Next Week’s Challenger League Playoffs Previewed

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With the conclusion of the regular season of the Challenger League Season 8 last week, we now know which four teams will play for promotion to the Pro League in next week’s playoffs.

Each Challenger League team played 14 games over the last seven weeks in a Best-of-One (Bo1), double round-robin format to determine the four teams that would qualify for the upcoming playoffs. These four teams will then play in a standard knockout bracket with the winner automatically being promoted to the Pro League, while the runners-up will play the seventh-placed PL team in their region for a spot in Season 9 of the Pro League.

The Pro League and Challenger League format.

 

Europe

Despite the league containing 17 French players across four teams, not a single French player will play in the upcoming playoffs. Instead, the four teams represent the nations of Finland, Italy, Russia, and Poland -- none of which currently see any team representation in Pro League.

The standings at the end of the regular season of Season 8 of the EU Challenger League

These standings mean the following teams have qualified for the playoffs:

Team Empire: Shockwave, ShepparD, JoyStiCK, karzheka and Scyther

As the current Euro Cup, T3H League, CCS, and Russian Champions, Team Empire are a real force to be reckoned with. During the regular season, Empire remained undefeated in all games but one -- a forfeit loss -- including a 6-1 victory over their closest rivals, ENCE eSports. As such, they are the favourites to get the automatic Pro League promotion spot.

 

ENCE eSports: Willkey, Bounssi, UUNO, Gomfi, SHA77E and Sua (Coach)

As one of the most well-known teams in Siege history, ENCE eSports will be hoping to regain their Pro League spot after a dreadful Season 7. In order to do this, the team has recently brought the ex-player and current Six Invitational champion of Ville "SHA77E" Palola out of retirement to guide them through playoffs, and to get the fan favourite team back to the top tier of Siege.

 

TrainHard eSport: Derius, Magic, Deep, Saves and Kendrew

Despite two players suddenly leaving the team mid-season, the current roster of TrainHard (previously known as Team Ascent and Patokalipsa) will be aiming to become the first Polish PL players since Year 1. This isn’t a new opportunity, however, as this result means Oskar "Magic" Skowronek has now guaranteed his sixth consecutive Challenger League appearance having competed in every CL season since its inception in Season 4.

 

EnD Gaming: Alation, Peak, Torok, Hunter, sNakj and Boroz (Coach)

The current Italian champions will be incredibly grateful for a forfeit victory over the otherwise undefeated side of Team Empire as these three points saw them edge out 3DMAX by just two points. They are, however, very unlikely to be as lucky when they play in the first round of the playoffs where they’ll need to beat Empire in actuality if they hope to get back to the Pro League after being relegated back in Season 2.

The brackets for the EU Challenger League playoffs via Liquipedia

 

North America

Meanwhile, in North America, a strong second half of the season saw Excelerate Gaming and Vicious Gaming leapfrog The Nomads and Team SiNister into the playoff spots alongside the favourites of Elephant Gang and Disrupt Gaming.

The standings at the end of the regular season of Season 8 of the NA Challenger League

These standings mean the following teams have qualified for the playoffs:

Elephant Gang: Kanine, Avian, Trippen, GhxsT and Neptunez

Formed as a group of players who felt “slighted and overlooked by other teams”, Elephant Gang has since seen a number of changes with three members of the initial roster - Benji, MarkTheShark and Supr - all being “poached” by various Pro League teams. Despite this, the roster has remained the clear leader in the Challenger League throughout, beating their closest rivals of Disrupt Gaming 6-0, 6-3, thus making them the heavy favourites to get the automatic promotion spot to the Pro League

 

Disrupt Gaming: Gotcha, Modigga, Spades, Remorce, EvLWaffle and Splek (Coach)

Disrupt Gaming, captained by the ex-Pro League player of Brad "Remorce" Hickey, made some surprising waves in the Challenger League this season, finishing as one of the clear favourites after having formed just a few months ago. Just prior to this season, they had acquired the ex-SK Gaming player of EvLWaffle and had picked up SiegeGG’s very own Splek as a coach, increasing the team’s prospects further. However, the announcement of the team captain, Gotcha, leaving to become the coach of Evil Geniuses has left a big question over Disrupt’s Pro League hopes -- it is now unclear whether they’ll have a fifth player ready for playoffs.

 

Excelerate Gaming: Achieved, biolog1cs, Schlongii, Krusher and Nicks

Similarly to Magic, Matthew "Achieved" Solomon has also played in every single Challenger League season so far, peaking way back in Season 4 when he had finished in second place. He’ll now be hoping to defeat his ex-teammate, Remorce, to at least equal his record and earn another shot at the Pro League.

 

Vicious Gaming: LowJ4X, PiXeL, HolidayNOG, Rich, Oasis and Slaypex (Coach)

After winning just two games in the first half of the season, FLAWLESS GG really kicked their season into gear after dropping Nilay for Oasis and getting acquired by their new organisation. Since then, Vicious Gaming not only stormed into the top four of NA Challenger League but also defeated the fifth-placed Pro League team of mousesports to qualify for the US Nationals LAN in Vegas next month. Much can be expected from this hugely promising roster.

The brackets for the NA Challenger League playoffs via Liquipedia

 

Latin America

In a somewhat similar story to Europe, two dominant teams, ReD DevilS e-Sports and Guidance Gaming, led the season throughout, finishing as the first and second seeds. The third and fourth places were decided by a final-day sprint that saw the need to break out the head-to-head records to decide the final two playoff teams.

The standings at the end of the regular season of Season 8 of the LATAM Challenger League

These standings mean the following teams have qualified for the playoffs:

ReD DevilS e-Sports: VelveT, VNXzz, Zyon, Abreu and Mity

Having won the Challenger League in Season 7 with the current roster of Black Dragons, and having achieved promotion to the Pro League, the organisation will now be aiming to do it again with a new and, arguably, improved roster. Already having defeated Black Dragons twice in the Brasileirão 2018 relegations to join the 2019 season the VelveT-led roster has drawn twice to the third-placed LATAM team of Team oNe, and outright defeated paiN Gaming. The team shows some incredible promise going into the playoffs and, possibly, Season 9 of the Pro League as they have already shown themselves to be a highly capable team at the higher echelons of play.

 

Guidance Gaming: Alpha, Miracle, Aconite, PluuSh, h1ghs, CH and Twister (Coach)

The best-known member of this roster is the ex-coach for Ninjas in Pyjamas, Twister, who had led the roster to the Season 6 Pro League Grand Final against ENCE eSports. This pickup adds to an already promising roster that, under the well-known organisation of 1nfamy, had taken the eventual Challenger League champions of ReD DevilS to three maps in the playoff semi-finals during Season 7.

 

YeaH Gaming: Level, live, p0PStarr, senk4i, Sn3epyy and vTnK

Represented by another recognisable organisation from the LATAM region, this newly formed team has had an extremely mixed season as they achieved six losses and six defeats in fourteen games, losing one game but winning the other against all other teams but two. The only team in the league which managed to defeat YeaH Gaming in both meetings was Guidance Gaming -- now their opponents in the semi-finals of the playoffs.

 

Santos e-Sports: Berith, Lend4, Pandex, Ghost1, Ximeenes and Akkari

Yet another known organisation with another new team, this roster made the playoffs by the closest of margins on the final playday. As both Santos and Cartel gained three points on the final day, they both jumped above 2Kill Gaming on 18 points, forcing the head-to-head round difference tiebreaker to be deployed between the two teams. As such, Santos was awarded the fourth-place finish thanks to their results over six weeks ago on the first day,  where they had won 8-6 in round count.

The brackets for the LATAM Challenger League playoffs via Liquipedia

 

These playoff games will be cast by community streamers on:

Latin America: Wednesday from 7pm BRT

Europe: Friday from 7pm CEST

North America: Friday from 7pm EDT