Steven R. May 4, 2019
Winners League Season 2’s group stage is officially past the halfway point and we’re starting to see teams make a push for a spot in the playoffs.
Both divisions have an intriguing mix of recognizable names and fresh blood topping their groups, but few of them are topped by those teams that were expected to dominate.
A lot of intriguing new teams have been flexing their muscles throughout the season, and week four was no different.
Team of the Week: ATK
ATK has been a steady presence through the opening of Winners League competition. The South African team has been the biggest revelation of the season to this point. The team entered this week with a 2-0 record including a key win over Lazarus Esports, and advanced to 4-0 with a pair of dominant performances.
ATK’s week opened with a 16-0 trouncing of Counter Logic Gaming Red. Though the game was actually last week’s featured upcoming match, the match was wholly uncompetitive as ATK encountered minimal resistance en route to a win.
That win on its own would have put ATK in consideration for being the top team of week four, but ATK came very close to repeating that performance just a day later. Playing against Hysteria, ATK sprinted their way to a 16-2 win to seal up the week.
With those two lopsided wins, ATK now boasts a 4-0 record with a +42 round differential. The team has a spot in the playoffs almost completely locked down and might be the favorite to win the North American division finals.
Play of the Week: Whoops! Ex-TDR with the Team Kill
The Ex-TDR team was looking formidable in its game against Virtus.pro. The first half margin was razor thin and when the Bulgarian brutes manufactured a two-on-one situation in the final round of the first half, they looked ready topush deeper against the biggest name in this season’s European division.
Unfortunately, things went very sideways when Hristiyan “Redstar” Pironkov was shot in the back of his head by his teammate.
Just like that, what should have been a slam dunk became a very precarious situation for the Ex-TDR team. Janusz "Snax" Pogorzelski made the most of it for Virtus.pro. He sat back, waited for the defuse sound, and poked his head out when the time came to sneakily seal the round. It was a tough blow for Ex-TDR and led to a 16-11 loss.
Game to Watch Next Week: PACT vs. BPro Gaming
Group C in the European division is shaping up to be the most competitive in all of Winners League Season 2 and that makes all the games involving its teams worth watching. This week, PACT and BPro Gaming are set to face off in a critical game for both teams.
With a 2-0 record, PACT are on shaky footing. While they are technically undefeated, they still have a lot of Counter-Strike ahead of them with seven of the group’s eight teams still in the hunt for a playoff spot. A loss at this stage would make things tricky for PACT, and handing over a win to a team that they might be jockeying for a spot with would be even worse.
At 3-0, BPro Gaming is in a nearly identical spot. Though the Bulgarian squad technically sit on top of the group, one loss would send them sliding down to third place and one more might send them tumbling outside of the top four. Meanwhile, a win would come close to mathematically guaranteeing the team a spot in the playoffs.
Both have little margin for error at the moment, and will have even less if they come away with a loss here. There are clear stakes to this game, and it should be a good matchup when they face off on May 7.