -- against Flamengo, Wygers and Wizards -- however, the roster had to wait seven game-weeks and make two transfers to finally get another point, this time against Flamengo. A clear win against Wizards (7-1) and a victory against the Giants gave AION the eighth place, though, allowing it to participate.
As nine of its 16 points came from the first three weeks of play, making AION a team that has only secured seven points in the last three months of play -- six of these with its current roster (which came against Wizards and Giants). In other words, their second leg was even worse than the one by Wizards (11 points) and was only two points better than the one by Wygers (who secured four points and beat AION).
Where will the Finals be played?
Although the Finals were supposed to be played in a LAN format, due to COVID-19, the matches will be played online. Although there won't be a physical venue for the matches, after 90 matches played, we have a general idea of where the matches will be played.
This regular phase has suffered plenty of changes in its map pool. Although it looks like something far away, the Season 2 began with Bank still in the map pool. This is a map with lots of great memories for the Spanish community, especially if you like Scythe (and x6tence). Theme Park was introduced in its place, a map that hasn't been welcomed by the community in general, and has only been played six times since the fourth game week. After Iana's and Oryx's entrance, Border was removed to make space for Oregon, a map that has appeared the same amount of times than Theme Park, which is impressive as the first match there was played in the 12th game-week.
The most played map in the Spain Nationals is Kafe, with 19 appearances while the best team there has been Movistar Riders, as they have won all their games played there.
However, Villa, which is the second map in the list with 15 appearances, has always been banned by Riders. Cream and Giants usually feel comfortable while playing in the Italian map; in fact, Villa was the map in their two games, both ending in a 7-4 win for Giants.
The third map in the list is Consulate, a map that was only played four times during the first half, but was played 10 times in the second half. In fact, the last two matches of the regular phase were played in the Ivorian map. It's normal that the teams chose to play this map as the Finals get closer, as it's very difficult to show new things there.
The rest of the maps, Coastline and Oregon, are also common to see in the scene, especially the last one, which has received a warm welcome by the community.
The matches will kick off on the 21st of July, 18:00 CEST. The first games will be Bo1; meanwhile, the rest of the matches will be Bo3 except for the Grand Final, which will be a Bo5. The games will follow the following schedule:
The Spain Nationals' Prize Pool is valued in €20,000. This economic price is split in two: €6,000 to the regular phase teams and €14,000 to the teams that play in the Finals. This last one is split in the following way:
- 1st: €6,000
- 2nd: €3,000
- 3rd - 4th: €1,250
- 5th - 6th: €750
- 7th - 8th: €500
The winner will also be awarded with a Challenger League spot, which will be added in the following:
- Sector One (Benelux League S5 Finalists)
- forZe (Russian Major League S5 Third place)
- Samsung Morning Stars (PG Nationals Champions)
The Finals' talent has suffered some changes as p0Lo, who was an analyst, has signed for Team Heretics. Now, LioN and Reina -- players for Wygers -- will complete the list, which will be the following one:
- Alejandro “Álex Polo” Polo (Caster)
- Marc “Ross” Rosés (Caster)
- Ignacio “Adonai” Ballesteros (Analista)
- José Luís “Naigal” Rodríguez (Analista)
- Daniel “LioN” González
- Luisa “Reina” Cano