Normalcy was a word EU seemed to learn this week, with G2 finally recording another win and Mock-it looking dominant once more. Over in NA, Spacesation Gaming's inability to convert match points into wins continued, and in LATAM too seemed to like SSG's penchant for draws with three of their own.
The gap between the top three in North America and the rest continued to become greater than in the other two main regions, as the third place team DarkZero (DZ) established a four-point lead over Excelerate Gaming (ExG) in fourth. League leaders Evil Geniuses (EG) continued their perfect start to the season, with a 7-2 victory over Rise Nation, followed up by a 7-5 victory over DarkZero. This EG victory allowed Team Reciprocity to take sole possession of second place following their victories over Rogue and OrgLess.
Excelerate Gaming continued to surprise and wow viewers, with the formerly Challenger League team strongly staking a claim that they have the strength to play with the big boys in the Pro League. A good week for them saw them force DZ to 11 rounds -- even though they fell later -- and demolish Rise 7-2.
Following ExG in fourth, this week's results saw the formation of a three-way tie for 5th thanks to Rogue, Spacestation, and OrgLess each finishing with 4 points. Spacestation Gaming's unfortunately torrid time continued, with both games this week yet again ending in 6-6 draws. This means that while SSG is so far unbeaten in all four of their games, they are also winless -- a record the players are decidedly sick of.
Rogue, too had a tough two days as they only scraped a single point out of a possible six. While a tie with the Invitational-qualified SSG is no doubt a good measure of their strength, their heavy loss to Team Reciprocity would be cause for concern. These are poor starts for teams both expected to be in contention for a LAN spot this season, and with Week 4's games fast approaching -- and the Invitational after -- they need to take a close look at their issues and resolve them to stand a good chance.
With these results, Rise Nation is now the only Pro League team outside of Japan and Southeast Asia yet to collect any points, as they lost twice this week -- 7-2 against Evil Geniuses, and 7-2 against Excelerate Gaming. While there is much of the season yet to be played out, warning bells for a possible relegation to the Challenger League must surely be ringing for the ex-mousesports roster.
After last week capped off a ridiculously topsy-turvy four EU play days, some semblance of normalcy began to get restored, starting off with Season 8's second-placed EU team, Mock-it Esports, striking back to win both games played. With EU's hyper-competitive league, the six points collected are extremely valuable and will mark a return to winning ways in the team's quest for another Pro League Finals appearance.
G2 Esports, on the other hand had slower going but seem to be climbing back to the form that saw them win five titles in total. While they did demolish Chaos 7-0 and stopped the Swedes' dominant Season 9 run in its tracks, there was quite a bit more of a struggle against Team Empire. Down 0-3, G2 had eventually come back to be poised to take the win at 6-4, but unfortunately dropped another two points. This means that the mixed-EU team has already missed out on a possible ten points -- something that was unfathomable until this season.
Team Empire, on the other hand enjoyed the continuation of what is possibly the best performance by a Pro League debutant team outside of Xavier Esports in Southeast Asia. A draw against G2 Esports being a disappointment for them truly speaks to the monumental strength they have on display, as does their 7-1 drubbing of LeStream Esports.
Chaos struggled with two defeats this week against LeStream and G2, but still managed to stay in the hunt for a LAN spot being just three points behind the former in third place. The fifth and sixth placed teams ENCE and PENTA saw mixed results, tying each other on play day 6, preceded by PENTA’s play day 5 win against Team Secret and ENCE's loss to Mock-it.
Team Secret, unfortunately continued their atrocious start to the season, losing both their matches over the weekend by a score of 7-4. Team Secret’s only points of the season come from their impressive victory over G2 back on play day 2. A silver lining is that Secret will have time to solve their issues before the second half, as they will not be attending the Six Invitational unlike the EU representatives of G2, Mock-it, LeStream, PENTA, and Team Empire.
Unfortunately for paiN Gaming and the team's fans, the pains for their seasons so far continued as they struggled to add to their four-point tally. Facing two of the top teams, Ninjas in Pyjamas (NiP) and Team Liquid, they were unable to muster strong opposition in both their games and were only really able to muster a round against the latter thanks to a nervous misunderstanding by xS3xycake.
Immortals (IMT), like Spacestation Gaming in NA, had a disappointing week as they too suffered the misfortune of two draws. While both their games had flashes of brilliance from IMT, it was somewhat uncharacteristic for a team as strong as that to be unable to beat the now-fifth and eighth placed Black Dragons and INTZ e-Sports. INTZ, on the other hand, collected their first point of Season 9 with the surprise draw.
The newly promoted Red Devils e-Sports had a fantastic week as they drew with league leaders Ninjas in Pyjamas (NiP) and beat Team Liquid in a stunning performance. This allowed them to pull ahead of bottom-feeders paiN Gaming and INTZ. In another upset, FaZe Clan was stunned by Black Dragons to put IMT's draw more in perspective and saw the former unable to capitalise on Liquid's and IMT's results to stay in fourth.
While LATAM does not seem to have the top teams establishing the same kind of dominance as seems to be happening in North America, a return to form for the top-four could see that happen soon.
Asia-Pacific continued its format of the Super Week as well, although only in their second week of play. NORA-Rengo easily took down AFFLICT with a 7-0 on the first map, and while FAV Gaming secured a 2-0 in their first game against Rsk, they were only able to scrape together 1 point out of a possible total of 6 against CAG.
Over in ANZ, Fnatic were held by Avant Gaming on their first map but were able to take their opponents down on the second, with Avant's Loona having her boyfriend Virtue play against her team. The top team of Season 8, 0RGL3SS, though dropped four points -- two each against Mindfreak and GIU -- in performances that could cost them dear as the Pro League barrelled towards the halfway point.
Over in Southeast Asia, though, was where the biggest upset in APAC happened. Southeast Asian titans Aerowolf, ranked second in the region in Season 8, dropped three extremely valuable points to Ferox E-Sports who had picked up longtime Aerowolf player Reveck prior to the season starting. What was also extremely interesting was that Aerowolf player Array had been playing against his brother, Xando, in the match while within spitting distance of each other.
This result almost certainly rules out the Singapore-based team from a first-placed finish this season unless they are able to beat Xavier Esports 2-0, or if Xavier drops an equal or greater amount of points.
And so that’s my roundup of the second super week of Season 9 as we saw competition heat up in all four regions. Keep an eye out on SiegeGG for more Pro League updates and results as we get closer to the Six invitational!