Written by Freddy and NeXtFoX
After a third weekend of Playoff actions, the Challengers have finished up their seasons and the champions have been crowned!
Now it’s time to take a look at the key performers and moments from the Playoffs.
THE CHAMPIONS – ZERO FOX GAMING
Zero Fox is our S9 Challenger Champions, with a roster of Mizery, Xylem, Kevin(Unit), and SnUwU you can never go wrong in challenger and that is also why I do not think anyone is surprised at all. Going 15-1 in League Play and getting the #1 seed already made them seem unbeatable as they demolished the rest of the competition.
They had to face Overture going into playoffs, a 10-6 team coming into this game with a Win-Streak of 8 games in league play. Zero Fox Gaming did not seem ready for this Overture team as they lost 3-1, and it looked like they could not find their rhythm all game, they were now knocked down into the lower bracket and had to face: Zero Mercy first. This game did not prove too difficult at all as a quick 3-0 sent Zero Fox to the loser’s final with a chance to qualify for day 2 and Zero Mercy was now out. Zero Fox was to face Fort Templar who got a free pass in the lower round because Shadow had forfeited. This game could have proved difficult for Zero Fox if they played as they did against Overture, but they did not at all. They showed up once again and another quick 3-0 were all they needed to knock Fort Templar out and Zero Fox made Day 2.
The final Day of Playoffs had Zero Fox squaring up against RL Ireland. They took the first game comfortably but then proceeded to lose the next 3 leaving RL Ireland on match point, and once again Zero Fox looked out of gas. In between games 4 and 5, it seemed something changed because Zero Fox managed to win the next 3 and thereby knocking out RL Ireland to make it to the Semi-Final against Overture.
This could have been where Zero Fox’s run ended as they looked lost against Overture the day before, but this was not the case. They came out swinging and easily took out Overture in 5 games to advance to the Final against Reflux.
It was going to be a repeat of the pre-season Final where these 2 teams also met up and Zero Fox took it in 3 quick games. Zero Fox came out swinging once again and they looked unbeatable for the Reflux side as they just had an answer to everything that came their way. Zero Fox Gaming took the first 3 games fairly easily and were also 2-0 in game 4 before Reflux decided it was not time to lose just yet. 2 quick goals and an Overtime winner brought it to Game 5. This game was very close going all the game to Overtime before Zero Fox eventually decided to wrap things up and end things, making them the Winners of the Challenger League with a 4-1 Victory in the Final.
OUR MVP – UNIT (KEVIN)
This was a tough one! The MVP of these playoffs go to… UNIT, also known as kevin!
Zero Fox Gaming was overall splendid, and that makes it a really hard choice. Stats wise (day 3), UNIT has the most team MVPs, with 0.88 goals, 0.71 assists and 1.35 saves per game. Most of the team was quite balanced stats wise.
Honestly, it’s quite hard to describe, but UNIT was definitely a player that had a big impact on the game, whether it would be in the finishing, in the assists or even in defence, and was very important in, what we consider, the best moment of these playoffs, just like all the team.
Honourable Mentions: Mizery, Xzyle, misuto
BEST MOMENT – ZERO FOX’S INCREDIBLE COMEBACK AGAINST RL IRELAND
This moment was the most decisive because if it went the other way around, this season’s champion could’ve been a different team, and could’ve led to Zero Fox Gaming, seed 1 and favourites to win the whole division, to be knocked out early in day 3.
The series vs RL Ireland was 3-2, Zero Fox Gaming was winning 2-0, making it closer and closer to put it the series to game 7. However, at 2:34 on the clock, RL Ireland reduces to 2-1, and then at 0:48, RL Ireland ties the game and leads it to overtime.
After that, Zero Fox Gaming had quite some shots and quite some pressure, but the ball was going in… and overtime ran for 2 minutes and 34 seconds, time when finally Zero Fox Gaming finds the net and gets us to game 7. It was a brilliant team play, with UNIT starting the buildup, Xzyle coming for the 50 and ends with Mizery sending the ball into the net. Definitely an important goal that made all the difference not only for them but also on the whole outcome of this season playoffs.
SURPRISE PACKAGE – OVERTURE
It is very difficult to say which team was the surprise package of this season’s playoffs, as all the teams that had been looking good, either all-season or went on insane runs at the end of it, all performed when they had to.
Overture gets it because they were a team that had a record of 2-6 at the end of week 4. Then Rukia and Spooks joined and changed the entire season for Overture, they went on an insane 8 game winning streak demolishing most teams 3-0 or 3-1 and only going to one single Game 5 which they won 3-2. This already should give them the comeback of the season but it does not end here.
Enter Playoffs, Overture enters as #9 seed, which means they would have to face Shadow Esports who has also been looking good all season. Shadow decided to not turn up to this game and Overture make it to the next round against the best team in the league and eventual winners of the Challenger League Zero Fox Gaming.
Overture came out looking nothing but fantastic and since it looked like Zero Fox was a bit of their game for some reason Overture took a shock 3-1 Victory over the favourites to knock ZFX into the lower bracket and hereby Overture secured a spot on day 2. Their last task of the day was to face Galamo Esports who just came of a 3-2 Victory against Fort Templar, they took this series 3-0 but with very close games, but with this win Overture made it to the Semi-Finals.
The last day of Playoffs saw Overture having to wait for the Zero Fox Gaming and RL Ireland game to be decided, a Game 7 thriller where Zero Fox came on top after being down 3-1 in the series.
This game would now be a repeat of the game we just had yesterday but today was a different story. Even though Overture gave it all they could Zero Fox just looked too strong and Overture ended up losing 4-1 to the eventual Winners of Challenger as I’ve mentioned which is not that bad if you look at it that way.