Image: Ubisoft/Kirill B.
Here is how Day 7 of the NAL looked like:
- Mirage 7-5 Parabellum Esports
- Spacestation Gaming 7-0 beastcoast
- XSET 3-7 Astralis
- Oxygen Esports 7-5 Soniqs
- DarkZero Esports 4-7 TSM FTX
The best play of the day actually came in the very first round of the entire day. Parabellum's Alexandre "BlaZ" Thomas, who eventually finished with an incredible 20 kills, was on for an ace in the first round against Mirage.
Left alone, though, new Mirage signing and rookie Jesse "Mohesse" Sheffield did not blink while on site, taking off BlaZ's head to start his clutch. While one opponent was already downed and likely known to him, he still managed to clutch a technical 1v4 in a round that eventually made the difference between overtime and the three points his team eventually got.
BlaZ was a phenom in Parabellum's match against Mirage, very nearly breaking the record for most kills in a BO1 match with his 20 kills. Remarkably, across the 12 rounds, he was only three kills shy of all his other four teammates combined and only died 10 times.
The Frenchman was unbeatable on the entry as well, going 4-0 as Mirage looked unable to cope with him at times unless they managed to take his teammates out of the equation. More impressively, he had an impact on 83 percent of the rounds -- a figure only Mirage's Benjamin "Benjimoola" Ligacki matched.
Up against NAL leaders Soniqs, most were expecting Oxygen Esports to lose yet another match this stage, having already lost five prior ones. A regulation-time loss for them would also have qualified DarkZero Esports and XSET for the Six Invitational.
More importantly a regulation time win for Soniqs would have sent them to the November Major, ahead of run-ins with Astralis and Mirage on the final two NAL play days.
Remarkably, it was Oxygen support player Mitch "Dream" Malson who led the way, despite primarily playing Hibana and Smoke. His 13-8 K-D was the best across both teams, in terms of both kills and delta, and he had the highest KOST percentage and frequency of kills per round.
Conversely, only Emilio "Geometrics" Leynez on Soniqs had a SiegeGG Rating above 1.00 and a positive K-D, with his four teammates struggling to perform to their best, leading to a 5-7 loss for them.
Here's a quickfire rundown of other top moments in the NAL yesterday.
Beastcoast have not yet won a single match so far in Stage 3 and were certainly not expected to beat Spacestation Gaming, or even challenge them much. However, what we were treated to was even worse than some would have anticipated -- a 7-0 blowout.
This match was the first 7-0 in the entire top-flight circuit this stage and only the second one in the entire NAL season so far, after Soniqs' 7-0 loss to XSET in Stage 1. Spacestation's new signing Alexander "Yeti" Lawson also got into an in-game argument with beastcoast's Damian "Surf" Medinas in the first round itself, before proceeding to bulldoze beastcoast.
While XSET and DarkZero could have secured qualification without lifting a finger themselves, if Soniqs had beaten Oxygen in regulation time, they had both their SI 2023 fates in their own hands.
All they had to do was match the result that Oxygen got, though XSET played before Oxygen took an impressive three-point win over Soniqs. Third-placed XSET had a five-point lead over seventh-placed Astralis and were favourites to win and also secure a place at the Six Invitational next year.
Astralis denied them that opportunity today with an impressive 7-3 win, though, while DarkZero also fell short in 7-4 fashion against TSM FTX.
Both XSET and DarkZero are still almost guaranteed to secure a place at SI 2023 and they are unlikely to miss out by placing lower than eighth place in the NAL this stage.
While they play Spacestation and Oxygen next play day, respectively, and end off with a clash against each other, Oxygen will need six points from their final two games as well to deny either of XSET or DarkZero.
With their impressive 7-3 take down of DarkZero Esports and Soniqs' loss to Oxygen Esports, the reinvigorated world champions are at the top of the table in the NAL once more.
Bryan "Merc" Wrzek has been one of the best players for TSM this stage, with new signings Nick "Snake" Janis and Keegan "Gasher" Slovensky also slotting in virtually seamlessly into TSM and the NAL. Before this play day, Snake was the fourth-best in the NAL by SiegeGG Rating, third-best in Entry K-D, fifth-best in terms of KOST percentage, and with the joint-second most number of clutches.
Merc is now third-best by SiegeGG Rating and K-D, while Snake is still fifth-best by Entry K-D and KOST. Their teammate Gasher leads the field in terms of KOST, has the joint-fourth highest number of clutches (alongside teammate Jason "Beaulo" Doty), and has the fifth-most number of defuser plants.
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