Only three weeks remain of the group stages in SC2Improve Team League America and the teams are beginning to close in on the six playoff positions available (three from each group). The three remaining matches will be decisive for every team as even teams back in 6th or 7th places in the groups can still realistically make it to the playoffs, providing the results go their way. Let's take a quick look at the major story lines so far.
Can anybody beat these guys?
In both Group A and Group B the first place team is yet to lose a match. ROOT Gaming hold the position in Group A, though they haven't made it easy for themselves. With two 4-3 and three 4-2 victories last weeks match was a little easier for ROOT as they won with a 4-1 score against Alloy eSports - their best result so far this season. While its undeniable that they are the favorites to win this group and to move to the playoffs they really were just a handful of maps away from being in a much different position.
Group B's leaders IvD Gaming are in a different league altogether - over their six matches they have only lost two maps. They have arguably some of their harder matches remaining, but having already cleaved through Solaris, DuSt and others nobody is going to be ready to bet that they will fail to pass into the playoffs in first position.
The Scrap for 2nd and 3rd.
Second and third in each group is what the teams need to advance to the playoffs and it really is going to come down to the final games to see who will make it. The current contenders in Group A are Team Gravity, No Dice Gaming and Miraculous Gaming (with Kaos Latin Gamers, MicroGamerZ and Integrity only a single match behind). Coming into the season it was actually expected that MicroGamerZ would be the ones to look out for here, but they have had a lackluster performance so far, to say the least.
Important matches to watch out for will be the Week 7 match between Gravity and Miraculous Gaming and the Week 9 match between No Dice Gaming and Miraculous Gaming - the outcomes of which could sway the final positions in many different directions. On top of this if any of the teams yet to face ROOT (Integrity, No Dice Gaming and MicroGamerZ) can pull off a bit of an upset then we could see these top spots in Group A flung up in the air in the final weeks.
Group B is in a similar scenario - MicroGamerZ Academy currently place second with a 5-1 score - a score we were really expecting their main team to have. They play SEED, DuSt and IvD in the final three weeks - a victory against any one of them could be all they need to secure at least a third place finish. Below this academy team currently lie Ascension, DuSt and Solaris at a 4-2 score, and SEED at 3-3.
With SEED and Ascension yet to play top-dogs IvD in the final three weeks DuSt and Solaris look as though they might end up in a head on battle - though Solaris definitely have an easier set of matches remaining (a walkover, vs 9th place DeadlyGaming and vs Ascension who they currently tie with.) For Solaris finishing 7-2 is a real possibility and with that score nobody could stop them finishing in the top three. The Week 9 match against Ascension could be the real deal-breaker. DuSt will have a little more work to do, with matches against MgZ Academy, Immortals and Deadly Gaming remaining.
The TL;DR? Anything can happen! Certain teams certainly have better chances than others, but upsets have already been happening in this league and their will certainly be more before we are done. Who are you supporting? Who do you want to see win SC2ITL America Season One? Let us know @SC2_Improve on Twitter and make sure to #SC2ITL !