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NAL Day 7 Key Takeaways: TSM rattle off six rounds in a row, Oxygen flex Oregon muscle

With just two play days left, the NAL wheat is beginning to separate from the chaff.

TSM complete six round comeback after falling behind early, defeat Soniqs

TSM barely won a single entry battle, on either attack or defense. Soniqs won nine to TSM’s paltry two, and through the first three rounds, the round count reflected that statistic. Soniqs raced out to a 3-0 lead, but then, TSM took a time out. 

The black-and-white (and a bit of red) clad team came storming back with six straight round wins to force match point, ultimately winning Oregon 7-4. Jason “Beaulo” Doty led TSM statistically with a 1.35 SiegeGG Rating and 13 total kills on the map. 

The TSM victory throws a bit of a wrench into multiple other teams’ Major chances. They now sit at 12 points, with only two more games remaining in the stage against XSET and Mirage. TSM hasn’t exactly completely secured Major and SI qualification, but it’s definitely in a good spot after this victory. 

Spacestation Gaming dismantle DarkZero in “trade” grudge match

The past transfer window in the North American League produced two blockbuster roster moves: Alex “Skys” Magor, formerly of DarkZero, signing with Spacestation, and Troy “Canadian” Jaroslawski, formerly of Spacestation, signed with DarkZero. 

Effectively, not officially, the two teams executed a trade for this pair of players. Adding to the drama between them was Matthew “Hotancold” Stevens’ exit from DarkZero to Mirage before Stage 1, which was a tad controversial at the time. 

Those elements combined to create an emotionally charged environment, an environment that the two teams understandably did their best to move past, but is humanly impossible to ignore completely. It was personal to an extent. 

The actual game was just as unclimactic as the buildup was emotional: Spacestation cruised to a 7-2 victory behind a 6-0 attacking half on Oregon, one of the most dominant half efforts of the year. DarkZero regained some composure towards the end of the match, but was dug into too deep a hole to have a reasonable statistical chance to win. 

With just beastcoast and XSET ahead of it, Spacestation appear poised to take first in the NAL due to its tiebreaker victory over Oxygen, the team it is tied with on points. DarkZero isn’t out of Major contention yet, but it needs points fast if it’s going to catch up. 

Astralis regain, knock out beastcoast 7-4

Astralis really, really, really couldn’t afford to lose this game. An upcoming match with DarkZero will ultimately decide the roster’s relegation fate, but it needed points in this match, and needed them bad. 

David “iconic” Ifidon answered the bell. His 1.65 SiegeGG Rating, 15 total kills, and pristine 2-0 on both attacking and defending opening duels propelled Astralis to a 7-4 victory over a seemingly-improving beastcoast. Every member of Astralis notched above a 70 percent KOST, four had over an 80. It’s a complete 180 degree turn in terms of results from previous playdays, but now it’s time to see if they can do it against the more prestigious DarkZero. 

Beastcoast, on the other hand, have absolutely improved, but this regulation loss shuts the team out from Major contention. With games against Spacestation and DarkZero looming, they need points to avoid a relegation game. Fortunately, they hold some significant tiebreakers, and almost every team in danger of a relegation game has to play the historically strong teams. Odds are good that beastcoast will have time to regroup for an SI qualifier spot and the next stage of the NAL. 

Oxygen flex Oregon muscle, dispatch XSET

Don’t take Oxygen to Oregon. You won’t like it. 

Since Mar. 24, 2021, the official beginning of NAL’s 2021 Stage 1, Oxygen has won 65.2 percent of their Oregon attacks and a very nice 69.2 percent of their Oregon defenses. That’s including the Six Invitational 2021. 

During that time, they’ve played Oregon eight times. They’ve lost it once, by a single round to Soniqs in Stage 1. They haven’t won Oregon by a margin closer than 7-3 since SI 2021, where they beat Team Empire 7-4. 

XSET is now a part of that statistic following their 7-1 loss to Oxygen, which included five Oxygen attacking round victories. 

For the red-and-black clad team, the situation has become a bit dire, even if there were signs of improvement. XSET needs to peel at least a point off either TSM or Spacestation, and hope that the sixth, seventh, and eighth teams all lose out, and also have the tiebreakers situation fall their way if they want to avoid relegation danger. 

Oxygen is right back in Stage 1 form, and you can make an argument that they never slipped as far as they appeared to. The best-of-one format is notoriously fickle, but Oxygen have the longstanding benefit of the doubt thanks to their combination of veteran players and young talent. 

It’s becoming clear that Stage 2 was an aberration, a bump in the road for this Oxygen roster. Next up is likely the Sweden Major, a berth they’re all but guaranteed with just one more point. A stage-ending matchup with Soniqs looms on the horizon, but if the Oxygen players play how they played yesterday, they’re going to be just fine.