The Group Stages at IEM Sydney, have seen our Aussie teams come out swinging. We may have been the underdogs but we have beaten some powerhouse teams and are in the Playoffs.
After NaVi and Space Soldiers did not manage to secure Visas to make it to IEM Sydney, we had an extra Aussie team in the draw. Legacy eSports took Space Soldiers’ place and the Frecnch team, G2 eSports, filled in for NaVi to bring the total back to 16 competing teams. But nothing could prepare us for the first day of the IEM Group Stages. Day two also brought some edge of your seat moments that really made you cheer for our home teams. Here’s what went down.
SK get knocked out by Grayhounds
Day one matches saw SK lose their best of one to Tyloo in Overtime 19-16. This was already a worrying sign since SK took home the IEM trophy in Sydney last year. But best of ones can be deceiving and SK still had a best of three match in the lower bracket to play before they were going home. They came up against Grayhounds, an Australian qualifying team known to the Aussie fans but in no way were a top-level pro team. It was fair to say everyone expected SK to take a relatively easy win. Oh, how they were wrong.
The matchup went the full three maps with Grayhound taking the first on Mirage 16-13. SK pulled back on the second, taking Cache 16-11. Then it was down to Overpass. Our homegrown Grayhounds knocked out the reigning champions 16-11 to win the best of three 2-1. No one saw this coming and it was nail-biting until the very end. You can never count out SK until they lose that final round but fortunately or unfortunately, I can’t decide, they couldn’t work their magic this time and are heading home.
Meanwhile, another Aussie team were working their own magic. Renegades were the only Australian team to receive an invite to IEM this year and boy have they put it to good use. No local team had made it to the IEM stage in Sydney before, so this is a nice piece of history-making. Renegades won their first match in the best of one round over fellow Aussie team Legacy 16-9 on Mirage. That put them into the next round of best of threes to go up against FaZe, who had just beaten ORDER 16-4 on Inferno. The winner of this matchup would go straight to the playoffs and the loser would drop to the lower bracket where they could still earn a finals spot.
We then had a similar scenario to the SK v Grayhound match take place and Renegades won the first map 16-12 on Train. FaZe evened out the score on the second map and won 16-13 on Overpass. The third, was an intense map that had former Renegades member, SPUNJ, leaving the analyst room every time these teams took it to another overtime. On triple overtime, after rounds had gone back and forth, Renegades pulled ahead and beat FaZe 25-22 on Inferno. As a result, Renegades move on to the playoffs and will play against Tyloo to determine if they proceed to the semi or quarterfinals. FaZe, however, are not out of the tournament yet. They went on to beat Grayhound 2-1, after their win over SK, knocking them out as well. To determine where they will place in the playoffs they will play Cloud 9 today.
The first ever crowdfunded Australian eSports team, ORDER, consists of the former lineup from Kings Gaming Club. With the addition of aliStair from Chiefs eSports Club, they have been a force to be reckoned with in the APAC region thus far. Their first-day matchup was against last years runner-ups, FaZe Clan, to whom they lost 16-4 on Inferno. Onto the lower bracket and they pulled an easy win over Legacy, who hadn’t been having a great day against their fellow Australian teams. Round two of the lower bracket saw them face North American heavyweight team, Cloud 9, who had won the last Major in Boston.
After seeing what Aussie teams could do against the big international players it was still just as exciting when they won the first map 16-7 on Cache. The second map was taken back fairly easily by Cloud 9 16-4 on Train, evening the scoreline at one map each. ORDER fought hard on the third map and ended up pushing it to Double Overtime, taking rounds straight back from Cloud 9. The big guns were pulled out from the North Americans, with RUSH clutching multiple rounds for his team. Unfortunately, in the end, Cloud 9 edged past the line and won 22-19 on Inferno.
This has been a huge tournament for our Australian teams and for Australian eSports. And we haven’t even got to the playoffs yet! As our only home team left, we will be cheering for Renegades on the main stage very soon. We are extremely proud of all our Aussie teams and hope to see more great things from them in the future.