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US Nationals: Post-Event Roundup

If you happened to miss the events of the US Nationals, we’ve got you covered with a quick roundup of the event.

Eight of the best teams in the United States came together over the weekend at the Penn and Teller Theater in Las Vegas to decide, once and for all, the team that would clinch the title of “Team USA”.

The first day started off with Evil Geniuses surviving a scare against OrgLess (formerly Noble esports) as they won 2-1, before Cloud9 cleaned up Elephant Gang 2-0 -- even shutting them out 6-0 on the second map. Team SiNister were then annihilated by Rogue, and Spacestation Gaming closed things out by sweeping Rise Nation aside.

An exciting second day then followed, with the United States Army going up against the Air Force in the curtain-raising showmatch. While the crowd was having fun as the USAF ran away with the game, the true excitement was yet to come.

Eastern Conference Final: Evil Geniuses vs Cloud9

Maps: Coastline (7-6), Villa (2-6), Bank (6-3)

Evil Geniuses: Canadian, Necrox, Yung, nvK, Gotcha (Coach and stand-in)

Cloud9: FoxA, Goddess, MarkTheShark, LaXInG, Retro, ViiRuS (Coach)

The Eastern Conference Final was up next, with Retro going up against most of the team that he had won the Season 3 Pro League with. While Evil Geniuses (EG) had then also gone on to win the 2017 Six Invitational as well, they have been on a trophy drought since then -- their best chances coming at the 2018 Six Invitational and at DreamHack Austin 2018.

Of all the players, though, it was the former Counter Logic Gaming player LaXInG that stood out head-and-shoulders above the rest. After a brief but tumultuous period where he had been dropped by Cloud9 and then picked back up again, he showed exactly what a mistake it would have been to keep him off the team.

Finishing with a 1.39 rating in the game, LaXInG even outperformed EG’s top player in Canadian (1.21 rating) but his exploits were unfortunately not enough. Cloud9 fell 7-6 in an incredibly tightly contested Coastline, before storming back with a 6-2 win on Villa. Unfortunately, EG’s strength on Bank would be Cloud9’s downfall as they could not gain a strong enough foothold and lost 6-3 to get knocked out 1-2.

Western Conference Final: Spacestation Gaming vs Rogue

Maps: Consulate (6-3), Clubhouse (6-7), Coastline (4-6)

Spacesation: ThinkingNade, Redeemer, Bosco, Chala, Rampy

Rogue: Slashug, Ecl9pse, Easilyy, Shuttle, VertcL

The hugely exciting Evil Geniuses v Cloud9 game was followed up by yet another brilliant game as the two of the best North American teams went head-to-head. Both Rogue and Spacestation Gaming (SSG) wanted this just as much as the other -- neither had ever won any silverware in their entire history together, with Bosco the only champion after his 2017 Six Invitational victory on the Xbox. Over on the PC side, Slashug and Ecl9pse had got to the Grand Final as well, but were shut down by Continuum (now Evil Geniuses).

In a match that was dubbed as the Grand Final before the actual one, each team's players seemed precisely matched against each other, with the top performer once again on the losing team -- this time only by a hair, though, with ThinkingNade finishing with a 1.16 rating.

His performance was a joy to behold, with the SSG man even getting an ace with Buck on the final map of Coastline. His heroics had also helped SSG speed to a brilliant start with a 6-3 win on Coastline. While it looked like (at one point) that Spacestation would run away to a 2-0 win. Rogue, though, would keep their dreams alive with a strong comeback to force a trip to Coastline, the third map. While Rogue had most recently lost on this map -- to NORA-Rengo at the Season 8 Finals -- they showed no such weakness today and took the map 6-4 to book a berth in the Grand Final.

Grand Final: Evil Geniuses vs Rogue

Maps: Clubhouse (4-6), Villa (7-5), Consulate (2-6)

Evil Geniuses: Canadian, Necrox, Yung, nvK, Gotcha (Coach and stand-in)

Rogue: Slashug, Ecl9pse, Easilyy, Shuttle, VertcL

Two titans. Two of the oldest guards in North America. A long rivalry. This was the US Nationals Grand Final. While Evil Geniuses seemed to reestablish their dominance over the region -- or at the very least the United States -- Rogue instead seeked to escape their more accomplished rivals’ shadow. The two teams had faced each other on LAN a grand total of four times before, with Evil Geniuses winning three times, including at the 2017 Six Invitational Grand Final when EG was known as Continuum.

The grudge match saw a top class performance from Ecl9pse as he finished with a rating of 1.11 and was a model of consistency across the entire USN with a combined rating of 1.14 across all games. Read our interview with him after his win here.

Leading by example, Ecl9pse took no time at all to warm up as Rogue took Clubhouse with a strong 6-4 win, seemingly having learnt from their old mistakes on the map. Buoyed by the momentum, the second map was heading towards a crushing victory for Rogue, with a Caveira interrogation by VertcL bringing the house down in Rogue's home city of Las Vegas. Evil Geniuses, though, had other ideas as they struck back from 5-2 down to push things to overtime and eventually take the map 7-5 after five unanswered rounds.

The match was absolutely heating up as the teams headed to Consulate, the third and final map. Unfortunately, Evil Geniuses simply looked like they had run out of steam as Rogue swept to a 5-1 lead, and denied a potential comeback to take the map 6-2. This marked the team’s first-ever title, and the long-awaited conclusion to Slashug’s and Ecl9pse’s wait for a trophy-winning victory against Evil Geniuses.

That marked the end of a night of some absolutely top-class gameplay, and a superb weekend. The US Nationals will be back for 2019, so keep your eyes peeled to see who will try wrest the title away from Rogue next year.

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