Welcome all to the start of the post season! After 9 long weeks, we have finally made it to the money rounds. With playoffs starting on the 27th, and only five of the six playoff spots spoken for, it is time for an exciting night of Gauntlet to decide who will punch their ticket and prove they belong in the running for the title. With Flash 2 Harass dropping out of Royal last week, we have four teams in contention for the final playoff spot this week so we will be going over each team in order that they will appear and looking at what it will take for them to come out of tonight as Royal’s sixth seed in playoffs. I will also be including my personal predictions for the Gauntlet at the bottom of the document for anyone who wants to know my personal take on how the four teams stack up against each other. As always, thank you for spending your time reading my subjective ranting on each of the teams in Royal and please feel free to reach out if you have any thoughts or ideas for future content you want to see. XOXO, Sharp/Tanner/Otter.
First Leg: Abyssal Asphalt
Abyssal Asphalt had a rather rough start to the season seeing as they essentially had to restart their season partway through but with a 0-3 record to start their climb. They did pull their season around, going 3-3 in the remaining weeks and ended the season on a two-week winning streak taking down multiple teams that made the playoffs already, including EXNOL who secured a first round bye. Needless to say, this team is on a hot streak right now and will be a tough competitor for anyone they may face, both in the Gauntlet and in the playoffs if they make it there. Given that they are starting in the first leg of the Gauntlet, Abyssal will have to win three games straight without having side selection in any of them. If they want to run the Gauntlet this week, Abyssal needs to come into game one fast and strong and keep that confidence they have shown these last few weeks going tonight. They should look to stick to comfort in these do-or-die games and ride their win streak through their opponents and utilize the fact that they aren’t coming into leg two and three cold, they’re coming into those games with wins to their name already on the night. It’s because of this momentum that they can continue to garner come the later legs of the Gauntlet that I feel winning in the first leg can easily slingshot this team all the way through the night to a playoff berth. If they want to push for a playoff spot, I also want to see strong carry performances out of who have come to be the pillars on this team in Angelic Poro and hi im velos. If they take that energy along with strong individual performances and are also careful to stay on comfort and not get too experimental, I think Abyssal will have a real chance at championing the night come leg three.
First Leg: Anonymous Esports
Anonymous Esports have been in a rough spot so far this season. They come into the night at 2-7 with both of their wins coming off the back of forfeits. Regardless, the Gauntlet does not care about how your past nine weeks have gone and that is the beauty of it. Everyone comes into the Gauntlet (essentially) as equals. Best of one. Winner stays, loser goes. Last one standing wins. Not only does the past not matter going into the night, Anonymous does come into the first leg with the advantage over Abyssal Asphalt given they have side select for the first game of the night. With how important side select is right now in the meta, this can be a huge boost to Anonymous’ chances to tip the scale and get the ball rolling to start the night off for this squad. And if they can scoop up the first win, they can easily take that momentum forward to the second and third legs and run the Gauntlet from start to finish. With that said, for Anonymous to come out of the night with the sixth seed in hand, they need to come into the night with a plan. They have side select, they have 9 weeks of drafts and match results to comb over, so I want them to come into the night with a solid plan on how to pick up a win. Beyond that, they also need to be ready for the long night against varying opponents and playstyles so I also need to see this team have a plan for the teams later on in the night, not just Abyssal, if they are to come out on top. As for players, I really want to see what the new additions to this roster will bring into the team with Alcremiie coming in as the new starting support and gavdougiefresh potentially coming in as the new starting top laner. Regardless, anything can happen Gauntlet night and if this team can come into the night reset with a plan, I think they can make playoffs happen.
Second Leg: BARF Bravo
BARF Bravo is a team that has been a mystery to me all season long. From high expectations, to org changes, to roster resets galore, to explosive revivals to unexpected slumps, this team has been on one rollercoaster of a season thus far. Coming into the night on somewhat of a cold streak, having lost the last four weeks of the regular season, granted to some very strong playoffs teams along the way, they definitely need to find a way to relight the fire going into Gauntlet this week. Having avoided the first round of the night, I will be looking to see how effectively BARF uses this advantage they have been given. For this team to come out on top, they need to watch the first leg of the night and take notes on how the team they end up facing is playing. They have side select in their first game and a game to watch their first competitor and I expect them to use those advantages to the fullest otherwise they could be facing a timely exit from the league. If this team wants to find themselves a spot in the playoffs, they need to use all their advantages to win their first game and remember, as a team, what it feels like to close out a game. They will also need to be ready for the final team of the night come the third leg and I expect whoever is working behind the scenes to be ready to come in with a round three plan to take BARF to the playoffs. For this team specifically, I also want to see a strong performance out of Parlinex. I think this player is paramount to their success and has shown up in a big way in their wins and even in some of their losses. I think if their preparation is there, Parlinex having a stelar night will be crucial to BARF winning on the night. If you have yet to catch on, the Gauntlet is a test of preparation and planning in my mind, and I think if this team can come in with a strong plan of their own, they can definitely show why they were feared at multiple times this season and make their way into playoffs as the sixth seed.
Final Leg: DoV Chaos
Finally, we reach the last leg of the night in DoV Chaos. DoV have had a very up and down season so far, rounding out at 4-5 and the sixth seed after the regular season, barely losing out on a three-way tiebreaker for fourth. Having barely missed out on the playoffs once this season, I expect this team to be hungry to get that sixth spot in the playoff bracket. They have an insane advantage against all the other teams before them in that they get to see everyone else play at least one game before playing their one game to decide who makes it and who does not. They also have side select to boot and I really hope for their sake that they utilize these advantages by both watching the games before them, and by coming in with a game plan for whatever side they feel they are stronger on. Yes, this is almost entirely the same as the teams before them, but it really is the most important thing for finding success in the Gauntlet. This is especially true for DoV given whoever they play will have momentum on their side, coming into the final leg with a win already under their belt whereas DoV will be coming in cold to the matchup. Besides the prep necessary, I also want to see sonicabs show up big for this team. It feels like a lot of the times that this team finds success it is off the back of really good jungle gameplay from sonicabs so I want to see them really come in clutch for this squad in their best of one for playoffs at the end of the night. If this team can come into the night ready to fight for their spot, the spot that barely alluded them just last week, they should be able to round out our playoff pool to end the night.
Thank you to everyone who read all the way through this article and I hope you all enjoy watching tonight’s matchups and I wish all teams competing the best of luck. I know I touch on preparation a lot in this article as the main contributor to a team’s success, but I truly feel good preparation is an essential foundation to strong results, especially in such a high pressure scenario like in the post season. When everyone comes in with strong prep, then we get to really see who the better team is, which players have the stronger nerves, and who will perform when push comes to shove. I really am excited about the post season as it is my favorite part of every season, both as a spectator and competitor. Thank you again for reading and I do hope you all tune in to all of Gauntlet and playoffs in the weeks to come. And without further ado, please enjoy yourself to my personal predictions below.
Tanner’s Gauntlet Predictions:
First Leg: Abyssal Asphalt 1 – 0 Anonymous Esports
Second Leg: Abyssal Asphalt 1 – 0 BARF Bravo
Third Leg: DoV Chaos 1 – 0 Abyssal Asphalt