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North American Challenger League Stage 3 Preview: Roster shuffles, new orgs, old faces return

Everything you need to know about the second-division FACEIT league in NA.

North American Challenger League Stage 3 Preview: Roster shuffles, new orgs, old faces return

Banner image: Ubisoft/Kirill Bashkirov

The North American Challenger League returns for its final stage during the 2021 circuit.

There have been roster changes among several notable teams, as the race for a potential spot in NAL heats up, so here are all of the teams participating in the third stage:

  • 1shotLFO
  • Aquilax
  • Investigation File
  • ex-LiViD Gaming
  • Nokturns
  • Okami
  • Panik Gaming
  • Outlast the Opposition
  • Parabellum Esports
  • Arial Arise
  • Wichita Wolves
  • 2Faced
  • Fernys Tacos

The competition will begin on Saturday, Sept. 18. The first two play days will feature the following matchups, all times approximate. You can watch the action at twitch.tv/R6EsportsNA

Sept. 18:

  • Parabellum vs. 2Faced (4:00 PM ET)
  • Okami vs. Arial Arise (5:00 PM ET)
  • 1shotLFO vs. Aquilax (6:00 PM ET)

Sept. 19: 

  • Panik Gaming vs. Wichita Wolves (4:00 PM ET)
  • ex-LiViD vs. Investigation File (5:00 PM ET)
  • Outlast vs. Fernys Tacos (6:00 PM ET)

Storylines to watch:

(Co-authored with C.J. "CookieZ" Brooks)
Parabellum returns to defend its crown

The victors of Stage 2, Parabellum Esports, have a bit of a new look coming into this stage. Logan "Sonar" Parker departed the roster and was replaced by Robert "Melted" Kormylo.

Parabellum at SI 2021. Sonar is second-from-left. (Photo: Ubisoft/Kirill Bashkirov)

Parabellum is arguably the biggest brand in Challenger League across the globe, and its exploits at the Six Invitational 2021 were talked about for months after the event concluded. While the roster isn't exactly what it was in May, there's still a significant amount of talent on this roster. Look to Parabellum to continue its strong Stage 2 into Stage 3.

This Parabellum team is one of, if not the, most coordinated Challenger League teams. It rarely does things that make you go "wait, what the heck is that guy doing", its fundamentals are drilled in, and it's an extremely thorough team for the Challenger League.

Org-Less gained an org, but lost two key parts: how will it affect them?

Org-Less is now Panik Gaming, ending its search for a competitive home. However, the family it's settling down for Stage 3 with is looking a bit different than its Stage 2 lineup.

Christian "Prod" Gauch was scooped up by XSET, and "yungalec" is currently playing for beastcoast, two NAL teams. As such, "WNGS" and "Saiko" have been added to the roster. Despite the finals loss to Parabellum, this is still an excellent squad. Can it continue their upwards momentum?

2Faced enters as a dark horse

The revamped 2Faced roster, headlined by NAL veteran Alex "Butterzz" O'Campo, has a very real chance to win it all. 

Butterzz with Tempo Storm at the US Nationals 2019 Finals.

The team will without a doubt throw a wrench in things, especially in the group stage, and surprise a lot of people that don't know about its overall skill from their Tier 3 days.

2Faced dispatched 140ms in the decider match, earning its spot in Challenger League, but can it continue to take solid steps towards success? This is a team with the talent to go straight from earning a spot in relegations to playoffs.

Will Wichita Wolves' roster changes help bring their form back?

After winning Stage 1, Wichita Wolves' roster took a step back during Stage 2, a big step back.

Now it's added "Freak" and "Moheese" to their roster -- two players who pushed Nokturns from a non-playoff team to a second-place finish -- in hopes of reigniting the Stage 1 fire. Freak and Moheese are excellent players, but the Wolves' Stage 2 performance left a lot to be desired. If the changes work out, Wichita will challenge the top dogs in the league. 

Underrated players to keep an eye on:
  • Arial Arise: "Kento". Kento is an incredible mechanical talent who has the ability to will teams to victory. 
  • 1shotLFO: Cory "Kilo" Dawson. Kilo is a bit of a journeyman, but he's had success everywhere he's went. That isn't a coincidence. 
  • LiViD: "Mikee". Mikee is an exceptional player capable of making flashy plays. 
  • Investigation File: "Vivid". Good supports are hard to find, and Vivid is a good support.