Here is how Day 8 of the NAL looked like:
- Spacestation Gaming 7 - 1 XSET
- Oxygen Esports 7 - 2 DarkZero Esports
- Astralis 7 - 3 Soniqs
- TSM FTX 7 - 5 Parabellum Esports
- Beastcoast 8 - 7 Mirage
Play of the day: Surf Ace
Play day eight saw two aces; one by Damian "Surf" Medina on Warden against Mirage and one by Nick "Snake" Janis on Ash against Parabellum.
While Snake’s ace saw him run down a corridor alongside Jason "Beaulo" Doty, shredding everyone in his way, Surf’s was much more of a solo play. Parabellum’s attack was cornered and Surf simply peeked out to net kills one by one on attackers covering the defuser plant.
Player of the day: Nuers
A 1.93 SiegeGG Rating with 14 kills to four deaths undeniably makes Ethan "Nuers" James the most impressive player of the day. This result came against DarkZero Esports in a game DZ needed to win to qualify for the Six Invitational 2023. This performance helped add to what is now a three-game winning streak for Oxygen, as they’ve seemingly returned to form.
This result has also pushed Nuers up to second-best by SiegeGG Rating in the NA League Stage 3, behind just Parabellum’s Alexandre "BlaZ" Thomas at 1.24. These two players stand out as the only players in the top 14 by SiegeGG Rating to not have either already qualified for the Jönköping Major, or still have a chance to next week. They are both well outperforming their league position at the moment.
Surprise of the day: beastcoast
Mirage needed to beat beastcoast in regulation time to qualify for the Jönköping Major next month. Not only did they fail to do that, but beastcoast secured their very first win since July in an 8-7 scoreline.
This result was completely on Surf’s back, as he earnt 18 kills to 10 deaths while playing Ace. This included an ace on round 11, as bc came back from a 2-5 deficit to reach map point.
This dynamic can be seen fairly clearly when looking at their overall statistics, as there’s a giant gulf between Surf and his teammate’s statistical performances.
Top moments of the day:
Here's a quickfire rundown of other top moments in the NAL yesterday.
Spacestation & TSM qualify for the Jönköping Major
The biggest news of the day saw SSG and TSM both qualify for the November Major, just a few hours after it was announced to be taking place in Jönköping, Sweden.
For both of these teams, this will be the first global event they’ll be at since the last Six Invitational and both will be trying out new players at the event.
This is also a global debut for both Snake and Keegan "Gasher" Slovensky in their very first professional stage, as TSM will be entering the event as one of the top favourites to win their second title of 2022.
This will also be the second time Dylan "Bosco" Bosco and Nathanial "Rampy" Duvall will travel to Jönköping, as they previously were NA’s lone representatives at DreamHack Winter 2018 on Spacestation Gaming.
Astralis qualifies for the 2023 Six Invitational
After XSET and DarkZero squandered multiple chances to become the first team to reach SI 2023, Astralis managed to lock this in with a win over Soniqs.
Soniqs led the NA League at the beginning of the week with a lone defeat to TSM. Then, on Tuesday, they fell to Oxygen and added to that with a 3-7 defeat to Astralis on Wednesday. This game ended with Jack "J9O" Burkard and Roman "Forrest" Breaux on SiegeGG Ratings of 1.22 and 1.21, as Soniqs were completely unable to defend on Skyscraper -- the very same map Soniqs lost to Astralis on in Stage 1, 1-7.
While Astralis have been an American giant in 2022 and were a few rounds away from lifting a trophy in Charlotte, they are still four of the five players who finished NAL’s Stage 3 2021 in seventh place and finished 33rd in the SI 2022 open qualifier. To go from there to become the very first team at SI 2023 is a remarkable achievement.
Furthermore, they now also have a good chance to make it to Jönköping, despite being in fifth place with just one game remaining.
Soniqs vs Mirage vs Astralis
There’s two spots left to qualify for the Jönköping Major. Soniqs and Mirage have 15 points, while Astralis have 13.
Soniqs and Mirage will face each other. The victor goes to Jönköping.
Astralis play a revitalised Oxygen -- the team they eliminated in the Charlotte semi-finals. If they win all three points and Soniqs vs Mirage ends before overtime, then Astralis qualify. If the Soniqs game goes to overtime, then they need Mirage to lose. If Astralis only win two points, then they need Mirage to lose in regulation (or Soniqs to be blown out 3-7, or worse)
Basically, Astralis need to win their own game and want Mirage to choke their chances hard against Soniqs.
DarkZero and XSET’s chokes
DZ and XSET will almost certainly be attending SI 2023. Mathematically, however, there’s still a possibility they miss out. They both would have guaranteed this with just a single point won on play day eight, but they both emphatically lost their games, which also ended their Major hopes.
For XSET, their loss came against a formidable SSG roster that has now lost just three rounds in three games.
The 1-7 defeat saw Matthew "Hotancold" Stevens end with a 10-5 kill-death spread, Alec "Fultz" Fultz end at 9-5, and Alexander "Yeti" Lawson end on 8-3. Hotancold also won a 1v1 quadruple kill clutch, while Fultz got a quadruple kill of his own.
On XSET’s side, only Zachary "SpiriTz" Dionne had more kills than deaths, while Leonardo "Kyno" Figueiredo went 0-7.
DarkZero’s challenge, meanwhile, came against Oxygen. DZ had begun the stage looking good but had just lost two games versus Mirage and TSM, while Oxygen had a terrible start, but had just beaten beascoast and Soniqs.
In their clash together, Oxygen completely out-fragged DarkZero. As well as Nuers’ figures mentioned previously, Franklyn "VertcL" Cordero also won a 1v2 and got a triple kill, while no DZ player got more than seven kills.
The game ended 7-2, which is DZ’s joint-worst best-of-one loss since the Sweden Major last November, alongside a Stage 2 defeat to SSG.
This means that since reaching nine global events in a row and finally winning their Six Major title in Charlotte, DZ have now missed two events running. This is definitely below what they wanted to be a dynasty-forging year, and now, after next week’s final NAL game against XSET, they’ll likely have a four-month break to make chances and possibly plan roster changes before SI 2023.
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