SRA clinched a spot in the Indian Lan finals of ZOWIE eXTREMESLAND Asia 2018 by beating Brutality over 3 maps ( Cache 10-16, Dust2 – 16-10, Nuke 16-13) in a grueling series.

The action started on Cache with Brutality on the T side. Brutality initiated a quick A hit through the mains. But, a 1v1 from Aflekx ensured SRA bagged the first pistol round of the series.

SRA converted the following two rounds to start off with a 3-0 lead. Juventa though, came up huge with a 3k on the A site to earn Brutality’s first round win, forcing SRA into an eco. Brutality converted the first of the anti-ecos.

But, a brilliant 2k from the deagle in the following round by Negative on the B site ensured SRA hit back. Macho then defended the A site brilliantly with a 3k before being burnt by the molotov to push SRA into a 5-2 lead.

With the scoreline at 6-2, Juventus produced another 3k at the A site to break SRA’s streak. The Kolkata-based stack though, soon replied with a round of their own, resetting Brutality. As is the case with Counter-Strike though, Brutality converted the round with a weak buy to get their fourth round on the board.

Brutality rode the wave of momentum to then level the scores at 7-7. Juventa produced another exhilarating piece of individual skill with a 4k at A to ensure Brutality ended the half with a narrow lead.

Brutals bagged the pistol round and the ensuing rounds to push the score to 11-7 in their favour.

SRA seemed to have no way past the Brutality defence on either site, with the Kolkata-based team failing in their attempts on both the sites in the following rounds.

Spy came up huge with a 4k on the B defence in the 21st round to propel Brutality to a 14-7 lead. Dreamy responded with a 4k of his own at 7-15.

SRA did manage to string together two more rounds to back up Dreamy’s individual magic before Brutality closed out the map 16-10.

Brutality started on the T side again, this time on Dust2. The Mumbai-based stack seem to be favouring the A short area and chose to rush A through the same on the pistol round. SRA though, shut them down to land the pistol round.

SRA raced to a 6-0 lead as Brutality were forced to take a Timeout to rethink their strategy. The Ts then decided to execute a fast A long control strategy. But, after taking somewhat of a control of A long, they fell back to hit A short, which forced SRA into a save.

Two more hits through A short yielded results for Brutals as they seemed to have finally found a chink in SRA’s A defence. SRA responded with a brilliant 4v4 retake of the B site to get their seventh round on Dust2.

But, Brutality were unrelenting in their aim to hit SRA’s A defence and closed the gap to within a round. Rix then came up with a 4k to level the scores and force SRA into a weak buy.

SRA though, made the force-buy work, closing the half with an 8-7 scoreline. Brutality decided to take Tunnels control on the pistol round, which caught SRA off-guard.

Brutality managed one more round before SRA broke back to level the scores at 9-9. SRA then raced to a 12-9 lead before a 3k from Rix saw Brutality hit double figures.

SRA though, were unfazed by Rix’s individual skill and maintained their composure to get the remaining rounds. They closed out Dust2 16-10, pushing the series into the decider, Nuke.

Venom seemed to have done enough to start Nuke with a pistol round win on the CT side. But, a cleverly-played 1v2 from Dreamy saw SRA bag the pistol round. But, they fluffed their lines in the anti-eco.

Brutality committed the same crime, with SRA regaining their lead. With momentum on their side, SRA dismantled Brutality’s defence, rushing to a 6-1 lead. A 4k from Venom on the pistols buy almost secured Brutality their second round but SRA were saved by a molotov.

SRA’s attempt to take Outer control was foiled by Spy as his 2k ensured Brutality finally broke SRA’s streak. The Guru though, responded with a 4k as SRA rushed ramps to break back immediately and reset Brutality.

As has been the case throughout the series, Brutality won the round despite the reset. Brutality managed two more rounds before SRA responded. Brutality were then punished for their halls aggression as they surrendered the last round of the half with SRA leading 10 to 5.

Brutality chose to move quickly through Ramps to the Heavens and hit A, which caught SRA by surprise. Dreamy though, was on point during the entire Nuke and produced a brilliant 3k on the following round to aid SRA’s cause.

SRA then raced to a 13-6 lead before Brutality took the B site successfully after initial trouble to land their seventh round on Nuke. A 3k from Rix saw Brutality bag one more round before SRA retook the B site to break back and push the score to 14-8.

With SRA reaching map point, the pressure was on Brutality to perform. So they did, with a fast A rush through the door. Brutality somehow managed to bring back the deficit to within 4 rounds before Venom added to the hopes of a comeback with a 3k.

Brutality converted the anti-eco to bring themselves with 2 rounds of forcing an Overtime. But, with SRA fully equipped, they shut down the Brutals offence and closed out Nuke 16-13.

With the win, SRA become the third team after Optic India and Entity to land themselves a spot in the Regional LAN Finals of ZOWIE eXTREMESLAND Asia 2018.

What was particularly delightful and refreshing about SRA’s gameplay was their ability to trade instantly and negate man advantages of the opposition. Their rotations often caught Brutality off-guard.

Another interesting highlight was that the entire series boasted of several individual moments. There wasn’t much tactical nous to the play of either team and the rounds often came down to individual brilliance and raw aim.

SRA were the better individuals on the day and displayed the better brand of Counter-Strike. The Kolkata-based team were not among the eight teams to be invited to the Direct Invite Qualifiers. But, this was a statement performance, with SRA beating Invictus 2-0 and then overcoming Brutality – two of the teams who were invited.

Perhaps, this will catapult SRA into recognition and make them a contender for invites to future Indian events.