Déjà vu strikes in South America as test 123 (a.k.a Ex-paiN X), paiN Gaming claim spots at The Chongqing Major.
The first set of regional qualifiers for The Chongqing Major are coming to a close, and the field of teams for the second Major of the 2018-2019 Pro Circuit season is beginning to take shape. South America was the final region in the first group of 3 to finish its qualifier run, and we now know the 2 squads that will represent the region in Chongqing. This South America qualifier began with 8 teams in the field, each hoping for an opportunity to find success against their regional rivals and secure a place on the Pro Circuit stage. However, only 2 of those teams were able to survive the rigors of the regional qualifiers, with test 123 and paiN Gaming claiming the region’s 2 slots at the Major in January. For those teams that didn’t make the cut this time around, a potential spot in the Minor qualifiers awaits, as the 6 unsuccessful squads from this qualifier still have another shot at reaching the Pro Circuit stage. For now though, the time has come to take a look at how each of the squads performed in this qualifier, with the participants divided based upon their final positions in the event standings.
Top 2 (Qualified for The Chongqing Major)
Record: 8-1 (4-0 Group Stage, 4-1 Playoffs)
Though the squad has changed its name and no longer represents the paiN Gaming organization, the dominance that test 123’s roster has shown within the South American region did not experience any alterations. The team put together an incredible performance in this qualifier, beginning with a perfect 4-0 Group Stage run that included series victories over Gorillaz-Pride and Thunder Predator. The Playoffs of the qualifier saw the squad continue its strong play, with teszt 123 sweeping past Infamous Young 2-0 before taking out its former sister squad paiN Gaming 2-1 to secure itself a place at the Major. With the majority of the team’s roster unchanged from the one that tore through the previous Major qualifier, the expectations for test 123 were still fairly high coming into this event. However, there were still some questions as to how the addition of Kitrak to the lineup would affect the team, but its appears that the newest member of the team has had little to no issues integrating himself into this roster. With 2 straight Top 2 finishes in Major qualifiers, test 123’s position at the top of the regional hierarchy in South America is all but unquestionable now. The next step for the squad will be climbing further up the Pro Circuit Rankings now, as the team looks to add to its Pro Circuit Point total with a strong run at The Chongqing Major in January.
Record: 9-2 (4-0 Group Stage, 5-2 Playoffs)
PaiN Gaming came into this Major qualifier as one of the clear favorites and leaders within the South American region, and the team certainly didn’t disappoint as it faced off against a field of its regional rivals. The team tore through the Group Stage, taking convincing 2-0 victories over both 16 Anos Melhor Idade and Playmakers Esports to secure the top spot in the group standings. After pushing past Thunder Predator in another one sided 2-0 victory in its first Playoff series, it appeared that there was little that could slow paiN Gaming down. However, the squad’s considerable momentum was finally stymied in the Winners’ Finals as it fell 1-2 against test 123 and was dropped down into the Losers’ Finals for a rematch with Thunder Predator. While the squad was challenged significantly by its opponent, paiN Gaming eventually managed to come out on top with a 2-0 victory to secure its place on the Pro Circuit stage. With a 9-2 overall record in this qualifier, paiN Gaming has once again confirmed its status as one of the most dominant squads within the South American region. While squads like Thunder Predator continue to grow closer and closer to it in terms of strength, for the time being paiN Gaming’s place near the top of the regional hierarchy is all but untouchable as the team prepares for its second Major appearance of the 2018-2019 season.
Record: 6-7 (4-2 Group Stage, 2-5 Playoffs)
Thunder Predator came into this Major qualifier with a slightly different look from what we saw in the previous round of Pro Circuit qualifiers as the team underwent some big roster changes earlier this month. The squad had been a prominent force in the last set of qualifiers, but there was some concern as to whether the team could continue to be a significant threat in its home region with its new roster. As it turns out, the team’s new roster proved just as capable as its previous one, as the Peruvian squad put together an impressive showing in this major qualifier. The squad managed to finish in the top half of the Group B standings with a 4-2 Group Stage record, although all 4 of those wins came against the same squad in Infamous. Unfortunately, the team lost its initial Playoff series in a 0-2 stomp at the hands of paiN Gaming, but the squad was able to bounce back in the Lower Bracket by defeating Infamous Young to earn itself a rematch against paiN Gaming for the region’s final spot at the Major. In the end, the team was unable to find its revenge as it fell 0-2 once again to fall just short of qualifying for the Major. Though the team did not manage to earn itself a spot on the Pro Circuit stage, Thunder Predator has appeared to take yet another step forward in its path to becoming one of the elite squads in the South American region. With Infamous reportedly having some potential roster issues, a void has been created in the regional hierarchy behind the duo of paiN Gaming and test 123 that Thunder Predator is in a perfect position to fill. With this strong performance in the Major qualifier, Thunder Predator seems all but guaranteed to receive an invite to The Bucharest Minor South America Qualifier, and we shall see if the squad can take advantage of that extra opportunity to earn its Pro Circuit debut.
Record: 5-8 (4-4 Group Stage, 1-4 Playoffs)
Infamous young entered this qualifier as a relatively unknown team with somewhat limited expectations, but the youth squad was able to put together a fairly impressive performance nonetheless. After losing its initial Group Stage series 0-2 against Playmakers Esports, the team was able to earn back to back 2-1 wins over 16 Anos Melhor Idade and Playmakers Esports in order to advance to the Playoffs with a 4-4 record. Once the team reached the Playoffs though, it began to struggle, as the squad was easily defeat 0-2 by test 123 before falling to Thunder Predator 1-2 in the Lower Bracket to end its qualifier run with a 4th place finish overall. While the team still appears to be unable to compete with the top level squads within the South American region, the fact that it was able to hold its own against its regional rivals and reach the upper half of the event standings is a solid sign of just how well the squad has been able to develop. Though the squad did not manage to qualify for the Major, this impressive performance in the qualifier will likely have the team sitting as a candidate to reach the upcoming Bucharest Minor qualifiers, where it will have a second chance to earn its Pro Circuit debut.
Record: 2-5 (2-5 Group Stage)
Following its 4th place run at the DreamLeague Season 10 Minor, Infamous appeared to be one of the leading teams within the South American region, and a solid candidate for success in this Major qualifier. Unfortunately, the squad struggled significantly against its regional rivals in this competition, posting a disappointing 2-5 overall record. The team seemed to have its greatest issues against Thunder Predator, as 4 of the team’s 5 losses in this qualifier came against the Peruvian squad. Simply put, the squad did not look much like the one we saw on the Pro Circuit stage in Stockholm, and some of the team’s drafting strategies appeared to be a bit unorthodox as well. Between the experimenting and the team’s somewhat poor play in its matches, Infamous did not look particularly confident across its matches. While this performance in the Major qualifier was not ideal, Infamous still has the chance to repeat its previous path to the Pro Circuit stage by qualifying for The Bucharest Minor. However, after its finish in the bottom half of the standings here, it is most likely going to need to reach the South America qualifier for the Minor by playing through the open qualifiers first.
Record: 1-4 (1-4 Group Stage)
It wasn’t the greatest of runs for Gorillaz-Pride in this Major qualifier, as the squad put together a middling 1-4 record in its group and was among the first group of teams to be eliminated. The team suffered a rough 0-2 loss to test123 to begin its Group Stage run before falling 1-2 against Infamous to finish at the bottom of the Group B standings. The silver lining for the squad is the fact that it can at least say that it walked away from the Major qualifier with a win under its belt, as the squad’s Game 2 victory against Infamous was an absolutely dominant performance that displayed a brief flash of this team’s potential. Things don’t look fantastic right now for Gorillaz-Pride, but the team’s chances at reaching the Pro Circuit stage may not be gone just yet, as the team could still find its way to the South America Qualifier for the upcoming Bucharest Minor. If the team wants to have any chance at finding success in that event though, it will need to significantly improve upon what was a relatively poor showing in this qualifier.
16 anos melhor idade
Record: 1-4 (1-4 Group Stage)
The goods news for this Duster-led squad is that it managed to perform better than the team that the Brazilian Support had previously appeared with in The Kuala Lumpur Major South America Qualifier. The bad news though, is that it didn’t out perform that prior squad by much, earning just a single win this time around for a 1-4 overall record. The team’s relative inexperience certainly showed in its qualifier run, as the team lost 0-2 to paiN Gaming before falling in an incredibly frustrating 1-2 series against Infamous Young. The team’s lone victory of the qualifier came in Game 1 of this series, but the squad took over 65 minutes of game time to close out a match that it was leading in terms of net worth for all but a handful of those minutes. Things only got worse from there though, as the squad surrendered back to back comeback losses to eventually lose the series completely. The silver lining for the squad is that the potential appears to be there, but all the potential in the world won’t do a team any good if it cannot execute in the more critical stretches of the game. 16 anos melhor idade certainly missed an opportunity to impress here, and now the squad’s attention much shift towards the upcoming Open Qualifiers for The Bucharest Minor.
Record: 3-4 (3-4 Group Stage, [Disqualified])
Well, it wouldn’t be a true South America Qualifier without a bit of drama, and Plamakers Esports certainly delivered on that front in the end. After taking down Infamous Young 2-0 to begin its Group Stage run, it hit a stone wall in the form of paiN Gaming, taking a 0-2 loss that dropped it into the Decider Match of the group. That’s where things got weird for the team, as Plamakers Esports played that match with a different stand-in that it claimed was Colombian player Mogur. As it turned out, said stand-in was not Mogur, and the attempted duplicity from Playmakers Esports ended up getting the team disqualified from the event as it forfeited the rest of the series to suffer a 1-2 loss to Infamous Young. Under normal circumstances, one would assume that the team still has a shot at reaching the South America Qualifier for The Bucharest Minor, should it manage to work its way through the open qualifier for that event. However, there may still be some lingering consequences of the team’s disqualification that could potentially play a role in the team’s immediate prospects for the future.