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Elevate vs Wildcard preview: Sapper returns with no APAC South games missed & Elevate back in Major fight

Wildcard will be their final match before clashes against fellow Major hopefuls Dire Wolves and Gaimin Gladiators.

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Image: Ubisoft/Joao Ferreira

The APAC South super week continues with a second play day today, owing to a skipped play day that would otherwise have been on Oct. 6.

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

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Dire Wolves will look to cement their hold at the top of the table today with another victory, this time against a Tyde that has looked disjointed and rudderless at times.

Tyde are still searching for a point in Stage 3 and though they came close against Knights on Thursday, they are unlikely to find one against a Wu "Reeps96" Weichen-led Dire Wolves.

The play day will end with a resurgent Gaimin Gladiators clashing against Knights. The Gladiators successfully took a regulation-time win against FURY in a do-or-die match on Thursday, while Knights secured their first regulation-time victory. It is unlikely, however, that we see an upset given that Knights only beat Tyde on Thursday by a 7-5 margin.

The match of the day, though, will be the opening clash between a struggling Wildcard Gaming and a rejuvenated Elevate. The Thai team finally returns to play after having had no match on Thursday, owing to the odd number of teams in the league, and following a league-wide break the week prior.

Sapper is back

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(Photo: Ubisoft/Kirill Bashkirov)

Shortly after their loss to FURY on the third play day, Elevate had announced that Atibordee "Sapper" Noichan was stepping down from the playing roster due to "personal reasons" and was "taking a break from competition".

Pirapat "AnGryX" Pimthanapoonporn, the team substitute, was set to stand in and did so for three Operation League SEA Autumn matches.

However, Elevate revealed on Oct. 14 that Sapper had returned ahead of their team's 7-5 Operation League win over Gaimin Gladiators. As such, with the league-wide break and Elevate's own break on Thursday, Sapper will in fact miss no APAC South games at all.

Elevate had been put under pressure with the FURY loss. The pressure intensified when Sapper, who is third-best in Stage 3 by SiegeGG Rating, was set be replaced by AngryX in the key APAC South games against Gaimin Gladiators and Dire Wolves.

However, Sapper's return and FURY's loss to Gaimin Gladiators means that Elevate are right back in the fight. The belief will have returned amongst the Elevate players that they can take victories in all their three remaining games -- especially those against their Major-qualification rivals, but starting with Wildcard Gaming.

Elevate have only lost once to Wildcard

Since the formation of the current crop of APAC South rosters, both teams have clashed a total of five times:

  • APAC South Stage 1 2021 -- 7-3 to Xavier (now Elevate) on Clubhouse
  • APAC South Stage 2 2021 -- 7-5 to Elevate on Oregon
  • APAC South Stage 3 2021 -- 7-4 to Wildcard on Clubhouse
  • APAC South Stage 1 2022 -- 7-4 to Elevate on Villa
  • APAC South Stage 2 2022 -- 7-5 to Elevate on Oregon

Some might be surprised to see that Elevate have lost to Wildcard at all, given that Wildcard have only won 12 games in total across their entire history in APAC South so far.

The head-to-head is certainly in Elevate's favour, however, and will likely swing further towards them after today. The 2022 calendar year has been a period of immense success for Elevate, who started with a top 12 finish at the Six Invitational, qualified for the Charlotte Major (but could not attend), and finished in the quarter-finals at the Berlin Major.

However, with Elevate's internal turmoil and Wildcard's new signings -- and the urge to bounce back from Thursday's loss to Dire Wolves -- this could be a close match, as their previous meetings have been.

Wildcard have been poor against the better teams

Wildcard have secured four points so far this stage and in fact started with a regulation-time win over Tyde, beating them by the same margin Elevate did. They also stole one point off Knights, who seem to have inexplicably regressed with the signing of star player Matin "SpeakEasy" Yunos.

But 3-7 and 2-7 losses to Elevate's rivals for the Jönköping Major, Gaimin Gladiators and Dire Wolves, do not bode well for Wildcard. The Australians will have to be wary Elevate's counter-strategies and will need to adapt, unlike how they failed to against Dire Wolves despite a good start.

Will Wildcard replicate their past form and step up against Elevate, sensing opportunity, or will they crumble like they often have against better opposition?

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