European Open Division playoffs close as The Crucible teams are set
Seven weeks of European Open Division competition has completed and the top 16 teams faced off to decide the final two to advance to the Crucible in May.
Team Zealot was clearly a favorite going into the playoffs as they led the standings with four Open Division Cup wins. While Polska Pamieta entered the playoffs as the fourth seed, they weren’t necessarily on the radar of being a strong contender but advanced convincingly to the semifinals undefeated.
Game one started the semifinals with a bang as the draft completed with Abathur versus The Lost Vikings from Team Zealot and Polska Pamieta respectively. The Lost Vikings turned into the better specialist pick as Polska took the first win. They then turned around and chose back Abathur going into game two and proved that the map objective isn’t always everything as they ignored both Immortals from the side of Team Zealot. Even with the Abathur pick, Polska took the game two lead ending with 23-4 kills.
Team Zealot made a strong comeback taking the next two games and evening up the series to force a game five tiebreaker. Game five was certainly the most equal game of the series. Team Zealot attempted to take Abathur again, hoping it would treat them better than it did in the first game of the series. As levels were equaled at 16, Zealot took the boss as Polska were down by two Heroes. After a failed team fight from Polska, Team Zealot made the comeback sweep and advanced to the finals.
On the other side of the semifinals, Team Gangang faced Team Leftovers. Team Gangang formed later in the Open Division but made enough waves winning the sixth cup but was actually eliminated in the second round of the seventh cup. That was enough for them to earn a spot in the playoffs. Team Leftovers was a fairly new team as well, only playing in the last three cups and earning third place in the fifth and sixth cup.
Team Gangang started strong, taking game one convincingly with 11-0 kills and an 18-14 level lead. After winning game two it seemed to go all in Team Gangangs favor as Team Leftovers just couldn’t contest. Going into game three, Gangang earned level 10 well ahead of Leftovers during an Immortal strong. Along with having a much stronger defense on Battlefield of Eternity, Team Gangang took the win and advanced to the finals to face Team Zealot.
While both Team Gangang and Team Zealot automatically advance to the Crucible, the two faced off in the finals to decide which team would be able to pick which of the two bottom HGC Premier teams they would face.
Game one started fierce as Team Zealot took Probius first pick and after earning one zerg wave after another on Braxis Holdout, took the lead. Team Gangang cut Zealot’s enthusiasm short as they dominated game two on Towers of Doom, controlling just about all the altar spawns and even grabbing the boss at level 10. What started as a comeback fight turned against Team Zealot and Gangang took four kills along with level 16. Thanks to a strong fight at the boss, Team Gangang evened up the match 1-1. As Team Zealot fought for a comeback, it didn’t stick as Gangang won the next two games and the Open Division Finals.
Although there is one more weekend of European HGC Premier League left, the bottom two teams are imminent. beGenius and Synergy will join Team Gangang and Team Zealot in The Crucible May 27th. Team Gangang now has the choice which of the professional teams they will face in a best of seven series. The other two teams will play as well and the two winners will advance to the HGC Premier League.
The Open Division is not finished yet! The North American Open Division playoffs will take place next week, May 15th to decide the two North American teams to advance to their Crucible.
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