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 As the world adjusted to the changes made in response to COVID-19, esports was no exception. Over time, our teams adapted to the online-only competition and continued competing in their respective tournaments.

Here is May’s Radiance Rewind!


Hearthstone

During the first weekend of May, the Hearthstone Grandmasters finished their “Swiss into Group Stage” structure.

Group Play: Week 3

For Week 3, each Grandmaster would bring in ten unique decks and six of those decks would be banned. This presented a new challenge for our Hearthstone duo, David “JustSaiyan” Shan and Muzahidul “Muzzy” Islam, as they had to build ten decks and risk their stronger decks getting banned.

In this week, Muzzy faced Jerome “Monsanto” Faucher and Francisco “PNC” Leimontas. In order to place in Division A, he would need to make it to the following day. Unfortunately, he fell to both players and would be competing in Division B for the following weeks. On the other end, JustSaiyan faced and defeated PNC twice – once in the main bracket and second in the losers bracket – to advance to the Top 4.

JustSaiyan’s second match against PNC in week 3

Once in the top 4, Saiyan faced Facundo “Nalguidan” Pruzzo and lost 1-3. Despite this loss, Saiyan’s placement in weeks 1 and 3 meant he would be playing in Division A.            

Round Robin: Weeks 4-7

In the first week of the round robins (week 4 overall), Muzzy was on fire, defeating PNC and Team Liquid’s Frank “Fr0zen” Zhang. In the other division, Saiyan went 1-1, losing to Brian “bloodyface” Eason but defeating Eddie “Eddie” Lui.

For week 5, Muzzy and Saiyan had close matches but both went 0-2 to their opponents. At this point, Muzzy’s record was 2-2 while Saiyan dropped to 1-3.

As they moved into week 6, both players bounced back from their 0-2 weekend.

Muzzy won his first match in under 40 minutes with a clean 3-0 sweep against Fei “ETC” Liang. His deck consisted of Quest Warlock, Highlander Hunter, and Tempo Demon Hunter. The duo had the day off on Saturday but came back on Sunday to play their matches. Saiyan faced Monsanto and won 3-0. Muzzy faced Team Liquid’s Ryan “Purple” Murphy-Root, winning 3-0 with Muzzy’s Quest Warlock healing him for a total of 49 hp during one of their games.

Caster TJ “Azumoqt” Sanders recapping all the cards Muzzy played to regain 49 HP

Round Robin: Week 7

Week 7 was the last week before playoffs. The duo’s goals were clear: get into playoffs and avoid potential relegation.

Muzzy vs PapaJason

On Day 1, Muzzy played his one and only match of the week against Jason “PapaJason” Meller. He quickly gained control of the board in the first two games with his Quest Warlock and Spell Druid decks. Moving into game 3, PapaJason found himself with 3 HP within a couple turns but found a way to stay alive a bit longer by creating 27 armor for himself. Undeterred, Muzzy slowly chipped at the armor until PapaJason was down to a total of 5 HP. With his plays, Muzzy forced another concede – winning 3-0 – and improved to a 5-2 record to conclude his round-robins.  

Following this win, Muzzy will be participating in a play-in round for a chance in the playoffs alongside the top 6 players from Division A.

Muzzy pulls Ysera, Unleashed at a crucial moment to swing the game back into his favor
JustSaiyan vs Nalguidan & lnguagehackr

On day 2 of week 7, Saiyan faced against Nalguidan – his first opponent of two for this week.

He got off to a strong start in the first two games with his Pain Warrior and Quest Warlock countering almost everything Nalguidan brought to the table. However, as the series went on, Nalguidan began to find the cards that he needed and reverse-swept Saiyan.

The next day, Saiyan faced Mihai “lnguagehackr” Dragalin with both men bringing very similar decks to the match. Saiyan got off to a 1-0 lead but soon found himself with his back against the wall 1-2 when he made risky plays that did not pay off well – including losing Ysera, Unleashed due to Fungal Fortunes. However, he was able to shake off this risky move and won the following two games, forcing a concede from lnguagehackr in game 5.

With this victory against lnguagehackr, Saiyan guarantees a spot in the Season 1 playoffs!


League of Legends

Just days after FACEIT announced more details for the Scouting Grounds Circuit (SGC), we introduced our League of Legends roster. We also bid farewell to Galen “Moon” Holgate as he was picked up by CLG to be their Academy coach.

The original roster consisted of Alvin “Engo” NgoAvi “Im Avi” BeharYoung “Young” ChoiAndrew “Andybendy” Forman, and  Trevor “King” Roy. Also, at the end of May, the team has brought in former Team Liquid Academy support, Johnson “Cao” Cao. With a mix of former Academy, collegiate, and amateur players, our roster is ready to compete in the SGC.

B.I.G. League Season 3

Our first official tournament is the B.I.G League Season 3 where teams would play in 4 rounds in various groups. In our first game in Group A, we played against Charlotte Phoenix. We started off the match with a 1-0 lead, alongside a dominant performance from “Im Avi” on Graves. However, CLT was able to bounce back from game 1 and defeated us 2-1.

After this match, we competed in the Loser’s Match to conclude Stage 1. We went against and defeated the now defunct amateur team “Sad Squidward” 2-1.

With this win, we were seeded into the new Group C. Our first opponents were against Maryville University, one of the powerhouses of collegiate League of Legends. While we showed signs of life in the match, Maryville handed us a 2-0 loss.

In our final match in stage 2 – before playoffs – we faced Conviction Esports. Even though we fell 0-2 to this team, the structure of the BIG League allows all the teams to have a spot in the playoffs – whether it be in the Winner’s or Loser’s Bracket. With this loss, we will be playing a best-of-1 in the first round of the Loser’s Bracket on June 5th.

Upsurge Premier League Summer 2020

Our second tournament for the SGC is the Upsurge Premier League. The team was drawn into the Infernal Division, facing teams such as Frost Fire, Slaughter House, and 100 Thieves Next. During the first two weeks, we defeated FF and SH 2-0. Each team would face one another twice in a round robin. Once that is done, the top 2 teams from each group would advance to playoffs.

For our 3rd week, our match against 100 Thieves Next was the featured UPL match. Only one team would remain undefeated. When the dust settled, 100 Thieves emerged the victor with a 2-1 score.

Radiance’s game 2 victory against 100 Thieves Next

Risen Champions League

This past weekend kicked off the Risen Champions League, a tournament run by Risen Esports. In our first match, we went against Super Nova’s sister team, Dark Matter, in a best-of-three match.

The first game was bloody, with a 2v2 in the topside of the map. Both teams traded kills with no clear lead until a teamfight around 16 minutes when our team caught out SNDM’s enemy jungler, Grant “Zile” Welling. SNDM countered, catching out Im Avi near raptors, killing him and our bot lane as they tried to disengage. After SNDM grabbed the baron, a small skirmish near the respawned dragon initially ends in SNDM’s favor in terms of health. This gave them the go-ahead to try and claim the Ocean Dragon for themselves. However, Engo respawns just as they begin the objective and he and Im Avi successfully steal away the dragon, granting the Radiance team Ocean Soul as well!

Im Avi stealing the Ocean Soul from Super Nova Dark Matter

Thing stayed relatively calm until the 27 minute mark when we went over to secure the baron. Zile attempted to steal the objective from the team, but the focus from the team secured the baron and a 4 for 0. With a 9k gold lead, we pushed in to end the game.

Game 2 went in our favor in the early game. Engo and Im Avi won a 2v2 tower dive, granting us the momentum. By the 20 minute mark, we had 10 kills to their 1 with a 6k gold lead. Though SNDM attempted initiation after initiation, we successfully turned it around in our favor before eventually ending the game at 30 minutes with a 12k gold lead.

Other Tournaments

Last week, it was announced that we would be participating in Challenger’s Uprising and the Focus Championship Series as well. At the moment, there is not a schedule for the tournaments but we will provide more details and announcements when we are competing!


PUBG

We announced our two new members to the PUBG squad: Lari-Pekka “LosHD” Hopiavuori and Agron “Waldoe” Jashari.

Their first competition together alongside Andrew “Baddylul” Kitts and Kevin “Miccoy” Linn would be the PCS (PUBG Continental Series) Charity Showdown. This showdown lasted from May 21st-May 24th. Teams played 5 rounds a day for a total of 20 rounds by the end of the weekend. With a $200,000 prize pool, all 16 teams were guaranteed a portion of the pot. Half of that prize money would be given to a charity of the 1st place team’s choosing.

PCS Charity Showdown

By the end of the first two days, the team had 24 kills total with a couple top 8 finishes. But the chicken dinner remained elusive.

On the third day, the first two games unfolded as per usual. However, game 3 proved to be ours. With circle shifts in our favor, the team found themselves being one of the last 3 squads in the final circle. The squad successfully wiped Team Dodge before shifting their attention to and finishing M1me, the last member of Team Soniqs.

The PUBG squad’s first chicken dinner of the PCS

This chicken dinner secure propelled the team up to 10th in the standings. While the team couldn’t find their footing to get another 1st place, they came close multiple times – including a 2nd place finish in the first round of the last day.

At the end of the showdown, the PUBG squad placed 10th with 56 kills altogether.

Now, with the charity showdown completed, the team had the PUBG Continental Series (PCS) to look forward to. Based on their performance during the Charity Showdown, they were placed into Group C. Some of the other teams in this group are the Susquehanna Soniqs, Zenith Esports, and more.

For the next 3 weeks, all 3 groups would be competing against one another before moving onto the Grand Finals. More details can be found here!

PCS1 NA Group Stage Week 1

In our debut match day, we and the rest of Group C competed against Group B. By the end of the first two games, the team had 10 kills. In the 3rd game, we aggressively pushed past all the teams and grabbed another 10 kills, placing 1st. Even though that was the only 1st place of the day for the squad, the team still wiped a couple other squads.

The 1st place victory in the 3rd game

With their chicken dinner alongside the 28 kills they got along the way, our PUBG squad placed 4th on the leader-board between Group B and C.

We carried this momentum into the next day. During the first 4 rounds, we participated in skirmishes and racked up kills even though we didn’t get first place. The highest we placed was 3rd in game 2, thanks to LosHD’s sneaky maneuvers throughout Erangel. As the circle tightened in game 5, teams skirmished and picked one another off.

With 6 teams left in the lobby, Miccoy got the action started for the squad when he picked off Exodus’s Brent “Poonage” Mullany. Quickly wiping the remaining players, our squad faced one final player in the lobby: Tristan “Shrimzy” Nowicki of the Susquehanna Soniqs. Despite knocking LosHD and Baddylul, Shrimzy took significant damage and Miccoy closed in to finish the game.

The second 1st place victory in the last game of the day

As they move into the second week, the PUBG squad is currently 4th place overall out of the 24 teams competing. They’ll be back the following weekend for more PUBG action!


SMITE

Going into week 5, Team Rival had just handed our SMITE team their first loss. This week was also the last week before the round-robins reset and all the teams would play one another again.

VS. Renegades

In our match against Renegades, the first game was slow and methodical as the team chipped away at RNG’s base. However, we secured the final Fire Giant buff that would helped us take down RNG’s Titan. In game 2, Renegades was able to shut our team down and snowball their lead. While we pushed back defensively as much as possible, RNG was able to close out the game in 35 minutes. For game 3, we held the lead through objective control for the beginning. As the game progressed to the mid-game, both teams would trade players for objective in a back-and-forth affair. However, a fateful fight around the Fire Giant led to RNG stealing away the objective. This shifted the game into RNG’s favor. While we tried to keep the game alive, RNG overwhelmed us and secured the 2-1 victory.

VS. Sanguine Esports

Going into our set against Sanguine, fans anticipated a close match and they were not disappointed. Game 1 started off slow as the teams danced around one another. While there were skirmishes around objectives, neither team consistently won. This slow burn of a game continued for 50 minutes before a fight in the left lane where CycloneSpin dropped in exchange for Netrioid. With both hunters down, the rest of Radiance was able to win the teamfight and the first game.

In game 2, Sanguine got off to an early lead and ran with it. Even with signs of life, the team was unable to stop Sanguine’s lead. This momentum forced a game 3.

In game 3, we turned the tables on Sanguine (and disengaged when fights were unfavorable), slowly gathering a 7k gold lead. During our final push into SNG’s base, Benji split from the team to push through another lane. With SNG forced to respond, Adapting found an initiation that wiped SNG and saw CycloneSpin grab a quadra kill in the process.

This match concluded the first half of the round-robins and the SMITE team had a record of 5 wins and 2 losses.

VS Pittsburgh Knights

There was no edge-of-the-seat base race in our rematch against the Pittsburgh Knights. Instead, viewers were treated to a full 3-game set between the teams. The Knights grabbed a handful of key picks throughout the first game that prevented us from securing objectives. We came back with a vengeance in game 2, keeping down NeilMah’s Khepri and maintain the momentum to push the set to a game 3.  Everything seemed to be going in our team’s favor until the Knights slowly found their way back into the game. In the end, the Knights found a clean 4-0 fight and rushed down our Titan.

VS eUnited

For our first game against eUnited, we were unable to find our way back into the game as they found an early lead and never let it go. In game 2, we had some great defensive plays in the late game but were unable to convert those teamfight wins into more. Around the 45 minute mark, our SMITE team saw our Titan fall to the EUN squad.

VS Obey Alliance

Obey caught the team off-guard in game 1 as they jumped ahead in gold and experience. The majority of teamfights in this first game fell in the favor of Obey, allowing them to secure the victory. Refusing to be caught off guard for a second time, our team was more proactive in the following games. While Obey had won the first game in 33 minutes, Radiance’s aggressive and clinical plays in games 2 and 3 led to our overall 2-1 victory.

VS Spacestation Gaming

In one of the most edge-of-the-seat games of the season thus far, we found ourselves trading fight after fight with Spacestation Gaming. SSG hard-committed to prevent our team from backing as their minions began an onslaught on our Titan but we were able to turn the fight around its head and succeeded in defending the base. Both teams found themselves sending their junglers to backdoor the Titans but neither was a successful attempt. The game continued on a knife’s edge until SSG attempted a surprise initiation in the duo lane, but we reacted quickly and won a 4-1 teamfight. This opened the path to our game 1 victory.

If you were to describe game 1 as trading fights, you could describe game 2 as trading objectives as both sides stole objectives multiple times. During a teamfight around the Oni Fury pit, SSG stole the objective one last time and nearly wiped our team. SSG pushed and destroyed our Titan off this 4-for-0.

In game 3, SSG pressured CycloneSpin out of the game by 15 minutes and held a 6k gold lead. However, we were able to stall the game out long enough for Cyclone to farm up and get back in the game – even having items over his Hunter counterpart at a point in the game! Unfortunately, when the team went to contest a Fire Giant, SSG turned on our team and took down 4 of our players. With SSG pushing to finish, it felt like a repeat of game 2 as they take down our Titan.

Radiance forced to take a teamfight even though minions were rushing their Titan in game 1 against SSG

VS Ghost Gaming

Ghost Gaming, formerly Team Rival, was our first opponent during week 9. In the first game, Ghost secured an early lead and prevented us from finding an easy way back into the game. Ghost took objective after objective and snowballed to a 14k gold lead before ending the game sub-30 minutes. But we wouldn’t let them get an easy 2-0, fighting back in game 2.

The game stayed dead even until 14 minutes in when Ghost attempted an initiation on Max “Aror” Jackson. The team reacted quickly enough, wiping Ghost for an early deicide and claiming the Gold Fury objective. Just 3 minutes after this deicide, we found four kills in the right lane, granting us the opportunity for the first Fire Giant. When it respawned, we wiped out all of Ghost once more and rushed to destroy their Titan.

Radiance’s final deicide before pushing to win against Ghost in game 2

Game 3 also ended before 30 minutes, in favor of Ghost. With a dominant performance by Ghost’s jungler, Samuel “sam4soccer2” Waxman, on Thanatos, we found ourselves staring at a 4k gold deficit and were down 2-9 in kills. While we found some picks (and shutdowns on sam4soccer) here and there, Ghost refused to give up their lead and ended the game.

VS Renegades

When this match began, no one knew what was in store for the SPL fans.

In the first game, Renegades held the lead for most of the match off the back of strong rotations onto our team. Jake “AwesomeJake408” Amaniera proved to be a thorn in our side with his Ymir pick, constantly putting up walls that prevented us from engaging or disengaging easily. Renegades took several tries to crack open the base, but we refused to give it over without a fight. However, the gold lead that RNG had over us proved to be too much and they ended the game around 32 minutes.

In game 2, both teams refused to give up an objective without a fight. Around 38 minutes, we caught out 3 members of RNG near the Enhanced Fire Giant. The team then reset and pushed in from the left lane. Seeing an opening, Aror, Kennet “Adapting” Ros, and Ben “Benji” McKinzey engaged on the RNG backline. By forcing the remaining RNG members out of the base, Jarod “CycloneSpin” Nguyen escorted the minions in to end the game.

Game 3 started off rough for our team, with RNG having a significant kill and gold lead. However, any time RNG would try to break open the base, we would be there to defend, taking down at least one member and forcing them to back off. RNG attempted to end the game multiple times, but we stood our ground and pushed them back.

As the game stretched out to the 1 hour mark, death timers were much longer and any significant teamfight would mean the end. A fight shortly broke out by the Fire Giant pit that went in our favor. This opened up a pathway to come back and win!

Radiance’s “improbable” comeback in game 3

Street Fighter V

Radiance and ASTRO Gaming are providing prizes for a biweekly tournament hosted by Jesse “Commander Jesse” Espinoza’s local tournament: the 818 Local.

The top 2 fighters guarantee prizes and if you watch the stream, you have a chance to win a headset as well! More details can be seen down below:

In case you missed it…


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