IEL SEASON 8 CHALLENGER PLAYOFF PREVIEW

Last weekend saw the Prospect Playoffs elapse, but now, after two weeks of anticipation, it’s time for the Challengers to take the field! This article includes everything you need to know before watching the Challenger Playoff this weekend on our Twitch.


GROUP A

Written by Freddy and andasAP

Overture (Seed 2)

Overture come into playoffs as the #2 seed finishing League Play 14-2 (11-1 with their new roster). After replacing Drumzorz with Merverlin after Week 2, they have looked nothing but amazing, beating out most other top teams, like Zero Fox Gaming, Austrian Force, but also losing out to two Top 6 teams in Silverbacks, which was back in Week 1. They also lost out in a Game 5 to Team Berserkers (10-6) in Week 6, which shows that this team can be beaten by other top teams.

As Overture is the #2 seed, they get a bye in the first round, however, in the second round, they will be playing the Winner of Game A1, being Fort Templar vs Austrian Force. Looking at these two rosters, Overture shouldn’t be worried for either as they have both looked out of form at the end of the season, which means that Overture should be able to get their Day 3 spot without too much hassle.

Predicted Finish: 3rd/4th

Auto Celerity (Seed 3)

Auto Celerity come into Playoffs as the 3rd seed with a record of 14-2. They may not be a team known for their mechanics and flashy plays, but Auto Celerity get the job done with ease. Currently on a win streak of 13 games, they have been unstoppable since signing Swaces to their team. Along the way, the Playoffs teams they beat are RL Ireland, The Neon Flamingo, Fort Templar and lastly, LA Gaming. The last of these games is perhaps the most notable one, as AC swept the 1st seed LA Gaming in their final game of League Play. The only Playoffs team from the Delta conference they haven’t beaten is Reflux, who swept them on stream in Week 1, however, since then both teams have changed their roster so things may have changed.

Fittingly, in their first round they face either Reflux or Team Berserkers. Reflux are favourites to win that game which would see a great rematch between the Delta conference teams. Regardless, Auto Celerity should be confident as they have been outstanding recently and they probably feel like they can beat any team.

Predicted Finish: 2nd

Reflux (Seed 6)

The Reflux Challenger Team has for the third consecutive season managed to qualify Playoffs without too much trouble other than a few roster changes. Their starting roster this season consisted of andasAP, Francesko, and Retzy as well as substitute KB. They started the first two weeks 3-1 only losing to Fearless Esports. But even with a good record, it was time for roster changes with Francesko departing for Fort Templar in the Master League.

As Francesko left, the captain andasAP decided to redo the whole roster, so Retzy and KB were also released. Instead, Reflux signed Noure, who got released from Disconnected Esports, and GT0 who got released from Aardwolf Esports as well as sub Frxq15. The newly formed Reflux team looked good after the roster changes but it was clear that they still needed time to get used to each other going 3-3 within the next 3 weeks, losing out to other top teams, RL Ireland (11-5), The Neon Flamingo (10-6), and LA Gaming (14-2). After that, they managed to get their style going and they finished out the season with 6 game win streak. 

In the first round of Playoffs, they face Team Berserkers (10-6). This should be Reflux’s game to win as Team Berserkers have looked subpar in the last few weeks. If they manage to win this game, they will be playing #3 seed Auto Celerity, who have been incredible recently, currently on a 12 game win streak.

Predicted Finish: 5th/6th

Fort Templar (Seed 7)

Fort Templar have been causing a lot of stir recently with their dramatic drop in form. After being undefeated after 10 games, they decided to release Badger which has proved to be a terrible decision as lost all but one game since then, three of which were sweeps. In order to do anything in Playoffs, they will have to somehow find out how to win with this new roster, something they have failed to do for the last month.

In their first game, they face Austrian Force, which is one of the most favourable matchups they could have asked for. If they beat Austrian Force, they face Overture who they surely stand no chance against. Regardless, this is Playoffs, so anything is possible, and Fort Templar will be hoping to lean on a bit of Playoffs magic to perform well.

Predicted finish: 9th-12th

Austrian Force (Seed 10)

Austrian Force’s season has been a rollercoaster of emotions looking at what they have been through. They started their season going 6-0, beating out mostly bottom-tier teams other than Team Berserkers (10-6) who they beat 3-1. After that, they proceeded to lose their next 5 games before eventually beating Hive Athens to avoid going even after 6 Weeks. Due to this dreadful run of form, Austrian Force could only lose one more game if they wanted to make Playoffs, which they managed to do, beating out Elysian (13-3) which came out of nowhere, though Elysian were using their sub. Because of this, they could still afford another loss, which they eventually got as they lost to Silverbacks (11-5). Because Austrian Force only managed to beat top teams when they were using their sub, they could end up struggling in the Playoffs.

In the first round, Austrian Force plays Fort Templar who has also been looking very out of form lately. Ever since losing what must have been their best player, Badger, they have only won one game and lost five consecutive games, three of which were sweeps. If Austrian Force manages to beat FT they will have to face #2 seed Overture(14-2) who have looked nothing but spectacular this season, and this is probably where they will get their first loss as Overture has already beaten them before, in Week 5 as Overture took the game 3-1.

Predicted Finish: 9th-12th

Team Berserkers (Seed 11)

Team Berserkers has had a very on and off-season. They started the first 4 weeks out being 7-1 only losing one game to Austrian Force (10-6) in a 3-1 loss. After that, their season turned to the worse as they started losing games they really should have won. Losing to RL Ireland Natural Disaster, Silverbacks, Zero Fox Gaming and Elysian has left the team with a record of 10-6 barely securing playoffs after looking so good right after Week 4. Despite this, they did manage to beat Overture which proves that they can compete with the best.

Team Berserkers play Reflux in the first round of Playoffs, which unfortunately is not a favourable game for them. Team Berserkers come into Playoffs with a losing streak of 3, one of them being an almost embarrassing sweep by Zero Fox Gaming on stream where Berserkers looked nothing like a team that should be in playoffs. On the other hand, they have Reflux coming in with 6 wins in a row so they will be on a roll and confident whereas Berserkers might be unsure if they have what it takes to play against these other top teams. Nonetheless they have made it to Playoffs so they just have to give it their all and hope for the best!

Predicted Finish: 7th/8th

PREDICTIONS

Predicted by Freddy and andasAP

GROUP B

Predicted by Freddy and andasAP

LA Gaming (Seed 1)

Many people’s favourites to win the Challenger Playoffs, LA Gaming have a lot to live up to in their group B games on Saturday. They’ll be starting off against the winner of the RL Ireland vs Silverbacks round 1 game, and winning that will send them straight into day 3. Lose, and they will have to fight through the whole lower bracket to get a spot in the final bracket, so they will be eager to hit the ground running in playoffs and get a win in their first game. LA’s 12-series win streak in league play was interrupted in week 8 with a 3-0 defeat to Auto Celerity, but they will want to prove this was just a blip in form and show why they were the team with the best league play record in Challenger.

Predicted Finish: 1st

Zero Fox Gaming (Seed 4)

Zero Fox are a team that will have high hopes of going far in Playoffs and could be challenging to take the title on Sunday. The player to watch will likely be Rvfrsh, and him alongside Kevin and The_yellow_krab make for a formidable side. A mouth-watering matchup with Elysian could happen in their first game, should Elysian make it through the first round – so all eyes will be on the lower side of the group B upper bracket for that. They ended their season strongly with 6 wins on the bounce, to end up with a solid 13-3 record.

Predicted Finish: 3rd/4th

Elysian (Seed 5)

Elysian had a somewhat faltering end to the season, with two losses in the final two weeks after only losing one series previously. They missed out on a bye in playoffs round 1 on win%, so they will be hungry for results to show what they can do. Dropping to the lower bracket at the first time of asking would be a disappointment as they are up against The Neon Flamingo, who only just made it into playoffs. Zero Fox await if they get through that game, and they should have ambitions of making it two wins in a row to qualify for day 3 as quickly as possible.

Predicted Finish: 3rd/4th

Silverbacks (Seed 8)

Silverbacks finished 4th in the Zeta conference with a record of 11-5 after a mediocre start. The 8th seed team went 3-3 after the first 3 weeks, after which they signed Rafa who they have since gone 8-2 with. Along the way, the Playoffs teams they’ve beaten are Team Berserkers and Austrian Force, and interestingly, in Week 1, they beat Overture 3-2, however, that is over two months ago.

In the first round, they face 9th seed RL Ireland who have shown that they struggle against some of the top teams, so they will be hoping to grab a win there. If they beat RL Ireland, they face the 1st seed, LA Gaming, which will be a very tall ask for them.

Predicted Finish: 7th/8th

RL Ireland (Seed 9)

RL Ireland have had a strong League Play as they went 11-5 in the Delta conference. The playoffs teams they’ve beaten are Reflux, Team Berskers, and Fort Templar. They lost to The Neon Flamingo, Auto Celerity, LA Gaming as well as a few lower teams, Fearless Esports (9-7) and Skorch Esports (8-8). They’ve shown tendencies of inconsistency which can come to plague them in Playoffs, but if they play well on the day, they could pull through and do well.

In the first round, they face Silverbacks who have looked strong as of late, but if they play well, they can certainly put up a fight. If they do win, they face LA Gaming which, if they managed to win, would be an upset for the history books.

Predicted Finish: 9th-12th

The Neon Flamingo (Seed 12)

Clinching playoffs by the skin of their teeth with two wins in week 8, The Neon Flamingo are up against it on paper in Group B. They will need to cause upsets to have a chance at getting into the final bracket, but we have seen it done before in IEL playoffs. Elysian are the first team they will need to dispose of, and if they get the win there it’s Zero Fox to follow. A loss in round 1 would put them up against the loser of LA Gaming’s round 2 match. They have made roster changes over the course of the season – but 5p3nce, Freddy and Llama will be eager to show what they can do.

Predicted Finish: 9th-12th

PREDICTIONS

Predicted by Freddy and andasAP


FINAL BRACKET PREDICTIONS

Predicted by Fredy and andasAP

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