The best of the best league the IEL has to offer begin the all-out war to become the single victor of season 5 starts tonight! Check out write-ups, previews and an interview all down below.
Playoff Team Writeups – Matty
Bad Karma eSports (15-1)
Bad Karma’s season has been a success from start to finish, with their only blip being a close 3-2 defeat to Nevo in Week 8, however, other than that, their season couldn’t have been better. A 15-1 record shows their domination throughout the entire season, and will be heading into the playoffs as one of the firm favourites to win the master league.
The main trio of JWeyts, Nox and Tyla have proven to be a huge threat to any team that has had to face them this season, and even when they have played with their substitute Noure, the victory was never in doubt. For their cross-conference series, they matched up against a Primal side who were also unbeaten at the time, and yet Bad Karma trounced Primal in a 3-0 sweep of their Alpha conference rivals, to leave them on a 10 series win streak and they then continued this form until the end of league play. Going into the season, little was known about the main trio, and with Noure playing for Warhawks in the Prospect tier last season, not many people knew how good this roster would be, and they have now proved everybody wrong and undoubtedly deserve their No.1 seed for the playoffs.
Auto Celerity (13-3)
Auto Celerity can be considered the dark horses of this season, as it was only in the final week where they finally reached the No.1 spot in the Alpha Conference, and before that, being in third position for most of the season. However, the season is a marathon and not a sprint, and Auto Celerity capitalised on their rivals’ mistakes when it mattered most and came through with four straight wins at the end of league play to secure their place as the No.2 seed going into the playoffs.
In their cross-conference series, Auto Celerity came up against a red-hot Royals team who had remained unbeaten since the start of the season, and although they were playing with their sub, Rope, Royals swept Auto Celerity 3-0, in a series which feature two overtimes, therefore showing that the series scoreline might not always tell the true story. After this series, they showed their resilience and pulled themselves up from that defeat and finished the season strongly, including sweeping fellow Alpha Conference rivals Primal Esports 3-0, and rightfully placing themselves as the best team in the Alpha Conference.
Primal Esports (13-3)
The team consisting of IEL veterans Feral, Lyaneii, Flynn and Solarr were expected to do well from the start, and they did exactly that. Aside from a shaky period towards the end of the season, Primal have had a relatively successful season, their highlight of the season being a reverse sweep on stream vs DeJaVu to decide who would claim the other of the Top 2 spots, and as promised, captain Solarr came through with a £100 donation to reward them for their accomplishment.
A rough Week 7 saw them needing two wins in Week 8 to secure Top 2, and the main trio of Feral, Flynn and Lyaneii pulled through and took down Austrian Force in 3 games to then set up their legendary win in overtime against DeJaVu. Primal will be looking to do well in the playoffs, and they get to face the winner of RL Ireland vs Puncture, both of which they defeated in League Play.
Clairvoyant have had an up and down season, which has included a seven series winning streak, but has also included a week without a series win. Clairvoyant have claimed one of the bye positions due to them having the best winning percentage of the four teams that also share their win-loss record of 11 wins and 5 losses. Captain and two-time IEL finalist Milne has guided his team to this position using his expertise and knowledge about the league despite having one of the lowest DSN values in the league, some 217 DSN away from the maximum cap. Clairvoyant face the winner of DeJaVu and Nevo, both of which will prove themselves to be tough opponents considering Clairvoyant failed to beat either of them when they played in League Play.
DéjàVu eSports (13-3)
After having an optimistic start to the season, including big wins against cross-conference rivals and potential second round opponents Clairvoyant and No.2 playoffs seed Auto Celerity, DeJaVu found themselves sitting pretty after Week 6, joint top of the Alpha Conference. Then things went a bit wayward. A shocking 3-1 defeat to strugglers Hit or Miss in Week 7, albeit using their sub Mittu, left them needing two wins heading into Week 8 to secure a Top 2 place.
A 3-1 victory over R5 Esports left them facing Primal to decide who would clinch the coveted spot in the Top 2. What was to follow will go down in IEL history. DeJaVu went up 2-0 in the series, and it seemed like it was all going smoothly, and they were on course to snatch that Top 2 spot from long-time leaders Primal to secure a bye into the winner’s quarter finals. However, Primal captain Solarr promised to donate £100 if his Primal team were to pull off the reverse sweep, and they did just that. And now, DeJaVu faces an in-form Nevo team who took down the seemingly invincible Bad Karma roster, and so it should be a good matchup.
RL Ireland (12-4)
RL Ireland have had a relatively quiet season when compared to their victorious Season 4 run, however, that’s not to say this season hasn’t been good either. A promising start to the season was quickly followed by a rough couple of weeks, which saw them rack up their only four defeats of the season. Since then, however, RL Ireland have been on a tear, including eight series in a row and are looking fierce heading into their first round matchup against Puncture, and they will be seeking their revenge following their 3-2 defeat in League Play.
As it has been for most of the teams here, Royals had a fantastic start to the season, including going on a ten series winning streak from the start of the season, a feat only matched by Bad Karma, and yet have ended up finishing their season fairly disappointingly, only managing to get one win out of their remaining six series. Although, to be fair to this Royals team, one of their five defeats was to their arch rivals Bad Karma, which came down to a Game 5 overtime, and so Royals should be proud of the way they started their season, and the way they have bounced back from their string of defeats, and I’m sure they’ll be eager to face Team Berserkers in the first round.
Eidolon Esports (11-5)
Eidolon’s season didn’t start off in an ideal fashion, with two Game 5 defeats to Bad Karma and Royals in Week 1, this left them determined to reverse their fortune and to make their claim for one of the playoff places. What was to follow was extraordinary. Eidolon then went 11-1 in their next 12 series, leaving them second in the Gamma Conference heading into the final week of League Play. However, the ghosts of Week 1 returned, and two more Game 5 defeats at the hands of Juicy eSports and The Swanky Squad leave the Eidolon squad needing to rebuild themselves to help their chances at making a serious run through the playoffs bracket. Their first round opponents, handily enough, are the same Swanky Squad team that defeated them in Week 8, and so Stocky and co. will be wanting to exact their revenge and advance through to face Bad Karma in the second round.
The Swanky Squad (11-5)
The first of the teams claiming a wildcard spot in the playoffs, The Swanky Squad have had a promising first season in IEL, featuring a five series win streak at the end of League Play to secure their place in the playoffs, even sharing the same win-loss record as No.4 seed Clairvoyant, only having a worse win percentage. The Swanky Squad will face an Eidolon side which they managed to upset in Week 8, by beating them 3-2, however Eidolon will want to overcome The Swanky Squad this time to advance further in the bracket. That’s not to say The Swanky Squad will be a pushover though, as they too will want to win, and I can see their series going to Game 5 yet again.
Team Berserkers (10-6)
Team Berserkers’ season started off badly, with two defeats to CrossFade and Clairvoyant, leaving them in an uncompromising position after Week 1. However, it was only until Week 4 when a series of wins started to form, this run only halted by Juicy eSports in Week 6 in Game 5. After another Game 5 defeat in Week 7 to Eidolon, Team Berserkers entered Week 8 knowing that all they could do was win to give them a chance of making it into the playoffs as one of the wildcards, relying on their favourable win percentage. Their first round matchup against Royals will be a rematch of their series in Week 3, where Royals came out on top in 4 games, however, I believe that Team Berserkers will be as determined as ever to beat them to then advance on and play against Auto Celerity in Round 2.
Heading into the playoffs as the only wildcard from the Alpha Conference, Puncture will be looking to cause a few upsets during their stay in the playoffs. Their season started off fairly well, going 6-2 in their first half of the season, however, only going 4-4 in the second half leaves them as one of the wildcards going into the playoffs, and due to their unfavourable win percentage, they have to face fellow Alpha Conference rivals RL Ireland for a chance to face Primal in the next round. However, when the two teams met in League Play, Puncture were the ones to come out on top, in a series which went all the way to Game 5, so don’t be surprised if Puncture manage to be victorious in this series.
And last, but certainly not least, we find Nevo, the only team to take down Bad Karma so far this season. Their shaky first half of the season left them with a 3-5 record heading into Week 5 of League Play, and something clicked. Nevo then went on a five series win streak, including their famous victory against Bad Karma, before being swept by Royals in their final match of the season. After beating Bad Karma, Nevo will believe that they can take down anyone, and with this mentality, captain Wilbur will be encouraging his Nevo team to take down some of the teams which people may perceive as being indestructible. Their first round matchup against DeJaVu may be the perfect place to prove that they aren’t here just to make up the numbers, they are here to win.
ROUND ONE AND TWO PREVIEWS – MATTY
Upper Round 1
Eidolon Esports vs The Swanky Squad
After their Week 8 matchup, where The Swanky Squad came out on top in a close series that went all the way to Game 5, Eidolon will be wanting to exact their revenge on their Gamma Conference rivals, although The Swanky Squad won’t be as easy as some may think. Eidolon will still be slightly miffed at their Week 8 performance where they lost both of their series, either of which would have enabled them to claim a Top 2 spot in their conference. However, despite this, I believe that this Eidolon roster will not give up at another opportunity to claim victory and they will prevail in this series, however, The Swanky Squad will be coming into this series as confident after their victory in Week 8, so don’t be surprised if this one goes the distance.
Prediction: Eidolon Esports 3-1 The Swanky Squad
DéjàVu eSports vs Nevo
Another team that might be disappointed with the end to their League Play is DéjàVu, who came into Week 8 top of the Alpha Conference, and yet an incredible 3-2 reverse sweep by Primal ensured that they would finish third in their conference, only on win percentage. On the other hand, Nevo had a stellar finish to their season, which included taking down Bad Karma in Week 8 (being the only team thus far to do so) to secure a place in the playoffs as the final wildcard team, not to mention that before the Bad Karma series, they were on a 6 series winning streak, and so they could cause a few upsets during their playoffs run. I do still believe that DéjàVu will be victorious in this series however, as they will want to advance further into the winners bracket, to prove just how good they are.
Prediction: DéjàVu eSports 3-2 Nevo
Royals vs Team Berserkers
After Week 5 of League Play, Royals were sat in a very comfortable position in the standings, with a record of 10-0, most people thought that they would be the other team from the Gamma Conference to get a bye to the winners quarter finals along with Bad Karma, but one win from their last six series means that they now have to play Team Berserkers for a chance at playing Auto Celerity in Round 2. When these two met in League Play, it was Royals who came away with the victory in 4 games, and although they didn’t have the best end to their season, I can see Royals winning this matchup again.
Prediction: Royals 3-1 Team Berserkers
RL Ireland vs Puncture
The last of the Round 1 matchups sees RL Ireland facing Puncture, the only wildcard team hailing from the Alpha Conference. Back in Week 3 when these two teams met, it was in fact Puncture that took the victory in a series which went all the way to Game 5, despite them now coming into the playoffs as the lower seed. RL Ireland will be looking to repeat last season’s master tier triumph, however, with only one member of that Season 4 team still here, that being Jxffa, the S4 Master MVP, it’s going to be tough for them to do so. However, I wouldn’t count Puncture out just yet, and this one could go either way, so don’t be surprised if Puncture wins, despite being a wildcard.
Prediction: RL Ireland 3-2 Puncture
Upper Round 2
Bad Karma eSports vs Eidolon Esports/The Swanky Squad
To be perfectly honest, I don’t believe that either of Eidolon or The Swanky Squad have what it takes to defeat Bad Karma, and despite Eidolon’s League Play series vs Bad Karma going all the way to Game 5, I think we will see an even more dominant Bad Karma that we have seen before. If they do get through to this round, The Swanky Squad are going to need to cause the biggest upset this season as when they faced Bad Karma in League Play, The Swanky Squad only managed to put up 3 goals, and Bad Karma took the series in a 3-0 sweep.
Prediction: Bad Karma eSports 3-1 Eidolon Esports or 3-0 The Swanky Squad
Clairvoyant vs DéjàVu eSports/Nevo
This series is set to be a close one as both DéjàVu and Nevo have taken down tough opponents throughout this season, which might give Clairvoyant reasons to worry about their potential opponents. In fact, when Clairvoyant came up against both DéjàVu and Nevo, they lost both of their series, 3-1 to DéjàVu and 3-2 to Nevo. This may lead to one of the lower seed heading through into the upper semi finals, if history repeats itself yet again. I do still think that whoever their opponents are, Clairvoyant will give them a run for their money and prove why they deserve their No.4 seed for playoffs.
Prediction: Clairvoyant 2-3 DéjàVu eSports or 3-1 Nevo
Auto Celerity vs Royals/Team Berserkers
Auto Celerity will be coming into this series as the top seed from the Alpha Conference, and they will be determined to progress further into the bracket to stake their claim for the title. Although, if Royals can manage to get past Team Berserkers in the first round, then I believe that Royals might be able to cause an upset here as they were unbeaten for the first five weeks of the season, a feat only matched by Bad Karma, and so I can see Royals potentially taking this one should they beat Team Berserkers. As for Team Berserkers, if they do manage to beat Royals, then they could carry forward the momentum from that series to put up a good fight to the Auto Celerity roster.
Prediction: Auto Celerity 3-2 Royals or 3-1 Team Berserkers
Primal Esports vs RL Ireland/Puncture
After being top of the Alpha Conference for the majority of the season, Primal somewhat fell and found some form at the end of the season to claim second place in the Alpha Conference, thanks to a Game 5 overtime winner by the chonk himself, Lyaneii, to secure the reverse sweep vs DéjàVu to claim second place in the conference. As for their potential opponents, RL Ireland lost to Primal in Week 4 in a series which ended 3-1, whereas Primal swept Puncture in their series in Week 6, so expect Feral and co. to emerge as the victors in this matchup.
Prediction: Primal Esports 3-1 RL Ireland or 3-0 Puncture
KINGKONG INTERVIEW – SnuWu
With play offs in sight I interviewed KingKong. He is the captain of TSS’s masters team. With a rough start they still managed to make play offs.
1. was it hard for your team to make play offs?
It was quite hard, we had a rough start with 2-2 record. Then went to 4-2 and 6-4. So we had quite some losses at the beginning, which made it difficult to make top4, or even playoffs. The power rankings also gave us not much of a chance to end high in the league. But in the end, we managed to win our last 5 series, including the win over Eidolon in 5 games on stream in the last week. With this important win we secured our playoff spot.
2. what do you think about your bracket?
First we play Eidolon (again), we actually messaged each other that we both would like a rematch because last series was so much fun. If we would manage to win, Bad karma is waiting for us. This will obviously be very tough.
3. how do you prepare for your first match?
Preparation won’t be any different than other weeks. Just some ranked games in the week before, and some extra scrims on the day itself. I think it’s good to approach those like every other game because it keeps you calm in game. Basically just trust each other, ourselves and have fun.
4. how far do you think your team will get in play offs?
Its hard to say, with seed #9 we don’t have a very high chance of winning the whole thing, but keeping our 5 series winning streak in mind, and beating some of the higher teams, we definitely have some chance to upset some opponents and surprise them. Since we seem a bit underestimated sometimes (power rankings), which actually helps us.
5. did you guys did everything you could so far?
Like I said, we just had a bad start. Looking back we played all high teams in the first few weeks. That made the last weeks somewhat easier, but also made our first weeks very hard. Its interesting if we would play Bad Karma now for example, since we played them in week 2. I think we made huge improvements after that.
6. if you could face 1 team in the finals, who would that be?
don’t have any favourite teams or so to play against, but it seems very cool to first lose in round 2 to Bad Karma, and beat them later on in the finals with a run through the lower bracket. But that’s more an ideal script I guess.
7. if you could eliminate 1 team at the start of play offs, who would that be?
I don’t have any. If we want to win the whole thing, we should be able to beat ANY team.
8. what is something other teams have to worry about when facing you?
Of course that’s our own team secret, but let me put it this way. We already know each other for a long time now, like over 2 years. So not only do we have a good chemistry on the field, but also are just good friends which makes is even more fun to play with each other and actually made playoffs. I’m really proud on our improvements and chemistry these days and I’m really excited for playoffs! Who knows what we can achieve there.
These guys are training like beasts and not leaving without a fight! I want thank KingKong for answering these questions and wish them the most of luck in play offs!