Image via Ubisoft
Seven national leagues continued this week as the NA Challenger League took a short break. Here’s a rundown on some of the biggest stories across these tournaments:
Following the end of the BR6 stage and four Liga Six open cups, the 16 teams competing in the Copa do Brazil have now been determined. This R$100,000 (approximately $21k) tournament will take place from April 19th till May 8th and will be a simple elimination bracket.
Competing will firstly be the six BR6 League teams that failed to qualify for the Elite Six Cup -- FaZe, NiP, MIBR, 00 Nation, INTZ, and Black Dragons.
Joining them is the w7m esports female roster after the Argentinian team won stage one’s Women’s Circuit competition.
Finally, there are nine tier-two rosters that have performed well across four prior open tournaments over the last month. Most notably, the Team oNe Academy roster.
While the BR6 rosters will clearly be the favourites to win this tournament, this will be the first chance we’ll get to see who’ll be challenging for a BR6 relegation spot later this year, and if there are any up and coming players that professional teams may want to pick up in the May transfer window.
Many people will also be interested in the w7m esports women’s roster’s performance also. It’s the first time a women's roster has competed in a tier-two tournament and the first time a non-Brazilian team has played in the Brazilian scene.
The opening game starts later tonight, April 19 at 5pm EDT (GMT-4).
This weekend saw the return of the Gamers’ Assembly tournament, an annual LAN event in which thousands of players meet in Poitiers, France to compete across a number of games.
The Rainbow Six tournament had previously been won by LeStream, Vitality, and Millenium, but has been canceled since 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This year, it returned, and saw a number of current and ex-professional players competing for the €5,000 prize pool.
While Acend was definitely the best-known complete lineup after competing in last year’s Challenger League, there were a number of mixed teams with big names, most notably “Préfecture Squad”, which went on to win the tournament.
This roster included Adrien "RaFaLe" Rutik and Bryan "Elemzje" Tebessi from Team BDS, Alexandre "BlaZ" Thomas who’s a part of the Parabellum NAL roster, Vincent "Masdemort" Masdebail who’s best known for competing on Stéphane "Shaiiko" Lebleu’s beGenius roster, and Maxime “Meloo” Cahagnet who previously played on Acend.
This team beat Acend twice, 2-0 during the upper bracket semi-final and then in a much closer 2-1 (0-7, 7-4, 7-3) in the grand-final to
Another team of note was Visa Squad which included another BDS duo, Stéphane "Shaiiko" Lebleu and Loïc "BriD" Chongthep, however, the team was knocked out very early.
This week, another Korean national champion will be crowned, as Monday’s quarter-finals will be followed up by the semis and grand final on Saturday and Sunday.
While T1 took down the newly acquired Panthera roster without much issue to set up a meeting with SANDBOX Gaming this weekend, there was a much tighter contest in the other quarter-final.
In this game Team GP (previously known as Star Rise) beat TALON in a 7-3, 8-6 scoreline to knock them out of the competition.
Just the week prior, Talon finished the APAC North stage in second behind just DWG to progress to the APAC Playoffs, making a fifth-sixth finish in the Korean national scene somewhat surprising.
This definitely wasn’t out of the blue, however, as Team GP adds this best-of-three map victory to a growing list of successes after beating Talon, SANDBOX, and DWG twice in best-of-one map games during the league stage.
No matter the result of GP’s semi-final game against DWG on Saturday, this cements them as a very strong early contender for an APAC North spot at the end of the year. Furthermore, following T1’s relative disappointment in the APAC North league as the only Korean side to fail to make it to the APAC Playoffs, this puts GP’s five players high up the list of potential pickups.
Another upset took place during the Taiwanese nationals, as the APAC South stage victors fell in a nail-biting 6-8 scoreline against Team Bruh. Bruh also beat DW in their first meeting of the season back in March in a 7-3 scoreline, which puts the team up to second in the league standings.
With just one week left in the regular season, both teams are already guaranteed a spot in next week’s playoffs, likely as the first and second seeds. With a NT$510,000 (approximately $17,600) total prize pool on the line, this will likely be a very close grand final between the two teams. With DW likely focusing their energy on the upcoming APAC Playoffs, Bruh also do have somewhat of an advantage.
Also competing in the playoffs will be Velocity9, the reigning Taiwanese title-holding organization, which includes two prior members of the Dire Wolves roster, and “Bikini Bottom” which also beat Dire Wolves in a 7-8 scoreline this season.
Mkers entered the new season of the PG Italian Nationals with a new player as “Dora” joined to replace Pietro "Scatto" Scattolin, who retired during the off-season after a seventh-eighth place finish during last year’s Challenger League tournament. The team also picked up “ATK” as a coach and “Slam” as an analyst.
These new members had a rough debut on the team as on the opening day of the PG Nationals Spring 2022 Season they initially went down 1-5 on their Chalet offense as Joshua "JJF5" Fletcher -- one of only seven non-Italians competing in the league this season -- secured 10 kills to three deaths. Luckily they then recovered to take the game to overtime before Mkers secured another elusive offensive round to end the game 8-6.
Considering IGP’s in-game leader, Max “Stax” van Steenis managed just a single kill to 12 deaths, an 8-6 result against the multi-time Italian champions and Six Invitational attendees is definitely a result to be pleased with, even though they let a 5-1 lead slip away.
The two most impressive performances this week came from MACKO which remains unchanged since claiming the last PGN title last November, and Hmble who kept just two players and a coach from their fourth-place roster last season. The two teams beat Outplayed 7-1, and Esport Empire 7-0 respectively.
With the 2022 Season now in full gear in all four regions, this next week will see a lot of action.
These are some of the must-watch tier-two matches over the next week (all times in CET):
- Tuesday 8:30pm: MNM Academy vs Ambush -- Northern Premier League
- Tuesday 9:45pm: NAVI vs Heroic -- Northern Premier League
- Tuesday and Wednesday evening: Brazil Cup quarterfinals
- Saturday 7am: Team GP vs DWG -- Korean Open
- Saturday 2:15pm: CYCLOPS vs Fnatic -- Japan League
- Saturday 11pm: Wichita Wolves vs Elyssar -- NA Challenger League
- Sunday 11am: Korean Open grand-final
- Monday 2am: 1shotLFO vs West Garfield Park -- NA Challenger League