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Fabio | 8. November 2020

R6 EU Major: Empire Enter Grand Finals As Top Seed!

Team Empire have achieved what only few thought possible before the November Major: They overcame BDS in a Best-of-Three match and are now heading into the Grand Finals as the top seed.

Today will be a rough and exciting day for fans of the French BDS Esport. While they did make it into the Grand Finals, Empire are waiting for them with a map advantage. In the Upper Bracket Finals, Stéphane “Shaiiko” Lebleu and company fell on a 1-2 score and had to fight through the Lower Bracket.

VIRTUS.PRO FALTER JUST SHY OF THE FINISH LINE

The tournament kicked off with a grand surprise. In their Opening Match, BDS were quite shaky, but eventually got a 2-1 victory, in which all players showed up more or less. Even Adrien “RaFaLe” Rutik, who usually reels in negative ratings, got up to a comfortable 0.99 rating with 30 kills. Virtus.pro shocked them with an 8-6 victory in Villa, putting them just one map win away from a stunning upset.

VP won three rounds in a row on Clubhouse, after which BDS got two rounds during the remainder of the half. Following two strong defense rounds, they tied the score at 4-4, but Virtus.pro quickly got up to match point. At this point, however, their nerves started to set in. This close to victory, VP lost their cool and gave BDS a way back into the game, losing overtime on a 6-8 scoreline and heading onto a third map.

Again, the teams pulled off an even first half, which should have given VP the edge for the second half. After all, the Oregon defense is considered to be quite overpowered. But that didn’t help them, as BDS swiftly secured a 6-4 lead. One round separated them from victory, but they suddenly crumbled under the pressure as well and let VP bring the match to overtime again. There, the Russians managed to win one more round, after which BDS finally pulled their act together and secured the last remaining points for an 8-7 win.

On paper, the favorites managed to win, but one single round could have completely altered the outcome of this match and could have sent Virtus.pro to the Upper Bracket. BDS haven’t shown up nearly as dominantly as they used to during EUL Stage 2.

EMPIRE WITH SOME INITIAL DIFFICULTIES

Tempira Esports kicked things off with a 7-3 win over Team Empire, thus securing the first map. Danila “Dan” Dontsov and company were obviously not warmed up just yet and gave away rounds they should definitely have won. But this defeat on the first map surely helped them wake up in time, as they really got going on Clubhouse.

Tempra managed to win defenses on Church/Arsenal and Cash/CCTV, but Empire ran away with the following rounds. Dmitry “Scyther” Semenov pulled off a 3k clutch to end the map on a 7-2 scoreline, sending the teams onto the decider. There, Empire were even more dominant. Tempra secured one attacking round on Oregon, but then the Frenchmen had to watch as their opponents got round after round. After a 1-5 half, Tempra were unable to find a response to the Russians’ game plan. With just one round win, they handed the last map to Empire.

So after some initial difficulties, Empire did pull off a dominant run in the end. Dan led the match on a 1.43 rating, whereas Artur “ShepparD” Ipatov only managed to add 8 kills to the overall tally. Even though they put up a better show than BDS, only few of their players were actually present.

BDS SUCCUMB IN UPPER BRACKET FINAL

But the same held true for BDS when they finally got to meet Empire. Actually, they got a great start to the match as Olivier “Renshiro” Vandroux clutched the first round. Following this up, Loïc “BriD” Chongthep even won a 1v4 duel. The first half on Coastline went to BDS with 4 round wins, setting them up for a victory on the offense.

But there, the Frenchmen showed massive deficits. In the 10th round, double kills courtesy of Renshiro and Bryan “Elemzje” Tebessi helped them to another point. After that, Empire ran away with their defense and secured the 7-5 comeback.

BDS got the chance to turn things around on their map pick, Oregon, pulling off a rather easy 7-3 win. They secured an even first half on their Kafe offense and after the first defense round, they held a 4-3 lead. However, Empire dominated on the attack and easily snatched a 7-4 map and match victory.

Again, Always was the leading figure for his team, but Dan accompanied him this time around. ShepparD was still unable to connect to his team’s performance. But the same held true for RaFaLe and Elemzje, even the 32 kills courtesy of Shaiiko didn’t help. So BDS have finally suffered their first Best-of-Three defeat in months and, more importantly, missed the chance to get into the Grand Finals.

A DETOUR TO THE GRAND FINALS

So the Frenchmen entered the Lower Bracket. There, Virtus.pro were already waiting for a shot at revenge. After their incredibly close opening match, they hoped to finally beat BDS and make it to the Major final. However, they were robbed of the opportunity to do so.

After a hard-fought regulation time on Villa, the teams were forced into overtime. There, Renshiro delivered double and triple kills to pull off an 8-7 victory. On their map pick, Clubhouse, they held all the cards and played out a near-perfect defense, granting them a 7-4 win and kicking VP out of the tournament.

So BDS did eventually make it to the Grand Finals. But are they ready for a rematch versus Empire? In this Best-of-Five, the Russians are playing with a map advantage, but that didn’t really stop BDS in the August Major Grand Finals against G2 either. Their chances depend on how much tricks Empire still have up their sleeves, or whether they have actually used everything up in the Upper Bracket already. BDS will use every waking minute to fix their mistakes. So if Empire don’t have anything more to show, they will struggle to make this Grand Finals a success.