Season 3’s Path to Pro rolled along last weekend with the top 32 ranked teams in Europe and North America competing in do-or-die online qualifiers for the chance to go pro. The best-of-three single elimination tournament showed off brutal tactics and all-or-nothing strategic gambits, with the fierce competition reflecting the fact that each team sported some of the best players in their region’s respective scenes. The top eight teams from each region emerged alive from the weekend of qualifiers, and will advance to the NA and EU Live Qualifiers this weekend to face not only each other but storied fan favorite teams, all gunning for the ultimate goal of securing a pro player salary and a spotlight on the world stage.
Thousands of summoners tuned in to watch the first round live online qualifiers, and the matches did not disappoint. With teams swiftly eliminated in the first day of play, star teams separated themselves early on from the crowd. Fan favorites EPIK Gamer rewarded their dedicated fans with a strong showing, advancing with 2-0 victories throughout both days. Team MRN, formerly called Team MarnCatz, performed excellently as well, finishing the opening stages of the qualifier undefeated. But it was the team from Pulse eSports that caught the eye of many, dominating their first round matches and never slowing down. Winning 2-0 in each of their three match-ups with a mix of decisive early surrenders and stalwart comebacks, they topped off their showing with a fantastic pentakill from their AD Carry PulseCastro.
With the European bracket combining the top 16 from both EUNE and EUW, many tuned in to see how the cross-region matches would unfold. Most of the favorites progressed through the first round with one exception, when NieOgarniamyPatcha (AbsoluteLegends) were upset 0-2 by Smutaha Premadeaha. Smutaha Premadeaha threatened to continue their upset run in the second round when they went up 1-0 early against the #1 EUW seed, Team Alternate. But Alternate recovered their composure and rallied with outstanding team play to win the series 2-1. At the end of the second day, the top eight teams to qualify for the offline tournament contained many well-known names. Millenium, AgainstAllAuthority, Mousesports and Dragonborns.net all went 2-0 to reach the offline tournament in Warsaw, where they will be joined by Anexis eSports, heyijustmetyouu and MysiePysie2, all relative new teams housing some familiar players.
Tune in on January 11 for the next stage of the Path to Pro, where the eight qualifying North American ranked teams from this weekend battle it out in Los Angeles at the North American Qualifiers against powerhouse professional teams like Curse Gaming, FeaR and Team Dynamic for the chance to go pro in Season 3. The European Qualifiers, featuring rising teams like Fnatic Raidcall, Curse.EU, and Meet Your Makers, will take place on January 25 in Warsaw, Poland.
Congratulations to the advancing teams:
|1 Trick Ponies||heyijustmetyouuu|
|Falafel Gaming||Anexis eSports|
|Team MRN||Mysie Pysie2|
|The Salad Bar||Against All Authority|