Envy claim another trophy... should we be surprised?
The Winter Split ended with the first bracket reset since Cloud9 faced Dignitas in Season 6. This time, Pierre "Turbopolsa" Silfver was able to come out on top. Although the Grand Finals are the major talking point, this week was full of great matches. As RLCS X takes a break until 2021, fans are left with some strong takeaways about North America's talent pool. Meanwhile, in Europe, Team BDS and Renault Vitality fell early again as the competition begins to intensify in both regions.
5) Europe The Grid Semi-Finals - Galaxy Racer vs Team Singularity
Galaxy Racer have been on everyone's radar lately, but Team Singularity hadn't made much of a splash in a while before this week. This week's eventual champions, Team Singularity, were able to take down Galaxy Racer in Game 7. It wasn't the cleanest series from Singularity, as they gave up four goals in three different games, but they came through when it mattered most by shutting out Galaxy Racer in the final game. It was an impressive run for Singularity on their way to the Grid finals as they only won a single series in the Group Stage. The series was back and forth, and it could easily have fallen in Galaxy Racer's favour. Singularity's wins were only by a single goal, while Galaxy Racer's wins were by much more convincing leads.
The rest of these matches will be from the NA Regional, but if the time is available, check out some of the other matches from this week's EU Grid. As of this moment, Renault Vitality and Team BDS both fall outside of the top five in the Grid rankings, and the top five in Regional rankings is closer than it has been all season.
4) North America Lower Quarterfinals - G2 Esports vs Spacestation Gaming
G2 fell short of the Regional trophy again, but they are always so close. G2 is always in the mix against teams like Spacestation and NRG, but they couldn't take down SSG. Spacestation had a rough run of things to get to this point after losing to Alpine in their first series of the tournament. They squeaked past Version1 and Ghost Gaming, both series going the distance, and, despite sweeping the Kansas City Pioneers, didn't look dominant while doing it.
This series over G2 seemed like the breaking point where they finally turned things around. G2 was able to take an early 2-1 lead in the series, but Spacestation ran the table after that by outscoring G2 ten goals to two in the final three games. After that, they would dominate Rogue and NRG on their way to the finals.
3) North America Upper Semifinals - NRG vs G2 Esports
NRG loves the fans, consistently making this list. This week, it was in a win just barely scraping by G2. NRG jumped out to an early lead, and frankly, looked like they would walk through the series. They scored eight goals in the first two games, but G2 showed their tenacity by limiting NRG's offence through the rest of the match. In the final five games of the series, NRG only scored more than one goal a single time. The final two games of the series were nail-biters as both games ended in a 1-0 scoreline.
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2) North America Upper Semifinals - Team Envy vs Rogue
Finally, finally! Rogue are breaking through into the top group of players. After a massive transfer heading into the Winter Split, with Rogue replacing Cameron "Kronovi" Bills with Alexandre Reis "Taroco" Pedrogram replacing him, questions abounded about if Taroco could replace such a big name. Well, things look good so far after two impressive regionals from the new roster. Rogue has finished Top 4 in both Regionals this split. This series was a shootout featuring three overtimes. Rogue and Envy really put on a show. The pace of the series was breathtaking. Games alternated from being tight 1-0 contests to 5-6 with a dash of overtime mixed in. Rogue was able to win two overtimes in a row to force Game 7, but Turbopolsa and crew would come through in Game 7, perhaps inevitability given his reputation.
1) North America Grand Finals - Team Envy vs Spacestation Gaming
A red hot Envy, a resurgent Spacestation - and a bracket reset. It is almost irrelevant that Envy would sweep the second set of the series simply because of how high the excitement levels were. Coming into this series, Envy had won nine straight Regional series. For the readers who don't enjoy math, that's a 100% series win rate. Their game record was 32-12 over the two Regionals. But, Spacestation finally returned to form and ended up taking the first series in Game 7, including two back-to-back overtimes totalling over twelve minutes.
It feels like the conversation about North America hasn't caught up to Envy's run as of late. They've been the best team in NA since the Fall Split, and the second series showed that. Despite the intense first series, Envy would dominate the final four games of the series. They would hold SSG's offence to only a goal a game while putting on an offensive show themselves.
Images via @EnvyReport | @RLEsports