Article by Craig Owens.
Tuesday night saw the third week of PC Gamer's Shootmania Launch tournament. With only the finals and grand finals left to go, the calibre of play in both the upper and lower brackets has jumped from excellent to "wait, what did that guy just do?" levels of lightning-fast reactions and superhuman, pixel-perfect, long-distance frags. Thankfully we have our usual pair of commentators on hand to help out: Ziggy “nVc” Orzeszek and David “Zaccubus” Treacy from eSports crew Team Dignitas. You can let their gently reassuring tones guide you through the below video, or, if you're not afraid of spoilers, read the match report beneath it.
The action starts around the 15 minute mark. You'll find the rest of the matches on the PC Gamer Twitch TV channel .
This is a double elimination tournament fought in the newly released ShootMania Storm's 3v3 Elite mode, which see two teams of three players alternately attacking and defending a capture point. The attacking team only gets to field one player, however, which tends to place the odds in favour of the defenders. The first team to reach nine points wins the game, though a two-point lead is needed to confirm the victory (like tennis, basically, but with shooting). As we head towards the end of the tournament we're also shifting from a best of three to a best of five format. Losers in the top bracket are automatically relegated to the lower bracket where they've every chance of fighting their way back to the grand final, but another loss in the lower bracket will see them kicked out of the tournament. At this stage, of course, both the lower and upper brackets are filled with top-tier players.
Take for instance, the face off between Team Dignitas and PyRoGeN, both unexpectedly knocked from the top bracket by lower seeded teams, and therefore confronting each other a little sooner than people may have expected down in the lower bracket, and a little earlier than either team might have liked. This match was the highlight of the evening, the only one to go reach a full five rounds and culminating in a closely fought stand-off on Collided.
In one of his many brilliant attacking rounds across the length of the match, GaRpY kicked off that final game by taking out two of PyRoGeN's defenders without taking a single hit, leaving him free to saunter onto the capture point while PyRoGeN 's sole remaining team member tried to deplete his full armour guage. After that strong start, however, Dignitas lost steam, and PyRoGeN pushed ahead to a 4-1 lead.It was GaRpY who took back the momentum, however, securing a second attacking round for Dignitas that kicked off a recovery PyRoGeN just wasn't able to slow - the game ended 9-5 in Dignitas' favour and saw PyRoGeN kicked out of the tournament.
The match showcased some surprisingly defensive play from Dignitas, as Ziggy explains: " Team Dignitas along with stand-in player Benczek appear to have permanently adopted their opponents signature style of defence never really straying too far from the capture point and always ready to help support each other. A stark contrast to how I remember them just a few months ago during the IPL qualifiers. I guess it worked considering they not only knocked out PyRoGeN, but also Legendary."
Still, it's less clear how the tactic will cope against more aggressive styles of play "We'll have to see how this play fares against players such as Luxxiz (of fnatic), Kryw (of Swiss Bulls) and Microstar (of infused)," explains Ziggy, "who make full use of the 45 seconds leading up to the point opening for capture through the use of great movement technique."
Swiss Bulls in particular had a good evening, knocking n!faculty into the lower bracket and confidently securing their place in the Upper Bracket final. Their defeated opponents didn't fair so well, however. Fresh from the victory against PyRoGeN, Team Dignitas went on to knock n!faculty out of the competition.
"Swiss Bulls looked as strong as ever once settling into their game against n!faculty in the upper bracket, taking the game 3-0 and advancing into the Upper Bracket Final," says Ziggy. "I want to say n!faculty looked off their game, particularly against Team Dignitas in the Lower Bracket, but i think it was simply a case of individual ability when compared to that of their opponents. n!faculty are great guys and i really hope they watch back the tournament vods, I think we made some good points in relation to how they set up for their attacking rounds."
Everything ends next week - with upper bracket final, lower bracket final, and the Grand Final between the winners of both. Tune in on PC Gamer's Twitch tv channel at 7pm. In the meantime, have a look at full, regularly updated standings for a full overview of the tournament.