It was an arduous event for nearly every team, including the favourites Renegades, who navigated two full-length best-of-threes in the upper bracket, while ORDER dropped to the lower bracket and fought off a resurgent Chiefs outfit to book their tickets to Rio de Janeiro.
A 13th-16th finish at IEM Katowice and a short turnaround following their return from Poland did not faze Christopher ‘dexter’ Nong’s Renegades. Dexter & teammate Liam ‘malta’ Schembri will look to go back-to-back at the Asia Minor – this will be their third attendance in a row – while Jordan ‘Hatz’ Bajic will make his second appearance at a Minor following his stint at Kings Gaming Club in 2017.
For ORDER, a monstrous finals performance from Alistair ‘aliStair’ Johnston sees him through to his first Asia Minor in five attempts, while ex-Renegades Karlo ‘USTILO’ Pivac & Ricardo ‘Rickeh’ Mulholland will combine for 12 Minor attendances in Rio. ORDER’s qualification is particularly notable as it comes just less than a month after acquiring Jireh ‘J1rah’ Youakim, with the team 13-4 since he joined.
Renegades’ 2-0 (16-4, 16-9) over catman in the opening series was no surprise, considering the team came into the event 12-1 against OCE-based lineups, but were immediately troubled by AVANT in the winner bracket semifinal, dropping the opening map Train in overtime 16-19.
RNG bounced back immediately on Inferno to lead 10-5, but AVANT’s Euan ‘sterling’ Moore’s 25-frag effort threatened to beat the Asia Minor champions in two maps. RNG fought off the comeback attempt 16-11, then took control of Nuke 16-6 to meet ORDER in the winner bracket final.
ORDER’s only scare on their way to the winner bracket final came from Team Skyfire, who almost upset ORDER at ESL ANZ Championships last week, but went down tragically in a triple-overtime loss. History was looking to repeat itself when Skyfire sprinted to a 3-0 lead in OT on Mirage but ORDER weren’t letting the map slip, claiming the win 22-20, and eventually the series 2-0 with a 16-7 win on Vertigo. A quick 2-0 (16-8, 16-8) over Rooster (ex-madlikewizards) locked ORDER in for the winner bracket final match against Renegades.
Like AVANT, ORDER would exploit a map veto weakness to defeat RNG on Train 16-14, but after taking control on Nuke the Renegades never looked back, defeating ORDER 16-9. Joshua ‘INS’ Potter’s 26-10, 1.93 rated performance on Dust II cemented his squad’s appearance in Rio – ORDER dropping to the lower bracket after the 7-16 loss.
The real story of the lower bracket came from The Chiefs Esports Club – highly touted to challenge ORDER for the second spot at the Asia Minor. The Chiefs were halted early with a shock 1-2 (16-14, 9-16, 12-16) loss to Rooster, meaning a full lower bracket run would be required.
They gave it their best shot – reverse sweeping Skyfire 2-1 (2-16, 16-11, 19-17), beating AVANT 2-0 (16-11, 16-12) and taking down a resurgent Ground Zero Gaming 2-1 (16-7, 12-16, 16-9) back-to-back-to-back – to meet ORDER in the loser bracket final.
Unfortunately, fatigue after multiple long series combined with a ruthless ORDER performance, ultimately spelled doom for The Chief’s comeback run. A 1-16 loss on their own map pick of Nuke, before a valiant 13-16 defeat meant elimination for Chiefs, but elation for the ORDER lineup who will join Renegades in Rio later in April.
ESL One: Rio - Asia Minor Oceanic Qualifier Results:
3rd: Chiefs Esports Club
4th: Ground Zero Gaming
7th-8th: Team Skyfire, catman
ESL One: Rio - Asia Minor Team List:
Oceania #1: Renegades
Oceania #2: ORDER
Greater China #1: ViCi Gaming
Greater China #2: TYLOO
East Asia #1: Mazaalai
East Asia #2: TIGER
Southeast Asia: Lucid Dream
Middle East: Camel Riders