This is a special recap column from Luka “BluTV” Parente – Host and Writer for the Paladin’s Console Corner. Luka can be contacted here.
Perhaps it was the roster change after Masters LAN, maybe it was the representation change from Fable to Onslaught, or maybe it was publicly announcing your team’s strategy before the tournament began. Whatever it may have been, it worked perfectly as Onslaught displayed some of the best console Paladins play ever at Summer PCW LAN in Atlanta last week. Coming into the event with a perfect 12-0 record through the Xbox North American Qualifiers, they showed no sign of slowing down. Relying on strong drafts and both great individual and team plays, Onslaught ended the event with a 7-2 record throughout the double elimination event, dropping only 2 maps (1 each in semi-finals and finals) the entire weekend and both to Elevate, a surprise championship contender. Despite excellent play from Elevate, Onslaught however on both occasions was able to adapt and adjust in extraordinary fashion. Below is Paladins Console Corner and all-around insider Luka “BluTV” Parente’s recap of the entire weekend’s matches.
Round One, Vexed Gaming (EU)
The first round consisted of a match up that Onslaught had grown accustomed to with their Xbox European counterpart, Vexed Gaming. After previously taking then Fable through a 5-game gauntlet during the Spring Console Wars LAN, Vexed proved to be no match for the rejuvenated Onslaught Team. Out of the gate, Vexed lost focus in the draft banning Moji to target Onslaught’s 2-time MVP Wxnderful. As a general rule of thumb, first-picking Drogoz is usually a good move, especially for someone as skilled as Vexed’s Wrld but forgetting Onslaught’s greatest strength being hit scan dominant champions was a vital mistake. Skeppii on Buck, Kuhlmatt on Willo, and Wxnderful left to rampage on Vivian led to a quick and easy Game 1 win, part of an easy 2-0 sweep of Vexed and a great start to their Summer LAN domination.
Semifinals, Elevate (NA)
Facing Elevate from the PS4 North American side of things would present Onslaught with a challenge or two. On the side of Elevate, they had qtShoo, xWooosh, and SirJamesParker – all who started their careers on Xbox and have played with members of Onslaught in the past, and former Onslaught members QtNeil and AtomicBooom. Elevate started off strong with a Game 1 win over Onslaught on Brightmarsh with interesting picks such as Grohk, forcing Onslaught to adapt and adjust to preserve their winners bracket lives. Maintaining composure and forcing match ups with excellent drafts, Onslaught quickly recovered and even left spectators questioning what Elevate was thinking going into Game 3 on Stone Keep with two flanks and no high ground control vs the triple DPS high ground and back line dominating draft of Onslaught.
Grand Finals, Elevate (NA)
Facing an Elevate team that moved in thrilling fashion through the Losers Bracket for a make-or-break rematch and the crown of Paladins Console Wars Champion, the series moved to a best-of-five and would force Elevate to win 2 sets in a row, an extremely difficult task. Game 1 began on Brightmarsh and Elevate with the first pick looked to take away the Grohk counter in Willo and banned Jenos (being Onslaughts’ favored support) and was looking to repeat their success against Onslaught on the same map in the semifinals. Onslaught however had a different idea, drafting the Tyra to use her firebomb to manage the Grohk and tight spaces easier. Onslaught took an early 2-point lead behind the great play of Kuhlmatt and his constant Tyra DPS pressure and Trensiqs’ ability to hold zoning and stay alive at all times on Makoa. Add in the continued support of Wxnderful on the Inara, creating tons of space for his team to do as they pleased and led Onslaught to a quick 4-0 of Elevate and a 1-0 series lead.
Continuing the theme from Game 1, Game 2 on Stone Keep looked totally different from the last time these two teams met on the map for battle. Elevate this time adopted Onslaught’s strategy, loading up on hit scan characters in the draft unlike before. With Onslaught first picking Drogoz, Elevate decided to counter heavily by taking Jenos, Barik, and Buck as their back line defense and their later additions of Willo and Cassie made it even more difficult for their opponents to dive behind them. Mirroring the score of Game 1, this time Elevate was the 4-0 victor with extraordinary play from SirJamesParker on Cassie as he showcased his aim, diving in and out and applying constant pressure with Cassie’s amazing cauterizing kit.
With the set tied 1-1, it led us to Map 3: Ascension Peak, a map most teams avoid at all costs due to its recent addition and the many possible flanks and strategies that can be utilized. Again Onslaught moved away from their preferred Triple DPS play style to run double front line with a Zhin and Furia to provide extra damage alongside Drogoz, which proved successful. Skeppii on the Zhin was able to disrupt the enemy Bomb King and Cassie in the back line to allow Kuhlmatt free fire on the enemy front lines and support all game. With Onslaught’s Drogoz firing hard-hitting rockets into Elevate’s grouped Khan/Makoa/Grover this presented more problems than usual, and led to multiple lightning quick Ultimate charges. Elevates’ play from xWooosh’s Khan and Atomicbooom’s Bomb King was enough to keep them in the game for the first 2 rounds, but eventually Skeppii and Kuhlmatt became too much of a nuisance and allowed Onslaught to take the 4-2 victory.
Game 4 was Onslaughts’ chance to end it all and Elevates’ last stand on Jaguar Falls. From past qualifiers and tournaments, this was one of Onslaught’s best maps as the long, narrow hit scan heavy fights always treated them well. Elevate however would not go down without a fight, and looked to be doing very well early in the draft. By banning Drogoz and Buck away from Onslaught, (two of their best champions) and first picking Jenos and later the Furia and Khan combination, it forced another double front line scenario out of Onslaught leaving Skeppii to play their last pick Vivian, usually reserved for the dominating Wxnderful. Skeppii however was able to prove himself to also be a force to be reckoned with on the Vivian, creating massive amounts of space for Kuhlmatt on the Willo to deadzone and blast away on Elevate’s Khan and Furia. With Wxnderful again on Inara creating spacing and opportunities for Skeppii and Kuhlmatt to run through Elevate like a knife through butter, the result was a 4-1 Game 4 score and Onslaught as your Summer Console Wars LAN Champions.
Skeppii was crowned MVP of the entire event and for great reason – multiple times he stepped up with numerous double kills, a few triple kills, a quadra kill on Viktor and almost a complete penta kill as well. While no stranger to success, this performance alongside his Dreamhack Valencia and HRX 2018 play cemented him as a world-class console DPS monster. The rest of the team is no slouch either, with Wxnderful further bolstering his own resume with his 4th Finals appearance and 3rd championship, Miracle (a competitive Evolve champion before switching to Paladins) adding additional trophies to his name and young talent Kuhlmatt and Trensiq earning their first LAN victories. Whether it was the roster addition or the organizational switch, the combination of individual talent and superior drafts (thanks in part to Coach/Sub Taye!) led to a crowning achievement for Onslaught Paladins and cemented them as the best console team in the world and early favorite for a world championship at HRX in November.