Underdogs reign supreme early in Winners League Season 2 playoffs
The Winners League Season 2 playoffs have officially begun, and it was a big week for underdogs.
Top seeds in both the North American and European divisions took on teams that just squeaked into the playoffs. You wouldn’t have known which was which from the results though, as the lower-ranked teams scored some impressive upsets to advance to the quarterfinals.
There was a lot to talk about, but here are the biggest moments that happened last week and the best game to look forward to over the coming days.
Team of the Week: Team One
Team Prospects (formerly Royal) looked like one of the favorites to win the North America division’s top prize. They scored a 7-0 record in the group stage and were starting off their run in the playoffs against TeamOne, who just snuck in with a 4-3 record. Instead, the Brazilians posted a lopsided 2-0 win over the Josh "JoshRT" Lee's squad.
The first game was an utter rout as TeamOne sprinted to a 13-2 half in game one on Mirage and closed things out shortly after. Game two looked to be breaking in the other direction as Prospects kicked off Overpass with five straight round wins, but the team collapsed from there as TeamOne rallied to 9-6 by halftime. Prospects’ inability to maintain momentum continued, as the team sputtered towards a 16-10 loss.
The game was an excellent showing from TeamOne, with Pedro "Maluk3" Campos in particular shining brightly for the squad. They’ll be the underdogs once again in the quarterfinals as they face Team Singularity, but it’s hard to brush them off after a series like this.
Play of the Week: Unique Team Seals the Deal in Style
CIS squad Unique Team flew under the radar for much of the Winners League Season 2 group stage. Part of that is because they were in the competitive Group D in the Europe division, but part of it is also because they never looked that spectacular.
That changed in the playoffs with the team taking on PACT. The Polish squad were the clear favorites after amassing a 6-1 record in the packed Group C, but things quickly looked out of sorts as the squads split a pair of 16-10 games to start the series. The deciding showdown was a wacky one as Unique Team rocketed off to a 13-2 lead, only to have PACT run it back and force overtime.
It was a wild series and Unique Team sealed it up in wild fashion, with Alexander "uNdo" Kiziukevich sealing up the 2-1 series win with a cheeky triple kill. It was an exceptional showing from Unique and one that hints that they may be serious contenders to win the division.
Game to Watch Next Week: Lazarus Esports vs. Lowkey Esports
Lowkey Esports was one of the most intriguing teams to watch in the Winners League Season 2 group stage. The largely unheralded North American squad looked legit throughout, taking lopsided wins over most of the washouts and looking competitive against the likes of INTZ eSports.
They have the chance to really establish themselves as a force in the playoffs, starting with this game against one of the North American division’s biggest names. Lazarus Esports has become a familiar face at large events in recent months and the team looked excellent in the group stage, notching a 6-1 record in Group A.
Lowkey will be looking to make a name off Lazarus, so expect them to bring their A-game when they face off next week.
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