NASL Update: Now or Never
This season of NASL has been hard fought. After nearly eight weeks of matches, the division standings are beginning to take shape. If you can make it to Toronto for the Grand Finals you won’t want to miss what’s sure to be an epic tournament, and you’ll want to take advantage of some special hotel deals being offered.
Canada-Bound: The EG Difference
Whatever the reason, EG players seem to dominate in the North American Starleague. Last season, four EG players took either first or second place in each of their separate divisions, and one of them went on to win the whole thing. This time around, we might be in for a repeat performance. Lee “PuMa” Ho Joon, Benjamin “DeMusliM” Baker, and Chris “HuK” Loranger all sit at the top of their respective divisions, with PuMa undefeated and guaranteed his spot. DeMusliM only needs to take one map off of his opponent next week to guarantee his. While HuK has two matches remaining, he is heavily favored against Liquid`TLO and should be solid against mouz.MaNa as well.
Right alongside the boys from EG are some of the league’s strongest players. Illyes “Stephano” Satouri sits behind PuMa, Song “HerO” Hyeon Deok is in dead heat with DeMusliM for the top of Division 2, and behind HuK rests a tie between SlayerS_GanZi and Gamania.Sen. Kim “Puzzle” Sang Jun of SlayerS sits atop Division 5, in top form and unlikely to fall to his one remaining opponent. Either SK.MC or mouz.MorroW will join him – depending on the outcome of their head-to-head next week. Division 4 is topped by Anton “LoWeLy” Plebanovich from FXOpen eSports – and a single win will clinch his spot in Toronto for the Grand Finals – and SlayerS_Alicia is likely to follow him.
A Fight for Survival
On the other side of the token are the players just fighting to stay in it. Despite his recent upswing in performance since the breakout at Providence, Liquid`HayprO was unable to take a single victory in his division and has been assured elimination from the NASL. His teammates NonY and Jinro will have to fight tooth and nail to avoid joining him. Sitting at 1-6 and 0-6 respectively, they absolutely have to win in order to retain their place in the league for next season. Division 2 contains three players all with a score of 1-6 (NonY, SjoW, and DarKFoRcE). Any one of them could be knocked out.
Of particular note is Division 4: EG.IdrA was unable to assure himself a spot in the playoffs, and instead has elimination to fear. With two ZvZs in a row, against Ret and LoWeLy, his 2-4 score could become 2-6 and lead to elimination should CatZ and CrunCher triumph. As a player who very nearly made the Finals in Season 1 (losing to Zenio in the playoffs), and reached the Ro8 at the S2 Grand Finals, IdrA absolutely needs wins going forward in order to give himself the opportunity to turn things around next season.
For everyone else, the margin for error is extremely small. With at least one match remaining for each player, and the difference of one to two matches separating success from failure, every map counts. Even so much as winning 2-1 instead of 2-0 might prevent someone from advancing to the playoffs for a shot at the Grand Finals. Will players like SlayerS_Ryung or TSL_Polt reach the playoffs, and perhaps make their Grand Finals debut? Or will mainstays like Liquid`Sheth and mouz.HasuObs seal the deal? Every match matters, so you won’t want to miss a single one.
For detailed, up-to-date group standings, check out Liquipedia.
Attending the Grand Finals in Toronto? Save!
NASL has announced that all attendees who register through their Event Registration portal will receive a discount on hotel rooms for the Grand Finals, which are being held at the International Center in Ontario, Canada on July 14-15. Attendees who book through NASL’s website will be able to book a room at the Sheraton Hotel for only $75 a night – a 50 dollar discount – as well as saving $6 on parking. For more information, see the official announcement.
The NASL broadcasts every night from Wednesday to Sunday, beginning at 6:00 PM PST. To tune in, visit NASL.tv.