With Stage 2 of the NAL very clearly being the closest one ever, here’s a look at the most impactful (not the flashiest or best played) individual rounds of the stage.
Obviously, if results had gone differently, teams would have approached future games with a different mindset which could have changed future results, but it’s still interesting to see where the impact was felt.
The second game of the stage ended up being one of the most important ones, as the teams that would eventually finish in first and second place met on Bank.
The game was great, with Soniqs requiring three clutches to take the game to overtime before it went all the way to round 15. While the round itself was not too remarkable, Astralis winning this singular round was the difference between finishing first and being in third place, tied on points with XSET and DarkZero.
It is also the reason why Astralis’ had the head-to-head over the Soniqs to clinch first place as the two teams are tied on points and round difference.
The very next game after this also went all the way to Round 15. It is Round 13, however, that pips it in importance, as LaXInG on Azami won a 1v1 clutch over BlaZ in his debut match on the team.
Parabellum then won Round 14, emphasising how key that 1v1 win was for Oxygen, before OxG ended the game 8-7.
If Oxygen had lost this map, they would’ve ended on 15 points, which would have dropped them from third down to sixth and pushed Parabellum up two spots to fourth. Funnily enough, DarkZero in fifth would have stayed in fifth.
Another result that impacted two top-four teams was XSET vs Soniqs, yet another 15-round game.
The most influential round here, however, was Round 11. At 5-5, whoever won this would guarantee at least a point, and it came down to another 1v1.
After planting the defuser, Kyno then ended what would have been a remarkable 1v3 from Gryxr. If Kyno had lost that engagement, XSET would’ve theoretically gone away with zero points as Soniqs then won the next round. Instead, XSET eventually won the game 8-7.
Once again, this was the difference between first and second place for the Soniqs, while two fewer points from XSET would’ve pushed them from fourth to sixth, giving DarkZero the Berlin Major spot.
TSM were up 6-4 against Oxygen on Bank and got the opening kill against Nuers. It looked pretty promising.
Unfortunately, Dream traded the kill back, FoxA got a triple kill, and VertcL got the plant down, leading to a 1v1 between Geo and VertcL, which VertcL won.
This was the first of four round wins in a row, leading to a 6-8 defeat for TSM.
These two points once again meant OxG finished third rather than sixth. For TSM, a win in this round only pushes them up a single place, but they are suddenly just two points away from winning the entire league rather than three away from XSET in fourth. For fans, that’s a world of difference.
This game was a head-to-head, with the winner going to Berlin. The stakes were as high as they could be in a regional game. The best and without a doubt most-talked-about play from the game, however, came from supr.
In round nine, the scoreline was already 5-3, and a trapped supr pretty much slammed the nail into pB’s coffin by cutting down three players in six seconds just after he was blinded by a Candela device.
The individual play wasn’t the best that the NA League saw by a long shot, but when it happened was what mattered, as it was one of the most memorable plays in the most critical match of the entire stage.
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