With the first split of the Pro League finished, the best of North America will look to the playoffs, as the best of the best will compete for a $250,000 prize pool.
Sentinels finished atop the Pro League standings, tying with NRG on points. Without their massive sixth game, they most likely would’ve slipped a few places. TSM managed to bump their standing up a bit more, finishing in fifth place, while Dubblyew’s huge three-match stretch where they took first twice and second one took them from a risk of missing playoffs to finishing in 10th. Team Liquid were also able to secure their playoff position.
The final day of North American competition between groups A and C promised plenty of competition at the top and bottom of the Pro League table. Sentinels, who have been one of the most consistent NA teams in Pro League, sat only one point behind Esports Arena for the overall lead. Teams like Complexity and TSM were also in the top ten at the beginning of the day, looking for the highest seed possible for playoffs. Towards the bottom of the top 20, teams like Team Liquid and Dubblyew looked to secure their playoff spots, while SXG were on the outside looking in to the playoff picture, needing to move up just a couple spots to secure a place for themselves. All remained to play for, promising fierce fighting and clutch calls.
The first match of the day pulled south towards Lava City, promising frenetic fighting in the final circles as the POI traditionally offers plenty of cover in tight spaces. The frenetic fighting did happen, but mostly because the circle pulled even further south to the hill overlooking Lava City, which is far more open, leaving teams scrambling for cover. Despite Liquid taking early priority at the top of the hill, it was Complexity who found the entry damage and third party opportunities, giving them the win.
Liquid also showed well in second place, which was the ideal way for the team to start the day. At only 13 points overall in Pro League, they started the final day of the regular season only two points above the 21st place. The veteran squad would need points on the day to secure their playoff position, and they got them in game one.
Game two pulled centrally onto the hill south of Fragment East, closing around the blue boxes that form the only major structure on the slope. Several big name teams like TSM and Sentinels found themselves in decent position to try to secure a victory, but in the end it was free agent team Dubblyew that collapsed onto the fighting from the high ground and took the win.
Dubbleyew team was in 19th place at the start of the day, needing to secure points if they wanted to keep their playoff spot. The victory in game two elevated them to first place, giving that primary mission life. They are also one of North America’s only Loba teams, opting for a Loba, Gibraltar, Valkyrie composition that does well for teams that rotate early, simply because Loba’s ultimate makes looting on the run far easier. At any rate, the comp appeared to work be working, and gave Dubblyew some much-needed breathing room early on in the day’s matches.
Game three featured another southern zone, this time pulling down towards The Tree. For much of the mid-game, it looked as if Cloud9 might run away with it, as they ran through team after team on the edge of zone. However, a Valkyrie ultimate play in the final circle went awry when Mac “Albralelie” Beckwith was knocked almost instantly upon landing, eliminating C9’s Gibraltar player and leaving the team without a Dome Shield for protection. Instead, it was the Pittsburgh Knights who emerged from the utter chaos of the final circle victorious.
Coming off of their lobby win on Friday, Knights further cemented themselves in the playoff positions, and showed they’re not a team to be taken lightly. They helped finish off two of the most seasoned teams in the lobby in the form of Complexity and Sentinels. The result kept the lobby quite close halfway through the game’s days. Noticeably low on the day was TSM, who couldn’t quite seem to avoid the third parties as they attempted to maneuver into end-game positions as early as possible.
It looked as if TSM were in prime position to change that in game four, with position in the center of the final zone and only one other team remaining. Dubblyew had other plans, however.
TSM swooped into the final zone as they looked to third party a fight and take the game with it. It didn’t pan out for them, however, as IGL Phillip “ImperialHal” Dosen appeared unaware that Ryan “Sc1ss0rs” Luong was directly above him, on top of the rock. Sc1ssors took Hal out at nearly the same moment that TSM’s newest member, Evan “Verhulst” Verhulst was finished, leaving Jordan “Reps” Wolfe in a one-vs-three situation. Reps didn’t stand a chance, and Dubblyew ran riot for their second victory of the day, this time with a huge 14 kills. The result gave Dubblyew control of the lobby, 29 points above Complexity, who remained in second place.
Game five took the lobby south to Launch Site, and the game represented an opportunity for some slow-starting teams to get back in touch with the top of the leaderboard: Charlotte Phoenix, CLX, and Buff Pathfinder. In the end, it was free agents Buff Pathfinder who won the bubble fights and took the game.
Their 14-kill victory took them all the way to second place. The team, who were in 33rd place and inside the relegation zone before today’s games, were making big moves to avoid the qualification tournament for the second split of Pro League, even if playoffs were probably out of reach. The manner in which they completed the victory was impressive as well: the team racked up an astounding 6,631 damage between the three players. TSM, while not satisfied with their poor placements on the day, did manage to creep into fifth place on the day thanks to seven kills of their own in game five, even with a middling seventh-place finish in the game.
The final game of the day move to the small group of buildings east of Fragment, and it was there that Sentinels finally made their mark.
Running through team after team on the edge of zone, Sentinels used their Ash composition to quickly and effectively close in on other teams fighting. The points showed it, too: they finished with 18 kills, a 30-point game that took them from the middle of the day’s leaderboard all the way to second place, only finishing five points behind Dubblyew. TSM took home third place on the day, thanks in large part to a much better final three games after a slow start.