Riot Squad and INTZ to ESEA MDL NA S32 Grand Finals
Riot Squad and INTZ have emerged victorious as the top two teams from the North American playoffs of ESEA MDL Season 32, setting up a best-of-five clash on LAN for a spot in the 11th season of ESL Pro League.
The Riot Squad roster missed out on an opportunity to play for a spot in ESL Pro League last season, falling to ATK in their quarter-final playoffs matchup to swiftly end their hopes of a spot in the finals or relegation. In a bid to improve upon those results, the team brought on Pujan "FNS" Mehta and Jonathan "Jonji" Carey ahead of their Season 32 campaign - a change which would prove to revitalize the team as they went on to drop just three maps over the course of the regular season to Triumph, Ben's Anime Team, and INTZ.
INTZ, meanwhile, were forced to battle their way through MDL for the first time since arriving in North America after finding themselves demoted from ESL Pro League following relegation losses to Singularity and Envy in August. The team had previously made entry into the league by inheriting the spot of SK from ESL Pro League Season 7, signing the NoTag lineup that, at the time, contained João "felps" Vasconcellos and Vito "kNgV-" Giuseppe. Despite losing their star AWPer to MIBR, the Brazilians had little difficulty in battling past their MDL opposition during the regular season, winning thirteen maps in a row before they were dealt their only loss by Ben's Anime Team shortly after replacing Lucas "DeStiNy" Bullo with Ricardo "boltz" Prass.
Following the results of a community poll in August, ESEA introduced double-elimination playoffs into their league structure for all divisions, offering teams the opportunity to fight back through a lower bracket. Although Riot Squad entered the playoffs as the third seed, below INTZ and Ben's Anime Team, they had little difficulty in fighting past their opponents, and never needed to make use of the lower bracket. Victories over Rugratz and Ben's Anime Team gave FNS and company a spot in their upper bracket final, where they made short work of INTZ to grant themselves a one-map advantage for the best-of-five LAN Grand Finals in December.
|Riot Squad||K - D||+/-||ADR||Rating 2.0|
|Jonathan 'Jonji' CareyJonji||43 - 33||+10||86.8||1.30|
|Peter 'ptr' Gurneyptr||35 - 28||+7||75.1||1.13|
|Austin 'crashies' Robertscrashies||37 - 30||+7||74.0||1.13|
|Mitch 'mitch' Semagomitch||29 - 29||0||66.8||1.10|
|Pujan 'FNS' MehtaFNS||38 - 36||+2||76.6||1.02|
|INTZ||K - D||+/-||ADR||Rating 2.0|
|Gustavo 'yel' Knittelyel||35 - 31||+4||72.5||1.09|
|Ricardo 'boltz' Prassboltz||39 - 36||+3||80.6||1.05|
|Marcelo 'chelo' Cespedeschelo||28 - 38||-10||69.3||0.91|
|Bruno 'shz' Martinellishz||28 - 37||-9||67.8||0.86|
|Alexandre 'xand' Zizixand||26 - 40||-14||58.8||0.69|
The loss did not completely dissuade INTZ however as, after initially notching wins over MAC-51 and their Brazilian countrymen from TeamOne, they swiftly dispatched of Triumph in the consolidation final with a 2-0 series victory to set up a rematch against FNS' side. Not all hope is lost for Triumph either, as their third place finish earns them both a spot in ESL Pro League Season 10 Relegation and a spot at the Season 32 Global Challenge LAN alongside INTZ, Riot Squad, and Rugratz.
The final standings for the online portion of the ESEA MDL NA S32 playoffs are:
The Global Challenge tournament is set to play out from December 13-15, with the first day of the event dedicated to the best-of-five playoff finals for the North American and European MDL leagues. Riot Squad will have a one-map advantage heading into the series as a result of their upper bracket finals victory, leaving them just two map wins away from a spot in ESL Pro League Season 11.