September 20, 2017

IPS Finals Wrap-Up

Over at Los Angeles last weekend, Team Noble had the pleasure of watching three of its players hold their own against the best of the best in the Injustice 2 Pro Series finals. Since the game was launched, players have been competing online and offline for a shot at the IPS finals, where the Top 8 would earn their qualification into ELEAGUE’s Injustice 2 World Championship! In addition, the winner would take home the largest portion of a $200,000 prize pool.

Three of our Nobles – Dragon, Semiij and iLuusions – were counted among the sixteen finalists. Since their addition to the team, we’ve derived joy from watching their growth as players and as amazing young adults. We’ve watched Dragon claim the trophy that befits an EVO champion, we’ve shared in Luu’s joy when he progressed from Top 16 finishes to making Top 8s, and we even watched Semiij put some dents into the records of the best NRS players around, including Echo Fox SonicFox.

Now, after an exhausting but rewarding journey, it would all come down to a final showdown in the Injustice 2 Pro Series. Below is the bracket that started off the finale.

For the first round of the Winner’s side, iLuusions and Semiij survived the first round by collecting extremely impressive victories over RNG Whiteboi, who’d been crowned the Injustice 2 champion at CEO 2017, and BC HoneyBee, who’d finished in second place at EVO 2017. Unfortunately, Dragon ran into a roadblock in the form of F3 DR Gross and found himself making an early entrance into Loser’s Bracket, but despite the drawback, his resolution remained solid like his gameplay.

Semiij’s cruise through Winner’s continued with a resounding 3-0 victory against Echo Fox Theo, which pushed him into Top 8 as well as qualifying territory for the ELEAGUE championship! Luu eagerly sought to join him there, but Panda Global’s Hayatei defeated him 3-0, effectively forcing him into a team kill situation with Noble Dragon, who’d defeated Circa Forever King 3-1 in the previous round. With their journey to the ELEAGUE finals at stake, Dragon and Luu threw their best efforts at one another. Ultimately, Dragon’s skill won out, and Luu finished in the finals at ninth place.

We’ll pause for a bit in our recap to congratulate Dragon and Semiij for qualifying for the ELEAGUE finals this October! As much as Luu wanted dearly to make it in as well, we’d like to note that ELEAGUE will be hosting a Last Chance Qualifier on the weekend of October 21-22, during which the World Championships will take place as well. The top two players from the qualifier will fill the last remaining slots for the finals (as of now, fourteen out of sixteen players have qualified). In other words, Luu will return at the LCQ to make one last reach for the ELEAGUE finals!

Back to the IPS finals. Over at the Winner’s side of Top 8, Semiij found himself facing a ridiculously overpowered DR Gross, who commanded a deadly Green Lantern. After an extensive exchange, Semiij gained incredible momentum in Game 5 by taking a life lead consisting of an entire health bar. Gross struggled to recover but was knocked down to the Loser’s Bracket. The outcome served as Semiij’s ticket to the Winner’s Finals, where he would face his greatest challenge yet…none other than his established rival, SonicFox.

As for Dragon, he’d established a win streak against HoneyBee since their encounter in the EVO 2017 finals, and he made sure to continue this streak in the IPS finals by eliminating the Flash God Lord 3-1. Dragon’s elation was short-lived, however, as he found himself confronting DR Gross in one of the greatest rematches in Injustice 2 history. The set followed a course of events that sent the crowd into a frenzy. Desperate, Dragon expended all his resources to seize the life lead, only to forfeit it due to a Clash. Gross retaliated afterward with an instant-air jump attack, which Dragon blocked and tried to punish. However, he was greeted with a fatal S2 attack that ended his tournament life at 5th place.

With the IPS finals down to its last four players, Semiij was Noble’s last hope to win it all. He’d proven himself as one of few players able to contest SonicFox in NRS games, but the Fox had learned some new tricks since his fall at EVO. Semiij struggled to overcome the Fox’s Red Hood using his duo of Catwoman and Starfire. He managed to survive in Game 3 after a drop that almost cost him, but Sonic made an instant switch to Captain Cold. The decision served as a quick fix to his setback but also resulted in Semiij’s descent into Loser’s Finals, where he awaited the winner of Hayatei versus Gross.

After a rather quick Loser’s Semifinals, Hayatei stood triumphant. In the face of Semiij’s relentless Catwoman, however, his confidence quickly melted away. He managed to strike  a blow to Semiij after the first match, tying up the set 1-1, and yet this did not deter the young Noble whatsoever. Semiij kept up the pressure at mid-range while preventing Hayatei from gaining too much control via the use of his character power. The entire set played out at a snail’s pace as both players carefully whittled away at each other’s resources. Finally, Hayatei bowed out of the IPS finals at third place, and Semiij’s road to the Grand Finals was clear.

Although he got the worse part of the deal in Winner’s Finals, Semiij’s near-successful comeback in his fourth match against the Fox resonated through his mind, fortifying his confidence. But judging by the Fox’s gameplay as their rematch commenced, it was like he’d never taken a break after their first set. Nevertheless, he found himself under pressure trying to escape his opponent’s offense. Semiij’s awareness of Red Hood’s lunge was at an all-time high, as he sought to bait it out by jumping in order to punish it. The Fox sniffed out this intention and immediately switched up his style so as to create uncertainty in his opponent’s mind. With no other option, Semiij finally bet it all on a jump-in only to be greeted with an anti-air attack that brought about the conclusion to the Injustice 2 Pro Series.

We tip our hat to SonicFox for becoming the Injustice 2 Pro Series champion, but Noble is no less proud of our players than we’ve been before the finals started! They’ve accomplished great things in the Pro Series and they continue to do so in other circuits such as StreamMe’s War of the Gods. It’s not certain if another season of the Pro Series is forthcoming, but for the time being, we will shift our focus to SoCal Regionals this weekend. You can expect to see Dragon and Luu competing yet again for their share of $10,000!

The complete results can be seen here. To relive the IPS finals in their entirety, see this archive from Netherrealm’s Twitch channel.

   From all of us at Noble, we thank all parties responsible for bringing us the Injustice 2 Pro Series, as well as those who have shown their support for the team! Please follow to stay updated on all future results from the team!