*Cover image source: @ESLCS
The first day of play at the ESL Pro League Season 7, APAC finals saw two Australian teams, Tainted Minds and Grayhound Gaming come out on top to claim the first two playoff spots. The 2 Asian teams, B.O.O.T-dream[S]cape and The MongolZ were eliminated in the process.
Tainted Minds looked to be in good form as they took down The MongolZ on Cache to start things off. On the other side d[S] too started off with a close win over Grayhound Gaming taking cache 16-14.
In the WB finals, Tainted Minds had the edge over d[S], and the Australians showed strong T side play in both maps to take the series 2-0. Despite a 5 round deficit on Mirage, they bounced back on the T side with 5 straight rounds off the bat to equalize the score. d[S]’s weak CT side never really got going and TM finished them off 16-12. On Cache, it was even worse for d[S] as TM were the ones starting on the T side, and they effectively closed out the map in the first half itself with a dominant 12-3 performance. The match ended at 16-6 with d[S] getting knocked down to the lower bracket.
In the lower bracket, Grayhound Gaming picked up the 2-0 over MongolZ to eliminate them from the competition. The first map, Mirage was close going into OT before the Australians could close it out 25-23. However in their own map pick, Overpass, the Mongolians looked underprepared as the GH took 13 rounds on their CT side to set up an easy 16-7 victory.
In the lower bracket finals, GH had a chance at revenge against d[S] for their earlier defeat and the win against MongolZ boosted their confidence enough to allow them to take the series. d[S] who were playing with a standin, Bobosaur instead of Benkai were left in a state of disarray as GH came out with a whole new level of aggression that the Singaporeans were not ready to tackle. Both maps, cobblestone and mirage were effectively over in the first half itself. A nonexistent T side from d[S] allowed GH to pick up 13 rounds on their CT side in both maps and there was no coming back as d[S] only managed to take 12 rounds in the entire series to end their run with a disappointing finish.
Tainted Minds move onto the playoffs as first seeds from Group B while Grayhound Gaming move on as the second seeds.