The first week of Season 3 of the North American Esports Championship Series started with a bang, as several teams began their campaigns to prove themselves as kings of a hotly-contested region. After a few days of competition, Team Liquid, Renegades and SK Gaming are already asserting their dominance.
Team Liquid shined in its Week 1 debut on Friday with the recent addition of Russel "Twistzz" Van Dulken, who dominated in Game 1 of the best of 2 series versus OpTic Gaming. Game 1 hardly felt like a contest, as Liquid breezed to a 10-5 lead heading into the second half. OpTic managed to win three of the first four rounds to kick start the second half, but it was all Liquid from there as it rattled off five straight rounds to claim a Game 1 victory. Game 2 was once again played on Cobblestone, with Liquid once again earning a 10-5 lead in the first half. OpTic would make things a little closer this time around, pulling within three rounds of Liquid in the second half, but the offense proved to be too strong from the newly devised lineup as Liquid would go on to claim the 16-11 Game 2 win.
Immortals began its Week 1 series against Cloud9 with a dominating performance on Cache, clobbering C9 from early on in the first half to take a 11-4 halftime lead. The second half was nothing if short, as Immortals ace Lucas "lucas" Teles capped off his 21/12 KD (kills/deaths) with a whopping 104.0 ADR (average damage per round). Immortals took Game 1 by a 16-6 margin. Cloud9 came storming back in Game 2, however, as it took a 6-1 lead on the T-side in the first half. Immortals wouldn't be held down, though, as it went on a rampage to go 8-7 entering the second half. Cloud9 would prevail though, thanks to two triple kills from Jake "Stewie2k" Yip. They closed Game 2 16-13 to force the series tie.
OpTic looked to avenge its earlier loss on Friday when it faced SK on Sunday. Game 1 was a back-and-forth killfest, as a triple kill from Joao "felps" Vasconcellos gave SK an early 3-0 lead. OpTic fought back, though, as sniper Oscar "mixwell" Canellas picked up a quadra kill on the AWP to put OpTic on the map in Round 4. Both teams traded rounds leading into the second half, with SK holding a tenuous 8-7 lead. SK started the second half well with a triple kill from Fernando "fer" Alvarenga in the pistol round, but the game descended into chaos from there. SK forced overtime, but OpTic took four straight rounds in OT to take Game 1 19-15. Enraged, SK came storming back in Game 2, dominating Overpass from the jump. With felps and fer leading the way with KDs of 21/9 and 18/9 alongside ADR's of 107.2 and 115.3, respectively, SK was a well-oiled machine, jumping ahead to an 11-4 halftime lead. SK made short work of OpTic in the second half, winning five straight rounds to close out a 1-1 series tie.
Renegades made a massive statement to close out Sunday's action, sweeping Luminosity Gaming 2-0 with recent addition Noah "Nifty" Francis and stand-in Michael "Uber" Stapells. Renegades dominated in the first half of Game 1 on Cobblestone taking an 11-4 lead heading into the second half. Unfortunately for Luminosity, the Australian based organization blanked the Brazilians for five rounds in the second half, taking Game 1 16-4 thanks to Aaron "AZR" Ward team-leading 27/8 KD and 143.7 ADR. Luminosity looked more alive in Game 2 of Cobblestone with a solid defensive strategy, though, that only saw them enter the second half in a hole, this time down 9-6. The second half action continued as Renegades controlled the lead for the majority of the second half, allowing Luminosity to win just six rounds before finally closing the door to pick up the 16-11 win.
Next week's NA ECS action starts next Tuesday at 8:00 p.m ET with Counter Logic Gaming taking on NRG eSports, followed by OpTic Gaming and BMC squaring off at 10:00 p.m ET.