ICYMI: Benelux and PG Nationals Finals Roundup

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While the OGA Pit Minor and US Nationals stole the spotlight at the end of 2019, the nationals for Italy and the Benelux region also took place in which the reigning champions faced tough challengers.

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Benelux Season 4 Finals

To learn more about each team that took part, be sure to check out our pre-LAN rundown of the teams and competition here.

Trust Gaming vs Team FRAG

The tournament kicked off with the reigning champions of Trust Gaming facing the fourth-seeded Team FRAG roster; a very uphill battle for FRAG, considering their 2-7 loss during the online season. Trust was never really in danger in map one, with FRAG’s three round wins coming on the back of a 4k by Dark, Badger surviving through what almost was a 1v4 victory by Leonski, and a somewhat clumsy attack by Trust in the second half. For rust, meanwhile, 16 kills in 10 rounds by Deapek meant he had out-fragged four of his opponents combined with only Dark going positive on FRAG.

Dark, unfortunately, couldn’t repeat this performance on map two, meaning none of his team got more kills than deaths as they were steamrolled on the way to a 2-7 loss. The best play in this map came once again by Deapek, as he achieved the map’s lone quadruple kill on Ash following a very aggressive hatch drop by Trust.

FACT Gaming vs Epsilon Esports

Next up came a matchup between FACT and Epsilon, two teams Hap had spoken highly of a week beforehand:

It definitely depends on how (Trust) will step up, because I think that definitely Epsilon and FACT will have an opportunity to beat them if Trust doesn’t bring their A-game and if they’re not fully focussed on the game.

The game went about as close as many expected. After Epsilon took round one, FACT responded with four of their own, which included five kills from their new player of Oraghon on Jager, before a triple from Drater on Epsilon ended the half 4-2. Epsilon added to this in the second half, racking up four rounds in a row of their own which included the very first 1vX of the match on round 9 as Judge secured a remarkable 1v3 victory to take the lead.

Prophet’s triple in that last round was then one-upped with a quadruple kill by him in round 10, and then another triple in round 12 to push the map into overtime. At this point, FACT was certainly in their groove as Oraghon’s 4k helped them win their attack despite both sides’ earlier difficulty to do so, before FACT took their own defence to end the map, 8-6.

From this point, neither of the next two maps were as close as this, but still had a number of nail biting rounds. The second map saw FACT’s pick of Border start off with FACT taking a two-round lead before Epsilon shot back with three of their own. Included in these three was a 1v1 victory by Drater over Zeus and it would have gone up to 4-2 if it wasn’t for another 1vX as Xoogle took down Staed, Doggon, and Judge to defend his planted defuser in the second successful 1v3 of the game.

With the scoreline 3-3, multi-kills from both sides kept the teams in a tight fight that looked like it was going all the way to overtime yet again before Epsilon broke the back and forth in round 10 thanks to yet another 1v3, this time by Staed, before taking the game the next round, 7-4.

And so, after map one went to overtime and map two was decided by a number of standout individual plays, map three of Clubhouse came as a notable disappointment, with Epsilon running away with the victory. On Clubhouse’s defensive side, Epsilon managed a clean sweep of all six rounds, putting them onto series point without a response from FACT. This finally ended as sides switched, with FACT winning two rounds of their own and just one out of the 10 deaths occurring on FACT’s side, but a deficit such as this was always going to be too much to overcome. Eventually, a 1v1 victory by Doggon over Xoogle gave the map and game to Epsilon Esports, and they moved ahead.

Trust Gaming vs Epsilon Esports

This set up a grand final between Trust and the only team not to lose to them in the regular season -- Epsilon Gaming. The game started out on Epsilon’s map pick of Clubhouse, where Trust gained a commanding lead with five round wins on their defence. Trust’s lone defeat came on a flawless Cash/CCTV attack, largely thanks to Drater. As sides switched, Epsilon’s defence seemed just as bulletproof as they pushed all the way to round 12, losing their own CCTV/Cash defence in another flawless offensive round to concede overtime.

Early kills by Judge and JP allowed Epsilon to take round 13, before a very late plant by Epsilon allowed Staed to kill Leonski to take map one 8-6. Prior to this, Trust had lost three maps in their last three grand finals, including to Staed in Season 1, meaning that this was par for the course for Trust and the comeback was very much still on.

Between maps, however, hope for Epsilon dove as their in-game-leader of JP had to leave due to illness and was replaced by their manager of Simon. This was clearly a massive blow for the team, losing such a key player for the most important match of their R6 careers. The misery was made worse as it meant they also had to forfeit their second map, putting the scoreline at 1-1 as we headed into Border. 

With the addition of Simon, this made the team the first-ever team to play in a Benelux League grand final without a Dutch core with three Belgians, one Croatian, and one Slovenian player. The map itself was surprisingly close considering the circumstances, though, with Trust Gaining gaining an initial lead before Simon got the defuser down for his teammates to defend on round four, leading to an Epsilon victory. Epsilon added one more to their total in round five as they successfully attacked the Armoury/Arsenal objective for the second time in a row, before Simon was left in an impossible 1v5 to end out the half 4-2. 

Trust Gaming extended their lead on round seven before a 1v1 victory from Judge over Meadzzz kicked off a remarkable comeback. Epsilon took two more rounds before a triple by Meadzzz pushed Trust onto title point and, on round 12, an early plant by Easy was retaken by Drater and Simon, pushing us into overtime of the final map of the season. Unfortunately, the dream ended here for Epsilon. Trust took round 13 in a flawless fashion, before double kills by Meadzzz and Easy ended the final round with 1:20 left on the clock.

This meant that Trust Gaming became the very first back-to-back Benelux Champions, while Epsilon will be keen to come back with a vengeance in 2020.

Trust Gaming with their Season 4 trophy. (Photo: Deapek_R6)

PG Nationals Season 2 Finals

The same weekend also saw the Italian championship, which saw a single best-of-five between the five times back-to-back champions of Mkers, with their ex-Pro League add-in of Ferenc "SirBoss" Mérész, and the new challengers and reigning Polish national champions of Samsung Morning Star with their big names of Valentin "Voy" Cheron and Jessica "Jess" Bolden (their coach). You can read in detail about the teams, players, and the event in the tournament’s preview article here.

The PG Nationals trophy. (Photo: PGEsportsIT)

After three one-sided rounds -- two to Mkers and one to SMS -- round four saw the teams in a 4v3 situation with 11 seconds remaining, before NoAir on Mute secured a quadruple kill with the SAS shotgun to tie up the scoreline between the two teams. Despite SMS managing to hold onto Mkers, keeping them from securing a notable lead, Mkers were clearly the better team on this map as their round wins for the rest of the maps were all significantly more one-sided than SMS’s. The pattern of each team taking turns to win two rounds in a row eventually ended as Mkers, up 6-4, and took round 11 thanks to a double-kill by Sloppy while entering into the site, giving Mkers map one.

That was, however, Mkers’ pick, with SMS’s pick of Bank up next. SMS initially managed to keep up with Mkers, however this ability diminished as we progressed through the map. After Voy secured the first kill on Bank, taking out his own teammate, he redeemed himself by showing the impact a Pro League-calibre player can have in a tier-three league by securing a 1v3 in round two to put SMS on the board. Unfortunately, Voy and his teammates were clearly having communication issues as, after Mkers won round three, they were also gifted round four thanks to Voy’s team kill onto his teammate of NoAir seeing Gemini take out Voy amidst the chaos.

Fortunately, these three teamkills involving Voy were all we saw this map, with both teams managing to get a round each before we moved onto SMS’s defensive half. Double-kills by j3n4 and Mekses gave SMS round seven, but Mkers then ran away with the map. The following two rounds each saw Mkers come on top of 1vX situations, with Auer winning a 1v3 in round eight and Alation winning a 1v1 against j3n4 in round nine to put Mkers on map point. Soon enough, Mkers closed things out, as Sloppy secured a triple kill on Zofia and took the map 7-3.

And so Mkers were up 2-0, as they have been at numerous other Italian Finals. Going back to their own map pick of Coastline, it looked to be a pretty clear cut case from here on out, and it was -- for Samsung. SMS secured Coastline with a performance that would make many top-tier teams wary to face them there. While Auer got nine kills himself, Mkers could only scrape together a paltry total of eight across the entire map. Despite this obvious fragging ability by SMS, the map curiously included five plants in seven rounds, as Gemini never failed to get that job done. In the end, the lone close round in the map came on round six, when Torok attempted to retake the defuser and brought back a 1v3 to a 1v1 before losing it out to Gemini.

Samsung Morning Star during map three. (Photo: PGEsportsIT)

 

Next up, we had SMS’s second map of Villa, where they now aimed to continue their momentum from Coastline onto a fifth decider map. Unfortunately for them, this break between maps was enough to reset Mkers and they weren’t to falter again. Mkers came out of the gate with two clear rounds, which included a 4k from their top fragger of Sloppy on Jager, before SMS could get a word in with a round and a multi-kill of their own thanks to a triple-kill by their top fragger of NoAir. From this point, the teams started trading rounds with SMS staying in lockstep with Mkers thanks to a clutch by j3n4 before this pattern was broken on round nine as a flawless round by Mkers put them up 6-3. 

The map eventually ended thanks to a 1v1 victory between Sloppy and Voy, giving the map to Mkers in a 7-4 scoreline meaning the grand-final was won by Mkers, 3-1.

Mkers with their trophy. (Photo: PGEsportsIT)

We spoke to one of the event’s analysts about the Finals and the Italian scene:

Firstly, can you introduce yourself to the readers?

Hi everyone, I am Filippo "Etrurian" Burresi, one of the Italian casters who commented on the Rainbow Six Siege PG Nationals from its first season (Summer 2019). I am from the beautiful city of Florence, Italy (yes, I love to remember that I am from the city of Dante) and I am 29 years old (quite old)!

This is Alation and Torok’s sixth straight Italian national title, what makes their team so untouchable?

In my personal opinion, their mindset is so huge; whichever team they play, with any kind of player they are together, they know what to do. We need to also say that they were with the best of what the Italian scene can give to them (sNakj, Fratelli, Peak, Sloppy, BakaBryan, jahk and lastly AueR and SirBoss) all the time. They always make the team as competitive as possible and they always make them work with their experience and knowledge about the game (remember that they are also ex-Pro League players)!

Mkers during map four. (Photo: PGEsportsIT)

Which one player in each team stood out to you at the event in particular?

I would love to say Auer for Mkers and NoAir for Samsung Morning Stars. I don't go with Sloppy, Torok, Alation and SirBoss because in Mkers or in any other team (SirBoss in Penta in PL) they had already shown how they are strong and how they are game changers during the last splits. This time and sometime during the season, Auer just wore the carry-pants and brought Mkers out of trouble and can show how important he is in the team! (I go by memory but I think this is one of his first LAN events, though I am not sure right now). And stats show it as well (thanks to SiegeGG).

NoAir on the other hand was always one of the best on his team but during the regular split he was always in the dark behind some big plays from J3n4 or Voy. But in this LAN he just showed how big his impact is and how it was so important throughout the split. He is the glue of the team which makes everybody look so good. It showed as well in these Finals, with lot of good plays and some clutches as well

Samsung Morning Stars. (Photo: @MorningStarsET)

Elsewhere on the Weekend

As well these two tournaments and the US Nationals, the weekend also saw a number of other tournaments take place around the world: 

  • The end of the Mexican Challengers group stage in which the remaining eight teams fought for a spot at the eventual cross-regional Finals in Mexico City
  • The continuation of the two South-East Asian tournaments of the Operation League Thailand and Operation League Taiwan worth a combined ~$26,000
  • The last weekend of the Saturday League regular season with €5,000
  • The Final 6 French Challengers Qualifier

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The Benelux and PG Nationals will return later this year, with both Trust Gaming and Mkers aiming to defend their titles against strong opposition. For now, keep an eye out here at SiegeGG for updates on national events around the world and for announcements of the next Benelux and Italian nationals when they come.