I can't really think of a more exciting Qualifiers for anything, ever? I implore anyone to tell me what is better than this David vs Goliath story that MnM are playing their part in right now. day 3, the same as day 2 and day 1 - definitely did not go as planned.
There were 5 fixtures overall on day 3 - 2 upper bracket fixtures to decide the first team into the grand final and 3 lower bracket fixtures to decide who would play in the lower bracket final. 2 teams departed, being Izidream and G2 Esports - the previous years Invitational champions.
Only 1 fixture today, a best of 5 between MnM Gaming and BDS Esport in the Lower Bracket. MnM full of beans after literally destroying 60% of the Pro League teams in this qualifier, BDS slumping to a loss to Secret.
Alright so firstly, before I look at BDS. Lets recap MnM Gaming's amazing story thus far going into the the Lower final.
Upper Bracket Rd 1 - Team Secret 2 :1 MnM Gaming
MnM lost this game in heartbreaking fashion, taking a first map loss to arguably the best Coastline team on the planet in Secret? Disclaimer here, thats opinion - but I don't remember the last time Secret lost Coastline? Sorry for the wobbly comment, just checked - it was Secret vs G2 at Raleigh (7-3 G2)
MnM then won their second map on Consulate in what was all-in-all quite comfortable. They then lost Kafe, starting the map on attack before being unable to claw back defensive rounds and eventually falling to scoreboard pressure.
Lower Bracket Rd 1 - Patokalipsa 0:2 MnM Gaming
MnM won this game with ease. Not too much to say here, Pato without their star information man and shotcaller in Gruby.PS4 just crumbled.
Lower Bracket Rd 2 - Orlgess 1:2 MnM Gaming
In what I've been told really was a fantastic matchup - MnM clutched victory seeing Consulate and Clubhouse go to overtime on both maps with each side taking the other teams pick. MnM finally won out on Villa being able to accumulate 3 attack wins in the split and defending out from there.
The first 'Giant killing' in that they'd taken down a Challenger League team. Albeit a Challenger League team with only 3 players + 2 subs.
Lower Bracket Rd 3 - Vitality 1:2 MnM Gaming
Vitality were more clued up on bans and it showed - Only Clubhouse being allowed in as MnMs preferred map.
Clubhouse was an interesting one, Vitality doing some pretty common META type approaches - the really interesting thing about Clubhouse and MnM is that, for me, they mirror when Empire exploded into PL the way that Empire would play this. They have a checklist that they want to accomplish and they have a dozen tools to accomplish that task. No matter what the defence throws at them, they have a way to deal with it and beat it.
On a side note - A checklist is a list of tasks that you want to complete in order to win that round. A tool is one method of achieving said task. So for example on Clubhouse - this is the most obvious one - Trying to open the CCTV wall is their first task, what they did was send 3 men very fast into stock/lounge/top blue stairs to get the zofia breaches off to move the anti denial away from that wall. The "doing" part is the tool, IE going in fast downstairs. If defenders counter that, they have an array of other tools to get that wall open (Zofia stun through drone hole, nade from window etc)
Anyway, they play Clubhouse extremely well - they took this with ease from Vitality. Taking 3 attacks in what is considered a heavily defender sided map. They then very comfortably came through on defence winning 4/5.
Photo credit - Candor
Moving through to Border, a map I never thought I'd see a PL team pick into a T3 team, MnM lost this in overtime. It really was a bitty map and honestly, one that could have gone either way.
The final map of Kafe was just a disaster for Vitality - it wasn't because Vitality are bad at Kafe, lets remember they beat Giants 7:0 there in PL -it was because MnM have such a strong map pool. MnM got to quite a common 4/2 split on the defence of Kafe - they then simply bullied Vitality on the attacks, winning 3 straight which is what was impressive.
This is the second Giant Killing. Vitality looked good for a strong PL finish in Season 10 and in many peoples eyes were one of the favourites to win these qualifiers. This was a huge result
Lower Bracket Rd 4 - G2 1:2 MnM Gaming
Coming into this game, G2 were down on their luck. Having patches of strength, but also of significant weakness across these qualifiers. G2 had been beaten very unfortunately by Secret the day before - coming to an overtime game on Villa in which they looked set to win 8-6 before an unfortunate Teamkill by Pengu onto Fabian halted that attack altogether and probably was the point that Secret won it.
On Border, MnM's map pick, G2 raced into a 5-1 lead before MnM pulled off what can only be described as a stunning comeback. G2's issues, in my own personal opinion, are mental because they're not clutching out games. vs Secret they had 4 defensive rounds on Villa to put it to bed. vs MnM they had 3/maybe 4 rounds to put Border to bed and they struggled to defend on both.
G2 then came back on what actually was a very very close game on Coastline - going behind and then coming back to just win 7-5. Showing that despite losing to Secret the day before, they also are a quality Coastline team.
The final map of Consulate was one that unfortunately was like watching through a MOSS file. The stream quality was like a Powerpoint presentation - from what we did see - G2 just couldn't cope with the quality of attacks from MnM and they really struggled to attack themselves - often being left in 1 v X or 2 v X.
The biggest Giant Killing - Little MnM gaming of UK T3 beating the back to back world champions
Lower Bracket Rd 5 - Chaos 0:2 MnM Gaming
In a game that I got the pleasure of joining the cast as an analyst, alongside Meepey from Team Secret, MnM outright bullied Chaos. One thing that I really like about MnM is their refusal to actually give too much respect to their opponents - of course they do respect Pro League and what it means, but that doesn't mean they're not going to be aggressive, take fights and win.
Chaos lost the ban phase - I commented on it at the time. Clubhouse, Coastline and Kafe were the maps decided. They lost this because they picked Coastline, despite being reasonably wobbly on it. Its clear as day Chaos knew basically nothing about MnM. and were expecting G2.
Clubhouse went very much as expected - Not surprisingly Chaos chose to defend first, although they really should have attacked it first. I'd quite like to see that from BDS today, making MnM defend first on a Consulate or a Clubhouse. MnM bullied Chaos on the attack, taking 4 attacks on a really stock defence by Chaos before clutching out, if you were new to the scene you'd have said MnM were the Pro League team, not Chaos.
Coastline was plagued with bad connections, with 2 rounds going to Chaos through disconnects. MnM held their nerve - trusting they have great attacking composure in order to win. Just to enhance on that, MnM are ridiculously disciplined when it comes to attacks, they're checklist like but they are very patient even if completing that checklist leaves them 10 seconds to even execute - they won't overpeek and cost their team.
Not so much massive. More massive failure vs Secret. I was also invited onto the Cast of the second map of the BDS vs Secret game on Border alongside Dezachu and Xrtroika and what a map to do it on.
BDS were simply dreadful yesterday, but I'm actually going to attribute that to just how good Secret were, they had done their prep. Big shoutout to Helbee - if he was the mastermind behind this.
Secret are the best team in the world, in my opinion on Coastline, so its not a surprise that Coastline was a Secret win, but the fashion of the BDS loss was quite significant. They were rumbled, really struggling with Secrets ideas on ways to play Coastline.
On Border, Secret found them out too, shutting down Shaiko to an extent that he was ineffective at best, completely dreadful at worst. They also managed to get free picks on the player rappeling Security balcony through soft walls in Armory. BDS wouldn't change their approach too - consistently running two hard breach + thatcher, when the walls/areas they were looking to take were often soft.
This is a best of 5 - so 1 ban for each team, 2 picks for each team and a decider. Should we go to a decider, the team that has the best round differential after the first 2 maps gets the choice.
So what will they ban? I'm fairly sure in these that MnM will ban Bank, they've consistently now banned it first vs all PL teams. BDS will ban Villa - I'll be so surprised if they change from this. IF they change from this, it would be a Clubhouse ban on the basis that MnM don't seem to keen on it either - maybe both teams will just leave it and we see it as decider.
So what will they pick? Assuming that Clubhouse is available, I would expect that MnM would pick that. I think it will be available given BDS love it also. MnM picking it makes sense given they're likely going to be attacking it first, something I've previously mentioned they love doing.
I think then BDS pick into Border most likely - the map pool is fairly formidable here and they'll want a map where they can let Shaiko run round and be unpredictable, rather than something more rigid. Sure they performed bad yesterday, but if they can make adaptations then they should be fine.
I see MnM then picking into Coast. BDS are strong on Kafe and Consulate and looked seriously wobbly on Coast yesterday.
I then honestly see BDS having their choice on Kafe or Consulate, I'm not sure where they go, probably Consulate? I'm not sure to be honest.
Look, I'm UK based. I'm biased. MnM are quite happily going to take this, I think even as easily as a 3-0 if BDS play like they did yesterday. I actually think we could be in for a full 5 maps here, so the casters best knuckle up!
MnM 3:2 BDS
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