The US Nationals returned this week with some explosive matchups to jumpstart Stage 2! This week’s games featured four Pro League teams including Spacestation Gaming, DarkZero Esports, 92 Dream Team, and defending Team USA Rogue. Even these professional teams had to earn their spot in the US Nationals broadcast by playing through our open qualifiers on Saturday. The other four teams that qualified were certainly less proven and tenured, but would prove to surprise absolutely everyone during each conference’s Top 4.
The very first match of Stage 2 pitted Goany, Solandro, Bandy, Thumbus, and Musky of Team Boosted against 92 Dream Team. The freshly qualified Pro League team would be fielding a roster of Hyena, PiXeL, awD, Tomas, and Rexen. Team Boosted selected Villa and 92 Dream Team elected to defend. This map got off to an explosive start with a massive triple kill spraydown from Hyena to give 92 Dream Team a head start. They leapt out to a 3-0 lead, and Team Boosted would only return a single round on their attack. After halftime, 92 Dream Team took over on attack. A quick pair of rounds from Team Boosted seemed to bring their opponents back down to earth, at least for a minute. It took 92 Dream Team another four tries to pick up the two rounds they’d need to take the 7-5 win and move forward.
Our second Western Conference game was set up much the same, with a Pro League team in Rogue taking on the fresh faces of !claimcharm. Rogue’s starting 5 would be the same as in Stage 1: Slashug, VertcL, Shuttle, Easilyy, and Ecl9pse. While the !claimcharm roster of XecratioN, Breezy, Billboard, Rooty, and Shlognii was new, it featured some returning players for the US Nationals. The veteran side selected Consulate with map pick, and !claimcharm chose to defend. Rogue jumped ahead 3-0, and only lost two rounds on their attack. They remained dominant after switching sides, and mopped up !claimcharm 7-3.
The stage was set for the Western Conference final this evening with two Pro League teams going head to head. Defending Team USA Rogue needed to win this game to qualify for playoffs, while 92 Dream Team would look to be the third team to upset them in the US Nationals. The map pick again fell to Rogue, and they this time selected Clubhouse. 92 Dream Team opted to defend. Rogue came out of the gate a bit flat footed as they went down two rounds before returning one of their own. The remainder of Rogue’s attack was lackluster, save for a remarkable one-tap from Slashug in the closing round. 92 Dream Team locked out Rogue to the tune of a 5-1 scoreline at halftime, capped off by a stellar ace from Hyena. Despite a dismal first half, Rogue seemed rejuvenated on defense. They won three of their first four rounds, but the comeback was too late. The defending champions were upset once again, and 92 Dream Team’s 7-4 win sends them to the Conference Playoffs!
This week’s Eastern Conference was a near mirror of the West, with two relatively unknown teams alongside two Pro League favorites. In the first Eastern Conference semifinal we got to witness both newcomers. Noske, Mean, Sonar, Karlido, and Motive of S7ven Spades squared off against CryMagik, Bravodog, Blarne, Fahood, and Malfano of Parallax Gaming. With Coastline picked by S7ven Spades, Parallax settled to attack. Parallax Gaming got off to a very slow start with a pair of late pushes that netted them a two round deficit. It took a huge quad kill from Bravodog to jump start Parallax. The sides evened out for the balance of the first half resulting in a score of 3-3. S7ven Spades started off hot on their attack as they picked up a couple of rounds that pushed them to a 5-3 lead. Blarne helped Parallax answer in the following round as he knocked down two of the opposition with an incredible angle in penthouse. S7ven Spades returned with a round of their own, and moved to map and match point. Parallax Gaming refused to throw in the towel, and pushed through to overtime. Their side managed to string together four rounds in a row to take down S7ven Spades 8-6.
It would be tough to follow up that incredible overtime matchup, but DarkZero Esports and Spacestation Gaming were up to the task. Spacestation would choose to defend on DarkZero’s map pick of Border. The first half was a back and forth affair that ended with both sides tied 3-3. DarkZero swapped to defense after the half, and looked impressive. They were able to lock Spacestation out of the sites for the majority of their campaign. DarkZero looked to be in good shape as they dropped a single round en route to their 7-4 win over Spacestation Gaming.
DarkZero Esports would take the second slot in the evening’s final as they joined Parallax Gaming. Parallax opted to take the contest to Coastline where DarkZero would start off on attack. The veteran side appeared to have the advantage, securing a 4-2 first half. Parallax Gaming’s luck turned on their attack with a three round streak. DarkZero, not wanting this game to slip from their grasp, answered with a pair of rounds to secure match point. With everything on the line in the final round of regulation, Parallax’s Fahood pulled off a post-plant triple kill. As the match moved to overtime, the Pro League team looked shaky. Parallax Gaming had come from relative obscurity, and were pushing some of America’s best players to their limits. A loss in the first round of overtime set Parallax back. Despite this, they came back with the final two rounds of the game and defeated DarkZero Esports 8-7.
If you’d like to see the Top 5 plays in action, watch Slashug, Blarne, Hyena, and Fahood pull off their highlights on YouTube!
Want to ask Velly, Blu, and Stoax about the USN? Whether it’s the broadcast, teams, players, casting or anything else, tweet at us using the hashtag #R6USN!