Five W's: Team Spirit win The International 10
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With how wide the esports world is, it’s tough to pin down every marquee matchup and bit of esports news each week. Sometimes, those moments go beyond the competitive sphere and dip into streaming, general gaming and the business world, too. Esports is bigger than just the games we watch every day and the big thing you should take away from each week could pass you by if you’re not careful.

That’s where we come in. Every week, Upcomer’s staff comes together to select the five biggest W’s of the last week, whether they be a player’s performance, a new game release or something else. The goal: to get you caught up on esports news this week and get you ready for everything that comes next.

Here are our Five W’s for the week of Oct. 11-17.

Sandrock Gaming and Team Alke, the first Middle Eastern and Asian RLCS champions

This week, the first seasons of the Rocket League Championship Series began for MENA and APAC South. The Fall Regional Event 1 was won by Sandrock Gaming in MENA and Team Alke in APAC South.

Team Alke (formerly known as 3Rats) were the first of the two to be crowned and they did it in a way that’s not often seen in the RLCS. The team did not lose a single game until the second set in the grand final, ultimately going 25-1 in games, for a 7-0 record in series. Even more impressively, Team Alke perfect swept in the quarter and semifinals. This means they did not allow their opponents a single goal in the entire series. Perfect sweeps are fairly rare in the RLCS, but Team Alke made it look easy on their way to becoming the first Asian RLCS winners.

Over in the Middle East, Sandrock Gaming expectedly took the win. The team has long reigned over the region and no one expected them to stop their hot streak in the RLCS. Their win was only slightly less overwhelming than Team Alke’s. With a 25-3 game win record for a 7-0 finish, they’re crowned champions of the first RLCS regional in the MENA region. Furthermore, they did so with a lot of standout goals.

Also, this weekend’s champions of Oceania and North America should not be ignored. Renegades and FaZe Clan won the first regionals of the 2021-22 season in OCE and NA, respectively, earning important points toward major qualification.

— Michael Kloos

VCT wraps up Last Chance Qualifiers outside of North America

The VALORANT Champions Tour completed three of its four Last Chance Qualifiers on Sunday as Europe, Middle East and Asia, South America and the Asia-Pacific regions selected their final representatives for Champions. In APAC, FULL SENSE took a tight final after a rigorous bracket to join fellow South East Asian teams X10 Esports and Team Secret at the year-end tournament. They overtook surprise finalist NORTHCEPTION; a team that would not have even been in the tournament if it wasn’t for pre-tournament drop outs and changes.

In South America, FURIA Esports cruised to a simple 3-0 victory over the Chileans at Australs. This will be the organization’s first appearance at the international stage after competing close to the top of their region for the better part of VCT. Lastly, Team Liquid overcame Guild Esports in the EMEA event 3-1, marking a second international appearance for the team. The blue horses had to battle through both Guild and G2 Esports to claim the final ticket to the competition with their new addition Nabil “Nivera” Benrlitom.

These three teams will join the rest of the Champions competition in Dec. for the title of the best VALORANT team in the world. Meanwhile, North America will send their last representative at a later date, as its version of the tournament has been postponed due to technical issues and COVID-19 complications.

— Declan McLaughlin 

Cloud9 advance from groups at Worlds

After starting the group stage at the 2021 League of Legends World Championship 0-3, Cloud9 had the slimmest of chances to advance to the knockout stage. However, North America, and Cloud9 especially, are so well-known at Worlds because of those moments where all seems lost and they pull it back. Not only did Cloud9 have to perform flawlessly, but FunPlus Phoenix also had to fall behind for North America to make it out of groups.

In true Cloud9 fashion, game after game, they stacked the odds in their favor. Cloud9 were able to take down Rogue and FPX to force a three way tie between the lower teams. After Rogue overcame FPX, to knock them out of Worlds officially, FPX had to face Rogue one last time. In a grueling 54-minute match, Cloud9 came out on top to make it out of groups for the sixth time in the organization’s history.

Since 100 Thieves were not able to make it out of groups, the hope of North America lay on the shoulders of Cloud9 and potentially Team Liquid. Team Liquid are currently 1-2 in their group and tied with recent LEC Champions team MAD Lions.

Cloud9's bot laner Zven, who helped save NA at Worlds 2021 for five w's
Cloud9’s ADC Zven after qualifying for the knockout stage at Worlds. | Provided by Cloud9

— Danny Appleford

Team Spirit win The International 10 in once in a lifetime underdog run

This weekend saw the conclusion of The International 10. After a long series, that almost ended in a reverse sweep, Team Spirit held on and fought to etch their name in DOTA 2 history as the winner of the 10th International. Team Spirit walk away with approximately 18 million dollars and the title as the best DOTA 2 team in the world.

Team Spirit’s run was truly that of the underdog. They were sent to the lower bracket on the first day of the main stage and their run looked to be over. However, Team Spirit would truly take the name of the organization to heart as they made the lower bracket run of the century. Through every elimination match, the team got stronger and more confident. Magomed “Collapse” Khalilov, in particular, stepped up for the team.

The offlane player performed so well that he commanded many first round bans from teams. Even to the best teams in the world, like Team Secret and PSG.LGD, it was necessary to ban either his Magnus or Mars. Collapse peaked in the second game of the grand finals. With a 2/0/20 performance on Magnus, he brought his team to match point. PSG.LGD then brought it back in domination fashion. However, Team Spirit played a fantastic final game to seal their International win.

Team Spirit’s win makes them the first CIS team to win an International since Na’Vi won the first iteration in 2011. As some of the youngest players in the tournament, they usher in a new generation of DOTA pros, ready to prove themselves.

Team Spirit Dota 2 for five w's
The young upstarts fared exceptionally well in The International 10. | Provided by WePlay Holding

— Kenny Utama

Heroic will play in front of home fans after making the BLAST Fall Finals in Copenhagen, Denmark

In Counter-Strike news, Danish squad Heroic have qualified to play at the Copenhagen Royal Arena in front of a crowd for the BLAST Fall Finals. Heroic rose to become a top-ten team during the online era and most of their players haven’t had many opportunities to play on LAN, let alone in front of a crowd. Although the Fall Finals will take place after the 2021 Stockholm Major — another LAN tournament in front of a crowd — there’s really nothing quite like playing at home for a stadium filled with your team’s fans.

The road to qualification was tough. Heroic had to battle through the BLAST Showdown; a tense single-elimination tournament filled with some tough opponents. In spite of several close games, the Danish juggernauts didn’t drop a single map as they became one of the two final teams to join the Fall Final lineup. The other team was Team Liquid, who qualified on the other side of the Showdown bracket. When Heroic closed out their last game against OG with yet another 2-0, the team’s excitement bubbled over as they hugged and chanted.

“It means a lot,” Ismail “refrezh” Ali said in the post-game interview. “I haven’t played a big tournament in front of a home crowd, so it’s a special feeling for us all. We are just trying to enjoy the evening because we worked hard for this and we’re really happy about the way we did it.”

The teams competing at the BLAST Fall Finals, for the $425,000 prize pool and a chance to qualify for the BLAST World Final, are as follows: Team Vitality, Ninjas in Pyjamas, Natus Vincere, Astralis, BIG, FaZe Clan, Heroic and Team Liquid.

— Coby Zucker

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