The 2018 CWL Championship has kicked off with several upsets, as Last Chance Qualifier teams took down CWL Pro League squads in the opening matches.
Groups A and B kicked off the tournament, with all four matches featuring a CWL Pro League team facing off against a squad from the Last Chance Qualifier.
The rigorous qualification and experience competing against the best teams in the world should put Pro League teams a cut above the rest of the field, but in the opening matches only one of them was able to secure victory – tournament favorites Rise Nation.
Most notably, CWL Pro League Stage 2 champions Team Kaliber suffered an early set-back, losing to Lightning Pandas in their opening match. The Pandas came into the event off of an underwhelming Last Chance Qualifier performance, but looked in impressive form as Dylan ‘Theory’ McGee took revenge over his former team-mates.
Meanwhile, both Epsilon Esports and Tainted Minds, 15th-16th finishers in Stage 2 of the Pro League, missed their opportunity to prove their worth, each falling to LCQ challengers in their first matches. Both teams are now very much in danger of missing out on a playoff spot.
Brash Esports started strong with an impressive hardpoint performance, but Rise Nation pulled off an impressive come-back and then shut down the rest of the series comfortably.
It’s been an underwhelming season for Epsilon, and early indications don’t seem to point in favor of ending on a high note. Spanish squad Heretics came through with an impressive opener, handing Epsilon a defeat that could well cost them a playoff spot.
The score-line might suggest a narrow upset, but if anything this series could have been even more convincing for Lightning Pandas. Only a first-map comeback for tK prevented a 3-0 sweep, and the final game was a dominant 6-0 victory for LP to secure the series.
Lethal Gaming secured their spot at CWL Champs with back-to-back 3-2 victories in the LCQ, and they’ve now taken a major step towards a playoff spot with another against Tainted Minds. Coming up clutch in game five here means that a victory against Brash Esports would almost certainly secure Lethal a minimum top-16 placement, a career highlight for these players.