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We’re into the third week of the Gfinity Elite Series Delivered by Domino’s, and we’re creeping closer to that time where we have to wave goodbye to two teams from Group A and Group B. In Street Fighter V, there’s everything to play for, as barely any points at all separate the teams in both groups.
Nordavind vs Epsilon Esports
What better way to kick off Week 3 than a match-up between Epsilon’s GunSlinga and Nordavind’s Phenom? Both players were dubbed the ones to watch for Week 3 in SFV, and with Phenom making his Elite Series Season 4 debut, it promised to be a tough match.
Round 1 saw Phenom’s Necalli face-off against GunSlinga’s Zeku, and there was no messing around from Phenom, who went straight on the attack to corner GunSlinga’s Zeku. A defensive mistake from Phenom midway through the round gave GunSlinga a brief chance at go for the win, but Phenom once again shoved Zeku into the corner to secure the first K.O.
GunSlinga made a big opening in Round 2, confidently sealing the first few jabs against Phenom’s Necalli. Not one to be stomped down, Phenom hit GunSlinga with a double-throw, leaving Zeku with nowhere to go except the corner. Despite missing a combo opportunity with Necalli, Phenom secured another win to give the first game of the evening to Nordavind.
The second game of the night saw Nordavind’s Salty Kid face Epsilon’s Isam. Salty Kid isn’t one to be pressured, as shown throughout Season 3, which meant that playing a command-grab character like R. Mika could have made it a tricky match-up for Nordavind.
Isam’s M. Bison took an early lead in the first round as he kept Salty Kid at arm’s length, but a push from Salty Kid forced Isam into the corner. A powerbomb from Salty Kid was all it took to close the round, as Salty Kid dashed of Isam and completed the round for Nordavind.
Isam took an early once again lead against Salty Kid in Round 2, but the question was whether he could continue the pressure throughout the game against a fast-paced character like R. Mika. Isam hurled Salty Kid into the corner, leaving Salty Kid little choice but to hop on the defence. Despite dogged resistance, Isam powered through, and the early lead helped him to secure Epsilon’s first round of the evening.
Epsilon went into the last round with a chance of bagging a win, but the pressure must have been too much for Isam who found his character in the corner early on in the round. Isam tried to go for the stun, but his advances were blocked by Salty Kid. The Nordavind player’s coaching on R. Mika by SFV sensei Jammerz has seemingly paid off, as he delivered the final blow against Isam to give Nordavind another game in the series.
MossMossMoss made his first appearance of Season 4 as his Menat faced Nordavind’s Momi, whose use of Cammy could have caused problems against a technical character like Menat.
In Round 1, Momi confidently jumped early in the round to force Menat into the corner. Momi then secured triple damage using Cammy’s grab, with MossMossMoss bullied into putting Menat on the defensive. The Momi steam-train was unstoppable in the round as a final hit secured the round.
Momi was looking confident heading into the second round, as MossMossMoss tried desperately to get a win for Epsilon. MossMossMoss attempted a close-range attack against Momi using each of Menat’s orbs. Using a complete full combo early on in the round left MossMossMoss without protection, and this gave Momi the opportunity to corner him, with a critical art finishing off the round to give Nordavind match point moving into Game 4.
Phenom stepped up to the plate against Epsilon’s Isam to close it the series for Nordavind, and with his 100% win record at the Elite Series on the line, Phenom wasn’t be taking any chances as his Necalli took on Isam’s M. Bison.
The first round started slowly, but Phenom got going midway through the round as he began to out some v-skills, and Isam didn’t have any answers to a supreme showing from Nordavind’s MVP. Although Isam continued to meet Necalli in the air to keep Phenom in check, Phenom had v-trigger at the ready to drive Isam into the corner before taking the round.
In Round 2, Phenom was on the back foot for the first time as Isam applied, and after an even round, Isam managed to backdash the grab from Phenom to take control of the round. With Phenom in the corner, Isam looked to have spurned his chance as he found himself under pressure. However, Isam saved himself at the last moment to take the round over Phenom, just the fourth time that he has dropped a round since making his debut earlier this year.
Despite taking that round, the pressure was still on Isam to keep the series alive, but he performed well in Round 3, taking an early life lead over Phenom. Despite this, Isam allowed Phenom to advance on him before a critical art from Necalli effectively finished the round to take the series.
Nordavind 4 - 0 Epsilon
ASUS ROG Army vs Fnatic
ROG Army had a great opportunity to take points from Fnatic who had Shakz and Akainu missing from their roster. Shivryuken took on Atrosh in the first match-up, with Shivryuken’s Menat facing off against Atrosh’s Birdie.
Shivryuken got off to a good start in Round 1, with Menat quickly taking a life lead over Birdie. Atrosh managed to get a jump in against Shivryuken, but it was quickly blocked, and with a trade combo in his favour, Shivryuken secured the win in the first round.
In Round 2, Atrosh made the first move, but Shivryuken was able to push back with Menat. A guaranteed combo from Birdie then depleted Shivryuken’s health to a dangerous level. In an attempt to counter, Shivryuken went for a full extension, pushing back against Atrosh, but it wasn’t enough as a final jump and jab from Birdie gave the round to Atrosh.
The pressure was on as the game headed into Round 3, and Atrosh made a crucial mistake as he walked Menat’s hanging chain, but he managed to recover the situation to command grab Birdie for the stun and with Shivryuken stuck in the corner, there’s no hope for Menat and Atrosh’s Birdie takes the win.
For the second match-up, Confz’s Akuma faced Kilzyou’s Karin. In Round 1, Kilzyou was quick to make the first attack, dealing significant damage to Confz. Kilzyou then dealt a crush counter against Confz, putting him in a vulnerable position early on in the round, and Confz couldn’t recover as Kilzyou continued to play aggressively to grab the win for Fnatic in the first round.
In the second round, Kilzyou made the first attack again against Confz, but the Fnatic man was quick to fight back. Kilzyou’s habit of delaying allowed Confz to dish out fatal damage to Kilzyou, resulting in a win for ROG Army as the game went to Round 3.
For the first time in this match-up, Confz dealt the first attack against Kilzyou, followed up by a stream of further attacks to push Kilzyou’s Karin into the corner with only 50% of health left to play with. Kilzyou wasn’t going to go down without a fight though, and he fought back well, finishing off Confz with a crush counter sweep to give Fnatic a 2-0 lead in the series.
JonesArcade’s Ken went up against Brick’s Zangief in the third game, and the pressure was on the ROG Army man to perform against one of Street Fighter’s lesser used characters. In Round 1, Brick took a slow approach against JonesArcade, but the former Envy man landed the first major blow with a crush counter half-punch. Brick missed the chance to deal a crush counter back but recovered well to deliver an incredible four consecutive grapple-moves against JonesArcade to win the round.
JonesArcade made the first move of Round 2 with a dragon-punch, with Brick buying time with back-and-forth footsies, and this tactic worked for Fnatic as he finished the round in quick-time owing to a crouching-punch to leave the series at 3-0.
Kilzyou was back in the hot-seat against Confz for Game 4, and Round 1 kicked off with Confz confidently dealing the first attack. Kilzyou fought back with another sweep as he threw Confz out with a v-reversal, and the momentum was then with the Fnatic man as he closed out the first round.
Round 2 kicked off with another attack from Confz, but Kilzyou dealt some damage back with a sweep as Confz missed an opportunity for a v-reversal. The round was tense throughout, but Kilzyou ultimately came out on top once more to give the clean sweep to Fnatic.
Fnatic 4 - 0 ASUS ROG Army
Vitality vs Method
Verdoyance’s Blanka faced off against Broski’s Dhalsim in the first game of the third match of the evening, and it was the Vitality man who found himself under pressure early on after a dash from Broski. Blanka fought back well though as both players appeared cautious in the early knockings of the round. Verdoyance used the hop well throughout, and after activating v-trigger, Broski had no response, and the first round went to Vitality.
The second round started fast with Verdoyance jumping in with a command grab to put Broski on the back foot. Dhalsim then found himself in the corner in big trouble against Blanka, but his teleportation move rescued him from a potentially sticky situation. V-trigger proved crucial again though as Verdoyance used it to great effect to take the first game for Vitality.
Apollo Steed took to the stage of the Gfinity Esports Arena for the first time since Season 1 with his Kolin taking on Packz’s Karin. Packz started fast but was too loose with his attacks as Apollo Steed countered well. As the round wore on, he was able to secure the stun but he couldn’t quite finish off his opponent. However, an overhead from Apollo Steed was enough to end the contest as Packz was left with too much to do to get back into the round.
As Round 2 began, Packz looked to fight back and punished Apollo Steed early on. Excellent v-skill from Packz allowed him to take the round with ease and set up a decider in Round 3. Apollo Steed started fast, and Packz never recovered after his opponent secured the stun before finishing off the Method man to make it 2-0.
ImStillDaDaddy was in scintillating form in Week 2, but Linkexelo had also played well in the previous week so was full of confidence as his Necalli took on Guile. Linkexelo jumped in early, forcing ImStillDaDaddy to the corner where he was able to force the stun and throw Guile to the floor to claim the first round.
ImStillDaDaddy started the next round better, but Linkexelo played without fear and dashed in to cause damage and force Guile to the corner once more. After spending early on in the round, ImStillDaDaddy was left without v-trigger, and an activation from Linkexelo sealed the round to put Vitality 3-0 up.
Linkexelo was back on stage again as Vitality looked to finish the series off as he took on Broski’s Dhalsim. Some tremendous early movement from Broski saw him start strongly and Linkexelo had no response as Broski seemingly had the round in the bag. However, Linkexelo produced an amazing comeback with his life bar drained to leave Vitality with match point in Round 2.
The late swing in momentum in the previous round had dented Broski's confidence as Linkexelo dashed in early to establish his dominance, and after a command grab ensured the stun, Necalli’s critical art secured a perfect KO to seal the clean sweep in style.
Vitality 4 - 0 Method
Envy vs exceL
Brian’s Blanka took on Layo’s Laura in the first game of Envy against exceL, and Brian made the early inroads before Layo fought back with a series of grabs. The round was even throughout as both players traded blows, but Brian closed out a tight contest to give the advantage to exceL.
Layo found himself under pressure in the second round as Brian racked up a significant life lead, but the Envy man played carefully with a series of throws to get back into the round. However, Brian was solid, and a late throw finished off Layo to give exceL a 1-0 lead in the series.
Game 2 saw Dhalsim take on Cammy as Elite Series big-hitters Mr Crimson and Hurricane went head-to-head. Hurricane was extremely confident early on and seemed a step ahead of his opponent as the round went on, finally closing it out after getting the stun.
Mr Crimson’s excellent use of fire breath gave him a good chance in Round 2, but Hurricane forced him back into the corner and claimed another stun before finishing off the round with a flourish by executing critical art.
After a disappointing Week 2, Abdess was hoping for an improvement against Infexious’s Zeku, but his Akuma was under pressure early with a series of throws. Infexious showed good defence throughout, and he was able to see out the round comfortably with a medium punch.
A good whiff punish from Infexious got the next round off to a good start for exceL, and even though Akuma fought back, a meaty hit from Zeku closed out the round to leave Envy in massive trouble with the score at 3-0 after three games.
Infexious and Abdess went head-to-head again in Game 4, with Abdess needing to claim his first win of Season 4 to keep the series alive for Envy. Abdess attacked first but Infexious performed a nice corner switch to keep the round even, and despite a continuing aerial assault from Abdess, the exceL man stuck to the basics and backthrew his opponent to the corner to set up match point.
Another useful whiff punish gave Infexious an early advantage but got away with an untimely v-reversal against the dangerous Akuma. Infexious played in the corner but seemed comfortable throughout as another throw followed by a punch finished off Akuma as we saw a fourth consecutive clean sweep of the evening.
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