The biggest and best season of IEL – Season 5 – has had an action-packed eight weeks of nail-biting competition. It all comes down to this. It doesn’t matter whether you’re the twelfth seed or the first seed. It matters who wins this tournament right here! We’ve seen the twelfth seed win just last season before and that should inspire through every players’ mind to give this all of their heart and make it their own. This, ladies and gentlemen, is the first day of playoffs.
Prospect begins today with the first two rounds of both the upper and lower bracket being played and completed tonight. Challenger will endure the same structure tomorrow evening, too. This results in a whopping six teams being eliminated before Sunday, which is half of the best twelve teams! This leaves the best six teams to fight it out on Sunday in both leagues for the title and take home the championship and cash prize. So, the news team has made quite the article for you. Find information on the upcoming games to be played and every team competing this weekend! Everything related to masters will be featured next week, but for now: enjoy previews, write-ups and interviews all before this exciting event!
PLAYOFF TEAMS WRITE-UPS – Crispy
Austrian Force (11-5)
This team somewhat strolled their way into playoffs; going 3-3 in the first 3 weeks, they gradually picked up three 2-0 weeks in the remainder of the season to slip comfortably into playoffs. Whilst technically a wildcard, they are easily the best of the teams that failed to make the top 4 in the division they were in. Their flagship result in league play came in week 1, where they took a 3-1 victory over R5 Esports, and they will be hoping to put in similar performances against the top teams this weekend.
Auto Celerity (15-1)
Now we come to the big dogs of the prospect league, and only losing one series all season will undoubtedly make them the team to beat in the playoffs. But Auto Celerity will need to not let that pressure get to them if they plan on winning it all, as many people have tipped them to do. We know from past season’s playoffs that a dominant league play performance doesn’t necessarily equal a easy ride in playoffs, for example the performances of Insanity prospect and Deja Vu challenger last season, both finishing top of their respective divisions then flopping in playoffs. All eyes will be on this team, and whether or not they live up to what their league play record promises.
Bad Karma eSports (13-3)
A force to be reckoned with in league play, this team went 2-0 in 6 out of the 8 weeks of the season. They were bested by Nootz all the way back in week 1, and won both matches in every other week but week 6, where they were beaten by Hit or Miss eSports and Auto Celerity – both of the teams that finished above them in the Mu Division. It’s improving to a point where they can beat those top level teams which they’ll have to do in order to go deep in playoffs, and they’ll certainly be aiming to reach that level in the buildup to Friday. The team from this franchise won last seasons’ prospect league, so this team will be eager to make it two in a row for Bad Karma.
DéjàVu eSports (13-3)
In a similar season to Bad Karma, Deja Vu only lost to the 3 teams they played that finished with better records than them: Prophecy, Auto Celerity, and R5 Esports. They’ll be hoping to take the momentum from sweeping Galamo Esports in the final week of the season into playoffs. Being the highest ranked team not to get a bye in the first round, their first match is against the lowest ranked wildcard, so they’ll undoubtedly aim for a comfortable victory to springboard them to success in the later rounds.
Galamo Esports (11-5)
The 5 teams Galamo lost to in league play make for interesting reading: they were beaten by the three teams that finished above them in the Omega Conference: Prophecy, R5 and Deja Vu; Primal, who finished below them but still in playoffs; and then the most strange: Nevo, who finished all the way down in 12th with a 5-11 record. The inconsistencies may be an issue for them, as you can only lose twice in playoffs, but they will hope to iron the issues out and make a deep run.
Juicy eSports (11-5)
By the league table, Juicy are the worst team to have achieved an automatic playoff place. They have been consistently solid all season, beating pretty much every team that ended up out of playoffs. The challenge for them will be to convert that consistency against the lower teams into results against the better teams, as there are of course no bad teams to brush aside in playoffs.
Primal Esports (9-7)
Primal are perhaps the most unknown quantity in the prospect playoffs, having only just acquired a new roster. Since this change, they lost one of their 4 series in league play – a game 5 defeat to RL Ireland. Whilst RLI are a good team (having made playoffs themselves), they are the kind of team that Primal need to beat if they have any plans of making it far in playoffs; so this promising new roster still has some improvement to make in this buildup week to playoffs.
A forfeit loss to Primal in week 1 means that Prophecy only lost one match that they actually played all season; a 3-1 loss to, surprisingly, CrossFade. Having beaten every other team they played (with only 1 game 5 in there) means that they are surely one of the favourites to take the whole tournament. With such a dominant performance in league play, other teams will be very scared of them. If they can quash whatever blip in form which caused them to lose to a team that didn’t even make playoffs, then they can definitely have aspirations of going far in playoffs.
This team clinched playoffs with an outstanding second half of the season in which they won 7 of their last 8 series. Going from deep in the bottom half of the table to grabbing a wildcard position was a fantastic feat, and they’ll hope to take that momentum into the playoffs. Two of their roster (Lxwey and Veqa) played on the same team in IEL season 4 as well, so that long-standing partnership may give them the chemistry that they need to take down the top teams.
R5 Esports (13-3)
This team had some dramatic roster moves in the season, with the player Bo/Oakland leaving the team, being replaced, then coming back and replacing that new player himself. But after all this, the season’s results suggest they ended up making the right choice; they only lost one game with Oakland in the team all season, with the other two losses coming without him. Unlike some of the other top-ranked teams in prospect, they did actually lose a series to a team who ended up below them: Austrian Force. They’ll be planning to eliminate any of this apparent inconsistency in playoffs, in the hope of eliminating as many opponents as possible.
RL Ireland (10-6)
The RLI prospect captain Dave Forehead has a history of lying: his profile picture isn’t of his own forehead, and his real name isn’t even Dave! But what doesn’t lie is the league table, and they comfortably qualified for playoffs in the second wildcard position. What might not be a good sign for them is that they lost to every single team they played in league play that ended up making playoffs aside from close 3-2 victories over Austrian Force and Primal Esports. They will need to improve to go deep in the upper bracket, because if they win their first round match they will play the titans, Auto Celerity.
This team may be somewhat surprised to find themselves in playoffs; they only got put in because a team who qualified had to drop out. The sigh of relief will be even bigger considering how they missed out on playoffs – they had to take 2 games against Bad Karma on the final day of the season, and they were beaten 3-1, meaning they originally missed out on playoffs by 0.18% win ratio. But they found their way in eventually, and they will be eager to take this chance they’ve been given and run with it. People who remember last season’s prospect playoffs will know that the eventual winners, Bad Karma, originally didn’t qualify and only got in once another team dropped out. Vinctio will be trying to emulate that performance and make a surprise run deep into the tournament.
ROUND ONE AND TWO PREVIEWS – OliSkil1s
Galamo Esports (6th) vs Primal Esports (11th)
The 6th and 11th seeds face off in the first round, both from the Omega Conference they are no stranger to each other after facing off in the seventh week of league play with primal taking the series in comfortable fashion, winning 3-1 to really show the dominance of this new rebuilt primal roster. The Galamo roster have been a playoff contender all season with no real threats, and although they dropped from top two contention in the latter part of the season, their spot in the automatic playoff spots never looked in doubt and their quiet good results show a strong level of consistency. This matchup will be an interesting one with Galamo looking to be one of the strongest rosters and this new wave primal being relatively untested against the top teams. This match will surely be one of the closed and could go either way!
Galamo or Primal vs R5 Esports (3rd)
Heading further down this branch, the winner of the previously mentioned matchup will face the 3rd seed in R5 Esports. On paper the winner of this matchup should be an easy one to call with all three being in Omega conference and R5 obviously finishing in the superior position. Not only this but R5 bested both of these teams during league play, beating Galamo 3-2 in the final week and also causing the old primal roster to break up after a 3-1 win in week six. So this could mean for a show of progression for the primal boys after a complete rebuild since the last time these two faced off. Although the game that will decide this matchup will be close, it seems clear the strength of the R5 roster will overpower either of these teams.
DéjàVu eSports (5th) vs Vinctio (12th)
This is the only Cross Conference matchup in the first round games so there is no clear comparison between the two other than their clear seeding difference, this is most likely going to be the 5th seeded Déjà Vu who take the win but we have seen the clear potential of this Vinctio side with their shock win against Auto Celerity being the main talking point of their season. However they do seem to fall against the lesser teams and these collapses could be detrimental to their playoffs as it would mean that 2 of these lacklustre performances will mean nothing more than being a season 5 playoff contenders and nothing more. This game will definitely be an interesting one as the 5th seed should surely advance further into the bracket but could Vinctio produce another one of these shocks that we have become so used to.
DéjàVu or Vinctio vs Bad Karma Esports (4th)
Bad Karma have had a great season, they finished the season with a 13-3 record and firmly cemented themselves in the big three of the Mu conference, along with AC and HoM. Finishing 3rd in the Mu conference they originally had a 5th seed but they were one of the big winners of the drop out of Hit or Miss Esports, the 3rd seed, from the playoffs. This is due to the bump up to the top four spots which gives them a bye into the second round. They will face either Déjà Vu or Vinctio in their first game with the most likely matchup being Déjà Vu. This matchup will be the 4th and 5th seed going head to head and could be one of the major talking points of the early playoffs as this is the earliest time a high seeded team will be forced out no matter what. Although, in the unlikely event of a Vinctio win against Déjà Vu, I can only see one winner, Bad Karma comfortably beat Vinctio on the last day of the season in a match that knocked Vinctio out the playoffs, and although they got in due to the troubles Hit or Miss had, I cannot see Vinctio advancing past this point. Either opponent I do believe that Bad Karma have the edge and they will be the ones progressing past this point.
Juicy Esports (7th) vs Puncture (10th)
Both these Mu residing teams always looked to be low to mid seeded playoffs teams and that is the way it panned out, you could call them the best of the rest after the big three in Mu they were relatively consistent throughout the season, losing to the teams you would expect them to and winning against the teams you would expect them to for the most part throughout the entirety of the season which is really all you need to do. However, this really does show how the level of these teams that they are most likely not going to make deep playoff runs. The comparison between the two teams is an interesting one as Juicy boast a better record in league play with 2 extra wins, nevertheless, Puncture did best Juicy in their matchup in league play with a convincing 3-0 sweep, I feel that this may show a weakness in Juicy and Puncture may be the victors in this first round series.
Juicy or Puncture vs Prophecy (2nd)
Since a couple of unnecessary setbacks at the start of the season Prophecy have shown themselves to be the most powerful team in the Omega conference, winning all games since week 3 and not dropping more than 1 game per series in all 10 of those wins they have stated dominance over their rivals and have come out of league play with a second seeding. This top 4 seeding means they will have to wait to see who they play in their first series in playoffs as an entire franchise. There have been no games against either possible opponent due to the conference differences however it is without a doubt that it should be a win for Prophecy due to the lack of results from either of the other teams. However rocket league is a game that no one can predict and anything could happen, so we will have to see if an upset will occur in front of our eyes or the show of dominance will continue from Prophecy.
Austrian Force (8th) vs RL Ireland (9th)
This will most likely be the closest game of the first round of playoffs, not only due to the equal seeding but also due to the familiarity of these two Omega teams. These teams are at around the same record with only one game in it, and even in the league play game between these two the series was taken by RL Ireland but that was only after 5 close games, in which the win could have gone either way. This matchup is one of the lesser spectacles of playoffs however with a lack of prestige surrounding the two teams and a consistent yet nothing special kind of season. On the other hand, this may mean for a great viewing spectacle due to the similarities between the two.
Austrian Force or RL Ireland vs Auto Celerity (1st)
One phrase… Auto Celerity Win. This is the only fathomable outcome of this match, AC have been the clear favourites since the very start of the season and this really hasn’t been challenged at all by any team, other than their slip up against Vinctio and there near loss against Hit or Miss Esports, it has been complete plain sailing for the number 1 seed. As well as Auto Celerity being the clear best team, number one seed comes with its other perk of not playing a high seed opponent for a while in playoffs as no matter the outcome of the aforementioned match they will not face a team higher than 8th seed. Both Austrian Force and RL Ireland have not played Auto Celerity due to being in the other conference so there is no past results, however you can see that there is no way for anything but an Auto Celerity win and then advancing through the bracket.
Galamo 2-3 Primal
Déjà Vu 3-0 Vinctio
Juicy 1-3 Puncture
Austrian Force 3-2 RL Ireland
Interview With Nostic From Bad Karma Esports – SnuWu
Two more days until playoffs and I interviewed Nostic from the Bad Karma prospect giants. Bad Karma had a solid league play and are one of the favourites in the prospect playoffs.
SnuWu: Was it hard for your team to make playoffs?
Nostic: It became harder as the league went along, the cross conference game was surprising because the team we played was a lot better than I thought they was going to be.
SnuWu: What do you think about your bracket?
Nostic: In all fairness I am happy with my bracket, whoever we face will be a tough match!
SnuWu: How do you prepare for your first match?
Nostic: We are all training very well, working excessively with our coach to improve daily.
SnuWu: How far do you think your team will get in play offs?
Nostic: Only time will tell but I think we have a great chance!
SnuWu: Did you guys do everything you could so far?
SnuWu: If you could face one team in the finals, who would that be?
Nostic: I can see Auto Celerity making the finals because they seem to be a pretty decent team, but they shouldn’t be too much of an issue for us!
SnuWu: If you could eliminate one team at the start of playoffs, who would that be?
Nostic: Well, it is going to be either DéjàVu or Vinctio.
SnuWu: What is something other teams have to worry about when facing you?
Nostic: I’m not giving away our tactics but all I have to say is the opponents have to play as fast as they can to beat us!
Well as you can see Bad Karma are not sitting still. They are grinding every day and I’m excited to see how far they will get. I want to thank Nostic for answering these questions and wish them the best of luck in playoffs!
PLAYOFF TEAMS WRITE-UPS – AndasAP
#1 – Shadow eSports (13-3)
Shadow eSports are the number 1 seed heading into playoffs and it could not have been any other way. They have stayed at the top of the Delta conference throughout the whole of league play, only dropping three games. To portray how dominant Shadow were, 9 out of their 16 games were sweeps, with a further three being 3-1s. This brings them up to a win percentage of 75% which at one point was around 90%. In Week 7, however, they massively underperformed as they lost 1-3 to Auto Celerity and Bad Karma, both of whom they should have beaten. This was a completely different Shadow than we had seen before and they cannot play like that in playoffs.
Heading into playoffs, Shadow are the clear favourites and it would be foolish to bet against them. I believe this despite their mishap in Week 7 where they lost 1-3 to Auto Celerity and Built By Us where they were already guaranteed playoffs. In their first game for the playoffs, they face either NoHope or Built By Us as they have a bye for the first round. Either way, I think they will win although it will be challenging with NoHope performing admirably with their new roster and Built By Us having beaten them earlier.
#2 – Eidolon Esports (13-3)
Eidolon are the highest-seeded Zeta conference team after some interesting shake-ups in the other top teams. Eidolon looked like a Top 4 team throughout the whole season, but it was not until the end that they really started looking like 1st place calibre. There was a clear Top 5 up until the very end with Team Berserkers, Eidolon, NoHope, Primal and DéjàVu who all looked like playoffs-material, but at the end, most of them started dropping off. Berserkers’ performances started cooling off, NoHope had a roster-crisis where most of their team left and Primal completely underperformed. This allowed Eidolon to more easily prevail, and with many games between the top sides in the last two weeks, they came out on top and in the end got the #2 seed. This is not to say that they were lucky, as they did extremely well regardless, and they fully deserve it. Francesko, their captain, GM and founder will be more than pleased with their first season in the IEL with his team going 13-3 and the franchise going 32-6.
Ahead of playoffs, they look like they can do very well despite the Delta conference scoring higher and winning 12 out of 16 cross-conference games. Just like Shadow, they have a bye for the first round, so in their first game, they face either Auto Celerity or Bad Karma. Both teams are very good and it might prove difficult, especially for Auto Celerity who have improved drastically since acquiring their new roster, beating teams such as Shadow, Reflux and Bad Karma. Furthermore, Francesko will be worried to replicate his Season 3 performance where – after a fantastic league play – he was first-rounded in playoffs. This led to the video F4Reflux.mp4 being played on stream and Francesko will certainly want to avoid this happening again.
#3 – DéjàVu eSports (12-4)
DéjàVu have achieved a marvellous comeback in the Zeta conference and will be looking to continue their unbeaten streak into playoffs. They did not start the season how they wanted, going 4-4 after 4 weeks, and the roster was replaced. In came LewisHendo from nTice, VektA and TofuElliot, and with them, results. Since the roster-change, they have not lost and go into playoffs with a 9-game win streak. This is extremely impressive and they have been rewarded with the #3 seed. Even though they have won 9 consecutive games, they have not faced any top teams with their new roster and remain relatively untested. The most difficult game they played was against Nootz who just barely scraped into playoffs by 1% win percentage.
Heading into playoffs, DéjàVu are an exciting team as we have no idea how they will perform. They have proved consistency which is great, but now they must prove it on the big stage and play against the very best teams. In the first round, they face either Vinctio or Galamo as they have a buy. Though both teams are good, Vinctio would be the biggest challenge and I believe they are a dark-horse heading into playoffs, not dominant but certainly good.
#4 – CrossFade (12-4)
CrossFade stayed in the Top 2 for the duration of league play and will be aiming for the same in playoffs. The Delta-team started the season flawlessly as they won 6 games in a row, including a 3-1 win against Shadow and were looking like the number 1 team in the Challenger league. After that tremendous start, they slightly dropped off and started losing games they looked certain to win. They managed to hold it together, however and ended up in 2nd place in the conference and as a #4 seed.
Ahead of playoffs, they look like they can go very far, but if they are to reach the finals, they must try to be more consistent than the last two weeks as they must beat the likes of DéjàVu and Eidolon to get there. In their first game, they face either Team Berserkers or Nootz. The Berserkers are most likely to win there as they are much higher seeded, but it is hard to tell just how good they will be as they have struggled the last few weeks.
#5 – Team Berserkers (11-5)
In league play, Team Berserkers stayed consistent throughout but dropped off towards the end, making one question their true quality heading into playoffs. Berserkers started the season very well and continued to get wins week-in-week-out which kept them in 1st in the Zeta conference. Their great run of form slightly dropped off towards the end, however, as they lost to The Swanky Squad and Puncture as well as being swept by top dogs Eidolon. In the last week, they beat Primal 3-2 and NoHope 3-1, which are great performances against great teams, so one would hope that they have solved their issue from earlier.
Going into playoffs, they are a bit of a question mark with those shock losses in Week 6 and 7, but they can definitely perform as they proved in Week 8 and otherwise. In their first game, they face Nootz, who they actually lost to in Week 2. Since then, Berserkers established themselves as a top team and Nootz as a mid-table side, so Berserkers are the clear favourites to win, also being 7 seeds ahead.
#6 – Vinctio (11-5)
The constant Delta-number 3 Vinctio looks to go further in playoffs, but can they actually do it? Vinctio had a very solid league play where they stayed in 3rd place until the end. During the season they picked up some big wins against teams like Bad Karma, Built By Us and Clairvoyant, but they never managed to beat any of the very top sides. They lost against Shadow, Team Berserkers, and were swept by CrossFade in the final week of league play. This does not exactly boast well for Vinctio, and they must now step up and start beating top teams, or else it won’t end well.
Before playoffs, they look like they can thrive, but with their results against top teams, it is hard to predict them to go too far. In their first game, they face Galamo who they beat 3-2 in Week 8. This suggests that they will be able to get a win, but last time around Galamo came close so it might prove challenging for the ex-Absolut team.
#7 – Auto Celerity (10-6)
“Started From the Bottom” by Drake perfectly describes Auto Celerity’s league play, but can they make it to the top? Auto Celerity have accomplished a spectacular comeback, going 0-4 and finishing 4th in the Delta conference with a record of 10-6. After their dreadful performances in the first two weeks, they got rid of two players and replaced them with Its Magik from DéjàVu and BeastBound. That decision worked wonders as they rose up the table, finishing in an automatic qualification spot. In the last two weeks, they truly established themselves as a top team as they won all games, beating Shadow eSports and Bad Karma along the way. Both games were resounding 3-1 victories and they now looked like a dark horse to win the league.
Ahead of playoffs, they are a very exciting team and could do a lot of damage. With their new roster, they have only lost twice against Clairvoyant and CrossFade, both defeats occurring in Week 3 and 4 when the roster was very new. In the first round, they face Bad Karma who they beat 3-1 in Week 8. That should be very winnable for Auto Celerity who will have ambitions to get very far in this tournament.
#8 – NoHope Esports (9-7)
New roster, no problem. Before the team fell apart, NoHope were one of the top teams in the Zeta conference, comfortably sat in 1st. They were doing fantastically, however, something happened and the team performed badly before three of their players left in Week 7. After that full-scale crisis, the Zeta-team have somewhat recovered. Fassbendered, tburger, and Theory (later replaced by Rapidz) came in and have managed to pull it back alongside Hyst who stayed through the breakdown. After being swept by Austrian Force, who were dead last, they swept Primal and Puncture before Berserkers beat them 3-1. Sweeping Primal and Puncture is rather impressive as both of them were contending for playoffs, but that Berserkers-loss makes it difficult to tell whether they are capable of beating the top teams.
Before playoffs, they appear to be a decent team, not falling into the top section. They are certainly capable of doing more, but it is very hard to tell as there are only two weeks to go off. In their first game they play against Built By Us who have done very well to break into playoffs from the tough Delta conference. They are a very solid side and are by no means an easy team to face, so I suspect this will be a very good match-up.
#9 – Built By Us (10-6)
Built By Us are a good team, but they must be even better if they are to succeed in playoffs. BBU didn’t exactly start league play well, losing 3 of their first 4 games. The Delta-team pulled it back, however, as they won 5 out of their next 6 series. In Week 6 it looked dark for them though as they were swept by Reflux and were beaten 3-1 by Auto Celerity, but somehow, they managed to beat Shadow eSports and Bad Karma in Week 7 before winning both series in Week 8 to get into playoffs. Week 7 shows the potential BBU can have, and if they are able to replicate those performances, they can get far.
Heading into playoffs, they seem like a solid team, but not a team that can go the distance and win the whole thing. If they are to have any chance of doing so they must find their Week 7 form, or else it might end badly. In their first game, they face NoHope who are a good team, although with the brand new roster it is hard to say just how good that team is.
#10 – Bad Karma eSports (10-6)
After a dramatic ending to the season, Bad Karma are here to turn heads. Ahead of the last two weeks, they had a record of 8-4 and were aiming for automatic qualification. After this, they had a poor Week 7 where they lost to BBU 1-3 and beat Juicy eSports 3-2, which is not ideal with Juicy being a bottom side. Heading into Week 8 their playoff-spot was threatened as they faced the Reflux and Auto Celerity, who had just beaten Shadow. They lost 1-3 to AC before just about beating Reflux in Game 5. Although they got the necessary wins, they were way too close for comfort, especially considering the quality of the teams they will face in playoffs.
Ahead of playoffs they are certainly an underdog being 10th seed and with the teams they will face, it is looking like a hard weekend for them. In their first game, they face Auto Celerity who they lost to in Week 8, and it looks like a hard one for Bad Karma. If they are to lose, it will not be any easier either as they will play against Nootz, CrossFade or Team Berserkers.
#11 – Galamo Esports (10-6)
Galamo had a decent season but just managed to clutch it out in the last two weeks. Throughout league play, the Delta-side fell just behind the top 4 and struggled to break into it. Up until the very end, it looked like they would just fall short of playoffs, but they just snuck in with pivotal victories in the last few weeks. First, they beat Clairvoyant 3-1 and lost to CrossFade. That Clairvoyant game was deciding in which of them would contend for playoffs, and Galamo performed when they had to. In the final week, they just lost 2-3 to Vinctio which has huge promise for playoffs before just edging out eNightmare on stream in a Game 5 5-minute overtime, you could not write it any better.
Going into playoffs, Galamo are not showing too much promise despite those big wins. They come in as the second-to-last seed and will be hoping to get a few wins. In their first game, they face Vinctio who they played very close in Week 8, so if they can continue clutching out close series, it is certainly possible for them to win.
#12 – Nootz eSports (9-7)
Nootz eSports, the very last seed who barely qualified for playoffs are a decent side but must improve in playoffs. Nootz have had a very decent league play. They are certainly ahead of the bottom and mid-table as they consistently beat those teams comfortably, but they are not quite good enough to beat the best. Throughout the season, that is what plagued them from getting the top spots. Losses to NoHope, Primal, Eidolon and DéjàVu all shows that they must improve to be competitive in playoffs. They just qualified for playoffs by a nose, beating out Clairvoyant by exactly 1.3% win percentage, and will consider themselves a little bit lucky. Despite their low seed, they did beat Team Berserkers early on, and with a very close game against DéjàVu in the final week, it may not look so bleak after all.
Ahead of playoffs, they are not quite at the level of many other teams but could turn many heads if they keep performing well. In their first game, they face Team Berserkers who they beat early on in the season. Berserkers have been a little bit shaky recently and if Nootz are able to capitalize on that and play well, they could just edge them out. If they lose, they face Eidolon, Auto Celerity or Bad Karma in the lower bracket, all of which are very decent.
ROUND ONE PREVIEWS – AndasAP
NoHope Esports vs Built By Us
According to seeds, this will be the closest game of the first round with the #8 seed NoHope and the #9 seed Built By Us facing off to meet Shadow in the next round. NoHope come into this game with a bit of uncertainty with their brand new roster and will hope to get off to a good start in the playoffs. Since the roster-change, the Zeta-side have played four games where they lost to Austrian Force, swept Puncture and Primal and lost to Team Berserkers. This sets the bar of their level, however, at the very end of league lay they have replaced Theory with Rapidz which is a bold move. In the game against Team Berserkers, Rapidz performed very well as he scored 6 of the team’s 8 goals. This shows that Rapidz has been a good signing, but he will need more support in front of net as the team only scored 8 goals in 4 games and conceded many more. Built By Us performed very well towards the end of league play and got key wins to get into playoffs. The Delta-team won their final 4 games and beat Bad Karma, Shadow, RL Ireland, and Conquest. The Bad Karma and Shadow wins show that Built By Us can compete with the very best and if they keep that form into playoffs, it will be hard to beat them. In the Shadow series, they did very well to shut down their opponent as they only conceded 3 goals in 4 games, which is very impressive in Rocket League. If they can continue shutting down their opponents like that, it will be very hard for NoHope to break through and BBU will emerge victoriously.
Team Berserkers vs Nootz eSports
The only Zeta-match-up in the first round will be played by Team Berserkers and Nootz and will decide who faces CrossFade in the second round. Team Berserkers have had a stellar season staying at the top throughout. This ended in Week 7 and 6 as they lost to Puncture and were swept by Eidolon and The Swanky Squad. This was nothing like the Berserkers we saw earlier in the season, and they quickly shook it off in Week 8 as they beat Primal and NoHope. Although they seem to have recovered, this revealed weakness in the team we had not seen before and they do not look the same heading into playoffs. In the final week, they scored 3.6 goals per game which is very good, but they do have tendencies to concede a few goals at times and lose control, many times conceding 3-4 goals. If they can keep scoring and avoid those moments of vulnerability, they can certainly go far and they must be watched closely. Nootz come into playoffs as the absolute underdogs. They are the last seed and only got in through 1.3% win percentage. Although they are such a low seed they have actually done well in league play as they consistently beat all of the middle-to-bottom teams. They do lack in beating the top teams, however, as they have failed to beat any of the top teams except for Berserkers early on in league play. That win could be key in this match-up as it shows that they certainly have a chance, but since that early match-up, Berserkers have separated themselves from Nootz and seem to be a level above.
Auto Celerity vs Bad Karma eSports
This one of two Delta-match-ups where we will see the #7 seed Auto Celerity face off against the #10 seed Bad Karma. Auto Celerity are flying high ahead of playoffs as they have achieved a ridiculous comeback going from 0-4 to 10-6 and getting 4th place in the Delta conference. In the last few weeks, they truly established themselves as a top team as they beat Shadow eSports 3-1 and – the team they are playing today – Bad Karma. They are a dark horse to win the whole thing and will be looking to start their run here. Bad Karma come into this game hoping to get a win, but they do not look like they are able to on paper. They lost to Auto Celerity 1-3 in the final week and only got here from barely winning a 3-2 series against Reflux. Bad Karma are a decent side, but according to recent results, they will struggle with the quality of teams in playoffs. In the game between Auto Celerity and Bad Karma, the goals went out of hand as Auto Celerity scored 16 goals across 4 games. 7 of the goals came in the final games, but Bad Karma conceded 8 goals across Games 2 and 3 and it seems that Auto Celerity may be too much for them.
Vinctio vs Galamo Esports
The second Delta-match-up is between Vinctio and Galamo who – like AC and BK – played in the final week of league play. Vinctio had a stellar league play, staying in the Top 3 until the end. However, they have had a few worrying performances recently, barely beating ASN 3-2 in Week 7, being swept by CrossFade in Week 8 and barely beating Galamo 3-2 in Week 8. That game shows that this is not smooth sailing for Vinctio in the first round despite the vast seed-difference. Galamo did well to take their chances in the final few weeks as they beat Clairvoyant and eNightmare, the latter ending in an exhilarating 3-2 Game 5 overtime thriller on stream. The game against Vinctio springs hope into Galamo as it shows that they can compete with a few playoff-teams, particularly in this game. In the series between the two teams in Week 8, Galamo started strong, going 2-1, but Vinctio seemingly came alive as they dominated Game 4 and 5. If Galamo can catch Vinctio off-guard again they have a great chance of winning and could very well progress into the second round where they would face DéjàVu.
NoHope Esports 2-3 Built By Us
Team Berserkers 3-1 Nootz eSports
Auto Celerity 3-1 Bad Karma eSports
Vinctio 3-2 Galamo Esports
Interview With Lozza (Shadow eSports) – Stocko
Stocko: What is the mentality like knowing you will be going into play offs as the first seed?
Lozza: I think we’re all fairly confident that we can take the whole thing, we’ve proved that we’re the strongest team in the league and its just about translating that into results. We’re not very worried about our hiccup of losing both games in a week and our confidence is still high
Stocko: Have you identified any other strong rivals within the playoff bracket that you may be facing?
Lozza: Obviously I think Eidolon is going to be a bit of a challenge if they manage to make it to the semifinals, however I can see Auto Celerity beating them. Auto Celerity seemed to have had a resurgence and look like a really well rounded team who gel well together and can see them making a good run in the bracket. Apart from that I can’t imagine anyone else coming close.
Stocko: Other than the week you lost both games, has there been any other internal difficulties which has lead to you struggling in league play?
Lozza: We’ve been pretty fortunate that we all seemed to gel well together from the very start. Sometimes we take a while to get into the swing of things which means we have to claw back goals in game 1. Our defensive rotations could be cleaner too but I think thats just me nit-picking. We get on with eachother inside and out of games which means we feel comfortable talking about our mistakes and has meant we’re still improving each week.
Stocko: Have you done anything specific to make your chances of a playoff win that extra bit more secure?
Lozza: We’re looking to get more scrims in with other top teams in order to stay on top of the competition and improve on our chemistry. Other than that we’re trying not to over prepare for the playoffs as we don’t think there is much more we need to do other than play our game on the day and just pile on pressure with our individual skillsets.
Stocko: Last but not least, is there anything you can bring to the playoffs that nobody else can?
Lozza: I think we’re just a very fast team, one of the fastest in the league, and we can keep teams in their own half for most of the game. We all have good mechanics and are capable of scoring some flashy goals but i think we just bring a different pace to the game that no other team can. Nobody who we’ve faced have really managed to match our pace and our constant offence with shooting, dribbling and passes.