We’re reaching an interesting stage at the Intel Extreme Masters Season XIII event in Katowice with the new Challengers Stage completed. There have been a number of surprising results, see unexpected names moving through the next phase, whilst other established teams were eliminated. Things are heating up as the final eight contenders begin their quest. Amongst them, there will be Danish superstars Astralis and the expensively-assembled FaZe Clan.
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We will bring you more details on how the IEM Season XIII Katowice 2019 event will unfold in next week’s article; with a full rundown on how each of the stages pans out and we’ll find out which team took home the top prize of $500,000. Lastly, we’ll know who are the eight contenders that will carry their status through to the Berlin Major 2019 later in the year.
This week though we’re going to start with one of the rarer esports to feature in these pages, but one that is hugely popular amongst first-person shooter fans, Rainbow Six Siege.
G2 Esports Show Their Class At The Rainbow Six Invitational 2019
If there is one team that has dominated their own particular esports discipline over the last two years, it could well be G2 Esports Rainbow Six squad. This five-man team have won a host of titles and they continue with their incredible run of success by landing the top prize at last week’s Six Invitational 2019 at the Place Bell in Montreal, Canada.
Competing for a prize pool of $2,000,000 alongside 15 other teams, G2 Esports were already installed as the hot favourites to win the tournament leading into the event. And unlike many favourites before them, they justified those lofty expectations by putting together a superb series of performances to take home the $800,000 first prize.
Drawn into Group C of the four groups in the opening stage, they made light work of their opponents, defeating mantis FPS 2-0 in their opening game and then in the winner’s match, they confirmed top spot in the group with an equally convincing 2-0 win over Mock-It Esports.
Those results earned them a seeded spot in the quarterfinals of the Playoffs and it was here that G2 had their first real hiccup of the tournament as they surprisingly lost the opening map to Spacestation Gaming. However, the team bounced back to claim the second two maps 7-3 and 7-5 to win their quarterfinal 2-1 and set up a semi-final with the surprise package of the tournament, Team Reciprocity.
The fans may have been siding with the underdog, but it mattered little to G2 as they rattled off two quick victories to take the semifinal 2-0 and move into the final against Team Empire, the team that had won Group B and then beaten Team Liquid and PET Nora-Rengo to reach this stage of the competition.
If G2 Esports started the final with a partisan crowd against them, by the end of it they had won the crowd over thanks to their brilliant display as they dismantled a good Team Empire in stunning fashion. The match hinged on a fabulous first game, which G2 snatched 12-10 in overtime and Empire never recovered from that as G2 pushed home that advantage in clinical fashion, winning the final two maps 7-4 and then 7-1 to land another astonishing and accomplished victory.
That win takes G2 Esports total earnings since August 2018 to over the $1,000,000 mark and adds to their wins at the Six Major Paris 2018, the Pro League Season 8 Finals and the DreamHack Winter 2018.
Spitfires Splutter Smoke As They Struggle In Opening Week of Overwatch League Season 2
The London Spitfires may have been the surprise winners of the inaugural Overwatch Season, but defending their title turned out to be tougher than what they’ve imagined after the first week of games (from Feb. 14 to Feb. 17) saw them lose both of the two matches that they played over the four days of action in Los Angeles.
The odds seemed set against Spitfires in the opening match, a re-match of last year’s Grand Final against Philadelphia Fusion. Fusion managed to gain revenge for their loss in last year’s finals, winning the opening game 3-1 on their way to a 2-0 start after they also beat Atlanta Reign later in the week.
New York Excelsior also made a positive start, going 2-0 with wins over Boston Uprising and Washington Justice and the other team with two wins from two is expansion team Hangzhou Spark who produced two fine displays to beat the hapless Shanghai Dragons and fellow expansion team Los Angeles Valiant in their two games.
A number of teams have a 1-0 record after playing just one game in the opening week including several expansion teams, Paris Eternal, Vancouver Titans, Toronto Defiant and Chengdu Hunters.
Six teams have a 1-1 record, Atlanta Reign, San Franscisco Shock, Boston Uprising, Seoul Dynasty, Los Angeles Gladiators and the Dallas Fuel. While seven teams are still waiting for their first victory, Guanghzhou Charge, Los Angeles Valiant, Washington Justice and Florida Mayhem, who have all lost just the one game. Houston Outlaws, London Spitfire and, perhaps least surprisingly, Shanghai Dragons have all lost two.
A further 16 games will take place on Week Two this week starting with Washington Justice facing London Spitfire in what is now a must-win game for the current Champions, who then also face a tough second game later in the week when they take on the as-yet undefeated Huangzhou Spark in the first of four games on Sunday.
Other key matches include a double-header for New York Excelsior against Los Angeles Valiant and then the winless Houston Outlaws, while the Philadelphia Fusion will hope to continue their positive start against the Florida Mayhem and the Dallas Fuel.
At the other end of the table, the luckless Shanghai Dragons will continue their search for their first win in the Overwatch League after going all of last season without a win, as they have just one game this week against the Boston Uprising.
Photo credits: @G2esports