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Nearly every region is in the thick of AIC qualifiers, each big-money league undergoing their respective round robin regular seasons. The Valor Series completed its second week, the GCS completed week 5, the RPL finished week 5, the AOG finished week 4, the ASL began (and finished week 2), and the Valor Cup national qualifiers continue this weekend.
Valor Series Week 2 Recap
The Valor Series is ongoing, each region (North America, South America, and Europe) having completed their second week of matches last weekend. Both the European and Latin American regions are in flux, while North America has begun to establish a more clear hierarchy.
Team x6tence started off the weekend with a surprise game 1 victory over established favorites Bubble Team, completely controlling the flow from the mid-game onward. Then Bubble Team allowed x6tence to draft the same Cresht-Marja-Slimz backbone that caused so many problems in the first game – and to expected disastrous results. x6tence led from start to finish in game 2, completing the “upset” and causing all observers to question the true power hierarchy of the European region.
After a solid 2-0 win in week 1 over x6tence, Team Queso was looking to continue their strong play against region favorites Nova eSports. Through nearly 20 minutes, Team Queso played Nova to a draw, but a few critical errors in the late game (and some lackluster Jinnar play from Ruiz, in this writer’s opinion) led to their downfall. Game 2 was a completely different story, as Vex’s unmatched Murad play was the driving force behind Nova dominating throughout.
Team x6tence looked to build on their strong play on day 1 as they faced Alliance to start day 2. They did just that in game 1, ChikitinST once again leading the way with his strong support play, this time on Mina. In game 2, Alliance had one of the more peculiar drafts of the young season, selecting both Tulen and Raz and sending Tulen to the side lane. In addition, Valhein was chosen not for the solo-lane role he’s thrived in lately but instead for the jungle. In the end, though, Rezz’s dominance of the Dark Slayer lane was the key as Alliance tied up the series 1-1.
The battle of first-place Dead Rabbits and theoretical region favorites Nova went to the Spanish side in game 1. Dead Rabbits went for their “death ball” composition, Jinnar and Peura fueling team fights and making it impossible for Nova to contend with. Nova countered in game 2, stealing Jinnar away and busting up the potential death ball by selecting Cresht for his powerful Metamorphosis ultimate. Dead Rabbits led a decent comeback after a disastrous early game in which they lost all their bottom-lane towers, but once 07 completed his build on Yorn it was all over.
|Valor Series Season 2 Standings: Europe|
Day 1 started with Nova versus INTZ, and Nova drafted a beefy front line to protect their Lindis firing from the back. The result was a relatively comfortable victory, as Nova led from start to finish. INTZ stole away Jinnar in the second game and managed to secure an early lead, but Nova slowly ground INTZ down, finishing them off with ease.
Synergy opened up their series against GeO with a curious draft in which they selected both Fennik and Lindis and sent the latter to the lane. Their strategy did not pay off, as GeO eSports ran away with game 1 in just over 11 minutes. Synergy again went with an interesting composition in game 2, though this time the tactic was more clear. Drafting both Mganga and Peura made the team nigh un-killable as they rolled over GeO in every skirmish and team fight.
INTZ attempted the same death ball composition that was working so well for the Spanish teams, drafting both Jinnar and Peura and complimenting it with Xeniel for some extra protection. Unfortunately for them, Assassins Crew walked all over them, Slimz fully countering the health-stacking Xeniel and Taara. Assassins Crew decided to show INTZ how it’s done in game 2, drafting the same Jinnar-Peura-Xeniel core and dominating INTZ, finishing in just 9 minutes.
In a matchup of top Latin American teams, Pain Gaming slowly whittled down GeO, eventually winning at the 19:30 mark after a successful steal of the Dark Slayer by MOMO on Liliana. GeO went with the curious decision to draft Zill in a side-lane role along with Krixi mid and Slimz jungle in game 2. The gamble paid off, as GeO used a few pick offs in the early game to eventually grind down Pain Gaming.
|Valor Series Season 2 Standings: Latin America|
Tehvar filled in for Allegiance on day 1, playing Cresht in both games. Game 1 saw MTS on Nakroth for the first time in a while, and Allegiance did lead in gold throughout the game, though there was a bit of a scare when McFly was successfully able to clear out all of the bottom-lane towers. MTS chose Nakroth once again in game 2, and the results were all-too-familiar, as Allegiance slowly choked out VeniVidiVici.
Attempting to recover after their unfortunate forfeit in week 1, Marauders made a statement in their debut, defeating a Toxic team that was looking to establish themselves as one of the top teams in the region. In game 1, Zane on Slimz melted any comers as Marauders snowballed things in under 12 minutes. Though game 2 was a bit more prolonged, Marauders still led throughout, showing themselves as the only true contenders to incumbent powerhouse Allegiance.
In a battle of teams at the bottom – Kranniz only had two points because of their walkover versus Marauders – VeniVidiVici used strong play from Blitz on Slimz to secure their first victory of the season in game 1. It was more of the same in game 2: despite losing all four Abyssal Dragons, vVv dominated every team fight, and used one last flurry to take the game.
Drawn To Fame had a curious draft in game 1, going with decidedly non-meta picks Zanis, Wisp, and Aleister. Though they managed to drag out the game until the 13-minute mark, Marauders led throughout and was never in any serious danger. Game 2 featured a more standard composition from DTF, but Marauders dominated nonetheless.
|Valor Series Season 2 Standings: North America|
|4||Drawn to Fame||2-4||3|
J Team Still Dominant in GCS
J Team, Taiwan’s main representative in the AWC, remains undefeated in Taiwan’s GCS league, defeating playoff contenders ONE on September 16. Team ahq, which consists of the world champion Team Korea roster, snapped a losing streak by defeating Monster Shield.
Continuing the action and finishing up week 5, Flash Wolves predictably defeated bottom-feeders MAD, while HKA dealt another serious blow to fan favorite SMG’s playoff chances by defeating them, 2-1.
|Garena Challenger Series Standings|
|1st||J Team||5-0 (10-1)|
|2nd||Flash Wolves||4-1 (8-3)|
|3rd||ahq e-Sports Club||3-2 (7-5)|
|3rd||ONE team||3-2 (7-5)|
|5th||Hong Kong Attitude||3-2 (6-6)|
|6th||MAD Team||1-4 (4-8)|
|6th||Still Moving Under Gunfire||1-4 (5-9)|
|8th||Monster Shield||0-5 (0-10)|
The Garena Challenger Series (GCS) is Taiwan’s ~$104,000 league, comprising eight teams battling for four playoff spots. It can be watched in Mandarin on Garena Taiwan’s YouTube channel, or you can catch the unofficial English broadcast on DTwo’s Twitch channel.
Three Teams Separate Themselves in RoV Pro League
I (DTwo) got a more intimate look at the RoV Pro League (RPL) this week, as I began doing unofficial English broadcasts on my channel. ALPHA Red, Bazaar Gaming, and AWC finalists IT.City Bacon have clearly separated themselves from the rest of the league, both in the standings and subjectively with their play. In fact, in five best-of-3 series in week 5, they lost a total of one game. They now hold a commanding lead over the rest of the league, with the race for fourth place completely open.
|RoV Pro League Standings|
|Place||Team||Record (Games)||Points||Series Played|
|1st||ALPHA Red||9-0 (18-3)||18p||9|
|2nd||IT.City Bacon||7-2 (14-6)||14p||9|
|3rd||Bazaar Gaming||6-2 (13-5)||13p||8|
|4th||Rex Regum Qeon Black Forest||4-5 (10-12)||10p||9|
|5th||EVOS Debut||2-7 (9-15)||9p||9|
|6th||Buriram Arctic Wolf||3-5 (8-14)||8p||8|
|7th||Toyota Diamond Cobra||3-6 (7-14)||7p||9|
|8th||Sponsor.Neolution CoolKidz||1-7 (5-15)||5p||8|
The standings order is entirely based on points (games won) and not on series record.
The RoV Pro League (RPL) is Thailand’s ~$181,000 league, comprising eight teams battling for four playoff spots. You can watch the RPL on Garena RoV Thailand’s YouTube channel, or you can catch the unofficial English broadcast on DTwo’s Twitch channel.
Team Flash Overtakes Saigon Phantom in AOG
Vietnam completed two “weeks” of play in a single week, playing out two matches apiece on the 15th, 16th, 19th, and 20th. Adonis Esports scored the biggest upset of the eight series, defeating reigning champions and AWC representatives Saigon Phantom. That left the door open for Team Flash to take sole possession of first place, and they took advantage, defeating 2nd-place Overclockers, 2-1, and AA, 2-0.
Though it’s early, there seems to be a clear top four emerging, as 4th-place Adonis Esports’ only losses have been to the top two teams.
The AOG’s standings are also based on a points system:
|Arena of Glory Standings|
|1st||Team Flash||4-0 (8-2)||8p|
|2nd||Saigon Phantom||3-1 (7-4)||7p|
|4th||Adonis Esports||2-2 (6-5)||6p|
|5th||Box Gaming||2-2 (5-4)||5p|
|5th||Esports Kingdom||2-2 (5-5)||5p|
|8th||Team Thai Nguyen||0-4 (0-8)||0p|
The Arena of Glory (AOG) is Vietnam’s ~$77,000 league, comprising eight teams battling for four playoff spots. You can watch the AOG on Garena Vietnam’s YouTube channel.
Indonesia’s AOV Star League (ASL) is Underway
Indonesia’s ASL is now fully underway, having completed two “weeks” of play on the 16th and 20th. Unlike most of the other leagues, points are acquired by winning series instead of games (3 points per series). The first tiebreaker is games record, while any further ties will be broken by playing best-of-three matches.
Unlike their Thai counterparts, RRQ are in first place in this league, tied in points with Saudara e-Sports:
|AoV Star League Standings|
|Place||Team||Record (games)||Points||Series Played|
|1st||Rex Regum Qeon||2-0 (4-0)||6p||2|
|1st||Saudara e-Sports||2-0 (4-0)||6p||2|
|4th||Bigetron eSports||1-1 (2-2)||3p||2|
|6th||Dunia Games||0-2 (0-4)||0p||2|
The AoV Star League (ASL) is Indonesia’s ~$175,000 league, comprising seven teams battling for four playoff spots. You can watch the ASL on Garena Indonesia’s YouTube channel.
Valor Cup Representatives Nearly Decided
Philippines/Malaysia/Singapore’s Valor Cup is coming to a head, with the latter two countries having decided their representatives. Both Resurgence from Malaysia and Tamago from Singapore dominated their respective countries’ qualifiers once more, meaning they will not only advance to the Valor Cup Grand Finals, but will also represent their countries in the PVP Esports Championship. Meanwhile, Philippines’ two representatives at the Valor Cup have been decided, but the battle over who will go straight to the top and who will only receive the wild card slot will be determined on the 23rd between MaxBox Gaming and Resurgence.ClutchGuild.
The winner of the Grand Finals will be the region’s representative at the AIC.
You can watch the Valor Cup national qualifiers on the Garena AOV PH, MY & SG YouTube channel.
Road to AIC Coverage
- Esports Roundup: Valor Series, GCS, RPL, Valor Cup (September 14, 2018)
- Valor Series Begins Tomorrow: Esports Roundup September 7, 2018
- Esports Roundup (Valor Series, GCS, RPL, Asian Games) (August 28, 2018)
- AWC Finals Recap (August 1, 2018)
- AWC Semifinals and Finals Overview (July 31, 2018)
- Korea Crowned World Champions after Thrilling Seven Game Finals (July 29, 2018)
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