Road to Radiant | Summer Series Week 2 Recap

Road to Radiant | Summer Series Week 2 Recap

The quick two-week segment payout format of the Road to Radiant Summer Series was implemented in a bid to create more games with heightened implications. The layout provides some extra benefits for everyone involved. More frequent high-stake games grant college directors and coaches the unique opportunity to evaluate how potential recruits perform under pressure. This same pressure amplifies the excitement levels for the players during their matches and fans who stop by their streams to watch. In addition, the team earning the most points for a segment will secure $200 in prize money.  This money can provide assistance for these prospects in funding their future college endeavors, and their performance can eventually lead to scholarship opportunities to schools that are right for them. We were able to witness all of this manifest in this week’s segment ending tournament.


The five teams returning from Week 1 of the Series had still not been mathematically eliminated from the Segment 1 title. Two of these teams checked-in for Week 2 with a [1-2] overall record (40 points). For two of the other teams, their pregame win-loss tally was [2-1] (70 points). These four teams began their chase of returning [3-0] pool winners, the red-hot IRON HEAD TAPPERS (IHT).


For the [1-2] teams of Claremont High School (Claremont) and CHS Esports (no, they are not the same high school), a lot of help would be needed in order to force a tiebreaker with IHT (101 points). First and foremost, it requires a legendary bounce back effort for themselves from a sub .500 record to a title the very next week. Not impossible, but when you factor in the additional requirement of dominant Stay Plugged In recruits IHT needing to drop two out of three matches on the night, suddenly it starts to feel like it might be a bit out of reach. Both Claremont and CHS would have their hopes cut short early in Round 1, as Claremont fell to Bad Aimers (1-13) and CHS was bested by the peaking battle sage (yan) in their (6-13) loss to Bald Babies.


Conveniently, Bad Aimers and Bald Babies were also the two [2-1] teams coming into the night. Like Claremont and CHS, they would be required to win all of their matches. The difference would be that in doing so, according to the laws of the Swiss bracket IHT would be the victim of whoever could pull it off. In this hypothetical scenario, either Bad Aimers or Bald Babies winning out would add 101 points to their existing 70 points, for a total of 171 points. If this were to play out IHT would in turn only receive 70 points this week, and when added to their previous 101 points would end with 171 for the segment as well. Boom. Tiebreaker. Now that the mission was defined, it was a matter of execution. Both teams would get their chance to face IHT head on. Receiving the first shot at it was Bald Babies.


As mentioned above, Bald Babies won their first match pretty handily, indicating that the roster wasn’t overlooking any matches when preparing for their battle with IHT. Their moment would come in Round 2. As captains Smrty (IHT) and wamm (Bald Babies) exchanged map bans, Smrty’s mission was to ensure Split was off the board early in the process. You see, the last time these two rosters squared off was a month ago in a pre-Series weekly tournament championship. In that match, IHT (then known as Jitterbugs) surrendered streaks of six or more rounds on two different occasions on Split and lost to Bald Babies in the second round of overtime (12-14).

Ascent was the selected map this time around, but history has a way of repeating itself in a lot of ways, and we saw a lot of it here. After a familiar six round run in favor of Bald Babies against IHT to begin the first half, doubt was beginning to form in the IHT camp. Also notable was the fact that IHT was forced to use two of their subs due to scheduling issues for these matchups. Reassembling the troops wouldn’t be as easy for Smrty as it would’ve been had he been surrounded by his full starting roster. However, they were able to manage to bring the match score in their favor by the end of the half. 

With a fresh start on a new side, IHT had an opportunity for a better start in the second half. Unfortunately for them, Bald Babies had other ideas. Their pistol rounds are unmatched in the circuit, and their econ awareness of both their own purchases and the buying tendencies of their opponents make a quick answer so difficult. Another six rounds in a row won for Bald Babies largely credited to wamm’s initiative to take mid control via Astra util and becoming fearless in gun fights when weapons were favored. Momentum was all Bald Babies’ at that moment. That being said, IHT had recovered just fine in the first half, and I can almost guarantee this was the exact sentiment he brought to his team in the closing rounds. 

Bald Babies was only allowed two more round wins in the half, and just as the match a month ago had given us, overtime was upon us. Despite a couple of Killjoy full B-site lockdown pushes from both teams attacking sides in OT, defense ran supreme as the teams traded rounds. IHT was able to take an attack side win, and in the 30th round, and in the most entertaining maps of the Summer Series so far, IHT got their revenge (16-14).


Meanwhile, as the battle of the Series was taking place, Bad Aimers were flying under the radar with a couple of big wins. Their [2-0] record on the night up to this point meant that it was their turn to take one final swing at the big guns. 

As I’ve mentioned in a few previous articles, Smrty and his squad just seem to be the perfect counter to Bad Aimers. It doesn’t matter who Bad Aimers is able to beat outside of this matchup (and we’ve seen them take out some top-tier teams), IHT just has an instinct, and therefore an extra step, on Bad Aimers. Of the many matches we’ve seen played between these two teams, 90% of the time it ends in a (13-5) win for IHT. Sure enough, we saw a bit of an anticlimactic story here as that would be the outcome yet again here in Round 3. In retrospect, there were a few additional signs that IHT would close out the way they did. Bad Aimers’ previous match was against a struggling CHS Esports, and they hadn’t seen the map Ascent at all leading into the match. To the contrary, IHT was buzzing off of their comeback effort on Ascent against a team that  is no question part of the conversation regarding favorites to win the Invitational. When Ascent was locked in there was no looking back.

SMRTY is this week’s MVP, dropping 31 kills in Round 2, and then adding 20 assists to his 23 kill performance in Round 3. Congratulations to him, REFLEX, WAVES, and their super-subs SOUP and RAQ, as IHT goes [3-0] for two straight weeks and earns their Segment 1 prize and title!



Name: WAMM


KDA Ratio:  1.974

Notes:  Second to only our MVP Smrty, wamm racked up 56 kills over 3 maps played for an 18.67 kill per map average. Part of becoming a high level fragger is limiting deaths, playing later in rounds to find kills when they are needed most. I think a 1.974 KDA Ratio is a good indicator that wamm has this down to a science.


Name: SOUP


KDA Ratio: 1.800

Notes:  It was tough deciding between soup and raq for the Utilitarian award. Both came into Week 2 and crushed it as subs with important roles, soup as a controller and raq as an initiator. Although raq had a slightly higher KDA Ratio, it came down to the maps IHT played (Ascent and Bind) and how big of an impact soup’s smokes made on the maps that need it the most.


Name: YAN


KDA Ratio: 2.273

Notes:  yan averaged just 11 deaths per map through 3 maps played. Although Combat of Bad Aimers did keep the death per map count a bit lower (10.67), yan stats reached 5 kills per map and 7 assists per map higher than Combat. Since yan used the extra time on the map to better help the team, yan has earned the Survivalist title for Week 2.

For more information including rosters, match results, and leaderboards, click here. If you would like to participate in future Road to Radiant Summer Series tournaments, whether you are a new or returning team, you must register here.