By Isaac Chandler
July 29, 2019
Continuing our coverage from last week, the Siege Raleigh Major Qualifiers are finally over in all four regions, and with it the last chance for most teams to gain a spot in the prestigious mid-year tournament, and boy, what an exciting final few days it was.
The Qualifiers over in Europe continued their trend of surprises as Team Vitality lost in the Winner’s Semifinal to the relatively unknown amateur Russian team forZe 1-2.
Fans knew something from the get-go when forZe forced an OT on Kafe to start the series out, going on to win the map 8-6. Vitality bounced back strong on the next map, Villa, taking it 7-4 off the back of a strong second-half performance on the attacker side.
Their victory was short-lived, however, as the world number 13 fell in a crushing 3-7 loss on Clubhouse, dropping into the lower bracket.
On the other side of the Winner’s bracket, Chaos Esports took a close series against BDS Esports, going 7-5 on both Kafe and Coastline to narrowly clinch the series 2-0.
From there, they moved on to face forZe in the Winner’s Final, taking the first map, Coastline, 7-4. Their second map wouldn’t be a walk in the park, however, as forZe fought back from a 2-4 first-half start to take the second 4-2, forcing OT.
Their hopes of a comeback fell apart rather quickly, though, as Chaos eventually took the map 8-7, clinching the series 2-0 and advancing to the Grand Final.
Meanwhile, in the Loser’s bracket of the Siege Raleigh Major Qualifiers, things were heating up as Na’Vi, Don’t Panic, PENTA, and GiFu Esports all took down their opponents in four relatively quick 2-0s.
The only team to even let their opponent get past seven rounds in a match was GiFu, who had to take the last map of their series, Bank, to OT, winning the match 8-7 to secure their sweep.
With fire in their bellies and a desire to show their strength, the teams faced off in Loser’s Round 3, with Na’Vi facing Don’t Panic and PENTA taking on GiFu.
Na’Vi played a close first map on Kafe, just barely pulling out the win 7-5 before taking to the second map, Coastline. There, the team put on a clinic, smashing Don’t Panic 7-1 on their way to a date with BDS Esports in Loser’s Round 4 the next day.
The match there seemed like it’d be over rather quickly after Na’Vi took the first map, Clubhouse, in another 7-1 stomp, continuing their run of form from earlier in the bracket.
This form would come to a temporary halt, however, on the second map, Consulate, as the BDS fought them to a tie before taking the win 8-6 in OT. Na’Vi clearly was upset by the loss and took their vengeance on Border right after, absolutely destroying BDS 7-2 and securing a spot in the Loser’s Semifinal.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the Loser’s bracket, world number 17 PENTA was in dire straits against rank 41 GiFU as the team fell 3-7 in a crushing defeat on Villa before bouncing back to win a close match 7-5 on Coastline.
They kept it competitive in the last map, Clubhouse, but their journey towards Raleigh ended there as the team fell 5-7.
Their following match against Team Vitality was probably the closest we’ve seen in this half of the Qualifier, with the teams going back and forth across all three maps. Map one, Clubhouse, saw GiFu take an early 4-2 lead on the attacker side before losing five straight rounds to Vitality, who secured it 7-4.
GiFu would bounce back in map two, Kafe, taking it in a bitterly fought 8-6 OT win and forcing a deciding map on Villa. GiFu got off to an early 4-2 lead again, even managing a round win on defense before giving over five rounds to Vitality, securing Vit the series 2-1 and setting up a rematch with their Winner’s Round 2 foe, Na’Vi.
Much like their first meeting earlier in the tournament, the semi between Na’Vi and Vitality was a back and forth affair, with Vitality taking map one, Villa, in an 8-6 OT win before giving up map two, Border, 3-7.
With the deciding map to be played on Clubhouse, both teams put everything on the line, both holding absolutely solid defenses that led to a 6-6 draw and an OT fight to advance.
While Na’Vi put everything they had into the last few rounds, Vitality proved themselves the better team, taking two straight OT rounds and securing the win 8-6.
After such a close win, Vitality got a well-earned two-day break before their rematch against forZe in the Loser’s Final, the last match before the Grand Final against Chaos.
The first map of the series, Border, was fairly close, with forZe taking it 7-4 after a 3-3 first-half start. The team looked poised to run away with Villa, too, after taking a 5-1 lead to start the map but fell just short as Vitality came back for their own 5-1 defense of the map, forcing an OT that saw the Frenchmen take both rounds and an 8-6 win.
With the two competitors so close to each other in skill, the third map was looking more and more hyped. Alas, it wasn’t too be, as internet connection issues with Vitality player BiBoo meant the team, unfortunately, had to forfeit the final map, giving forZe their pass to the Grand Final and a rematch with Chaos (lots of those going on this tourney).
ForZe decided that history wasn’t about to repeat itself this time, however, as they fought a close series against Chaos, finally coming out on top 7-5 on both Border and Clubhouse to secure their place in Raleigh.
Congrats to forZe on qualifying for their first Major. They’re an exciting team to watch, and we can’t wait to see them take on some of the best in the world, including their Russian rival Team Empire.
While Europe had its hands full finishing off their bracket this weekend, North America took it nice and easy with only five matches in total to play.
First up to play was the Pittsburgh Embers vs. Leftovers in the upper half of the Loser’s Quarterfinals.
The teams played a close first map on Coastline, tying the game up at 6-6 and forcing a battle in OT which saw the Embers win 8-6. They wouldn’t have long to celebrate their win, however, as Leftovers bounced back on map two, Border, to tie the series up after going 7-4 on the map.
The deciding third map, Bank, started out close with both teams going 3-3 in the first half. The parity wouldn’t hold long, though, as Leftovers tore through the Embers in the second half, going 4-1 and taking the map and series 7-4.
On the other side of the bracket, Team Reciprocity and Spacestation Gaming played an incredibly back-and-forth series that saw both teams get stomped in a map. The first map, Coastline, went to Reciprocity in absolutely dominating fashion as they took it 7-2, though Spacestation was quick to respond with their own stomp on Clubhouse, winning that map 7-3.
The tiebreaker on Border was a dead-even match, with both teams going 4-2 on defense and forcing a heart-racing OT to decide who would advance.
Spacestation managed to hold on and take two straight rounds to win the map 8-6 and force Reciprocity to hope for a Host Nation Invite to the Major.
Spacestation’s follow-up match against Leftovers started out close on the first map, Villa, with both teams taking three rounds in the first half before Spacestation clawed out a lead and victory in the back-end, going 7-5.
The second map was a completely different matter, however, as Spacestation absolutely slammed Leftovers 7-0 on Kafe, taking the entire series 2-0.
Spacestation’s gauntlet run continued on to the Loser’s Final, where they faced a rematch against their Winner’s Quarterfinal opponent Luminosity Gaming. The series was just as close as the first time around, with Spacestation narrowly closing out game one 7-4 on Border to open it up.
Unlike last time, however, Spacestation held their nerve and took the second map by inches, going 7-5 on Kafe to close the series and book their ticket to the Grand Final.
While TSM would eventually win this series 2-0, it was an incredibly close match against Spacestation. Opening the series up on Kafe, the two teams were dead even going into the halftime switch, and it was looking like it may go into OT before TSM Merc popped off with a 4k in the final round, giving them the win 7-5.
Map two on Clubhouse started out a bit more in Spacestation’s favor with the team going 4-2 in the first half on offense. TSM came roaring back in the second half with a 3-1 stat line to bring the series to match point.
Spacestation looked like they had control for most of the round, but TSM’s multi-angle push left Rampy alone to defend the site, going down to Beaulo in the last moments to end the map 7-5 in favor of TSM.
While the win gave TSM a berth to the Major, Spacestation’s fans weren’t all doom and gloom as it was announced shortly after the match that Spacestation would be given the Host Nation Invite spot at the Major.
Meanwhile, over in Latin America, things were progressing as many expected, with Team Liquid taking down INTZ and NiP taking down Black Dragons in two fairly stompy 2-0s.
The two teams met in the Winner’s Final shortly after, and while Liquid kept it close for most of Villa and Consulate, they were ultimately unsuccessful in taking a map off their fellow Brazilian squad, dropping the series 0-2 and falling to the Loser’s Final.
Over in the Loser’s bracket, Round 2 got underway with the ReD DevilS winning a close 2-0 over RedWolf eSports that saw them go to OT on the first map of the series, Clubhouse.
They’d next face off against their former Pro-League counter-part PaiN Gaming in Loser’s Round 3, a team who barely squeaked into this round after a 2-1 win against YeaH Gaming that went to OT on the final map.
The first map between ReD and PaiN was very close, with both teams going 3-3 in both halves and forcing an OT that came down to the wire on Border. ReD would eventually prevail 8-7 before popping off on map two, Villa, where they went 7-4 to take the series 2-0.
With momentum on their side, it looked as if ReD might actually be able to take a win over recently defeated Black Dragons in Round 4.
It wasn’t to be, however, as Black Dragons looked to take their loss out on the poor Devils, smacking them down 7-2 on Coast and Consulate to advance to the Loser’s Semifinal 2-0.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the bracket, Team oNe showed their 0-2 loss to Black Dragons in the Winner’s Bracket was just a fluke as they took down Zoom9 E-sports 2-0 in Loser’s Round 2. The series wasn’t even close between the teams, with Zoom9 only able to achieve four round wins over two maps in the match.
If that was what you’d call domination, Round 3 was a massacre by Team oNe as they managed to hold their opponent CHICOS Team to only two rounds in another brutal 2-0 win.
The team looked almost unstoppable in the two matches and poised to make a run all the way to the Grand Final without a worry.
That dream came to a grinding halt on map one of their Round 4 match against INTZ, however, as they lost Consulate in a rather embarrassing 0-7 smackdown. The team quickly bounced back from the loss, though, and took the second map of Bank 7-4, forcing a deciding match on Coastline for a spot in the Loser’s Semifinal against Black Dragons.
While INTZ got off to a solid 4-2 lead in the first half, oNe proved the better team with five of the next six rounds going in their favor, winning the map 7-5 and taking the series 2-1. They entered the rematch against Black Dragons bruised but still hungry for victory.
The first map of the series, Kafe, played out in a much similar fashion to Border in their first meeting, with the game being decided at 8-7 in OT.
This time, though, it was Team oNe that managed to take the win, and boy, did they run away with the series after that. The second map, Coastline, wasn’t even close with oNe taking the map and series off the back of a 7-1 win.
After a brutal week that saw them run the gambit, oNe got a nice two-day break before finally taking on Team Liquid in the Loser’s Final. Team oNe looked immaculate in the first game on Villa, taking the first half 4-2 before winning three straight offense rounds to take the game 7-2.
Liquid looked like the loss against NiP had hit the team pretty hard but quickly shook it off for game two on Coastline, where the team took the first half 4-2. The hype for a possible map three died shortly after, however, as oNe stomped the second half 5-1 to take the series and set up a date with NiP in the Grand Final.
The first match of the Grand Final saw a return to the classic map Border and began with NiP racing out of the gate with an early 4-2 lead on defense in the first half.
Much like the second map of Loser’s Final, however, oNe came roaring back in the second half with another 5-1 scoreline to win the first game, showing the team still had some fuel left in the tank.
That tank would run dry shortly after, unfortunately, as NiP laid a beatdown on Kafe with a 7-1 win before closing out the series 7-3 on Villa. It was a disappointing end to what looked like such a promising series during the first game, but congratulations to NiP for qualifying for the Major.
The smallest qualifier with only four teams present, the APAC finals saw CYCLOPS athlete gaming, Cloud9, Aerowolf, and 0RGL3SS all competing for the region’s single spot at Raleigh across three matches.
The first match saw world number 19 CYCLOPS take down rank 22 Aerowolf in a very close 2-0 series. The first map, Kafe, was dead even at the end of the first half before CYCLOPS closed out a close final round to win it 7-5. Map two was more of the same, with teams again tied at the end of the half.
This time, however, CYCLOPS failed to close out the map in regulation, going 3-3 again in the back half and forcing a fight in OT. Both teams took a round in overtime before CYCLOPS finally managed to close it out on offense, winning the map 8-7.
On the other side of the bracket, we got another close series in Cloud9 vs. 0RGL3SS. The first map, Bank, saw both teams tied at the end of the first and second half, forcing a tiebreaker in OT.
While Cloud9 came close to closing the map out, 0RGL3SS showed why they’re considered such a strong team, managing to take their final round on offense to win the map 8-7.
Cloud9 would again come close on the second map of Kafe to grabbing a win over 0RGL3SS, but again, it slipped through their grasp as they fell 2-4 in the second half, and 5-7 overall, on the map.
With no Loser’s Bracket in APAC, the loss marked the end of Cloud9’s run towards the Major, a rather disappointing finish for such a popular team.
The Grand Final match between CYCLOPS and 0RGL3SS was called to be a rather exciting match-up, and boy, did it deliver.
With both teams tied at the half on the first map, Coastline, 0RGL3SS managed to roll over CYCLOPS in the second half, going 4-1 to take the map 7-4. This scoreline would continue to rear its head throughout the series, as CYCLOPS took the second map 7-4 themselves after a strong 5-1 defense in the first half.
The final map, Villa, would again continue this 7-4 trend with CYCLOPS taking the first half 4-2 before finally putting it away 3-2 in the second half to secure the series and their ticket to Raleigh.
With the end of the qualifiers this weekend, we now finally have the lineup for the Major complete, and man, is it going to be exciting. Will Empire continue to dominate as the world number one? Will G2 finally return to back-to-back title form and show why they’re considered the greatest team of all time?
We’ve got a few weeks before the Raleigh Major kicks off on August 12th, but it’s definitely looking like an event you won’t want to miss. We’ll be bringing you more coverage when the Major kicks off, in addition to our Pro-League coverage, so don’t go anywhere.