After six months of games in the new pro-circuit played, this weekend sees the conclusion to 2020 season in the Asia Pacific region. These Finals see the top teams in each region compete for the title of 2020 champions as well as $50,000 in prize money -- though this will not affect SI qualification or the 2021 APAC League in any way.
The format for the APAC Finals is very simple; the two best teams in each subregion play in a single best-of-three match for the title. The best teams are determined by their performance since the beginning of the APAC League in June, leading to the following matchups:
- APAC North -- Giants Gaming vs Cloud9 for $25,000
- Oceania -- Wildcard Gaming vs Pittsburgh Knights for $15,000
- South Asia -- Ex-MercenarieZ vs Union Gaming for $10,000
Under non-COVID circumstances, the APAC Final would consist of two LAN events; firstly an APAC South LAN with Wildcard, Knights, Ōkami and ex-MRCZ, and then an overall APAC LAN with Giants, C9, CAG and the South winners. However, this was cancelled due to the inability to run in-person events.
The schedule of the tournament is as follows:
- Saturday 9th, 8am UTC -- Oceania Finals
- Saturday 9th, 11am UTC -- South Asia Finals
- Saturday 10th, 10am UTC -- APAC North Finals
The games will be cast by standard EU and APAC League casters we saw at the recent Majors with the OCE casters not covering their own region. This includes Milosh hosting with Jess, Geo, Fluke, Devmarta, Hap, and Dezachu casting.
- Giants Gaming -- Lunarmetal, Ysaera, HysteRiX, SpeakEasy, jrdn, and GiG (coach)
- Cloud9 -- EnvyTaylor, SweetBlack, Nova, Harp3r, SyAIL, RechoTZ, and OniChan (two coaches)
2020 has largely been Giants' year, with them winning Stages 1 and 2 and the November Major. Cloud9, meanwhile, won the August Major and were runners-up during Stage 1 and the November Major. This makes these two teams the clear invitees to the APAC North Finals as both teams prepare for the 2021 Six Invitational.
These two teams have met six times this year, with Giants winning five times at a head-to-head map lead of 8-3. This does make Giants the favorites to win the tournament, but considering the most recent win was 8-6, 8-7, 8-7, this shows how precarious their leads have been.
- Wildcard Gaming -- EmoRin, Diesel, Gio, Pat, Vincere, Fluxx, and syliX (two coaches)
- Pittsburgh Knights -- Dino, Hayward, Juicy, Jsh, Sageon, and pikniq (coach)
Wildcard has been the standout Oceanic lineup this year, with them winning literally every tournament they have competed in. Furthermore, they will be Australia's lone representative at the Six Invitational, with this being their third international event in a row after SI20 and the Season 10 Finals.
Knights, meanwhile, have had a much tougher year with many questioning their invitation here at all. Knights and Ōkami both had very similar years with them achieving the following records:
- Pittsburgh Knights -- 2nd and 3rd at Majors, 3rd and 2nd during OCN Playoffs, 4th and 2nd during the OCN regular season
- Ōkami -- 3rd and 2nd at Majors, 2nd and 3rd during Stage 1 and 2 Playoffs, 3rd and 4th during the OCN regular season
Comparing them against each other, they had the same finishes during the Majors and Playoffs, with a single third-place finish by Ōkami last July costing them a spot at these Finals despite them being arguably the better performing team recently.
Considering that this year Wildcard is ahead against the Knights in head-to-head maps by 13-1, a win by the Knights would be one of the biggest upsets of the year even though WC are focusing primarily on their Six Invitational opponents.
- Ex-MercenarieZ -- Hasib, Mii7, NINJAFREAK, Taha, M4KER, and FATAR
- Union Gaming -- Beat, EX7, Sparko, Jittery, and Sandy
Due to their August Major victory, most attention in the region was on Union Gaming, however, MRCZ have since proved themselves to be the real powerhouses of the region. Regional victories against Union in the finals during Stage 1, 2, the November Major and the Six Invitational closed qualifiers means MRCZ are now up 5-1 in head-to-head matchups.
Furthermore, they are the only team in South Asia with real cross-sub-regional experience after they took CAG to overtime during the SI Qualifier semi-finals.
The MercenarieZ roster will now be hoping to leverage this success to find a new organization, as they have left the MRCZ org ahead of the Finals this weekend, making this worth a lot more than the money for them. Union, meanwhile, will be hoping to regain the attention they earnt by becoming the region's first champions in August by becoming the 2020 champions here.
Finals Around the World
Regional Finals will also be taking place in most of the rest of the World as well with some completed, some canceled and some yet to come:
The LATAM Finals finished last month, with the following teams being crowned their sub-regional 2020 champions and winning the top share of the $165,000 prize pool:
- Brazil -- MIBR
- Mexico -- Estral Esports
- South America -- Malvinas Gaming
Unlike APAC, the LATAM Finals were always planned to be three separate events with COVID, leading to the Mexican and South American Finals being played online rather than on LAN. The Brazilian Finals, however, did take place in a LAN environment in São Paulo.
After Coscu Army dominated the SA scene this year, their loss to Malvinas was very unexpected, while MIBR won their first title to date in a shock 3-0 sweep over Team Liquid in the grand final.
In NA the Finals were split into two separate events; Canada and the US. Both of these were meant to be on LAN in a USN-style event in Las Vegas, but these were also cancelled.
The Canadian Finals saw Altiora takedown Mirage 3-0 to take the title and the SI Closed Qualifier invite -- a qualifier they later won -- with the relegations taking place just beforehand. The US Finals, meanwhile, have been delayed with no confirmed replacement date announced yet.
The US Finals were meant to take place in December and include SSG, DZ, TSM, and OxG and be worth $150,000 (compared to $50,000 for the Canadian Finals).
While it was originally thought to be delayed to January to fill the otherwise empty schedule for the month or to get the event on a LAN environment, with no news on the Finals announced so far, it looks like there may not be an official 2020 Season champion for the US after all.
Finally, the €100,000 European League Finals will take place next weekend (the 15-17th) between BDS, G2, V.p, and Na'Vi, with the relegations taking place over the same weekend. Once again, it will be all online as the LAN component was canceled.
While BDS dominated most of the year, Empire finally toppled them at the November Major. While Empire isn't competing here, and most teams will be preparing for the Invitational, it will be interesting to see if BDS still retains their edge.
For Na'Vi, meanwhile, this is a whole different tournament with them being the only team of the four not attending SI, making this a lot more important for them to end the year on a high.
Keep an eye out here at SiegeGG for full coverage of these games over the weekend.