Updated: Sep 15, 2018
Australia. It’s time to see who will rise up. After four weeks of intense competition, the top four for the AOE Rise Up Invitational has been finalised. Heading into playoffs this weekend, let’s take a look at your finalists.
PIXL Esports came into Rise Up after a rough Contenders season. While they had just started to click near the end of the season, it wasn’t enough for them to climb out of last place in Group B. However, with that experience, they have stormed home through Rise Up undefeated, only dropping two maps on the way.
Speaking to Choco, coach of PIXL, he mentioned that Camskiez and Nectar brought a lot of stability to the lineup after Dewboy and Exirst went on holidays. “Camskiez has slotted in quite nicely already having synergy with Ackyyy. They are very used to each other’s comms and playstyle.”
While Nectar is no longer with PIXL for the finals, he brought “a big dynamic to the team and more experienced voice comms,” something that the roster might miss. However, the key to PIXL’s success this season lies in the team environment. “We have all become really good friends and really enjoy our time together in scrims and officials,” said Choco.
Their first matchup against Cascade will be a tight one with both teams going through late roster changes. “Cascade has improved very steadily over the course of the competition, and they’ll be coming out ready to take it to us every single fight.”
The new kids on the block have showed up and performed at Rise Up. Twisted Vision only started as a team for Open Division Season 3 but have shown incredible synergy and rapid growth in a few short weeks.
JeL, coach of Twisted Vision, said this was thanks to his previous connections with the players. “I picked up some old teammates I coached from previous teams, so naturally the roster was super easy to coach and learnt really fast with the experience they already had.”
Like the other rosters in Rise Up, they haven’t been able to escape the roster shakeup which shook up the ship near the end of the season.
JeL is hopeful for the team. “This roster is even more dedicated than the old roster, and I’m super keen to be working really hard for these guys.” Autumn from Bin Chickens, Vero from Surge and Deo from Dignity are leading the new lineup for Twisted Vision which is looking stronger than ever.
As for the playoffs, their eyes are all on PIXL. “PIXL will certainly be another challenge to play against, but we are aiming high in the lead up to Open Division playoffs and Contenders Trials. We are working hard and I believe we can make it.”
The team who formerly played under the NoC Predators banner has shown some good performances in the Rise Up Invitational. While they’ve had to deal with a mid season roster swap, the roster they are running into the finals is certainly a strong one.
Speaking to Stratigon, owner of Exsto Gaming, he said that while the swaps “impacted on the team performance and dynamic, we’ve still managed to land a spot in the semi finals and that’s due to the tireless work of the coaching staff.”
The new roster consisting of ex-PIXL player Nectar, Joyboy from Masterminds in Season 1, plihS from the original roster, Zhaobao and Thunderkitty is on paper one of the strongest in the Tier 2 scene. “We’re confident we can present a 100% performance and I think all our current players are strong contenders,” said Stratigon.
A win at Rise Up is more than the prizes that come along with it though for Exsto, it’s an impressive stamp for the player’s CV. “That’s the most important takeaway we can get from the tournament - not the prize money but that stamp you can show off to future teams. You can’t buy that anywhere.”
Almost from seemingly out of nowhere, Cascade has managed to qualify ahead of MAWF Black in the fourth seed. Cascade has been on the block for the longest out of any of the four teams, and while they’ve always fallen bitterly short of making playoffs in other tournaments, they aren’t going to let their Rise Up opportunity slip.
Off tank ZephA says a lot of the teams improvement is thanks to getting a stable roster. “Having a solid roster has been difficult to get since Contenders and so many teams disbanding, but we’ve brought on people with past experience and more exposure to the OCE scene. Now that we have most of the main roster secure we can now look at improving on a team level.”
To solidify this roster, Cascade have brought in ex-PIXL support Wheel for the finals, as well as fielding Zetzal, marlo, filthyelf and Kairu across the board.
Their first match against PIXL could be considered a revenge match from Open Division Season 2, but ZephA says there’s not much rivalry there. “I have a great deal of respect for PIXL as a team since they turned out to be the better team in Open Division. There will definitely be some banter between both our teams since we’ve now brought Wheel onboard so that’ll be amusing at least.”
However, the hunger for a victory remains. “I would love for Cascade to beat PIXL as it would be a landmark achievement to beat a Contenders team but I also know it will be one fought tooth and nail to obtain.”
The finals for the Rise Up Invitational start tonight at 7pm AEST. Be sure to check out our Twitch at https://twitch.tv/aoesports for all the action this weekend!