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 fifth and final week below!
After the lengthy action on the sixth day, the seventh day of play gave audiences a similar scene, with league leaders Giants Gaming and Cloud9 in the thick of the action.
FAV Gaming faced off against Cloud9 in the second game of the day, with the teams headed to Villa for this Phase 2 clash in Stage 2. The Japanese team got off to a strong start, winning the first round on attack, but Cloud9 struck back with a vengeance, taking round after round to sweep to a 5-1 lead. Nova and SyAIL, in particular, were impressive.
However, with the sides swapped, it was Cloud9 that began to lose steam. FAV Gaming struck back on defense immediately, led by triple-kills from No2 and ChloroForM on their first two defensive rounds. These two rounds became four and suddenly the scores were tied at 5-5. Much to the Korean fans' relief, though, Cloud9 arrested the slide and successfully planted the defuser in the next round, but FAV's near-retake eventually transalted into overtime.
Cloud9 woke up in overtime, though, with SyAIL, Harp3r, and EnvyTaylor combining for six kills across the two rounds played and gave their team a much-needed victory to continue chasing Giants.
Giants, for their part, did not have an easy game either. Playing a Nora-Rengo that had been struggling greatly, especially with Merieux out with a collapsed lung, the Singaporeans were expected to win rather easily. And starting off on defense, Giants won their first round. Nora-Rengo struck back and nearly won the third, too, after Giants forgot to finish off the downed on Zofia who nearly clutched out a 1v3. Much to their relief, the next two rounds were not as close, and the Giants were able to go into the second half with a 4-2 lead.
Nora-Rengo took the first round on defense after a SouLBoi triple-kill, but HysteRiX followed it up with one of his own to keep Giants with a two-round lead. He repeated his triple-kill the next round, but missteps allowed YoshiNNGO to clutch out a 1v3, with him repeating the triple-kill in the 10th round to tie the scores. HysteRiX, though, wanted the game over and took charge, reeling off four kills in the 11th round and then two more in the 12th and giving the win to his team, 7-5.
Elsewhere, Cyclops Athlete Gaming (CAG) crushed Fnatic 7-2, while Qconfirm scored an important blow in their relegation fight by taking down SCARZ 7-4. Xavier continued their strong campaign, too, with a 7-1 victory over Electrify Esports, while Talon leapfrogged Qconfirm out of the drop zone with a 7-4 win over GUTS Gaming.
The eighth day of play saw further stratification, with only one game featuring more than 10 rounds. Once again, Cloud9 and Nora-Rengo were the stars in the closest game of the day, with the match played out on Coastline.
Dubbed a map where "good teams go to die", Cloud9 seemed very much alive on their defenses as EnvyTaylor and Static combined for all five in the first round, while Static was joined by Nova as they got two apiece in the second. Papilia then forced a Nora-Rengo round win with a triple-kill, before Cloud9 was forced to clutch out a post-plant situation. The multikills kept flowing both ways, but Cloud9 lead 4-2 as expected.
Individual prowess was certainly not hidden away in this match, as more multikills followed with Cloud9's two initial victories on attack giving them match point. However, SyAIL's quad-kill in the ninth round was overshadowed by the combination of a Papilia triple-kill and Simotuki 1v2 clutch. Nora-Rengo stayed alive, winning the 10th round as well after Simotuki and SouLBoi got multikills again, but Cloud9 ended the resistance and won the game 7-4.
Next, with Electrify Esports almost certain to get relegated, Talon Esports took them to Kafe in a bid to help themselves escape the relegation zone. Here, despite starting off on attack, Talon took the first round and kept trading back and forth with Electrify, with S1no securing a 1v1 clutch in the second round. The fourth round also saw a post-plant 1v1 by Ed on Clash, but the half only saw Electrify able to win three rounds.
On defense, Talon looked definitively stronger and pushed hard to get a cushion of safety from the relegation zone. Tomorrow and PmW combined to wipe out the entirety of Electrify on their first attack, with PmW contributing three more in the next round. Electrify were desperate to avoid match point and attempted to strike back, with S1no nearly clutching a 1v2 and getting the defuser planted, but a final clutch and disable from Soldier meant it was not to be. Tomorrow then led the charge in the final round, getting a triple-kill to win the match 7-3 for his team.
Elsewhere, GUTS Gaming consigned SCARZ to a relegation spot with a 7-1 victory and Fnatic, too, suffered another heavy 1-7 defeat at the hands of Qconfirm. The dominant victories continued as Xavier Esports swatted FAV Gaming aside 7-0, while Cyclops Athlete Gaming stopped Giants' unbeaten run with a surprisingly strong 7-3.
This final week, keep an eye out for the surely exciting clash between Japanese Championship winners CAG and Korean Open leaders Cloud9, while Giants Gaming will hope they do not lose a second game this stage against Xavier Esports. The relegation battles also see important games between Qconfirm and Talon Esports, with Fnatic also desperate to escape against an inconsistent Nora-Rengo.
Keep an eye out here on SiegeGG for further updates from each region as the games continue for this final week, and be sure to follow us on Twitter for instant updates.