Ian Faletti – Blizzard Entertainment
With the Spring Finals on the horizon and Europe’s top four decided, teams from North America duked it out in the third AWC North American Cup. With Method Orange flying high after success in the second N.A. cup, their spot at the Spring Finals live event seemed guaranteed, leaving four teams in the region to battle for three spots.
The third North American cup was a story of upsets with Super Frogs not even making the top 8 and Method Orange stumbling early and falling to the lower bracket against Tilted. In what was a huge match for seeding in the Spring Finals, The Rejects, with 120 points this season, swept Method Black, who sat on 140 points, leaving both teams on the cusp of the fourth Spring Finals spot. In the upper bracket semifinals, The Rejects set themselves up for a Spring Finals berth with a 3-1 win over Fairly Caustic. On the other side, Tilted beat Sneakier Snakes in a tight 3-2 match to advance to the upper bracket finals. In the lower bracket, Method Orange went past Fairly Caustic with ease and Method Black fell to Sneakier Snakes.Snakes then eliminated the regional heavyweights 3-1 with the split pressure from the Jungle Cleave too much for Method Orange to handle.
In the upper bracket finals, The Rejects managed to get past Tilted 3-1 thanks to the burst damage from their Rogue/Shaman composition. In the lower bracket, Sneakier Snakes and Tilted set up a rematch with a spot in the cup final and a chance at the Spring Finals on the line. The series went the way of the Snakes 3-1 setting up a grand final against The Rejects with a high seed at the Spring Finals going to the winner. In the end, the damage from Sneakier Snakes’ Jungle Cleave was too much for The Rejects to handle and it was a quick sweep for the Snakes. With that win, Sneakier Snakes’ booked their spot into the Spring Finals and look to be going into the Spring Finals with all the momentum.
With the four teams from North America set—Method Orange, The Rejects, Super Frogs, and Sneakier Snakes—the field of teams for the Spring Finals is complete. Looking ahead to the Spring Finals, Sneakier Snakes are the in-form team but Method Orange have been the more dominant team from North America and are the team looking to make their mark internationally in 2018. The Spring Finals should be a stylistic matchup too, as the RMP that seems to be more prevalent in Europe will face off against the more aggressive Jungle Cleave and Windwalker/Death Knight compositions from North America.
All style battles and bragging rights will be decided at the Spring Finals beginning March 31, 2018