As Group Yellow approaches its conclusion, there’s everything still to play for among the top three teams.
Neither of the top seeds have yet been decided, and while Splyce, eUnited and Red might no longer be on a level playing field heading into the final day, playoff spots remain up for grabs and seeding has yet to be determined. Only for Rise will the final day hold little, with the team eliminated from playoff contention already.
Here’s five key stories from the second day of play that set up an explosive finale.
Splyce win the domestic showdown
In any other year, the heights that Splyce have reached would have put them head and shoulders above their domestic competition. While none of their compatriots might compare in results, however, the growth of the region as a whole this year has meant that Splyce are forced to actively defend their domestic crown.
While Epsilon might be their principle rival, Red Reserve’s rise in form has put them in the conversation, with the squad looking to use Group Yellow as a platform to establish themselves on a level with the Splyce squad.
After day two, however, the two teams have played both their matches against one another, and it was Splyce that came out on top both times. While Red put up an impressive fight both times, Splyce were able to retain their supremacy in the head-to-head, reminding the world that they remain Europe’s top team.
No route back for Rise Nation
Unfortunately, day two marked the end of any hopes Rise Nation might have had of qualifying for the Stage Two Playoffs.
Entering the day already down 0-2, an opening loss to Splyce would do nothing to improve the team’s chances. It would be do-or-die against eUnited to close out day two, but a 0-3 defeat sees them mathematically eliminated from the Playoffs race.
Unfortunately, it’s starting to appear that the same might be true of Rise Nation’s chances of returning to elite status at all. If there was a moment to kick-start a push into the upper echelons, this would have been it for the team.
Instead, Stage Two adds yet another disappointment to a now sizeable pile for Rise this year, the weight of which must be taking its toll on the players. It’s hard to see where the confidence is going to come from for this team going forward, and while the Call of Duty Championships remains, it will likely take a fortitude of will that Rise don’t seem to have if they’re to turn things around at this stage.
Red continue to impress, but will it be enough?
As Group Yellow continues, Red Reserve continue to prove themselves a worthy contender for a Playoff spot despite being stuck in one of the toughest pools of either Stage of the Global Pro League.
The team opened day two with a win against an eUnited that had looked incredibly formidable on day one, keeping themselves in the race for a top-two finish. Unfortunately, despite playing them close across the series once more, a second loss to Splyce puts them in a tough position.
Red’s fate is now out of their hands to a degree, relying on Splyce to take down eUnited on the final day to even keep their hopes alive. From there, they’d need a flawless finish themselves.
While it’s not out reach for Red yet, there’s a distinct possibility that this team may miss out on a Playoffs spot in spite of a performance that implies they may belong. Ultimately, if they do miss out, it may well be that they are a victim of circumstance more than sub-par play.
eUnited aren’t untouchable
Sometimes, roster changes produce miracle squads – the addition of a single player can be all it takes to turn a strong team into world-beaters. The earlier iteration of eUnited are a prominent example of such a phenomenon, coming from nowhere to win their very first event following a swap.
After day one, eUnited looked to have performed the feat a second time. With the addition of James ‘Clayster’ Eubanks, the squad ended their debut appearance by thrashing Stage One Champions Splyce. It appeared feasible that we might have a new championship contender on our hands.
There’s a reason such judgements should be reserved until a sufficient body of work has been put together, however. The second day still gave us a strong eUnited, but a loss to Red Reserve exposed some areas in which the team may need to improve if they’re to add another trophy to their collection.
eUnited still have the potential to be one of the very best teams in the world, but we’re starting to see a more complete picture of the new team. There are incredible strengths there, but also some weaknesses that may need addressing if they are to contend with the likes of Luminosity in a grand final.
Group Yellow delivered
On paper, this should always have been one of the most exciting groups of Stage Two. Three of the contenders have a championship title to their name on Infinite Warfare, with the outlier coming in off of a top-eight finish at their first event together.
This is the group of the Stage One champions, as well as featuring one of the most highly anticipated teams of Stage Two – eUnited, in their debut with Clayster. Rise looked to redeem their past shortcomings, while Red fight to earn a spot among the elite for the first time. This is what Group Yellow offered viewers, and it hasn’t disappointed.
Not only have five-game series been commonplace and 3-0 sweeps rare, but the majority of the individual maps across all series have been among the more exciting we’ve seen of late, with close fights coming down to the wire and come-backs from massive deficits.
No matter the result on the final day, Group Yellow will have lived up to its billing, undoubtedly one of the most thrilling groups of the season in any tournament.