It is time for us to know who will represent India at Zowie eXTREMESLAND ASIA 2018. We will know the answer by the end of the weekend. Optic India and Entity emerged through the Direct Invite Qualifiers while Slaughter Rage Army and Brutality had to endure the Online Qualification stage to grab their spot at the Regional Finals.
We now look at the four teams that will battle it out at LXG in Bengaluru for a place in ZOWIE eXTREMESLAND Asia 2018.
Lineup: yB, Marzil, Antidote, forsaken, haivaan, Formless (sub)
Star Player: Sabyasachi ‘Antidote’ Bose
Favorite Map: Inferno/Overpass
The favorites to represent India at the grand stage and with good reason.
Optic India is still waiting to taste defeat at the hands of an Indian adversary, Online or otherwise. The team has been ably led by yB thus far, who has shown that he can more than match up to the younger stars in terms of firepower.
Agreed, they were run close by Entity in their latest encounter in ESL INDIA Premiership Online Phase, winning 16-14 and they did lose a map en route to the Premiership in the first place, with God Particles getting a map off them in the Challenger Playoff Final.
But, the team has oozed class on the server, with Antidote and Marzil being as dominant as ever. What has been refreshing is forsaken, haivaan and their ability to be a nuisance with any weapon at their disposal, showing their versatility.
Optic India go into the Finals as the top seed and face off against Slaughter Rage Army in the first of the matchups. SRA did run them close on Inferno in ESL India Premiership and it will be interesting to see if the Kolkata-based team can trouble Optic India on Saturday.
Lineup: Amaterasu, HellRanger, DMKing, Excali, Huntr
Star Player: Anuj ‘Amaterasu’ Sharma
Favourite Map: Mirage
It has hardly been smooth sailing for Entity, despite the huge amount of expectation that comes with the star-studded roster. The addition of DMKing, Excali and Huntr was touted to make Entity the toughest opponent to Optic India.
They did take one map off Optic India in the Direct Invite Qualifiers. But, their recent loss to JHS has brought forth a few questions on Entity’s form going into the Regional LAN Finals. Still a strong side and perhaps, the only team that can go toe-to-toe with Optic India in terms of firepower, Entity will be looking to be the team to represent India on the big stage and also register their first win over Optic India in the process as well.
Lineup: Varun ‘spy’ Mehta, Ankit ‘Venom’ Panth, Aakash ‘Rix’ More, Arun ‘Juventa’ kandpal, Jay ‘fox’ Shah
Star Player: Aakash‘Rix’More
Favorite Map: Inferno
The presence of Brutality on the Regional Finals stage is, in itself, an achievement. Ayush Deora chose to exit the roster, with Brutality bringing in Shooting Monkeys star spy to fill up the role. With Astar gone, much of the burden to fire the team to a win has been put on the shoulders of Venom.
Juventa has stepped up quite a bit but it is the Brutality captain that has to put up the numbers. However, Rix has shown signs of returning to his old form with the big green gun, which could be crucial if they are to beat Entity in the first of the matchups at LXG on Saturday.
Brutality have looked strong despite the departure of Astar and is not a team to be taken lightly, as they showed in the Last chance Online Qualifiers by grabbing the third seed over SRA.
What Brutality really need is to show up on the LAN as they have been doing over the course of the last few days in Online matches. If they manage to do that, Brutality might be able to conjure up a result a tad bit different to the ESL India Summer LAN Finale.
Slaughter Rage Army
Lineup: Bubun ‘The Guru’ Panday, Aniket ‘Aflekx’ Ghosh, Swarnadeep ‘Negative’ Majumder, Kiran ‘Dreamy’ Mistry, Dipayan ‘MaChO’ Das
Star Player: Dipayan‘MaChO’ Das
Favorite Map: N/A (Inferno/Dust2/Overpass)
A team that is so out of the box that it is impossible to mention a single favorite map for the Kokata-based stack. Four of the five players in Slaughter Rage Army have been present in the scene for a while now. They have used their raw aim and experience to bag the tag of the best team in East India and one of the premier teams in India.
But, their recent results have caught everyone by surprise, albeit positively. They boast of a positive record in the ESL INDIA Premiership Online Phase, with a shot at making it to the LAN Finale.
It was a surprise to see SRA not being invited to the DIQ. But, they answered back in a strong manner, winning the Bhubaneswar Qualifiers to grab a spot in the Last Chance Online Qualifiers, where they beat Invictus and Brutality – two of the teams that were invited to the DIQ – to become the first of the two teams to join Entity and Optic India.
While The Guru boasts of impressive numbers on the server, MaChO is arguably their most reliable player. The youngster has a unique style of lurk which enables him to be the difference on many-a occasions.
In the words of experts, the win-condition for SRA is MaChO being able to have an impact with his movement and frags on the server. They are up against Optic India to start things off. A shock win over them could send shockwaves within the Indian scene.
A positive showing at LXG will prove SRA are not just here to make up the numbers.