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NAL Playday 4 Key Takeaways: XSET cap off near-perfect week, Oxygen continue perfect run

Playday 4 showed us a lot about some NAL teams.

Image via Ubisoft/@itsmeERROR

We are, effectively, halfway through the first stage of the North American League’s 2022 season.

With this amount of results rolling in, we can finally begin to start separating the wheat from the chaff — the contenders from those who need to figure out how to improve, and fast, if they want to stay in Major contention.

Here are some key takeaways from some key results from the week of play in general, and Playday 4 specifically.

XSET cap off a near-perfect week

In their two games played this week, XSET was a staggering 14-1 – their sole round loss came against Parabellum. 

This is a drastic shift from the first week, in which they went 0-2 in a pair of games that didn’t appear close. Clearly, something shifted slightly from last week to this. XSET plowed through Soniqs and Parabellum, and if they keep this form could be finding themselves in a Major spot in several weeks' time. 

What was even more surprising was how they did it. They peeled Oregon off Soniqs, one of their historical bastions, and handed Parabellum a rare loss on Chalet. Only losing one round to those teams on those maps is a solid achievement. 

Oxygen is looking like one of the best teams in the world

Look, Oxygen was a top-eight team at the Six Invitational. But somehow, on the surface at least, they look even better than before. 

The addition of Ethan “Nuers” James and Mitch “Dream” Malson is still paying off in spades as Oxygen is absolutely burning through the NAL’s first stage of the year. They’re 4-0 — they haven’t given up more than four rounds in best-of-one games so far. 

They’re the only undefeated team in the league, they’re +17 on round count, and they have a stellar rookie who might be in the running for the rookie of the year when it’s all said and done. 

There are still some tough days ahead, but their demolition of a solid Astralis team gives them some clout under their belt. SSG will be tough, but Soniqs has been struggling. There’s a real chance that Oxygen will pull off the undefeated stage if they continue at this pace. 

Unchanged Spacestation keeps chugging along

While all the talk in NAL has been about how the top teams are in shambles, Spacestation are still humming right along. SSG and Oxygen are the only two perennial “top four” teams that are still in the top four spots — at numbers two and one, respectively. 

Spacestation has only one regulation loss — to Astralis, and it was in maximum regulation rounds after Astralis rocketed out to a 6-2 lead. Additionally, Astralis is in the top four — this isn’t a bad loss at all. 

With a victory over a solid XSET roster and a clinical 8-6 over TSM FTX, Spacestation is not looking shabby at all. With all the focus on the rapidly-improving beastcoast and Astralis rosters, with the rest focused on perfect Oxygen, don’t forget about Spacestation.