The past six months of the R6 Pro League culminated in Evil Geniuses and Team Empire squaring up at the Milan grand finals today.
The stage was set for an intense battle and both teams were hungry for the win—Evil Geniuses are tired of losing and Team Empire were looking to prove a point. But Empire beat EG to capture the Milan championship.
EG came out swinging with a firm hold of Bank on defense. The opening round of the matchup saw EG hold CEO in a strong show of force. The use of Clash on defense was a smart bet to place, although it didn’t work more than once on this map. The fact that the North American team hadn’t made it past a semifinal in seasons gave them an added edge that Empire couldn’t answer in the first match.
Despite holding a 5-2 lead over Empire, EG’s advantage slipped away. Empire found back-to-back round wins to bring the match back to 5-5 thanks to Danila “Dan” Dontsov single-handedly dispatching EG’s remaining offensive players. Round 11 went to EG after a crushing attack on Lockers, bringing the first map to match point. Bank closed at 7-5 in EG’s favor. While predictions were split heading into the match, it was surprising to see EG control so much of map one against the “Russian Machine.”
Map two saw EG attempt to wrap up the series on Oregon. But as everyone knows, Oregon is “where good teams go to die.” The map started off with a more-balanced tone until EG’s hunger for a championship title kicked in. Even when they were at a man disadvantage, EG took another round off of Empire to further their lead in the match.
Empire failed to show up on Oregon until the back half. EG locked in a strong 4-1 lead on the second map, which didn’t look great for Empire heading into the half. Luckily for Empire, at least Dan showed up to Oregon ready to fight. The new Empire addition racked up an all-important 3K to help tip the scales in his team’s favor.
Nathan “nvK” Valenti took three Empire attackers off the board early in round eight to propel EG into a solid 5-3 position. The wins just kept coming as EG found themselves in a situation where they were keyed up at match point, 6-3.
But then EG choked just about as hard as a team can choke, allowing Empire to make a five-round comeback and lock up the match 8-6. EG came in hungry and seemingly starved themselves of an easy victory.
Clubhouse decided the fate of both teams. After EG failed to capitalize on their advantage on Oregon, it didn’t look good for the North American team. With Empire finally waking up on Oregon, they entered Clubhouse in near perfect form.
Empire brought the final map to match point in a flurry of round wins. EG went from the hungry underdog to a team that failed to prevent Empire from bringing the match to 6-2.
Despite their amazing start, EG proved they weren’t up to the task and fell to Empire 7-3. It was a truly heartbreaking defeat and EG will have to wait until season 10 for another shot at the crown.