All is said and done in Group B of the First Division of this seasons SC2Improve Team League. Sadly we see DarkStar, eSuba and ReG fall into the demotion zone with all games finished. More importantly however we have the teams advancing to the playoffs now set in stone in their final places. Vega Squadron already secured their place in the final eight some weeks ago and they finished up the season with an 11-0 scoreline. They will be joined by Alien Invasion, MaxFloPlaY and Team Gravity from their group.
Alien Invasion were almost a given to come out of this group - but the way they have dominated so far is incredible. They have barely had to fall back on their ace players Patience and Golden which many would have expected. Unfortunately they draw mYinsanity in the RO8 - the team who knocked them out last season with a 4-3 score. It's sort of funny - because this could very well be their toughest match in the entire of the playoffs. If they had avoided mYinsanity then they would probably be expected to make the semi-finals with a fair amount of ease - but luck isn't always on your side.
MaxFloPlaY are a dangerous team and have proven it in the group stage, but can they carry this forward? They play against ESC ICY BOX in the quarter-final - a match in which they will be the underdogs. We got a quick word from their manager about their journey so far in the league.
"For us it was the second season of the SC2ITL. In the first one we were close from advancing to the playoffs stage but we had worse map win-loss difference than LYGF. When we saw this seasons groups we had mixed feelings as our group looked slightly stronger than the previous one. I think that our first match which was against S1 runner-up Cascade was the most important one. That win gave us enough confidence to think positively about advancing. It's good that not only main team players gave us map wins but also inexperienced academy players. The playoffs bracket looks stacked so I'm more than happy that we can be a part of it! I'm sure that we can show good games so please come watch the stream and cheer for us :)" - Dariusz, MaxFloPlaY manager.
It sounds as though MaxFloPlaY will be giving it all they have as the head into the playoffs - it's really exciting to get to see these teams play against the best when everything is truly on the line.
The real underdogs come in the form of Team Gravity - scraping past Cascade - last seasons second place finishers - with their final game of the season to come into the playoffs. Gravity are one of the few American based teams who participate in the EU version of the league and it will probably come to a surprise to many that they came out ahead of some of the other teams in Group B. If you want an underdog to cheer for Gravity will be your best bet.
We will have a full interview with the American based team published in the coming days, but here is an excerpt to gather your interests :
"We definitely feel like the underdogs coming into the playoffs - there are a lot of very strong teams we'll have to fight through if we want to make it to the finals. I wouldn't say we necessarily feel confident going into the playoffs, but being the underdog definitely lights a fire under our asses to do well - it always has. We are still relatively new, and lesser known in comparison to some of the other teams in the playoffs, but making it this far and placing above some very strong European teams proves that we have what it takes to compete. " - Marten, Team Gravity manager.
The time has come, the playoffs are about to begin, are you ready?!