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Dire Wolves vs Elevate preview: Last chance for Elevate as Dire Wolves look to secure Major qualification

This is the last chance Elevate will have in the race for the Jönköping Major.

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Image: Ubisoft/Eric Anamalay

After its super-week last week, APAC South is now at its penultimate play day with teams knocking on the doors of the upcoming Jönköping Major.

  • 4:45PM SGT -- FURY vs Wildcard Gaming
  • 6:00PM SGT -- Elevate vs Dire Wolves
  • 7:15PM SGT -- Gaimin Gladiators vs Tyde

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After a shockingly poor start to Stage 3, Knights seem to have found some form. But they will be unable to utilise it today as they will have no team to play against, owing to the seven-team APAC South Division.

The first match today will feature a Wildcard Gaming hot off a 7-2 demolition of Elevate on Saturday, up against a FURY that only had one game last week -- their 5-7 loss to Gaimin Gladiators. This will be Wildcard's final match in 2022, as they sit out next week's play day.

FURY are very much still in the running for the Major, but will need to be wary of a Wildcard that have proven to be a grave threat to Major hopes already thanks to their new signings. FURY's Stage 2 signings, too, have been delivering and will need to win today to keep pace with Gaimin Gladiators, who are ahead in second place by one point.

Gaimin Gladiators themselves will close out the day against Tyde, who are yet to get a point this stage. The Gladiators are in good form, having taken five points against FURY and Knights last week, while Tyde lost 5-7 to Knights and were destroyed 2-7 by Dire Wolves.

This will likely be a very one-sided affair, with the Gladiators hoping to qualify for a second successive Major, but the preceding Dire Wolves vs Elevate match will have a lot riding on it.

Dire Wolves can qualify today and ruin Elevate's season

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(Photo: Ubisoft/Eric Anamalay)

The calculus is simple for Dire Wolves when it comes to Jönköping Major qualification. All they have to do is secure two points across their final two matches against Elevate today and Knights next week.

Doing so would put the Taiwanese team at 13 points, at least six points clear of third-placed FURY. While FURY can finish with 13 points as well, the primary tiebreaker -- head-to-head in APAC -- is in Dire Wolves' favour.

Of course, Dire Wolves can get away with an overtime loss or even a regulation-time loss if FURY only beat Wildcard in overtime or fail to beat Wildcard entirely. All Dire Wolves need to ensure is that they finish the day with a three-point cushion over FURY.

A win for Dire Wolves, of course, will spell disaster for Elevate's own hopes for Jönköping Major and even the Six Invitational 2023. A regulation time loss will be particularly devastating; Elevate's chances at Major qualification will not only vanish (for good if Gaimin Gladiators win against Tyde afterwards), but it would also keep them in fifth place.

Fifth place in APAC leagues yield no SI Points, which means Elevate will eventually fall out of the top 16 in the Global Points Standing and will not automatically qualify for SI 2023.

To prevent that from happening, they have two matches -- against Dire Wolves today and Gaimin Gladiators next week -- to outscore Wildcard by two points and finish in the top four. Wildcard play their final match today and thus can only secure a maximum of three further points this stage.

Dire Wolves have been better this year

With both classified the SEA competitive sub-region, Elevate and Dire Wolves have thus met eight times in 2022:

  • APAC South Stage 1 -- 7-4 to Dire Wolves on Oregon
  • APAC Playoffs Stage 1 -- 7-3, 7-2 to Elevate on Oregon and Villa
  • APAC South Stage 2 -- 8-6 to Dire Wolves on Kafe
  • OPL SEA 2022 Summer -- 8-7 to Elevate on Villa
  • OPL SEA 2022 Summer -- 7-5 to Dire Wolves on Theme Park
  • OPL SEA 2022 Summer -- 7-2, 2-7, 7-4 to Elevate on Kafe, Skycraper, and Theme Park
  • OPL SEA 2022 Autumn -- 8-6 to Dire Wolves on Theme Park
  • OPL SEA 2022 Autumn -- 7-5 to Dire Wolves on Villa

Five clashes have come in the tier-two Operation League SEA, with Dire Wolves actually having won five of the eight total head-to-heads. In terms of maps, however, they only have a narrow 6-5 lead so far.

Both teams are clear in their preference for Oregon, Villa, and Theme Park, as well as two instances of Kafe. As a result, they are yet to duke it out on four of the nine maps in the competitive pool this season.

So far in 2022, Dire Wolves have been superior -- as reflected by the results this stage -- and they will likely extend their advantage over Elevate today.

Elevate will be itching to set the record straight

Elevate are actually on a two-game losing streak so far, having taken two devastating regulation-time hits against FURY on play day three and unexpectedly against Wildcard on play day five.

They now face Dire Wolves today and Gaimin Gladiators next week, which is the most daunting pair of games they could have at this point.

Luckily for them, they are still the team that very nearly beat w7m esports in the quarter-finals of the Berlin Major in Stage 2. They have brought in further international experience in the form of Gabriel "LaXInG" Mirelez, who has been coaching them, and they will be itching to remind the region why they were considered to be the best APAC team before Stage 3.

Elevate are undoubtedly cornered with their backs to the wall, but this is where many teams have made incredible comebacks happen. While they will need some external luck, this is where the Thai team can start a comeback of their own.

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