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Elevate, SANDBOX, Knights & SCARZ win APAC national tournaments

Four sub-regional tournaments came to an end recently.

Image: Knights/Lynwulf

The four traditional sub-regions in Asia Pacific -- South-East Asia, Japan, South Korea, and Oceania -- all had their own national tournaments come to an end this weekend as $114,000 worth of tournaments came to a close. 

Japan League Playoffs Season 2

The last few months of the Japan League’s group stage, followed by the first round of the playoffs, left eight teams to face off in a single-elimination bracket this weekend for the title of Season 2 Japanese champions.

Two surprise teams made it this far. Japan Open’s Father’s Back -- an organization previously seen at DreamHack Valencia and Montreal in 2019 -- beat two Japan League teams, Sengoku and IGZIST, to make the top eight.

Similarly, Team Northeption also came through the Japan Open and beat PSG Esports and Donuts in the group stage.

While FB were defeated in the quarter-finals by SCARZ, Northeption’s run continued as they took down Fnatic and REJECT in 2-0 score lines to reach the final. 

After beating the underdogs, SCARZ were left in a semi-final rematch of the Season 1 Playoff finals against CYCLOPS. In Season 1, their grand-final ended 2-1 to SCARZ, but a map three wasn’t needed this time to reach their second final running. 

Finally, SCARZ were crowned the champions in a 2-0 scoreline over Northeption. As well as this being a remarkable back-to-back result for the Japanese underdogs, Northeption’s results also show that there are newcomers in Japan with talent that could break into APAC North soon.

Korean Open Summer

The Korean Open ended as you’d expect, with the top three of DWG KIA, SBXG, and Talon, followed by Spear in fifth. But things were set to change in the playoffs.

Talon were knocked out in the quarter-finals by Team GP, who finished the league in sixth place, only to then lose to SANDBOX in the semi-finals as many predicted. DWG, however, didn’t get this far. Spear, playing with Koo "RoyBoy" Min-seong on loan from DWG, made the final instead in a 2-1 result. 

The grand-final saw no further upsets, as SANDBOX won the title with a definitive 7-4, 7-3, 7-4 scoreline over Spear Gaming. 

In what could be a surprise, this is the very first time this roster has won since the Winter 2020 tournament, with Talon, SGA, and DWG twice winning the tournament since.

Oceanic Nationals Stage 2

Last Friday, Stage 2 of the Oceanic National league came to an end in a wild end to the tournament. 

Coming into the final day, Team Bliss, Wildcard Gaming, and Knights all sat on 15 points and a 5-0-0-1 record, having lost in a circle to each other. With the second tiebreaker being round difference, Bliss sat in first place with +16, Wildcard sat in second with +13, and Knights were in third with +8. 

In all likelihood Bliss just needed to beat fourth-placed Chiefs to lock in the title… which they failed to do, losing 4-7. 

Wildcard, on the other hand, took down fifth-placed Kraken in a 7-5 result putting them in first place and on a +15 round difference. 

That meant Knights needed to win the final game of the league 7-0 against sixth-placed Hungry Lions to tie this round difference. And 12 kills to just a single death from Stigs meant they did exactly this.

This meant that Knights were crowned the back-to-back OCN champions based on round win percentage, the fourth tiebreaker and the last differentiator possible before a rematch against Wildcard would’ve taken place.

The Oceanic stage is not yet completed, however, as the best teams in the OCN and OCL tournaments will now go on to play in the A$10,000 (US$7,000) Oceanic Championship Series next week.

Operation League Southeast Asia Summer

Finally, we have the SEA sub-regional league, which saw two teams from Thailand -- Elevate and FURY -- two teams from Taiwan -- Dire Wolves and Northern Forces -- one team from the MY/SG/PH/ID nationals -- Gaimin Gladiators -- and three open qualifier rosters -- Obsession, Champion, and Astrape -- all play for the title of SEA champions and the top portion of the $15,000 prize pool. 

The league portion of this tournament was played through June and July and saw the four APAC South League teams finish in the top four. The one team missing was Invictus Gaming; while they qualified for this tournament, they couldn’t play as they didn’t fit into the league’s “player eligibility” rules, likely due to their non-SEA members. 

Going into the playoffs, Elevate then beat Dire Wolves 2-1, while Gaimin (who had won the league portion of the tournament) lost in a 2-1 result of their own against FURY. This set up an all-Thai grand-final as the nation showed who’s boss in the sub-region.

Finally, Elevate won the title in another 2-1 result, which included two of the three played maps going to overtime and FURY being two rounds from a 2-0 win at one point.