North American team Demon Slayers fell just short of completing an incredible Cinderella run at DreamLeague Season 12, succumbing to Alliance in a thrilling 3-2 grand finals.
While Alliance breezed through the tournament’s group stage and swept Ninjas in Pyjamas (NiP) in the playoffs to make it to the finals, Demon Slayers lost all of their group stage matches and had an uphill climb from the lower bracket.
However, the plucky North American squad managed to find their form, toppling the more established teams of J.Storm, Team Liquid, and NiP en route to their showdown with Alliance.
With momentum on their side, Demon Slayers got off to a great start, taking the first two games in the series, thanks to commanding performances from Danny “iAnnihilate” Cote on Ember Spirit and Hang “oldWhite” Zhao on Sand King in game one, as well as Guilherme Silva “Costabile” Costábile on Lycan in game two.
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But with their backs against the wall, Alliance started firing on all cylinders and took game three to start turning the series around, with their core trio of Nikolay “Nikobaby” Nikolov, Linus “Limmp” Blomdin, and Neta “33” Shapira all notching nine kills apiece.
Alliance rising star Nikobaby then ran roughshod all over Demon Slayers in game four, putting up a superb 12-0-8 KDA to send the finals to a deciding game five.
Despite a valiant defense by Demon Slayers in the final game, Alliance could not be denied. Nikobaby was key to his team’s victory once again, posting another excellent KDA of 12-1-13 on Gyrocopter.
With their victory, Alliance will be taking home US$100,000 and their first tournament win with this roster. Meanwhile, Demon Slayers settled for US$60,000, although this performance will surely put them on the radar of a lot of professional organizations.
With top European teams in OG, Team Secret, and the ex-Liquid roster (Kuroky and co.) sitting out the first Major cycle, Alliance are looking like the strongest team in the region right now.
Alliance will next play at ESL One Hamburg 2019 on October 25, where they will be looking to prove themselves against the top teams from other regions before the MDL Chengdu Major in November.
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