Soniqs’ win against TSM yesterday meant that they went through to their first semi-final in their history, a remarkable achievement given the significant changes they underwent between stages. Here, they will play the first cross-regional best-of-three map series of the tournament against Team BDS, a team very used to reaching semi-finals.
But, across four Six Majors, one Six Invitational, and two Six Minors, Soniqs have only beaten one European team -- MNM Gaming. They’ve done this in both a BO1 and BO3 setting, but across a total of 12 games. Four of these 12 meetings came against BDS themselves, but that history may be worthless at this point -- Soniqs are a very different team to what they were a year ago.
On the other hand, BDS yesterday took down what had been an impressive looking Wolves roster in a straight 2-0 result that saw Shaiiko unleashed. France’s best-known player almost hit a 2.0 kill-death ratio, with 27 kills to 14 deaths, to keep a seven game head-to-head winning spree going.
Now versus Soniqs, both teams will be their region’s last hopes, which should put the crowd firmly behind Team BDS. Soniqs are used to being the underdogs and were rarely crowd favourites to begin with, though, so that factor is unlikely to cow them.
BDS’s quarter-final win was an undeniably impressive performance. In what was their first ever game in front of a European crowd, they were rather successful in keeping Wolves muzzled and gave them very to play with.
This came after a weaker-than-expected group stage that almost saw them fall behind Spacestation Gaming and almost saw them eliminated there and then. The question now is simple; was their quarter-final performance the true BDS we’ll see later today, or was that just a very favourable matchup that BDS have played a dozen times before?
A key difference between the two performances was Shaiiko, as he was undeniably the star against Wolves, but he had more kills than deaths through the groups. He can be shut out of a game, as other teams have shown but was something Wolves were unable to do. Soniqs do have some experience at this, however.
During map one of Soniqs’ quarter-final against TSM, Beaulo had 11 kills in just the first five rounds. While Snake and Merc were still yet to get on the board, he was dragging his team to an eventual win on Villa. From here on, though, Beaulo was completely cut out of the game.
On map two, Theme Park, Beaulo only managed four kills in the first eight rounds, while he performed even worse in the first six rounds of Clubhouse and only managed one kill. Soniqs neutralised TSM’s main threat and TSM couldn’t respond on course to a quarter-finals exit.
While this game will boil down to a lot more than just Shaiiko’s kill numbers, as BDS have a lot more going for them than just Shaiiko’s individual ability, he’s a key part of the team. We definitely could see Soniqs work around and target him the same way they did Beaulo.
Soniqs themselves have been probably one of the most consistent teams throughout this Major, though. No matter who they face, we have seen a fairly similar set of individual statistics from each of their five players. This is very good, as their tournament hasn’t been derailed by a single bad map from a key player and we have seen (from prior tournaments) that all five players have immense amounts of personal skill.
These two teams’ map pools do complement each other fairly well.
Soniqs’ most banned recent map, Bank, is also BDS’s best map.
Both teams also hadn’t played on Villa or Theme Park in Stage 3 prior to the playoffs. Soniqs finally went to these maps against TSM and lost Villa, but won on Theme Park, their own pick, showing this may have been a deliberately hidden map pulled out as a surprise.
One map both teams really like is Clubhouse. Soniqs have won it five out of five times this stage against DarkZero, XSET, CYCLOPS athlete gaming, Black Dragons, and TSM, dropping no more than four rounds in any of these maps. Similarly, BDS have won it eight out of nine times this year. Their one loss came 5-7 to w7m esports last Wednesday -- the closest w7m have come to losing a map in seven weeks -- while they beat Wolves three times, TT9 Esports and Outsiders twice, and G2 Esports, DWG KIA, and TSM once.
A Clubhouse map three decider with a grand-final spot on the line would be a thrilling conclusion to the semi-final.
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