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Elevate vs Gaimin Gladiators preview: SI 2023 and Jönköping Major hopes potentially at odds for either team

There is a way both teams get what they want, though.

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Image: Ubisoft/Kirill Bashkirov

One APAC South team has already been confirmed for the Jönköping Major, with Dire Wolves securing their place with an 8-7 win over Elevate last week.

Today, as the 2022 season comes to an end for APAC, a second team will seal their spot and become the fourth and final APAC team at the event.

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

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Wildcard Gaming completed their Stage 3 campaign last week, having played all of the other six teams once this stage already. As such, they have no game scheduled today.

Dire Wolves will be playing without Wu "Reeps96" Weichen today, having already qualified for the Jönköping Major. Huang "HARAM3E" Chih-hang, who was moved to an analyst and substitute position after Reeps96's signing before the start of Stage 3, will be filling in.

Having moved to Thailand for the duration of Stage 3 to be allowed to play in APAC South, the Chinese national Reeps96 will return to China to first serve a 10-day quarantine and then to apply for a Swedish visa.

FURY will take on Tyde in the second game, which will be one of the two matches to keep an eye out for. While Tyde will be hoping to finish their stage with at least one point, FURY might have a reason to push for all three points depending on the results of the preceding matchup -- if Gaimin Gladiators lose to Elevate, FURY can qualify for the Jönköping Major.

But that opening match between Gaimin Gladiators and Elevate has more ramifications than just the second Major berth on offer in APAC South.

Gaimin Gladiators want the Major, Elevate want SI

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(Photo: Ubisoft/Michal Konkol)

The calculus is fairly simple for both teams here.

As Wildcard do not have any match today, Elevate only need one point to climb above them in the table and secure a top four finish. Due to APAC's nature, only a top four finish awards SI Points that count towards Six Invitational qualification at the end of the season.

Finishing fourth will give Elevate a further 145 SI Points for a 2022 total of 800 SI points. That figure should be safe enough for Elevate to stay in the top 16 of the SI Points standings, even after the Jönköping Major ends, and will likely directly qualify them for the Six Invitational 2023.

Gaimin Gladiators, meanwhile, will be gunning for the win with no care given to Elevate's predicament. They are one point above FURY and hold the head-to-head against them, but will not want to take any chances in order to qualify for the Jönköping Major.

Of course, there can be a happy ending for both Elevate and Gaimin Gladiators. Due to the point and head-to-head advantage over FURY, just two points -- an overtime win -- will be sufficient for the Gladiators to qualify for the Major.

That situation means that Elevate will lose, but only in overtime. They will thus get the one point they need to likely secure SI 2023 qualification and FURY will end up as the only team unhappy in this exchange.

The "good" Elevate is still here

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(Photo: Ubisoft/Kirill Bashkirov)

Elevate have, of course, had a horrific stage by their standards. They were flying high throughout Stage 2 and nearly beat BR6 titans w7m esports in the Berlin Major quarter-finals.

But things have come crashing down in Stage 3. In an extremely punishing APAC South league, with just six games to fight for the top two places, two regulation losses killed Elevate's chances at qualification for a fourth straight international event.

Nevertheless, the quality in the Elevate team is still there. While the jury is still out on the coaching change from the now-retired Nattakan "Dr.Bestsiaer" Prachanban to Gabriel "LaXInG" Mirelez, the players that qualified for the Charlotte Major and played at the Berlin Major are unchanged.

The 2-7 Wildcard loss notwithstanding, Elevate have been close in both their other losses. They pushed FURY to 12 rounds in week three, but more impressively forced Dire Wolves to maximum overtime just last week.

The Dire Wolves match will give Elevate significant confidence that they still can be as good as they used to be. The quality in their team is still there, even if other teams have caught up or surpassed them, or if Elevate have lost consistency.

Both teams constantly trade wins

With both classified the SEA competitive sub-region, Elevate and Gaimin Gladiators have clashed six times since the latter made their last roster change:

  • OPL SEA 2022 Summer -- 8-6 to Gaimin Gladiators on Border
  • APAC South Stage 2 -- 7-4 to Elevate on Kafe
  • OPL SEA 2022 Summer -- 7-5 to Gaimin Gladiators on Border
  • OPL SEA 2022 Autumn-- 7-3 to Elevate on Oregon
  • ROG Masters 2022 SEA -- 5-7, 8-6, 7-4 to Gaimin Gladiators on Kafe, Border, and Oregon
  • OPL SEA 2022 Autumn -- 7-5 to Elevate on Villa

Both teams have won exactly four maps apiece, as well as three series each. They are very evenly matched, having both attended the Berlin Major in Stage 2.

The most dominant result has only been a 7-3, with two 12-round maps and two overtime maps.

Interestingly, Border seems to be a map both teams like. They have played it three times in six attempts, while Oregon has featured twice. Kafe and Villa feature once each, but the other five maps in the competitive pool have never been the backdrop for any of their clashes since Gaimin Gladiators signed Jose "Jo" Iman.

It is likely we see a repeat of one of Kafe, Border, or Oregon today, but predicting who will win will be no easy task.

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