Clinching scenarios for Dreamhack Valencia are getting closer with week four now completed. In Europe, Team Dignitas not only secured their spot but are guaranteed as the first seed out of Europe. NRG and Obey are also guaranteed in but their seeding is still undetermined. The last European spot will be up for grabs between Rival and Eanix. Team Rival squares off with Elevate while Eanix have to take on the two-time defending World Champions, NRG Esports. Not only do Eanix have to win BOTH of their games this upcoming week but Rival will have to lose both alongside in order for them to lose their spot for the LAN. In North America, the only thing that is certain is who is not going to Dreamhack. Noble, AI, and Flash Point are all mathematically out of contention to clinch with one more remaining week of competition. This leaves Spacestation Gaming, Luminosity, Trifecta, eUnited, AND Team Allegiance all battling for the three North American spots.
International Day – Thursday
Team Rival 1-1 Obey Alliance
Trifecta 2-0 AI
eUnited 2-0 Luminosity
NRG Esports 1-1 Team Dignitas
First set out of the international Thursday was dictated by CaptainTwig and his Ne Zha in the first game as he participated in 11 out of the 12 team kills giving his team an 8,000 gold lead pressuring Team Rival to surrender at the 10-minute mark. Undeterred however, Rival would bounce back with full force in game two due to Twig’s lack of pressure from the Ne Zha as a result of safe positioning from Rival along with a defensive Geb support from KaLaS.
Trifecta, formerly known as In Memory of Gabe, showed off their team efforts and selfishness as KiKiSoCheeky, playing Odin both games, rotated early several times to allow Snoopy, Apollo both games, to a great lead over XenoTronics.
Despite their earlier loss in Week Three to Noble eSports, eUnited had a great performance against the top contending NA Luminosity. Varizial made the biggest impact with his Susano play in game one not giving any breathing room to ScaryD’s Ravana with several rotations and kill secures allowing Benji on Amaterasu to transition as an absolute monster in the mid to late game encounters. Even with the Susano ban in game two, Varizial on the Serqet still made it happen for eUnited with his jungle pressure.
Similar to the first European set of the day, this one would be an epic clash between two titans as well. NRG were slowly building a lead in game one but the pressure and chain crowd control onto Dimi’s Erlang Shen made it a 4v5 for NRG in most mid to late game team fights, especially with the anti-healing from Variety’s Osiris. However, in game two, NRG slipped in a sneaky Fire Giant play that only Variety could contest and it wasn’t enough. NRG were not going to be denied by demolishing every tower in their path. The gold lead from all the towers and another Gold Fury gave NRG enough items to win a big late game team fight to secure their second Fire Giant and then the game to get a split.
Europe – Saturday
Burrito Esports 0-2 Obey Alliance
Team Rival 0-2 Team Dignitas
The Papis 0-2 NRG Esports
Elevate 1-1 Eanix
In dominating fashion, Obey Alliance continue to show us why they are the Spring Masters as they were behind the kill counter against Burrito but controlled the jungle and objectives maintaining the gold lead throughout. With this victory over Burrito, Obey has clinched their spot towards Dreamhack Valencia but the next week will determine the seeding.
Dignitas received their first loss the entire split last week against NRG Esports and would keep it that way even against such a formidable opponent as Team Rival. The jungle control from QvoFred could not be stopped by Rival whether it was the Camazotz in game one, or the Ravana in game two. Without a single death, QvoFred gets 14 kills and 8 assists from his teams 29 kills over the two games.
NRG Esports have started to ramp things up as the split progressed. Splitting against Rival, Obey, and Dignitas, the two-time world defending champions have beat every other lesser team and against the former challenger circuit team Papis was no different. Adapting was on fire playing Susano game one into the more traditional Thor to wrap things up. Invading the speed buff on several occasions shut down any sort of early game presence out of Dheylo. With this victory, NRG secure their spot to Valencia but will take on Eanix for the final week for seeding.
Elevate are generally known to be the “split masters” with several 1-1 set results against top tier teams during the Spring split but couldn’t repeat the same results for the Summer. Despite not beating the current top four teams, against Eanix, Cherryo didn’t have success with the Odin in game one but definitely found some as he switched to his comfort Ne Zha in game two. The wombo-combo with Nulisa’s Scylla was the key factor to allow Elevate to sneak away a victory after failing to secure a single kill in game one. This puts Eanix in position where they don’t control their own destiny towards Valencia. Not only does Eanix have to beat NRG in both of their games, but they have to rely on Elevate winning both of their games against Rival.
North America – Sunday
Noble eSports 1-1 AI
Trifecta 1-1 Luminosity
Flash Point 0-2 eUnited
Team Allegiance 0-2 Spacestation Gaming
Noble had a fantastic week three, getting all 6 possible points against Team Allegiance and eUnited. However, couldn’t repeat their same prior performance against AI. Comfort picks from AI, Ares for Aror and Scylla for TheBest, seemed to catch Noble off guard as the cripples made it nearly impossible for Skeeledon on Susano to engage freely. Adapting to this, Skeeledon picks a damage sponge god, Erlang Shen, and baits out every cool down in several fights allowing MLCst3alth to come up with some easy ultimate confirmations. After this split for Noble, they are out of Dreamhack Valencia contention.
Another great performance by Snoopy’s Apollo in game one against Luminosity but with his team struggling objectively in game two, his star died out.
eUnited bounced back from their lackluster week three performance to obtaining two wins over the most consistently losing North American team in Flash Point. There is still hope of reaching Spain for eUnited if they win both games against Spacestation Gaming.
Team Allegiance had a great start against Spacestation Gaming, formerly known as Monkey Madness. However, the scylla performance from andinster switched the tides heavily as the late game approached. With these two wins, Spacestation needs to win at least one game to clinch their spot to Spain or rely on Luminosity and Trifecta to lose both of their games. For Team Allegiance on the other hand, there needs to be more moving pieces for their shot at LAN. Needing to beat Trifecta in both of their games AND Spacestation defeating eUnited.
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Anatoliy “AnatoLiy” Alekseyenok is an Associate Esports Specialist at HiRez Studios. You can follow him on Twitter @iGAnatoLiy.