Alliance narrowly escaped the Elimination bracket with a flamboyant final set display in London.
The ALGS Split 1 Playoffs in London reached an important crossroads today, as the group stage concluded. Teams will now either head into the Elimination or Winners brackets as the pressure ramps up at the Copper Box Arena. The standout star of the final group stage games was Alliance, who jumped ten places to secure a spot in the winners' bracket.
Elsewhere, teams like TSM, EXO Clan, and Northeption will head into Saturday full of confidence. TSM jumped 17 places today and took first overall in the group stage.
The bottom 20 teams will now be preparing to avoid leaving London at the earliest opportunity.
Alliance perform when it matters
Alliance started Friday's gameplay in need of a big performance. They have been heavily impacted on Worlds Edge by having to contest Flora for Thermal Station.
Even if you win your contest, which Alliance did the majority of the time, it is still hard to be successful when contesting. Any game you lose is immediately a zero point game. Any contest you win, you are very far behind on looting and rotating. This means other teams are rotating into you, and you lose priority for a number of spots.
However, in the third and final set Alliance chose to focus on their own gameplay. Perhaps knowing Flora were already unlikely to make the top 20. This has helped Alliance be able to play their game - and the difference was night and day.
Yuki in fine form
Yuki is a big game player, he has a consistent track record of performing when it matters. We once again saw that clutch factor in game four on Worlds Edge.
In a critical one versus one with ImperialHal of TSM, Yuki helped dispel concerns that Controller players are just unbeatable. He took down Hal with his last six bullets, earning crucial points toward their overall total. ImperialHal also had very limited ammunition.
Had this not gone their way, Alliance might have just missed out on the top 20.
Contesting has impacted Alliance
Esports.gg spoke to Alliance analyst 'coldjyn' about their performance. He admitted that contesting has had an impact on the team's mental throughout the group stage.
"Contesting is always absolutely miserable for everyone involved and it’s definitely had an impact, mentally more than anything, we all just want to win it’s really that simple."
He added that he is looking forward to having Thermal back uncontested in the Winners bracket, and expressed confidence that this will help Alliance perform to the standards they expect across both maps.
Favorites TSM win Group Stage
As was widely projected, TSM have been among the top performers so far in London. Despite a slow start on Thursday, TSM found their best form on Friday and comfortably took the top place in the overall standings.
Crucially, they have successfully defended the entirety of Lava Siphon so far in this event. A key component of their success is having both strong loot and fantastic rotational options. This allows them to not require more defensive legends like Wattson, Newcastle, or Loba. Instead, they are able to confidently take fights in all stages of the game.
Coach Raven has been the focus of the event, with Twitter awash with villain memes. However, he admitted to the ALGS broadcast that deep down he is a bit of a 'softie'.
However, TSM are performing as ruthlessly as anyone at LAN so far. They have a great track record in match point format and will feel very confident about their chances heading into the latter stages in London.
Three EMEA big hitters fall into the elimination Bracket
It has been a rough event for EMEA teams so far. With two of the top teams, Aurora and Fire Beavers, not playing due to VISA issues it was always going to be a difficult event for the region. Even Alliance, who are performing well, are playing with a sub due to visa issues as well.
However, KCP, Invictus Gaming, and Vexed would not have been expecting to fail to reach the Winners Bracket. All three teams were considered contenders for the title and will hope to get their events back on track. Vexed have bounced back somewhat from an incredibly disappointing start but were not able to gain enough points to break into the top 20.
KCP particularly struggled on Storm Point yesterday. They contested DarkZero at Mill and were roundly decimated in all 3 games.
They will be relieved that DarkZero managed to make the winners bracket, meaning that they won't have to worry about a repeat contest in the first Elimination bracket.
With the number of playoff slots being decided by each region's performance in London, the entire EMEA region will hope that these three teams can regroup and progress on Saturday.