The South American region is paiN Gaming’s domain to begin the season as the organization claims both spots at the Kuala Lumpur Major
The action in The Kuala Lumpur Major South America Qualifier has reached it end, and at the end of it all we now know which 2 squads will be representing the region on the Pro Circuit stage at the first Major of the 2018-2019 season. 8 teams began this qualifier looking for a chance to establish themselves as a leader within the South American region and earn a place at the Major, but just 2 of them have managed to fight their way through the qualifier to claim those coveted regional slots. paiN Gaming and paiN X will be the 2 South American squads that will be taking the stage at the Major this November, but we should take a closer look at how those teams reached this position, and how well the other squads in this regional final performed too. Similarly to the preview post for this qualifier, we will be breaking the teams up into groups, although this time around the groups will be based upon the final standings of the qualifier.
Top 2 (Qualified for The Kuala Lumpur Major)
paiN Gaming (formerly S.K.O.L)
Record: 10-0 (4-0 Group Stage, 6-0 Playoffs)
The squad that began this qualifier as S.K.O.L, and has since become paiN Gaming, stood as a clear cut favorite to dominate its regional rivals and claim a position at The Kuala Lumpur Major. The team had all the talent and experience that it needed to find success, and that success came almost immediately as the qualifier got started. The squad claimed reltaively easy 2-0 wins over both Astini777 and WP Gaming to top the Group B standings, and absolutely breezed their way through their first 2 Upper Brackets series with 2-0 wins over Infamous and paiN X. The duo of w33 and hFn simply dominated in every match that it played, fueling paiN Gaming to an 8-0 record across its first 4 series of the qualifier and a guaranteed spot at The Kuala Lumpur Major. The team’s final series in the Grand Finals came against its sister team in paiN X, but even that squad wasn’t able to slow this team down as paiN Gaming claimed yet another 2-0 win for a perfect run throughout the qualifier. This was about as close to a flawless performance as you could get for paiN Gaming, as the squad was simply playing on another level that no other team in this qualifier seemed capable of matching up to. Most people anticipated this squad maintaining its place at the top of the South American hierarchy, but seeing the squad dominate its regional rivals so decisively in this qualifier has to add an extra level of confidence around paiN Gaming.
paiN X (formerly paiN Gaming)
Record: 8-6 (4-1 Group Stage, 4-5 Playoffs)
The squad now known as paiN X was a relatively recent addition to the South American scene, although the squad was already considered one of the potential leaders in the region heading into this qualifier. The team quickly showed just why it was favored in this field of teams, as it claimed a 2-1 win over Thunder Predator in its initial Group Stage series and followed that up with a dominant 2-0 victory against Infamous to top the Group A standings. Ritsu and 4dr led the charge for the team with consistently strong performances in the Group Stage, and the solid play from that duo carried over into the Playoffs as paiN X brought down Braxstone 2-0 in Round 1 of the Upper Bracket. A run in with the team’s sister squad, paiN Gaming, finally brought paiN X’s run of success to an end, as the squad was dropped into the Lower Bracket for a rematch with Thunder Predator. The team managed to take that series 2-1, securing itself a place in the field at The Kuala Lumpur Major. With its position secure, the squad advanced to the Grand Finals of the qualifier, where it fell 0-2 to paiN Gaming to end its qualifier run. Despite that final loss, the team proved that its new lineup was just as strong as many had anticipated, and with its strong performance in this qualifier, the paiN Gaming organization is now set to send 2 squads to The Kuala Lumpur Major in November.
Record: 11-6 (4-4 Group Stage, 7-2 Playoffs)
The confidence in Thunder Predator was not particularly high as the team came into this qualifier, but the Peruvian squad still had a decent chance of finding success against its regional rivals. With the team’s primary concerns being its newest roster addition and the lingering infamy of its TI8 Qualifier disqualification, there was some hope that Thunder Predator could put past mistakes behind it and potential establish itself as an early leader in the South American region. The team didn’t get off to the greatest of starts in the Gruop Stage, losing 1-2 against paiN X and only claiming that 1 win due to an extended disconnect by all 5 members of paiN X. The team was able to bounce back with a 2-0 win over Gorillaz-Pride, but fell to Infamous in the Decider Match 1-2 to finish in the bottom half of the Group A standings. While the team was not very impressive in the Group Stage, it managed to flip the switch and put together an incredible run once the Playoffs began. The team took 2-0 victories over Astini777, Infamous, and Braxstone to put it just 1 more series away from qualifying for the Major. The squad’s core trio proved itself capable of leading from the front for Thunder Predator, as Jeimari, Atun, and Sword put their skill on display as the team won 6 matches in a row to face paiN X in the Lower Bracket Finals. Unfortunately, the team’s momentum failed it in the end, as the squad lost 1-2 in that series to fall just short of qualifying for the Major. However, its impressive Lower Bracket run should certainly prove to be an encouraging sign of what the squad is capable of this season if it can continue playing at this level.
Record: 6-6 (4-2 Group Stage, 2-4 Playoffs)
As one of the directly invited teams to this qualifier, there was already a baseline level of expectation for Braxstone coming in, although the team’s lack of experience together was a big enough cause for concern for me to put the team in the “Maybe, if..” section of the preview post for the qualifier. A 0-2 loss to WP Gaming to begin its Group Stage run made those concerns a bit more prominent, but Braxstone was able to quickly turn things around with a 2-0 win over Astini777 and another 2-0 victory in its rematch with WP Gaming in the Decider Match of Group B. While the team was able to get some solid showings out of its Carry and Midler, it was Offlaner Kingteka who stole the show for Braxstone in the Group Stage, averaging double digit kills. Once the team got to the Playoffs though, things got a bit more difficult for Braxstone, beginning with a brutal 0-2 loss to paiN X in Round 1 of the Upper Bracket. While the squad was able to recover from that loss with another series win over WP Gaming in the Lower Bracket, it fell to Thunder Predator 0-2 in Round 3 to end its qualifier run. The good news for Braxstone moving forward is that we saw some impressive performances from the lineup in this qualifier, and the squad appears to have a core trio that is more than capable of taking over matches. However, there is a bit of a caveat to that assessment that stems from the fact that 4 of its 6 wins, and 6 of its 12 matches in total, came against a single team in WP Gaming. its 2-4 record against other teams in this qualifier puts a bit of a damper on the immediate optimism moving forward, but this qualifier run should serve as an encouraging start to the season and a sign of the potential of the Peruvian squad.
Record: 4-7 (4-3 Group Stage, 0-4 Playoffs)
Infamous entered this qualifier in a somewhat strange position as it prepared for its first official matches with its new roster. On the one hand, the return of Timado brought quite a bit of talent and experience to the roster, but the addition of Wisper and MoOz as well left the team with a duo of players that were as of yet unproven on the professional level in South America. The team began its qualifier run with a strong 2-0 victory over Gorillaz-Pride led by Timado and Papita combining for 49 kills compared to just 41 for its opponent across the entire series. A lopsided 0-2 loss to paiN X proved to be a bit of a setback for the squad, but Infamous was able to bounce back with a 2-1 win over Thunder Predator to secure a place in the Upper Bracket of the Playoffs. Unfortunately for Infamous, any sense of momentum was shattered in the Playoffs, as the team took back to back 0-2 losses against paiN Gaming and Thunder Predator to end its qualifier run with a spot in the 5th-6th place position. The team’s poor performance in the Playoffs will likely be a particularly disappointing talking point for the squad in the aftermath of this qualifier, but overall Infamous did fairly well in its first action of the season. Timado and Papita were able to put together strong showings with relative consistency, as we’ve come to expect from them in their careers so far. Perhaps more importantly, MoOz and Wisper were able to at least hold their own against top regional opposition despite the team’s significant struggles in the Playoffs of the qualifier. We saw other squad’s have major issues with new or inexperienced additions to their roster in this qualifier, so the fact that MoOz and Wisper were able to look a bit stronger will certainly be an encouraging take away for Infamous moving forward.
Record: 4-6 (2-4 Group Stage, 2-2 Playoffs)
WP Gaming came into this qualifier as an interesting story, with a lineup with a modest level of regional experience but no official matches as a unit. The team came out aggressively to start the Group Stage, and that aggression was rewarded with a 2-0 victory against Braxstone in which WP Gaming totaled 105 kills. The team’s momentum faltered in its next 2 series though, as it fell 0-2 to paiN Gaming in the Winners’ Match before losing its rematch against Braxstone with another 0-2 series. The team’s 4 straight losses had it looking fairly weak heading into the Lower Bracket of the Playoffs, but WP Gaming had the good fortune of playing Gorillaz-Pride, a team that had not won a single Group Stage match, in its Round 1 series. WP Gaming dominated the series, with Midlaner Sooths putting together a 23-4-17 stat line across a 2-0 victory for the squad. With that win, WP Gaming wound up facing off against Braxstone for the third time in this qualifier, and once again ended up falling short against its regional rival with a 0-2 loss in the series. With 3 of its 5 series in this qualifier coming against the same team, it’s somewhat difficult to gauge exactly where WP Gaming stands after its qualifier run. However, the team’s 4-6 overall record is certainly much better than it could have been for the squad, considering the 2 teams that finished below it in the standings were unable to claim any wins at all. Finishing above 2 teams with a combined 0-12 record isn’t exactly the greatest silver lining out there, but for WP Gaming it represents a decent start to its season and leaves a bit of optimism for the squad as it looks to rise to a position as a consistently competitive squad in the South American region.
Record: 0-6 (0-4 Group Stage, 0-2 Playoffs)
Right off the bat, let’s start things off here by pointing out that the expectations for Astini777 were already remarkably low heading into this qualifier. The squad was essentially made up of a number of unknown, developing players in the region led by a moderately experienced player in Duster, so it wasn’t like this team was looked at as a true contender in its qualifier. That being said, what we got from the squad was still incredibly underwhelming, as Astini777 did not win a single game in its qualifier run and finished at the bottom of the overall standings. Th team started out its Group Stage run with a brutal 0-2 loss to paiN Gaming, and followed that up with an abysmal 0-2 loss to Braxstone in which it was out killed by a score of 21-63. Overall, the team ended up posting a 0-4 Group Stage record in less than 2 hours of in-game time (1 hr 49 minutes), and did not look like much of a threat heading into the Lower Bracket of the Playoffs. the good news for the team was that it was able to put up a longer fight against Thunder Predator in its Lower Bracket series, but not a much more successful one as it lost 0-2 to bring its qualifier run to an end. The silver lining for the team was that it was able to get a couple of solid showing from Teckla8 across its qualifier matches, but none of those performances came close to putting Astini777 in a position to have any control over those matches. Given the relative inexperience of this squad, it was expected that Astini777 would struggle in its first Pro Circuit qualifier, but it’s clear now that this squad is going to need significantly more time to develop before it is in any position to truly compete within the South American region.
Record: 0-6 (0-4 Group Stage, 0-2 Playoffs)
It was not a good Pro Circuti debut at all for Gorillaz-Pride in this qualifier, as the phrase “not ideal” seems to be the most polite way of describing the team’s performance here. The squad comes away from the qualifier without a single win to its name, and simply didn’t seem to be on the same level as some of the squads that it went up against. The highlight of the Group Stage for the squad came in Game 2 of its series against Thunder Predator, as the squad held a lead of over 15k net worth in the late-game stage of that match. Unfortunately though, Gorillaz-Pride ended up squandering that significant advantage, suffering a crushing defeat as Thunder Predator completed a comeback effort to close out the series and put Gorillaz-Pride at the bottom of the Group A standings. Things didn’t get any better in the Playoffs, as Gorillaz-Pride trailed in terms of net worth across the entirety of its 0-2 series loss to WP Gaming, and were knocked out of the qualifier with very little to show for its efforts. It’s rare that I struggle to find at least 1 or 2 positives for a team from a qualifier or LAN performance, but Gorillaz-Pride simply did not look good in this qualifier at all. The best I can really do here is point out that Greedy was able to put together a somewhat consistent series of performances, and renzo had a couple of matches in which he put together some impressive stat lines, although neither of those points helped the squad claim any wins across its 6 matches. The team has potential if nothing else, but it appears that it will be quite some time before be see Gorillaz-Pride rise to prominence in the South American region, if we ever see it at all.