Adelaide -> Auckland -> Queensland. The Chiefs played in three cities, four finals and eleven matches in just eight days. It culminated in three titles, the last of which saw them taking out the ESL Australia & New Zealand Championship Season 7 title live from Supanova in Brisbane.
The Chiefs’ run, which had as many intertwining plot points and rivals as this year’s offerings in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, saw the boys in blue put forth as herculean an effort as we’ve seen in a long time. The LAN grind is as rewarding as it can be difficult, and the story of this grand finals can’t be extracted from the other events that The Chiefs had committed to.
They started their run with a 2-0 over ORDER in the WESG 2018 Regional Final in Adelaide which has qualified them for the World Finals in March next year. A 2-1 loss on Wednesday in the ESEA MDL Season 29 finals to Grayhound would paint an interesting preview for yesterday’s match before The Chiefs would claim their second title, again on LAN, 2-0 over Tainted Minds’ new-look lineup in the LPL Invitational finals in Auckland on Thursday. An overnight flight delivered The Chiefs (and a couple of their other opponents) to Brisbane barely in time for the start of their group stage matches on Friday.
— The Chiefs Esports Club (@ChiefsESC) November 8, 2018
Not that it slowed them down any. The Chiefs would handle ORDER on Mirage in overtime, before being pushed to 2OT by a surging Breakaway Esports on Nuke and returning there to comfortably handle Legacy 16-7. On Saturday they secured their berth in the grand finals by brushing aside madLikewizards, as previously covered on Snowball Esports.
And so the Chiefs sat – the very next Sunday from where they’d started, with air miles, title glory and no doubt fatigue in equally large measures – against Grayhound once again.
The veto phase mirrored the veto we saw from the two squads on Wednesday’s MDL finals: Overpass and Train would hit the bench, leading into Inferno and Dust2 picks. Cache and Mirage would then go, leaving Nuke as the deciding map.
The identical veto would have no doubt left Chief fans feeling nervous given they had lost the MDL series to the Hounds, and this feeling would only have been amplified as Dust2 unfolded. Grayhound took Chiefs out behind the woodshed and gave them the Lassie treatment midweek and despite a promising opening this time around which included a 4-3 scoreline, Grayhound would pull away, reeling off 12 of the next 13 rounds to put the Chiefs into a 15-5 hole.
sterling and Dick Stacy were the ones that thrust Grayhound into their commanding position with strong opening round play. As the map progressed the contributions really evolved into the entire Grayhound squad playing their part into a convincing dismantling of the Chiefs squad. Tucks played a near lone-hand in terms of kill numbers, though MoeycQ had himself a neat couple of rounds – including a tidy AWP 3k defending match point at 15-7.
In the end, despite a couple of “garbage-time” rounds going the way of the Chiefs, Grayhound secured Dust2 about as comfortably as they did during the week, 16-8.
One might argue that the Chiefs looked fatigued, but it would have been hard to tell if it was fatigue or just it being Dust2 that explained their play on that map. If they looked tired on Dust2 though, they looked positively exhausted as they limped out of the gates on Inferno, staking Grayhound to a 7-1 lead. sterling, while not racking up frags, was utterly bossing mid on the CT side. Getting control with angles and falling away with grenade cover allowed Grayhound to utterly bully the Chiefs out of mid through those first rounds. The Chiefs looked lost. I’d prepared questions for Grayhound for this recap.
Then the Chiefs switched on. They began to locate sterling, almost at will, and played around him perfectly. Chiefs In-Game Leader MoeycQ told us that these “couple of good decisions on T-side brought us back into the game”. They won six of the last 7 rounds on their T-side to bring a disastrous opening back to a highly winnable 8-7 half.
Even though Grayhound won the first couple of rounds on their own T-side, the momentum had already begun to swing, and swing hard. Facing a marauding Chief side, Grayhound seemed to shorten their playbook, forcing members up banana into Chief stacks repeatedly. The lack of options utilised by Grayhound belied a strategic desperation for my money, even though the demeanour in the player cams remained calm.
Texta in particular was huge on Inferno, dropping 28 kills and according to Moey, was a huge voice alongside his own role as IGL in rallying the Chiefs from that rather deep hole at 7-1 down. The Chiefs even the match at 10-10, then 11-11. When they took the 23rd round to take the lead they never looked back, closing the map 16-13 on the back of securing 6 of the last 8 rounds.
And so we went to map 3, as we saw on Wednesday. With The Chiefs taking Inferno and Grayhound Dust 2, as we saw on Wednesday. Nuke would once again be the battlefield. Grayhound had, in Moey’s own words, “steamrolled” the Chiefs in that deciding map – a 16-6 shellacking underpinned by a surprising 10-5 half in favour of Grayhound’s T-side. Moey spent an hour going through that demo and planning out their CT side, which the Chiefs would start on.
It’d start spectacularly for the Chiefs, peeling off the first 5 rounds in fairly short order on the famously CT-sided Nuke. Moey, flickz and Texta leading the charge and the frag count. Grayhound brought it back with 4 of the next 5 rounds with Dick Stacy and Dexter making the Chiefs sweat another big T half for the Hounds. But as he had so often this event, InfrequeNt repelled the charge, putting together an incredibly strong latter part of the half to send the Chiefs to the half up 11-4.
Grayhound would not be denied, securing the pistol and the anti-eco to put a glimmer of hope into the hearts of the Grayhound faithful. The Chiefs would then get two of the next three rounds to secure a 13-7 advantage with flickz aggressively rushing through the smoke at Squeaky to set up advanced positions. With the 13th round secured with only a pistol buys it looked like Grayhound had left themselves too much to do, even on Nuke’s fabled CT side.
But they were not finished just yet. Grayhound put away five consecutive rounds – Dick Stacy and sterling delivered 7-1 and 6-1 runs to bring the match back to a perilously close 13-12 scoreline. The Chiefs would stop the bleeding in the 26th but the Hounds would bite back straight away, sterling’s AWP giving a 13th round to Grayhound. The 28th round would start promisingly for Grayhound, with dexter finally putting an end to flickz’ “yolo down vent” strategy at Squeaky to net an early advantage. Once again it was InfrequeNt who cut down Grayhound, three key frags alongside two from Texta brought Chiefs to match point.
A match point that their talisman, Tucks, promptly delivered them. Three kills for him would set up InfrequeNt to fittingly deliver the final blow and securing the title, their third in a week. But for some, it would be the one that meant the most.
Victory is always sweet. But some are undeniably a little sweeter than others. Doubtless this was true for the Chiefs IGL and devoted family man MoeycQ. Reflecting on this victory which he dedicated to his wife and two kids, Amelia and Issa, he said that it “feels good to prove a lot of people wrong.” A nine-year veteran of the game, he was “signed by Grayhound and finally got a paycheck (playing the game) and was removed a month later.
“But I’m back and I’m happy to have beaten them. They’re good friends, and I’m sure they didn’t mean any malice, but I’ve proved a lot of people wrong, and I’m happy to be back.”
After one of the most hectic weeks one could imagine, Moey and the rest of the Chiefs get to ride off into the sunset as triple-champions. They may have thoughts of the one that got away, but all that will no doubt be washed aside by the memories of this most insane week, and the title in Brisbane that midweek online match brought to them.