RMR-bound Bad News Bears to play ECL S40 Relegation
Bad News Bears are set to fight for survival in ESL Challenger League Season 40 Relegation after an underwhelming 3-4 record in the regular season that saw the team only win two series. It is also the first time the storied squad has missed out on Premier/ECL playoffs after the tag reformed in early 2021 around former Chaos duo Jonathan "Jonji" Carey and Matthew "mCe" Elmore.
Bad News Bears entered ECL Season 40 with a new core following a frantic off-season that saw Brendan "Bwills" Williams, Michael "Swisher" Schmid, and Paytyn "junior" Johnson leave the team to pursue new opportunities.
In their places, Bad News Bears added Alan "Shakezullah" Hardeman's former teammate Christopher "Swahn" Swahn alongside Pakistani duo Khizar "MoMo" Rehman and Saad "Pluto" Siraj.
This new-look squad started Season 40 off with a close 2-1 loss to international squad ATK before besting Third Impact in a comfortable fashion. This trend of beating lower-levels squads while suffering heartbreaking losses to Group A's top teams unfortunately became the story of the season for Bad News Bears, as the team continuously fell short against the likes of paiN, Orgless, and Carpe Diem.
Despite besting ONET4P in week seven, the squad ending up controlling Bad News Bears' fate, with a week ten upset by the team against ATK sealing Bad New Bears' fate and sending them down into the Relegation bracket.
Unfortunately for the Bears, their performance in ECL Season 40 isn't a complete outlier, as the team has struggled with consistency outside of the division. At Fragadelphia 16, the team were pushed to their limit by LGG Prison Break, a team far below their suggested stature. Additionally, in ESEA Cash Cups, which used to be regular stomping grounds for Bad News Bears, they have failed to win a single one while being knocked in round two in multiple cups.
Additionally, the team's new AWPer, Swahn, hasn't yet filled junior's shoes and has been inconsistent, with the eye test not painting the best picture of his in-game performances.
It is not all gloom and doom for the team however, as MoMo and Pluto had stellar first seasons in ECL, posting 1.11 and 1.05 ratings over the course of the season. As the duo continue to develop they could be integral parts of the team moving forward.
Additionally, the team's recent qualification to the PGL Major Antwerp 2022 Americas RMR means the team will get more invaluable LAN experience and the potential, albeit unlikely, chance of qualifying to the Major and making life-changing sticker money.
As Bad News Bears look towards Relegation and the future, the next few weeks will be pivotal for the team as they look to try and reclaim their position in the upper echelons of the domestic North American scene.
One consequence of Bad News Bears' position, however, is that they will need to stay in North America until at least April 5th to play Relegation before racing off to the Americas RMR on April 11th.