The first weekend of Champions ended with a long day of matches to accommodate for a replay of the final map of Acend Acend Europe Rank #3 vs. Keyd Stars Keyd Stars Brazil Rank #1 . While that map was shortened by seven forfeited rounds added to the score from the beginning, its impact on the schedule was felt throughout the day.
Still, it allowed all of the tournament's teams to put the scheduling haze behind them. Once Acend and Keyd Stars played the map, the remaining schedule for all of the tournament's teams became clear. Envy Envy North America Rank #3 and Acend now know they'll play each other tomorrow, Keyd Stars and X10 CRIT X10 CRIT Asia-Pacific Rank #1 can also now look toward tomorrow for their elimination match, and the remaining games have been reshuffled as needed to make room for the delayed matches.
After that opening map, all of the day's matches were elimination matches — the first of the tournament. Three teams took disappointing early exits from Berlin and will be tied with each other at the bottom of the event's results list.
But the three that won those elimination matches today aren't out of the woods yet. All of their remaining matches will feature the same looming threat of elimination, as they next play in their groups' decider matches to potentially enter a single-elimination playoff.
After Riot changed their ruling against Keyd Stars for use of a Cypher cam exploit in several defensive rounds against Acend on Breeze, the two teams kicked off the day early by replaying Breeze from a 7-0 advantage in favor of Acend.
Despite beginning on Round 8, the game started with a pistol round between the teams. Keyd Stars won the pistol and carried that momentum for their shortened defensive half, taking three rounds to bring the score to 9-3.
The shortened half created a unique economical situation in which Keyd Stars forced a few rifles after their second round win and ended up at an economical disadvantage until the final round of the half, when both teams were able to full buy.
Keyd Stars then won six straight rounds to tie up the game at 9-9. Acend responded with three straight round wins to get to match point, and they closed it out soon after despite an additional round from Keyd Stars. The final score was 13-10 in favor of Acend.BONECOLD 's clutch to stop mwzera 's 3K clutch might have been the difference for Acend in the map.
heat played phenomenally on the map, returning an ADR of 130 — an impressive figure given the API treated the seven forfeited rounds as zero-damage rounds for all players. Despite the handicap, he averaged more damage on the map than four players on the first map of the match and six players did on the second map. In fact, he nearly equaled the 132 ADR he had on the second map himself.
Acend's victory on the replay gave them a 2-1 victory in the match, setting them up to play in the upper bracket game of their group against Envy. Keyd Stars will now play against X10 CRIT in their group's elimination game.
Given that both teams remain in the tournament and neither has advanced into the playoff as of yet, there is still the possibility the two teams could play in a rematch for one of the group's two playoff spots.
The first elimination match of the tournament was a match between the Philippines' Team Secret Team Secret Asia-Pacific Rank #4 and Japan's Crazy Raccoon Crazy Raccoon Asia-Pacific Rank #3 . The pair of teams opened with Crazy Raccoon's map pick, Split, and Crazy Raccoon ran Bazzi over Medusa on the first map.
Bazzi locked in Sova, an unusual pick on Split. No team at Masters: Berlin, including Crazy Raccoon, or at Masters: Reykjavik ran Sova on Split. Likewise, Crazy Raccoon's Sova pick was the first Sova on Split at Champions.
Crazy Raccoon were unable to turn the unusual composition into a successful attack, where they began the map. They fell behind Team Secret 8-4 by halftime, and were themselves unable to halt the Team Secret attack. Team Secret won the first map 13-5.
While DubsteP , the team's Jett player, finished the map with an even 14/14 K/D, he showcased his value as the team's entry by making more than half of those kills the first of the round. He had eight first bloods and just one first death.
Crazy Raccoon chose to swap out Bazzi in favor of Medusa for Team Secret's map pick, Haven. This time, neither team tried anything unusual in their compositions and mirrored each other in agent picks.
Team Secret quickly showed why they picked Haven. Although Crazy Raccoon won the first round, Team Secret allowed Crazy Raccoon to win little more. Team Secret won 11 straight rounds en route to a 13-2 victory. That secured the match for Team Secret, 2-0.
While BORKUM had the lowest ACS on Team Secret, his performance was arguably the most outstanding. He died less than anyone in the match, including both Crazy Racoon players who played just one map; BORKUM's 13 deaths were fewer than the 14 deaths both Bazzi and Medusa suffered on each map. He also won three separate 1v2 clutches over the course of the match, the only 1v2 wins for either team.
Fracture, the first map of the match, set the stage for what was to come during the rest of the series. The two teams remained close throughout, and headed into halftime dead even at 6-6.
KRÜ took the lead late at 11-10, but FURIA FURIA Brazil Rank #2 shut them down for three straight rounds to take the map 13-11. Neither Jett player dominated the kill feed, the bulk of the kills going instead to more supportive agents. keznit went 27/17 while posting a 208 ADR on Breach, and Quick was 26/17 with a 189 ADR on Cypher.
The next map was FURIA's pick, Ascent. While FURIA appeared to have the advantage on the map early thanks to a 4-0 start, KRÜ won the next 10 rounds to go up 10-4. FURIA battled back into striking distance to make it 11-8, but KRÜ won the final two rounds to close it out 13-8.
Haven looked more like Fracture did in terms of competitiveness, as neither team built much momentum in their favor over the course of the map. While KRÜ did manage to get some breathing room thanks to a six-round run on either side of halftime to take a 10-5 lead, FURIA consistently kept it close. They battled back to cut KRÜ's lead to 11-9 before KRÜ took two rounds to win the map 13-9 and the match 2-1.Smart play that relied on multiple members of the team doing their job, like their play in the match-winning round, was the backbone of KRÜ's success.
The effort KRÜ put into the match to win it was apparent the moment they won, as their celebration could be heard on the casters' microphones before the spike had even gone off. Although KRÜ has beaten FURIA's peers before, FURIA gave them their toughest match yet.
If KRÜ's reaction was the epitome of jubilation, FURIA's reaction was the exact opposite.
“I'm very sad because in both games it was so close,” xand said, referencing FURIA's defeat to Sentinels, as well. He later added, “We did so well up to now and we lost anyway. So this is something that, to me at least personally, does not make me happy.”
xand was disappointed with his team's results when he talked to the press after the match. Image credit: Jianhua Chen/Riot Games
keznit, who played Reyna for the final two maps, stood out as the star of the series with a whopping +22 kill differential. He also led the match in clutches, finishing with three 1v1 wins.
But while Quick played consistently throughout the match, xand emerged as FURIA's star in the final two maps of the match. He led his team in kills, damage, and first bloods in both of the final two maps, but was unable to overcome the balanced attack of KRÜ.
KRÜ have now won a match in all three LAN events this year, a feat only matched by Sentinels, their next opponent in this tournament.
“It's very difficult to maintain that level because it depends on different things like the confidence of the team, the confidence of the player, the strategy you do,” Klaus said. “So I think it's really difficult to be regular on the stage.”
Although FURIA were unable to win a match at Champions, they more than proved their ability while at the tournament. FURIA took a map off of North America's top team in Sentinels in their first match, and nearly beat KRÜ in today's match. Their Brazilian counterparts have had equally good showings, similarly pushing top teams to the edge.
“It's up to us to show who we are and keep competing and keep moving forward with becoming a major region and so on,” xand said.
The first map was FULL SENSE's pick, Split. FULL SENSE jumped out to a 3-1 lead early, but quickly lost its footing after. C9 won the final eight rounds of the first half to go up 9-3 at the half, and closed out the map 13-7 soon after.
Cloud9's pick, Breeze, got off to a start similar to Split's with FULL SENSE taking a 4-1 lead. This time, however, they didn't let the map slip away when their momentum faltered and went into halftime tied 6-6.
The second half, in which FULL SENSE was on the attack, was tight. FULL SENSE managed to get a plant down in 10 of 12 rounds thanks to a slow, methodical form of attack, and made it to map point at 12-11.
“I think we sometimes struggle against slow teams,” vanity said before mentioning his team handled FULL SENSE's slow style on Split but is more inconsistent when defending Breeze. “They had really good site executes. So I mean, I think it kind of caught us off-guard because we haven't played teams that go that slow, Rise was probably the closest. I think they had some really good stuff on Breeze. They impressed me more than I thought they would.”
C9 won the final round of regulation to force overtime, where they quickly took care of FULL SENSE to win 14-12. A total of eight players across both teams combined were still alive when vanity began his defuse to win the match. When he completed it, each team still had three players up a piece.vanity couldn't help but laugh after getting away with a match-winning defuse while four members of FULL SENSE were still alive when he started the defuse.
“I think it was a miscommunication on our part,” ChAlalala said after the match. “We got back because we thought SuperBusS had his ultimate skill. But it turned out he didn't. And we had some technical issue with our headphones, as well.”
C9 was able to win despite finishing with a deficit in first kills, mostly as a result of poor starts to rounds on Breeze. While leaf and mitch put C9 up in first kills on Split by four, leaf was the only player to finish with a positive first kill differential on Breeze. FULL SENSE's +6 in the stat on Breeze gave them the edge across the match by two.
But first kills weren't the only place leaf left his mark on the match. The single most one-sided head-to-head on the match was leaf's matchup with FULL SENSE's Jett player, JohnOlsen . leaf killed JohnOlsen 16 times, while JohnOlsen only killed him six times.
xeta also left his mark on the match as the only player other than leaf to finish with a positive K/D in both maps. His Breach proved to be oppressive on Split and helped C9 win the map comfortably.
Cloud9 Blue's next match will be against DRX Vision Strikers DRX Vision Strikers Korea Rank #1 . The winner of that match will make it to the playoff stage while the loser will be eliminated from the tournament.
Tomorrow's slate of games begin with the belated Group A matches, which will be followed by the first of four matches to decide each group's second seed.
- Acend Acend Europe Rank #3 vs. Envy Envy North America Rank #3
- Keyd Stars Keyd Stars Brazil Rank #1 vs. X10 CRIT X10 CRIT Asia-Pacific Rank #1
- Sentinels Sentinels North America Rank #1 vs. KRÜ Esports KRÜ Esports Latin America South Rank #1
Header image credit: Michal Konkol/Riot Games