Fragadelphia 16 Preview: The Last Chance hopefuls
Fragadelphia 16 is fast approaching, kicking off on March 4th, but before that can begin, there will also be the Last Chance Qualifier slated for March 3rd. For teams that have not accrued enough Fragadelphia Points over the season for direct qualification, this LAN qualifier provides them the chance to still participate in the main event. This article looks to highlight some of the many squads set to participate in this Last Chance Qualifier, and what doing well in Philadelphia could mean for them.
Apeks Rebels: Suprise visitors from Norway
Amongst the many teams participating in the Last Chance Qualifier, certainly one of the most notable is Apeks Rebels. The squad of Norwegian youngsters was put together in the middle of 2021, achieving only limited success in online European events and qualifiers. The team has only played a handful of matches so far in 2022, with only a single series victory, against Russian side AVE in the Malta Vibes Knockout Series 6.
Despite these middling results, it's clear that Apeks is looking to give their academy team a variety of valuable resources in order to help them succeed. The signing of former MOUZ coach Torbjørn "mithR" Nyborg was an already exciting prospect for the squad, but Apeks has taken it a step further with the surprising announcement that they would be flying the youngsters and their support staff to Philadelphia to provide them with the opportunity to hone their skills on LAN.
Apeks Rebels will be a welcome addition to the event, as not only will the Norwegian quintet be able to develop their LAN experience, they will also provide North American competitors with some insights into what playing European opponents is like.
Touch Point: Will ESEA Advanced success carry over to LAN?
Heading into 2022, Touch Point opted to not make any changes to their starting lineup, maintaining the same starting five and coach they utilized in ESEA Advanced Season 39. That season the squad finished with a solid 9-5 regular season record, but they were unable to make a deep run in playoffs after defeats at the hands of Kinship and Brazen, ending their season in 9th-12th place.
Touch Point have so far had a phenomenal run in ESEA Advanced Season 40, with a promising 7-1 regular season record in the first month of competition. Their single loss this season came after a close game versus the equally promising LATAM squad Infinity, who also boast a 7-1 regular season record.
However, outside of their Advanced campaign, Touch Point have not had great success in other events like the ESEA Cash Cups, where close losses to teams such as Party Astronauts and Davenport University have prevented them from making a deep run. For Touch Point, the Last Chance Qualifier is an opportunity for the squad to bring their strong Advanced performances to a LAN environment. A solid placing at Fragadelphia could do a great deal to kickstart more promising results from this squad.
Omega: Looking to improve from Chicago showing
Omega's core has been gradually on the rise since the trio of Jake "zebra" Davis, Bradley "LukeK" Walker, and Jason "gir" Fox qualified for ESEA Advanced Season 35 after a solid placing in ESEA Main Season 34. While the squad's initial results in Advanced were middling, they continued to improve over time, eventually reaching playoffs in Season 39, where the team placed 9th-12th after losses to X13 and Valors.
Omega have maintained this upward trend, with the team currently posting a 7-2 regular season record in Advanced. Omega have been fairly active outside of Advanced as well, participating in Cash Cups with limited success, and also taking part in the recent Fragadelphia Chicago LAN. At this event, the squad went 2-1 in their group after a narrow loss to eventual semifinalists Kinship, bowing out in the quarterfinals after a close BO3 against Marco "Pol0" Hernandez's Fragging For Jason.
With a fair bit of LAN experience under their belt already from their run in Fragadelphia 16: Chicago, Omega are in a prime position to snag a spot in the main event of Fragadelphia 16. Qualification to the main event would not only further bolster Omega's LAN repertoire, but it would also provide the team the valuable opportunity to tussle with ECL-level opposition, which could provide them with an edge for the remainder of their Advanced campaign.
New Threat: A lifeline for a struggling roster
Amongst the teams mentioned in this article, New Threat is without a doubt the biggest wild card. The duo of John "Fatality" Owens and Danylo "bilenko" Bilenko opted to rebuild the squad heading into ESEA Advanced Season 40 after a lackluster showing in Season 39 that saw the squad go 7-7 in the regular season. When shuffle season came to a close, New Threat's roster was finalized by the addition of trio Jersey, Alex "insightz" Lange, and Ryan "tactile" Branigan.
Currently, New Threat sit firmly in the middle of the pack in Advanced with a 5-4 record. New Threat aren't out of playoff contention quite yet, but their next few games will be crucial in deciding the future of this fresh lineup. The team have also been struggling to find success in their Cash Cup runs, with the squad's most recent efforts dashed as they narrowly lost in the first round of play to MunroPeek (now UYU) in the ESEA Winter Cash Cup 4.
For New Threat, the Fragadelphia Last Chance Qualifier is an opportunity to patch the holes in the sinking ship of a roster. Qualifying for and doing well in the main event would help to provide the squad with experience and confidence, things that could significantly bolster the team in their efforts to reach Advanced playoffs this season.
These four teams will face off against each other and many other sides in the Last Chance Qualifier on March 3rd, each one hoping to claim one of the twelve available spots in the main event.