Last week major changes and shifts were prophesized given the play of contenders and runner-ups in both Europe and North America, but the status quo ultimately prevailed. This week the changes have happened and rosters, as well as championship reigns, came to an end. Catch up on all the action here.
Enter the Arena….again
When the Battlerekt festivities started six weeks ago, the last major tournament on the Battlerite schedule had been the Enter the Arena clash. Back then it was broken comp sori taking home the grand prize from the European region, coming virtually out of nowhere. Well, now they are back at it again, hoisting another trophy – as Functional Sociopaths. Both randler and Xaynox tried their luck in the Battlerekt tournaments before and reached the Top 4 in Week 3 with the help of former TelRoskMi player Mini, but the sustainable success was eluding them. Now they took the starting step to being the top rival of Intolerant and Daebak, beating both of them for the Battlerekt title – with the help of another former TelRoskMi player, Verosk.
Their path through the field was filled with difficult tasks of the top teams that Europe had to offer. As a previously underwhelming team, they were seeded into the first round of the tournament, taking on XSX there. That was the easiest task for them, as it was now had to run the gauntlet against former Top 4 teams all around. A splashy win over u choose put them into the Thursday bracket, where they then upset the reigning and defending champs in Intolerant. Throughout this game and the tournament, Functional Sociopaths managed to do what Daebak and Intolerant were masters at the weeks before: they controlled the map and the middle orb. That control mixed with relentless aggression against the support backline of Intolerant proved to be the winning factor in the competition. Ever so often Xaynox, first on Raigon and then on Bakko, pushed the entire team of Intolerant into a corner, creating confusion for Lucie and Iva to capitalize. Towards the end of Game 3, inexperience or overzealousness showed up, as Functional Sociopaths tried to do too much too fast, but the comeback of Intolerant didn’t manifest itself.
The date for the Functional Sociopaths in the Grand Finals – the old bridesmaid, Daebak. Would Daebak finally add a second Battlerekt title to their resumé now that Intolerant was out of the way? Unfortunately for them, they couldn’t. The opponent might have changed, but the results were the same. Daebak, coming off a dismantling performance against Bruce Lee, had gone away from their tried and true double support composition for this tournament. Their new approach looked a bit like an Onslaught composition with Sirius and Shifu as anchors and Oldur and Lucie rotating on support. What started off great for Daebak turned into a nightmare. A 5-4 victory in Game 1 put them five round wins away from another title, round wins that would elude them even over the course of two more games. After Raigon once again didn’t work for Functional Sociopaths, they put Xaynox on Shifu to turn the tide.
With Shifu in the mix, the old strength of Functional Sociopaths throughout the tournament returned – they kept control of the center orb. With the resources advantage, they cruised to two back-to-back 5-2 game wins and their first Battlerekt: Proving Grounds title. While the North American region so far has produced a total of three finalist teams, Europe got it’s third champion. Now can Functional Sociopath keep up this level of play or will Intolerant and Daebak come back stronger?
New player, no problems
The exciting news out of Europe was the crowning of a new champion, and the exciting news out of North America was the change up in rosters. Onslaught cut ties with their Shifu player Arakune mid-week, fielding a different roster for the first time since the Battlerekt tournament started. Entering the Proving Grounds of the Battlerite arena alongside Ninjas and Averse this time was veteran stro. Throughout previous weeks he had been floating around the Top 8 and Top 4 on various teams, most notably on Unsung and Shoe size > Maturity. Now he was called up to the big league, teaming up with his old 2v2 partner Averse. The change in the roster also had implications for the compositions, as Onslaught not once went to their Taya, Shifu, Sirius line. Instead they seemed to experiment on the fly with Taya, Lucie, and Oldur as their main composition, but replacing parts as they went along. In the first game of the Semifinals against Unsung it was an Iva for Oldur, while the second game of those Semifinals had Ashka, Bakko, and Oldur as an Onslaught team.
As the new Onslaught entered the arena not only the lineup and composition were different, but also the approach. Against Unsung and Deadly Insplosion in the finals Onslaught was heavily out-aggro’d, which the old Arakune team never experienced. Rather than put the pedal to the metal each round, Onslaught sat back, waited for their opponents to blunder and then pounced. Against Unsung that worked out to perfection in both games with both different compositions – both times resulting in convincing 5-2 victories.
Now the finals awaited against their old rival Deadly Insplosion, a team that had gotten closer and closer each week to pulling off the upset. So would the lineup change affect that power balance? At first it looked like it. Deadly Insplosion started hyper-aggressive, coming off a hard-fought win against Excel Wizards in the Semis. From the get-go Aughplosion on Shifu was living in the backlines of Onslaught and unlike against Unsung, Onslaught couldn’t punish the aggression effectively at first. Quickly DI had made their statement loud and clear, they were here to get the title. Unfortunately they underestimated the push back of Onslaught, who at no points in the game gave up. Even down 2-4, they’ve found a way to adapt to the aggressive playstyle, defend all set points and in the end complete the comeback to make it 5-4. Echoing what Rainy said last week – is it really close if the team still ends up winning all the nail biting series?
Well, it was closer this time once again. Deadly Insplosion couldn’t get a game win under their belt, making the Week 4 performance the only time they took a Game from Onslaught throughout the Proving Grounds tournament – but the gap isn’t as wide anymore. It seems to be only a matter of time until Unsung, Deadly Insplosion, or even Excel Wizards crack the code and end the Onslaught – maybe next week?
North America VoD
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