Aztecs & Supremacy (Writer – Nathan)
I’ve grouped these two teams together as they both had similar stories in league play: they started off slow, but a mid season roster change propelled them to a huge winning streak in the latter half of the season, securing their spots in the playoffs. But both of these teams seem to have crashed out early on in the playoffs, failing to win a series in the playoffs. Where did it all go wrong for these two?
One reason could be that neither of the teams have played in a high-pressure situation in the ERLS yet; this was everyone’s first playoffs and it could be the nerves that come with the double elimination bracket that caused these two to bow out early on. It could be the calibre of teams they played: neither of them had an easy run, and in the end Aztecs and Supremacy were knocked out by Fury and Insanity respectively; two teams they struggled against in league play. It could be, however, that these teams simply weren’t good enough to make it past the first round: other than a few odd wins here and there, neither team could consistently take down the big teams in the ERLS; one reason both these teams went on huge win streaks in the later stages of the season was that they had a favourable run of fixtures, including games against strugglers NoHope and Sonic Wave.
Even though they lost earlier than they would’ve liked, everyone on both Aztecs and Supremacy have had a stellar first season; making it to the playoffs in your debut season is no easy feat, especially with the level of competition in the ERLS at the moment. These two also had one of the hardest divisions in the league, with strong teams such as Xero and Fury at the summit, so they have done themselves proud by managing to take some wins versus the strong opponents and making it into the playoffs in the first place.
Every bracket has to have teams getting first rounded, and unfortunately for Aztecs and Supremacy, they find themselves falling to that fate. A good season overall for both teams, but they will be wondering what could have been.
KEY MATCH UP
Warlocks eSports vs Bloemkool eSports (Writer – Nathan)
As nearly everyone predicted, Warlocks eSports had no trouble taking down Triumph, with a 3-1 series win over the Neptune division outfit, securing Warlocks’ place in the winners semi-final. They face #4 seed Bloemkool eSports, a team they have never played before in Season 3. Bloemkool had a tough series vs Insanity in Round 2, but came out on top in an epic 5 game series. Bloemkool will have something to prove: they’ve been underestimated all season in terms of championship chances, with nearly everyone predicting either Royals, Warlocks or Xero to take the championship, but if they take down Warlocks people will have to start respecting the cauliflower boys. Boyschool Q and his men are looking to bring home the franchise’s first ever championship, but they’ll have to be on form to do so: Bloemkool aren’t pushovers. The only two teams that they’ve played and never beat are AEon eSports and Infinity: two teams that are no longer in the playoffs, so Bloemkool really will think they can challenge the best. However, they’ve never played a team in the other conference (they forfeited their cross-conference match), and they’ll be thrown in the deep end facing Warlocks in their first game versus the Jupiter conference. The ruthless finishers of Warlocks could prove too much for the Bloemkool defence to handle; but Frutz’ team are known for incredible defending. This is shaping up to be a really exciting game, and I can’t wait to see the result!
Reflux (Writer – Chop)
The third seed, who was expected to get far by all and the finals by many, goes out in the first week. Despite their high seeding, they still had to play a formidable team, who is contesting the title and is currently still remaining in the winners’ bracket: Altercation. These lads lost in a close 3-2 series (a reoccurring theme for a couple of the teams that went out), which placed them into the losers’ bracket. Here, they faced Crest. This was when a surprising lost occurred, not due to a weak opponent, but an already met one. Reflux swept Crest twice in league play, which foreshadowed a seeming easy win for Reflux. Despite this prediction, Crest knocked Reflux out of season 3 in another shocking close 3-2 series. The main roster of Reflux hadn’t played together in recent times leading up to the first week of playoffs, which may have resulted in their downfall. Whilst it seems utterly shocking that a team who had only lost three series with their main roster, two of which occurred in the opening week, could lose so early on, one must consider how close their games were and the teams that they were against. It was undoubtedly going to be tough and they just simply lost grasp in the final clutch moments of the season. This team meets the end here, and without confirmation of MMR caps next season, their future as a team is unclear. I’m sure that they would enjoy sticking together following this, but it might not be up to them. We wish the team to represent PS4 a good future in returning next season for some more domination and deserved conclusion in the next playoffs!
Divinity (Writer – Chop)
So, an up-and-down team meets playoffs. They could have played their usual on-form performance or weakened and take some surprising losses. They played solid against the rise of Royals – only losing 3-2. Following this, they failed to even play Shadow. Sadly, their end consisted of a forfeit. It’s sad to see such a dominant team fall as they did, but they will not be remembered for their playoff run; rather their performance when on-form. Due to a forfeit in their knockout game, there’s not too much to conclude Divinity’s season with, other than a critique that plagued their season: become more consistent. We’ve seen them beat the biggest and lose to the worst, so whilst we’ll concentrate on and celebrate their peaks, they must improve their downfalls.
Rocket 5cience (Writer – Chop)
As the GM of R5, I pose some biased opinions on the situation. In addition to this, I also possess some knowledge on the thoughts of the players during each stage. R5 had a terrible start with several roster changes. Once they picked up PDabzz, they began to shine. Nine wins in a row, against teams such as Shamrock and Chaos, it seemed like the change had vastly improved them enough to challenge the playoffs competitors, however a vital loss to NoHope in the closing game of league play lead to the downfall. The loss got to the players and removed the drive to clutch. Shadow best R5 in game five overtime and Warlocks finished them off in game 5 as well. The reasoning against Warlocks was as simple as not scoring. Whilst R5 did end the series with 150% of the goals that Warlocks had, it was because winning was dominating and losing was an inability to break Warlocks’ solid wall of a defense. At the end of the season, R5 conclude unlike league play, unable to clutch and losing to the better team. Both series were scarily close and could have gone either way. The friendship between Chopchop02 and Wizzo_pro_007 propose a continuation of the team in some form for next season, shall the MMR caps allow, but they will be seeking the correct teammate that fits them as a team to fix their start and resolve their conclusion.
Austrian Force (Writer – Chop)
Despite AF having the 11th seed, every team in playoffs is incredible and beatable. AF managed to dent Altercation with a 3-1 loss, quite the achievement considering that the third seed also lost 3-2 to them. Sadly, their seeding did result in them playing the contenders of the losers’ bracket: NoHope. NoHope have only lost four times in league play and playoffs (beaten twice by two teams) and so it was unlikely that they could defeat such a foe, and alas they lost. AF had a rough mid-season and managed to recover just enough to clutch the playoff spot and cement themselves amongst the best of the season, but that is all that they could fight for. Adomiic sits at number one for goals scored, a feat to be proud of. This has been assisted by Blendragon, as shown by the bronze medal for assists. Cube showed his skill with controlling rotation and being the confidence to allow his team to push for the goal. Basically, AF have done themselves proud this season, which will hopefully leak into season four, one way or another.
Preview of Pro League Playoffs Week 2
Royals vs Shamrock (Writer – Mutschuk)
This game is the match up of the underdog vs the secret favourite. Royals have proven themselves to be a force to reckon with. The have beaten Divinity, who have come back from a big slump, and a strong Warlocks team. Now they are facing probably their biggest task: Beating the secret favourite Shamrock.
Shamrock has been a strong force this season. Although some team made them stagger, like the 3-2 loss versus eNightmare, they have beaten some strong teams this season. They have taken down the reformed Insanity, Shadow eSports and NoHope even twice. There is no doubt they are shooting for the title.
Vyluss, as their top player and captain, had an incredible season. 12th in goals and 11th in saves puts him very high on the leaderboard. He is top 20 in every aspect except assists. Flux is the support of the team, enabling Vyluss to do his thing and stabilising the rotation. The one that definitely has to step up his game is Captivace29. He is nowhere to be seen in any of the ranking lists above rank 50. Maybe they need to give Thunds a chance to prove himself, since he even reaches as high as 7th in assists per game.
The haven’t been on the top of their game lately though. The streamed game versus NoHope, which should have been an exciting match up, was disappointing since both team have not played their best by far. A lot of misses, whiffs and general chaos made the match up quite uninteresting, even cringy sometimes, when compared to peak performances. So Shamrock has to find their mojo again to stand a chance against Royals.
Royals on the other hand has done surprisingly well in playoffs. They were expected to get first-rounded by myself, but they managed to exceed everyone’s predictions. As the lowest seed in the bracket they managed to reach the quarterfinals of the ERLS playoffs. They are definitely on the top of their game at the moment.
Sticker, the striker and top player of Royals, played a big part in that success. Top 25% in all stats is a great achievement as well, so he and Vyluss will fight to brand this series with their label. alfi3003 is the captain of the team. Getting the dirtywork done but also not unable to step up himself, he got solid stats all around. The Riceman is also a powerhouse on offense. He is 25th in GPG and 12th in APG, giving Royals another boost in power. Their sub joshagriff, is actually their highest rated player on the roster. It is maybe down to chemistry or availability that he barely played, but it is most likely because the team can’t consist out of 3 attackers. In his appearances, he was a valuable asset on the lineup though.
In summary I can say it will be depending on the day, who will take the series. If both teams play on the top of their game, Shamrock might take it, but Royals will be ready to catch them anytime they are going to make a mistake and even sweep them, if Shamrock put on the same performance as they did versus NoHope.
Thanks for reading everyone! I can’t wait for another exciting week of the playoffs, we’re sure to see some incredible games!
Thanks for reading,