After a two week break for BlizzCon, the OGN Apex League kicked back off today with a bang featuring two matchups with large playoffs implications. The first match was between RG Titan and Afreeca Blue, both of whom have had disappointing starts in the season. While in the second match, NRG was coming back from the break with two new players and only a single day of practice as a unit.
In case you missed any of this morning’s action, we’ve got you covered with our recap.
Rhinos Gaming Titan (RGT) vs. Afreeca Blue (AF Blue)
The series began on Lijiang Tower and the initial point on Control Center turned into a back and forth brawl. Afreeca Blue had the clear advantage in the ultimate economy as they properly paced themselves in order to combo powerful ultimates and take important fight wins. For RGT, however, Claris wasn’t willing to turn over, and he tried his best on Pharah and Genji to carry his team, but he was unable to overcome all of AF Blue, and as such, fell 0-1 on Lijiang.
The second point was no different from the first and was back and forth as both teams traded control of the point. However, once again, AF Blue was far more coordinated and decisive, controlling the ultimate economy and only committing to the fights they could win. The level of teamwork they displayed allowed them to easily take Lijiang 2-0 and take a 1-0 lead in the series.
For the hybrid map of the series, the teams took to Hollywood. RGT began on offense and their start was horrible. Munchkin on McCree was the first member of his team to die on the first three offensive pushes, leading to AF Blue taking easy team fight wins and building a large ultimate advantage.
This meant that RGT found no traction until there was only a minute left to take point A. At that point, RGT had built all six ultimates and managed to begin capturing the point. But a hero play from Arhan on Mei forced RGT off the point with his Blizzard, and allowed AF Blue the time to clear and prevent RGT from capturing the first point.
It was looking like AF Blue would take the map, as all they needed to do was take a single point, and they knew that. As such, they put Recry on Hanzo to look for a pick in order to push the point with a man advantage. Recry repeatedly picked members out of the backline with accurate fire, allowing for his team to push forward and take a very easy map victory, putting them up 2-0 in the series.
The third map of the series was Volskaya Industries and Arhan came out swinging. In a hugely impressive play, he killed BRO’s Widowmaker by reflecting her shot from across the map. Arhan’s Genji kept the pressure up on RGT as he received Nano Boosts in order to wipe RGT several fights in a row. Eventually, Munchkin’s Reaper received a Nano Boost of his own and was able to take the first point for RGT.
On the second point, RGT had a couple of sloppy engages, where despite them having players get picked off, they committed their Graviton Surge and wasted the lead they had in ultimate economy. Their mistake, combined with the natural defenders advantage on point B and a highlight reel Deadeye from Recry, meant that RGT was left with only a single point.
Once again, AF Blue was in a position to take the map, as all they needed to do was finish the map to win the whole series. RGT went for a defense heavy team composition with both Mercy and Soldier 76, but they failed to withstand even a single push from the dive of Arhan’s Genji and Adam’s Winston. AF Blue captured the first point in under a minute and carried their momentum to point B.
Arhan received a Nano Boost and combined with his Dragonblade to quickly clear out RGT to begin capturing the point. RGT attempted to stall, but they were only able to do so for a few brief moments, which meant that AF Blue finished Volskaya in record time to complete their sweep of the series and take a 3-0 victory.
NRG Esports (NRG) vs. Kongdoo Uncia (Uncia)
The second series of the night was going to be a playoffs determining series for both teams. If NRG won, then they secured their spot in the playoffs and would force Uncia out. However, if Uncia won, then their playoff hopes would not be over and the group could have some interesting tie-breaker situations. Normally, it would be considered a safe prediction to select NRG as the favorites, but they were coming back from the break with two new players that they only had a single day of practice with. So, this match really was up in the air.
The king of the hill map was Nepal and it began on Sanctum. Both teams picked up both Roadhog and Hanzo to look for picks, but Uncia simply did it better. Dnce’s Hanzo simply outclassed the Hanzo of Seagull and, once backed up by Panker’s aggressive Reinhardt play, it became a very dominant hold that NRG was unable to ever break. As such, Uncia took the early lead on Nepal.
The second point was more even as NRG was able to hold until nearly 50 percent, but some back-to-back heroic saves by Birdring’s Genji brought Uncia back in control of the point. Then, Uncia demonstrated their teamwork and never looked back. Easily holding the point for the remainder of the map and taking Nepal in a convincing 2-0 and taking the series lead 1-0.
As usual, the series now went to a hybrid map and for the second time tonight, it was Hollywood. NRG began on offense and started off strong. Seagull on Hanzo managed to break down the enemy Reinhardt shield and push forward in safety. They managed to take two ticks of the first point, but then it all went downhill from there. In several back-to-back fights, NRG made critical mistakes, whether it be clumping up to all be caught in a Graviton Surge, wasting their Beyblade combo, having players picked off by Roadhog hooks, or overlooking an angle that allowed Panker to hit a godly six man Earthshatter to destroy NRG.
These mistakes meant that NRG was unable to secure even one point on Hollywood and it was looking likely that Uncia would take the map. Plus, Uncia showed off their tactical minds. Upon seeing the NRG composition that consisted of no long range hitscan, they immediately retreated to swap to a Pharah and Mercy combination.
However, NRG reacted incredibly well and switched Clockwork off of Reaper and onto McCree upon his death in order to deal with the Pharah, which Uncia responded to by switching Dnce back to McCree. But when it came down to the final team fight, it seemed like the map would be tied as neither team would capture the first point. However, Bubbly on Mercy managed to stay hidden and hit the heroic five man Resurrection to maintain the push and allow Uncia to take the point in overtime.
For the second time on the night, the assault map was Volskaya. NRG began on offense and they had a couple of hero switches, but then the brawl began. The fight over the first objective turned into a series of duels that Uncia won. NRG’s second offense split Uncia in half on opposite sides of the map and forced out every ultimate from Uncia, so it seemed like they would be able to use their ultimate advantage to capture the first point. However, once again, NRG failed to execute their Beyblade combo properly and wasted many of their ultimates. This left NRG exposed, where they fell one by one to Dnce’s McCree as he led Uncia to a full hold on Volskaya.
It seemed inevitable, especially with their current form, that Uncia was going to win, as all they had to do was take a single point. The fight broke out into a chaotic brawl as NRG had two players get picked off nearly immediately. They attempted to stream back onto the point to stall and they were beginning to find kills to stabilize the situation. But NRG had a lapse, and for a moment, had nobody on the objective, which allowed Uncia to secure the point and sweep the series 3-0, without allowing NRG to take even a single point.
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