Image: Ubisoft/Kirill Bashkirov
The final day of APAC North in Stage 3 had no teams qualifying for the Jonkoping Major -- both CYCLOPS athlete gaming and SANDBOX Gaming had qualified last week -- but it was one that had a significant focus on the future.
Here is how Day 7 of the APAC North Division looked like:
- CYCLOPS athlete gaming 7-1 Fnatic
- REJECT 7-1 Spear Gaming
- Talon Esports 8-6 FAV gaming
- DWG KIA 7-4 SANDBOX Gaming
Play of the day: Window 1v4 for match point
REJECT had nothing but third place to play for on the final day of APAC North, but came out swinging against Spear Gaming anyway.
Ryota "Window" Hirata, who is set to part ways with REJECT come the end of November, was helped out in this 1v4 clutch by his teammate's Kapkan trap, but still came out top in impressive fashion despite making a meal of the first kill.
Player of the day: Take
Window's teammate, Kyohei "Take" Koyama, took top plaudits on the final APAC North play day with an imperious 14-4 K-D. Take was unstoppable when it came to opening engagements as well, as he went 3-0 there with an impact in all but one rounds and an eye-popping 1.75 kills per round frequency.
Surprise of the day: DWG KIA
DWG KIA have had a tough Stage 3 and a roster change is certainly coming. Heo "CATsang" Se-woong's National Service obligations have caught up -- as they have for countless other South Korean, Singaporean, and Taiwanese players.
As a result, DWG's assistant coach Park "PJH" Jae-hyun has been playing in his stead -- as he did earlier when Yoo "yass" Sang-hoon was briefly dropped amidst internal issues. While it is unlikely that yass is replaced, CATsang will almost certainly be out of action indefinitely and will need to be replaced.
Nevertheless, DWG KIA surprised us all with an impressive final-day victory over Jönköping Major-qualified SANDBOX Gaming. While SANDBOX had nothing to play for, victory was never guaranteed for DWG given how their stage has gone and the fact that they are missing CATsang.
Top moments of the day
Here's a quickfire rundown of other top moments in APAC North this week.
CAG take first APAC seed for Jönköping Major
With their 7-1 demolition of Fnatic this week, CAG kept fate in their own hands by taking 18 points from Stage 3. This beat out Dire Wolves' 15 points in APAC South and gave CAG the top APAC seed at the upcoming Six Major.
The top seed seems to have been vital, as CAG were drawn into a group with Soniqs, MNM Gaming, and Black Dragons. While all of those teams are strong, this is the most favourable group for any APAC team at the Major.
Conversely, Dire Wolves will need a result against both Mirage and Wolves Esports -- or some points against FaZe Clan -- to ensure they make it to the playoffs.
Fnatic have a shockingly poor attack-percentage
Fnatic struggled hugely against CYCLOPS athlete gaming in this week's loss, only managing to win one of their six attacking rounds.
Throughout this stage, they have generally struggled against the better teams in terms of attacking win-rate. The only top or midfield team they performed well on attack against was REJECT -- otherwise, they only managed two wins in 19 attacking rounds against other top teams.
But their situation seems to hinge almost entirely on one unknown issue. Despite their struggles on attack, Etienne "Mag" Rousseau managed the most number of defuser plants in Stage 3 -- indicating that when things work for them on the attack, they work exceedingly well.
A few more weeks together and Fnatic could be challenging for the final APAC SI 2023 place come January.
FAV cannot make it three in a row
Despite playing weaker opposition in Talon Esports this week, FAV gaming could only scrounge up an overtime loss.
This comes after back-to-back 8-7 victories against DWG KIA and REJECT in the preceding two weeks -- two teams that finished in third and fourth place, respectively.
FAV would have been expected to win against Talon coming into this matchup, but luck seemed to go against them on this final play day and they succumbed 6-8.
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