Written by Matty and Bendik
The season is now over after the Master Playoffs last weekend!
Now it’s time to take a look at the key performers and moments from the Playoffs.
THE CHAMPIONS – REFLUX
Marmoan, Stat, Rubenofski and Bigbadwolf99
Reflux entered this season wanting to avenge their 9th-12th place finish in Season 8, and return to their peak performance in Season 7, where they were able to win the master division. Only GM Rubenofski remains from the triumphant Season 7 roster, and along with AGM Marmoan and Stat making up the main roster, they entered the playoffs as the No.2 seed, giving them a bye through to Round 2 of the playoffs. Their first matchup would be against a Dexterity side who had just come from a 3-2 victory over Silverbacks, and with the score after Game 2 being 2-0 in Reflux’s favour, it would seem as if everything was going well. However, Dexterity were able to pull the series back to 2-2 heading into Game 5 to decide who would advance through to Day 3 of the playoffs and a chance at securing Top 4. A late equaliser from Dexterity’s Wlowns would send the game into overtime, however, a double commit from Dexterity presented Marmoan with an open net to capitalise on their error, and he took it, denying Dexterity a reverse sweep, and sending them through to the winner’s final. Here, they would face Skorch Esports for a place in the semi-final on Sunday and a guaranteed Top 4 finish. In what was one of the less dramatic series in this season’s playoffs, Reflux easily swept their Gamma Conference counterparts, only conceding a single goal in the process, to send them through as the top seed from Group A.
On Sunday, their first series would be against Galamo Esports, who Reflux had previously beaten 3-1 in Week 7 of League Play, providing them with confidence heading into this series. This confidence clearly paid off, and after yet another dominant display, Reflux were through to the Grand Final to face either Auto Celerity or Shadow Esports to decide who would be crowned Season 9 Master Champions. After it was confirmed that Auto Celerity would be the gatekeepers standing in between Reflux and their second title, Ruben prepared to face his old teammates from Season 7, RonJayy and Serve to decide who would join the illustrious club of being two-time champions of IEL. The two teams traded blow after blow before ending up in a Game 6 overtime, presenting Reflux with an opportunity to win the title there and then, but with a minute into overtime, RonJayy was able to place a shot in the far corner to send the series into Game 7. However, it would seem as if Reflux would not be affected in any form from this loss, as two goals each from Rubenofski and Marmoan would put the game far out of Auto Celerity’s reach, meaning that the final minute was essentially a procession for the newly crowned champions.
OUR MVP – SERVE
Despite not quite ending the season off with the ultimate feeling of winning the master division, Serve put in one hell of a performance for Auto Celerity to be in that position in the first place. In the grand final alone, he scored 1.57 goals per game, as well as achieving a whopping 503.71 points per game, far clear of everyone else in the series. With numerous highlight plays scattered throughout this weekend’s matches, Serve was by far and away the player of the weekend and is deserving of the MVP award.
BEST MOMENT – THE GRAND FINAL
It may seem redundant to say that the grand final was the best moment of the Playoffs, but this final was truly a special one. It went all the way to Game 7 as Reflux and Auto Celerity battled it out in a back-and-forth affair. On the side of Auto Celerity, Serve was popping off, scoring incredible goals and wreaking havoc in the Reflux’s defence. Reflux held strong, however, and managed to see it out and bring back the franchise’s second Master title.
SURPRISE PACKAGE – SKORCH ESPORTS
Everyone loves an underdog story, and if there was one underdog in the Master Playoffs, it was Skorch Esports. They weren’t even supposed to be there as they initially failed to qualify for the Playoffs with a record of 9-7. However, after a team having to drop out of Playoffs, Skorch were given a second chance, and they made the most of that chance. Starting off by sweeping the 6th seed, Aardwolf, they were in high spirits. After that, however, they faced an even tougher opponent in Overture, the 3rd seed who they just managed to beat out in a 3-2 victory. This meant they had somehow qualified for the Final Bracket.
In their first game on Sunday, they were swept by eventual finalists Auto Celerity, but achieving a Top 6 finish is highly impressive for any team, especially for one that wasn’t meant to be there.