The last two spots for the Battlerite Community Series were on the line Wednesday night during the final qualifying round of the series.
Ten teams clawed through the double elimination bracket for a chance to compete in the main season, which will be held over the next two months. After many hard-fought series, teams Excel Wizards and NA tour EU winners came out on top.
Excel Wizards, comprised of popular streamers Finlev, neewha, and Skywind, plowed their way through the upper bracket to post a convincing win against all comers, culminating in their 1-0 (5-2) victory over European team NA tour EU winners.
Finlev and neewha have played together in several tournaments in the past, including earlier BCS qualifiers but with limited success. The addition of Ashka specialist Skywind seemed to push them over the top. Despite this tournament being their first together as a three-man team, their synergy looked strong and their individual skills were undeniable.
They used the same composition in all of their games, with neewha and Finlev playing their signature Lucie and Taya, respectively, and Skywind deviating from his beloved fire gremlin to provide a beefy Ruh Kaan frontline.
Their strong poke play was supplemented by agile kiting from Taya, daring brinksmanship from Ruh Kaan diving in and out of the fray, and an unusual amount of high-value Lucie ultimates (accompanied by a chorus of “THE GOO” on comms). It all led to the drowning-out of NA tour EU winners in a close match, who, after the first game, tapped out and chose to take their chances in the lower bracket.
Veteran players bLankkz, Iska, and Winghaven, fresh from their forfeit at the hands of Excel Wizards, found themselves up against team Drama in the lower bracket finals. Playing with a ping disadvantage on North American servers and struggling with fatigue as the qualifier stretched into the early morning hours in their European time zone, NA tour EU winners fought their way to a hard-won 2-0 (5-3, 5-4) victory.
The second game was especially close and came down to the ninth round, with high-level play on both sides. A disruptive, CC-heavy playstyle from Iska’s Croak and consistent defensive play with godlike reads from bLankkz’s Lucie allowed Winghaven’s strong neutral game as Jumong to run rampant, eventually crushing all attempts at aggression from their foes.
After the match, the team admitted that though their picks had strong synergy, they were just comfort picks for all three players. In fact, the team itself is more or less a pick-up group: though all three players have laddered together, they reportedly only decided to compete an hour before the tournament.
Still, the team looks forward to the league and appreciates its format, which incentivizes teams to stay together and gives lots of players a chance to compete.
With the qualifiers over, the inaugural season of the Battlerite Community Series is set to begin on Sunday, December 4th at 8 PM EST. BCS will be played throughout the months of December and January, with the eight qualified teams fighting for a crowdfunded prize pool of to-be-determined value.
Make sure to check out their website and donate to the prize pool if you’re so inclined. We’ll be publishing a preview of the event with a focus on the participating teams and the format, so stay tuned!