After more than five months of competition, the Spain Nationals S3 has now concluded, with the six teams having had fought to represent Spain at the Challenger League.
Read on to find out what happened and how the Wizards found themselves champions after three winless seasons.
Mav3ricks Deceive, Wizards Dominate
Although Mav3ricks finished in first place of the Regular Phase, the leaders eventually struggled in the playoffs.
After a very close win against the fourth-placed roster of Team Queso, Mav3ricks was forced to play in the Lower Bracket after losing to Wizards 2-0. But there was no magical run to be made, as Movistar Riders smashed the Mav3ricks with a 7-0 win on Kafe and a 7-5 win on Clubhouse.
While Wizards completely dominated the Upper Bracket, taking down Riders and Mav3ricks in two 2-0 games, Riders also took 2-0 wins against RVNS, Cream, and Mav3ricks in the Lower Bracket.
Third Grand Final Loss for Movistar Riders
The Spain Nationals had begun two years ago, with x6tence winning the first time and Team Heretics the second.
But though the champions have been different, the runner-up has always been the same: Movistar Riders.
Having been in the Spanish scene from the beginning, Riders would have felt that this was its chance to make its mark onto Spain, especially in light of the departures Giants Gaming and Heretics.
Although the team got off to a slow start, the additions of Andrade “Couto” Monçao and Óscar “Kuriboh” Puerma really kicked things into gear.
As such, despite a weak first leg, Movistar Riders put itself right back into the fight, winning five of its second leg matches to get a third chance at winning the title.
The team’s captain of José Luís “WeskeRR” Corchero was thus knocking on the doors of European-wide competition, while Jordi “FOSKITo” Bodro had the chance to finally win the Spain Nationals after having lost the previous two Grand Finals.
The Grand Final began with what was probably the best play of the match, as Gabriel “Billordo” Billordo clutched a 1v5 when defending CCTV/Cash. It put Movistar ahead for a brief period of time, as both sides swapped roles with a 3-3 on the scoreboard.
On the defence, the Wizards players looked more coordinated and structured than their opponents. However, it was Movistar Riders who led 5-4 after the next three rounds.
But when things looked difficult, the Wizards kept their heads up and took three consecutive rounds to draw within one map of the Challenger League.
Chalet was close, but the Wizards' dominance was clearer. While the Riders pulled things back to 5-5 after having been down 2-5, they could not keep up the win-streak, leaving Wizards to take the final two rounds and the series victory.
Two impressive displays by the Spaniard Joan “NaoResh” Tort and the Portuguese Mario “Nubaii” Oliveira were pivotal to get Wizards the ticket to compete in the next Challenger League.
This means that we will see a Portuguese player and a Brazilian player in the next European Challenger League, with the Wizards' Pedro “Thuunder” Muniz representing the South American nation.
SiegeGG reached out to Nubali to gather his thoughts on the victory.
First of all, congratulations on the win! You will be the first Portuguese player to compete at the European League. Not only that, but Thuunder will be the first Brazilian player to do so, as well. How does it feel to represent your country at such a high level?
It is always a pleasure to represent your country at the highest level and it is even more special if you are the first one to do it, showing everyone that it is in fact possible to be there.
Although the Finals have been online, your team had the chance to play at a boot camp in Barcelona. How did that help you?
Being at a boot camp was essential, as we were able to fix certain details. There was a difference to playing online, as we were progressing quicker than before. It is harder to do it from home.
Very few people know Wizards outside Spain. How would you describe your team?
We are an aggressive team with some great ideas when it comes to the game, we always try to set the pace, which puts us in a good place.
You won 3-0, but it was far from easy; on Clubhouse you had been 4-5 down, while on Chalet you went from a 5-2 lead to a 5-5. What goes through your head in those situations?
Yes, these two were some difficult situations. We dropped some important rounds on both maps. However, we showed a strong mentality, which was superior to what the Movistar Riders were showing. We were calm and we knew that we were playing better.
Is there anything you would like to say to, not only to the Wizards fans, but also to the Portuguese fans and those from your nation that look up to you?
I would like to say thanks to every single fan that rooted for us. I would also like to thank Wizards for helping us during the whole season; alongside Wipod they gave us the chance to be in a boot camp with some good PCs that helped us win the Finals!
I also want to thank the casters and CABAL, the production was once again on point, it was brutal! There were some insane moments!
Be sure to check back here at SiegeGG for full coverage of the National Leagues and the Challenger League, including stats, news and updates over the next weeks!