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Gaimin Gladiators vs FURY preview: Do-or-die match for Berlin Major attendees' Stage 3 hopes, despite game in hand

Gladiators have played one game less than FURY so far, but need a win today to stay in the hunt for the Jönköping Major.

APAC South is quickly barrelling towards its conclusion, too, following the end of Stage 3 of the NAL and BR6. With this super-week also having a play day on Saturday, here's what you can expect from the first play day today.

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

Elevate sit out today before returning to action on Saturday, which will be their first match without Atibordee "Sapper" Noichan, who stepped down from the playing roster due to "personal reasons" and will be "taking a break from competition".

The gap might prove vital for them, as they are at risk of missing out on the Jönköping Major due to their loss against FURY, and could give them time to gel with Pirapat "AnGryX" Pimthanapoonporn.

Dire Wolves will take on fourth-placed Wildcard Gaming, with the Charlotte Major attendees fully expected to take a dominant victory in what seems to be a return-to-form for them. Wildcard, for their part, will have to keep high-flying Wu "Reeps96" Weichen quiet and may need to exploit any potential overreliance on him from Dire Wolves.

The day will end with a clash between Knights, who were a favourite for the Major after signing Matin "SpeakEasy" Yunos, and his former team, Tyde. Tyde are still looking for their first win and have largely struggled with the loss of their two best players, but could surprise an unexpectedly weakened Knights.

The match of the day, however, will be between Berlin Major-attendees Gaimin Gladiators and current league leaders FURY.

The head-to-head is very even

The two teams have clashed a surprising six times in 2022, with two of those matches being a BO3.

  • APAC South Stage 1 2022 -- 7-4 to Renatus on Chalet
  • OPL SEA 2022 Summer -- 7-3 to FURY on Oregon
  • APAC South Stage 2 2022 -- 7-5 to Gaimin Gladiators on Skyscraper
  • OPL SEA 2022 Summer -- 7-1, 4-7, 8-7 to FURY on Skyscraper, Clubhouse, and Kafe
  • ROG Masters SEA 2022 -- 7-1, 7-4 to Gaimin Gladiators on Villa and Oregon
  • OPL SEA 2022 Autumn -- 7-4 to FURY on Bank

Both teams have clashed on a total of seven of the nine maps in the pool this stage, having avoided Border and Theme Park, showing a surprising amount of versatility. They also seem to be evenly matched, trading the same maps on different occasions and having a 5-4 map record marginally favouring FURY.

Stage 2 was when Gaimin Gladiators picked up steam, after signing former Invictus Gaming player Jose "Jo" Iman, and attended the Berlin Major. FURY had also made a change then, signing Sirasit "BGMan" Ariyasirisopon and Sumate "i9" Srimabut (formerly Nay..Pew) from Elevate, though their form has only picked up this stage.

Little more can be gleaned from their head-to-head performances given how close they have been across all three competitions, with a focus on their Stage 3 runs in APAC South likely a better indicator of what to expect.

FURY have quite literally never looked better

FURY have never looked better in their entire history, no matter the permutation of their roster or the organisation they represented.

They have already clashed with three of the favourite APAC South teams and come away with seven points to find themselves top of the table. Their stage started with a 7-4 win over Knights and was followed up with a respectable 6-8 loss to Dire Wolves, but it was their 7-5 win over Elevate that cemented them as legitimate Major contenders.

Gaimin Gladiators are the final team they will have to worry about to virtually seal a place at the Jönköping Major, as they only have Wildcard and Tyde to play afterwards.

Statistically, too, things are in FURY's favour. BGMan and his teammate Sillapakorn "Lycolis" Dokmaikhaw are fourth and fifth-best by SiegeGG Rating, while BGMan also has the second-highest K-D and KOST percentage and Pasatron "Darkk" Boonrubasb has the fifth-highest KOST.

FURY have the form and the international experience with BGMan and i9; a potent combination for any team to face.

Gaimin Gladiators have more international experience

(Photo: Gaimin Gladiators)

While BGMan and i9's time with Elevate has likely been a key factor for FURY's run, Gaimin Gladiators have no dearth of international experience either.

Their uptick in results in Stage 2 came directly due to the signing of Jo, who attended the Mexico and Sweden Majors in 2021 with Invictus. Together, the team then attended the Berlin Major, though it failed to follow Elevate into the playoffs.

Eyes opened to the level of play on the international stage, they sprung into action and signed former Team Secret coach and analyst William "Titan" Davie.

While they started Stage 3 with a strong 7-3 win over Wildcard, they were given a 4-7 humbling by Dire Wolves to begin ratcheting up the pressure in just the second week. Now, they find themselves in a do-or-die situation ahead of their match against FURY.

Should they lose, they will find themselves at least two points adrift of FURY come the end fo the stage even with their game in hand (and assuming FURY mop up Wildcard and Tyde as expected). With Dire Wolves looking imperious thanks to Reeps96, this will mean third place at best for the Gladiators -- a failure to secure one of the two Jönköping Major places on offer.

Will FURY continue to run away at the top, or can Gaimin Gladiators successfully bring their experience advantage to bear?

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