With the new-look APAC North Division underway once more and the top 12 teams from Asia pit against each other, there was just as much new to see as there was the old. Find out what happened and what to expect from the third week below!
While the Tuesday saw games wrap up rather quickly, it certainly did not seem to be the case after the first three games. While none went to overtime like the double-overtime last play day, two did go to the full 12-round regular-time maximum.
The first of these was the East Asian clash between Talon Esports and GUTS Gaming, with the former winless in the first two games and the latter only having lost to Cloud9. Playing on Coastline and starting on attack, then, GUTS were favourites to take the win, especially after their third-place finish in Stage 1. But, the opening round saw Talon's two best players, PmW and Soldier, step up big, before LabyRinth got a closing triple-kill the next. GUTS then fired back with three rounds, but could not get a first-half lead as Talon struck back.
The lead was regained after the role swap as GUTS won on time despite a PmW triple-kill, but it did not last. Talon brough the shock and awe as three rounds went to them on the attack and suddenly the Koreans were on match point. Two of those rounds saw Soldier be instrumental in securing the win, and while Li9ht attempted to do the same for his squad in Round 12, the Japanese resistance came to an end and Talon took a 7-5 win.
Fnatic was then next up, flying high after having opened Stage 2 with two wins, including a crushing 7-0 over Cyclops Athlete Gaming (CAG). Playing their compatriots, FAV Gaming, on Kafe, the defensive half started off well for Fnatic, with MentalistC opening things up with a three-piece and Lusty following up with two. While FAV did get a few ripostes in, it was Fnatic that came off happy with a 4-2 lead.
The lead evaporated just as quickly, though, as FAV hit back, starting with a No2 quad-kill in the first round after the break and then time starvation in the next. Fnatic did restore the lead right after despite a triple-kill by ShiN, but that was all the former APAC champions would get. Largely shut out, the next three rounds would see Fnatic cumulatively only get five kills as FAV stonewalled their attacks and took a 7-5 win.
Elsewhere, CAG continued its rebound with a 7-4 win over SCARZ, while Cloud9 swept Xavier Esports aside 7-2. Giants Gaming also crushed former boogeymen Qconfirm 7-1, while Nora-Rengo had a much-needed 7-4 outing against Electrify Esports.
The fourth day went rather similarly, with fewer close games than expected, but two games going to the maximum 12-round distance.
The first was the Japanese derby between GUTS and Nora-Rengo, a game that the former was certainly tipped to win given the latter's recent struggles. But so too had GUTS been expected to win over Talon, and they once again disappointed. The Clubhouse match did start off well enough, as GUTS took three attacking wins to position themselves well for their own defensive half on the defense-sided map.
However, GUTS had a more difficult time on defense than expected, with Nora-Rengo winning both primary bomb sites -- with the Round 7 basement take pulled off thanks to a Simotuki quad-kill. Rounds kept being traded by GUTS, keeping them abreast of their counterparts but their inability to establish a lead on defense became worrying as the game rushed to a conclusion. Much to the relief of Nora-Rengo fans, though, their favoured team managted to finally secure two rounds in a row, with only Lily managing a kill that round for GUTS as his team fell 5-7.
The second was the penultimate game of the day between Xavier Esports and SCARZ. With Xavier Esports having finished in fourth place in Stage 1 and having had given Giants Gaming their only league loss, a 7-1, the Thai were expected to win against a SCARZ that had been struggling a great deal more. However, the Koreans started giving Xavier fans flashbacks to their previous Oregon losses when they swept to a 3-0 lead on attack that soon became 4-2.
However, it seemed that attack was the name of the game on Oregon. Two rounds into the second half saw scores tied, with DCH, redsun, and Nay..Pew combining for seven kills. SCARZ did manage to secure a defensive win though, restoring its lead, but two rounds on the trot saw Xavier Esports take the lead, starting with a quad-kill from sprOnigiri. Closing out the game was then Nay..Pew, securing three kills to help his team along to a 7-5 win.
Elsewhere, Fnatic lost again -- this time in a 7-4 to Cloud9 -- while Electrify surprised Talon by the same margin. Giants Gaming continued their winning ways and ended FAV's equivalent lossless streak with a 7-3 win, while CAG beat Qconfirm with the same scoreline.
This week, with the final play day of Phase 1 of Stage 2, keep an eye out for the sure-to-be-electric game between Fnatic and Xavier Esports, while Cloud9 takes on FAV Gaming. The bottom of the table will also see pivotal games for Nora-Rengo against Talon and SCARZ against Electrify as teams fight to stave off relegation.
Also keep an eye out for the Phase 2 matchups being announced after today's play, with five more exciting play days to come.
Keep an eye out here on SiegeGG for further updates from each region as the games continue for the next three weeks, and be sure to follow us on Twitter for instant updates.