The regional qualifiers have concluded and the final scores from the weekly cups on ESL play have been tallied up - Let’s take a look at who will be competing in the VR Challenger League Season 1 Grand Finals at IEM Katowice 2018 in The Unspoken and Echo Arena!
Season 1 of the VR Challenger League had four offline regional qualifiers - one in Europe and North America for each game. The winners of these qualifiers received a guaranteed invite and top seed to the grand finals.
In Echo Arena, team ec.LiP.se took home the North American trophy at Oculus Connect 4 and Jacks secured their slot in the European qualifier at ESL One Hamburg 2017. In The Unspoken, Reukkifelth earned his slot at IEM Oakland alongside Yawning Soldier at Dreamhack Winter in Jönköping.
Throughout the season, these players and many others competed in weekly cups on ESL Play to compete for cash prizes and accrue points to first earn a top seed in their regional qualifier, and then to secure an invite to the grand finals. Now that those competitions have concluded, let’s take a look at the brackets for the grand finals:
The competition between these contenders has been fierce. In Europe, Dreamhack Winter winner Yawning Soldier and Flushgogo have been neck-and-neck throughout the season, with F_F and Dreamhack Winter runner-up Dirvel trailing close behind. Yawning Soldier began the season with a massive win streak which he put on display during the EU Regional qualifiers, but it seems Flushgogo has worked hard to close the gap, just barely managing to overtake Yawning Soldier on ESL Play.
In America, Reukkifelth and Charizard have been battling for their share of first place prizes. At IEM Oakland, Reukkifelth was the #1 seed and Charizard was the #3 seed, meeting each other in the finals where Reukkifelth edged out his victory with a bracket reset after being sent to the lower bracket by his rival earlier in the tournament. Since then, Charizard has overtaken Reukkifelth on the online leaderboards.
However, each of these players looking for revenge will have to defeat their intercontinental opponents. In the first round, each North American will go up against a European player, marking the first time they will be fighting one another in a low-latency environment - if ever.
Up for grabs in The Unspoken is a prize pool of €12,100 - €6,700 for first place, €3,400 for second and €2,000 for third!
Echo Arena, like The Unspoken, has put a tight spread of skill levels on display in both North America and Europe. Oculus Connect 4 winners team ec.LiP.se have fallen to third place in the online leaderboards with Phangasms and Kangorillaz pushing past them after they had secured their slot in the Grand Finals.
Team ec.LiP.se’s Lemming is widely regarded as one of the best individual players in Echo Arena, famous for playing upside down (in-game, of course). Alongside him is iShiny, an Overwatch tank player for Envision Esports (previously of CLG), and Palidore, an Oculus Rift early adopter, content creator and VR pro; both of whom are top players in the North American Echo Arena scene. They’ve been notably absent from many of the weekly cups after securing their win - the tournaments they do enter, they tend to win, but we’ll see next week if that remains to be the case.
In Europe, ESL One Hamburg winners team Jacks held strong with their first place rank online, frequently running into one of the other top 4 contenders on their way to the finals, often against ESL One Hamburg runner-ups DING! in the weekly cups. Like with The Unspoken, each of these teams will first have to defeat an opponent from across the pond before they can sort out any of their online rivalries at IEM Katowice.
These players will be competing for a prize pool of €36,300 - €20,100 for first (€6,700 each), €10,200 for second (€3,400 each) and €6000 (€2,000 each) for third!
The VR Challenger League Grand Finals takes place on March 3rd and 4th at IEM Katowice in the Spodek Arena. The Unspoken’s season 1 champion will be crowned on Saturday, and the winning Echo Arena team will hoist their trophy on Sunday. You can catch all of the action on esl.gg/VRCL, beginning at 13:00 CET/7:00 EST