IEL SEASON 9 POST-PLAYOFFS ACADEMY REVIEW

Written by andasAP, GM667 and Matty

Last weekend was an exhilarating one as we saw Zero Fox Gaming crowned as the IEL Season 9 Academy Champions!

Now it’s time to take a look at the key performers and moments from the Playoffs.


THE CHAMPIONS – ZERO FOX GAMING

Champions – Zero Fox Gaming (Louie_, niftyBWFC, Vsiky, CAnth03): Zero Fox Gaming crowned themselves as Season 9 Academy Champions by defeating Ignite Esports 4-3 in the Grand Final, and this is the story as to how they got to this position. In the first round of the playoffs, the roster consisting of Louie_, niftyBWFC, Vsiky and captain CAnth03 were greeted with a match against 11th seed side Fearless Esports. However, this match didn’t exactly go to plan, with Zero Fox only managing to win a single game, with Fearless Esports advancing through to Round 2 with a 3-1 victory. However, all was not lost, and however and in the Lower Round 1, Zero Fox would go up against Zero Mercy, who had just fallen to Override Esports in the upper bracket. This would prove to be a much more comfortable series for the Zero Fox roster, as they looked to regain themselves for the upcoming matches, taking down Zero Mercy in a 3-1 scoreline. For a chance at making it to Day 3, Zero Fox would have to face Shaman Esports, who had just come off of a win over Fearless Esports, the team who had originally demoted Zero Fox to the lower bracket. Despite this, Zero Fox were able to pull through with another 3-1 victory to put them through to the quarter-finals of Championship Sunday.

Their first opponents on Day 3 would be RL Ireland, who had advanced as the 2nd seed from Group B, following a narrow 3-2 defeat to Galamo Esports in the Winners Final. At this point, Zero Fox were back to their best, beating RL Ireland 4-2 to set up a semi-final showdown with top seed Override Esports. Override would prove to be no match for Zero Fox on this particular day, as GM JacketPotayto watched his side sweep Override 4-0 to move into the Grand Final against Ignite Esports. Ignite would prove to be the toughest task yet, with the two teams going back and forth before the scoreline was tied at 3-3 heading into Game 7 on Champions Field to decide who would become Season 9 Academy Champions. At the halfway stage, the two teams were still deadlocked before a crucial goal in favour of Zero Fox came in courtesy of Nifty, off the pass from Vsiky to put them in front with approximately two minutes remaining on the clock. A quick equaliser from Ignite left Zero Fox needing to find another goal to put them ahead, and with precisely 32 seconds left on the clock, Nifty came up with the most important double touch of his life to put Zero Fox up in Game 7 of the Grand Final. Ignite found themselves scrambling to find a goal in the remaining seconds, but everything was outdone by Zero Fox, and once the ball hit the ground with zero seconds remaining, it was over. Zero Fox Gaming, your Season 9 Academy Champions. 

OUR MVP – VSIKY

There were plenty of candidates for MVP of the playoffs, with various players putting in absolutely outstanding performances throughout the course of playoffs, belying their academy league status, and the reputation that goes along with it. Ultimately we believe that it is Vsiky who has been the most valuable player in playoffs. Arriving in week 5 at a Zero Fox Gaming team who had lost 2 on the bounce, he immediately steadied the ship, guiding them to a playoff place. He consistently was the star player on Zero Fox Gaming during their run through playoffs, and rallied his team after a shock 3-1 defeat to Fearless Esports where most teams could have just shied away from the responsibility. This allowed them to breeze past Zero Mercy and Shaman with ease into Day 3, and was instrumental as they crushed #2 seed Override in the semi final. Had Zero Fox Gaming not signed Vsiky, it would have been a completely different story and we might have instead been looking at Ignite Esports as the Season 9 Academy champions.

Their first opponents on Day 3 would be RL Ireland, who had advanced as the 2nd seed from Group B, following a narrow 3-2 defeat to Galamo Esports in the Winners Final. At this point, Zero Fox were back to their best, beating RL Ireland 4-2 to set up a semi-final showdown with top seed Override Esports. Override would prove to be no match for Zero Fox on this particular day, as GM JacketPotayto watched his side sweep Override 4-0 to move into the Grand Final against Ignite Esports. Ignite would prove to be the toughest task yet, with the two teams going back and forth before the scoreline was tied at 3-3 heading into Game 7 on Champions Field to decide who would become Season 9 Academy Champions. At the halfway stage, the two teams were still deadlocked before a crucial goal in favour of Zero Fox came in courtesy of Nifty, off the pass from Vsiky to put them in front with approximately two minutes remaining on the clock. A quick equaliser from Ignite left Zero Fox needing to find another goal to put them ahead, and with precisely 32 seconds left on the clock, Nifty came up with the most important double touch of his life to put Zero Fox up in Game 7 of the Grand Final. Ignite found themselves scrambling to find a goal in the remaining seconds, but everything was outdone by Zero Fox, and once the ball hit the ground with zero seconds remaining, it was over. Zero Fox Gaming, your Season 9 Academy Champions. 

Honourable mentions: Zayuf, Dave Forehead, viaable

BEST MOMENT – SPARTAX’S FLIP RESET

The expectations of Academy players from the general community were rather low going into playoffs, as it had never been on the main IEL stream before. Spartax didn’t care about the low expectations as he delivered a goal that most Prospect players would be proud of, nevermind most Academy players as he scored a flip reset past all 3 Zero Mercy defenders in game 2 of the upper bracket match between Override Esports and Zero Mercy which allowed them to continue their journey in the upper bracket.

https://clips.twitch.tv/FrozenSmokyTrayCclamChamp-LNNoTOKSsFFHWED7

SURPRISE PACKAGE – RL IRELAND

There weren’t too many candidates for the surprise package of playoffs, as a lot of the teams that weren’t expected to do much in playoffs went out early as expected, but one team which exceeded expectations was RL Ireland. As 8th seed, they managed to grind out a fairly routine 3-2 win over Hamburg Sharks in the first round but pulled off one of the biggest upsets in playoffs, beating 1st seed Disconnected eSports 3-2, guaranteeing progression to the final bracket. Despite Dave Forehead’s best efforts, they didn’t quite have enough to beat eventual champions Zero Fox Gaming, but they can still be proud of what they achieved, especially compared to last season when they didn’t even come close to reaching playoffs.

BIGGEST FLOP – DISCONNECTED ESPORTS

Coming into the playoffs as the No.1 seed, many predicted Disconnected to go on and win the entire division, but this would prove not to be the case. A seemingly easy Round 2 matchup against RL Ireland left Disconnected in disarray, coming away from the series with a 3-2 defeat to send them to the lower bracket. There, they would meet Vinctio, however, a 2-1 defeat would see them drop out of the playoffs without a win, despite all of their impressive efforts in League Play.

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