In the first round of the ESEA Season 19 Invite playoffs, Ascent takes down The Five Dollar Club 2-1 (3-4 Snakewater, 5-1 Granary, 5-1 Metalworks), and froyotech narrowly beats Street Hoops eSports 2-1 (5-2 Snakewater, 4-5 Granary, 5-1 Metalworks).
On one side of the bracket, Ascent was paired up with The Five Dollar Club, whom they had faced earlier in the season in a very close 5-4 game on Sunshine in Week 7.
The first game of the series was on Snakewater. Ascent started out strong by taking the first mid due to superior positioning, but were unable to easily find an opening to push onto the second point. After they finally do so, $5 attempt to push back out, but are crushed, allowing Ascent to sweep in and take the first round.
In the second round, $5 come out swinging, wiping Ascent on the mid and rolling into second without contest. However, they wipe on their push into last, giving Ascent the opportunity to push all the way back to take mid, and eventually take the round after winning a key uber trade. Ascent takes this momentum into the third round, where they wipe $5 on mid and then wipe them again on second, allowing them to win the round and ending the first half at a 3-0 scoreline.
The second half begins with $5 once again having a very dominant mid and taking second as a result. However, several failed pushes by both teams leads to a back-and-forth struggle, but eventually $5 manage to successfully push last to put their first round on the board. $5 also manage to take the next mid based on better position, and a flank play allows them to take down several players and push last successfully, bringing them within one round.
Not to be deterred, Ascent take the next mid, but both teams fail alternating pushes to keep the round swinging, until $5 pick off TheFragile on a failed Ascent mid push and use momentum to successfully push last and take the round, tying the score. They manage to take the next mid with only two players surviving while Ascent wipes. $5 and Ascent trade Ascent's second point a few times, but ultimately $5 finally succeeds in a last push, taking a lead for the first time. With less than a minute left on the clock, Ascent is ultimately unable to do anything, thus leaving $5 to take the map Snakewater 4-3 in a stunning upset.
The next map would be Granary. Ascent bounced back from their close loss on the previous map to take a strong mid, allowing them to role through and take the first round with ease. However, they are unable to take advantage of having a faster rollout in the next mid, and a very close fight ends up going to $5. They are unable to complete a subsequent push, losing mason in the process and allowing Ascent to push all the way back to $5's second, and a flank play nets Ascent the last point to win another round and go up 2-0.
The next mid goes to Ascent, and they push very aggressively all the way to last, but lose too many players and retreat back to mid. After a brief stalemate, Ma3la attempts to flank via dropdown but is denied, cueing a push from $5, but their uber gets forced early and Ascent is able to pop much later and clean up the rest of the team, allowing them to roll into last and take the third round to end the half 3-0.
The second half begins with another very close mid which Ascent manages to take with only their demo Bdonski alive. Ascent attempt to push second, but a sticky trap takes two of them and Ascent is forced to trade ubers in order to retreat. $5 loses players attempting to push mid, though, allowing Ascent to repush second and take it with their uber, and a chaotic fight on last goes their way to earn them the fourth round.
The fifth mid also goes to Ascent, but the round ends up being back-and-forth with player and uber advantages continually switching back and forth until $5 manages to wipe Ascent and prepare a push for last. They fail to get any picks, though, getting pushed back, but then the combo gets behind and manages to convincingly win the fight on mid, allowing them to roll into last and take their first mid. $5 then wipes Ascent and takes the next mid based on their momentum, but are unable to gain positioning based on their uber to take second, forcing them back to their second. They attempt to repush mid but wipe, giving Ascent a good opportunity to push last, and despite having a well-placed sentry getting a couple of picks they get crushed by the uber, giving Ascent the round and ending Granary at a scoreline of 5-1 and tying the series.
Due to ESEA server issues, the deciding map of Metalworks would be played the next day. Ascent take the first mid with presence, but the round ends up being back-and-forth with both teams failing a few pushes each, and Ascent ends up winning the round due to a backcap by Decimate after $5 attempt to retake second. Ascent then takes the next mid much more dominantly, wiping $5 on their push into second and rolling into last to easily take a second round with less then ten minutes gone.
$5 strikes back with a dominant mid win, allowing them to easily take second, and complete a close push into last to gain a round in the first half for the first time in the series. Ascent then takes a similarly played fourth midfight, but both teams again fail alternating pushes, leading to the mid changing hand several times, but Ascent eventually manages to take a dominant fight on the $5 second to push into last and take the round, ending the half at a 3-1 scoreline.
The second half begins with Ascent wiping in the midfight, allowing $5 to push last with an uber, but they are unsuccessful and get wiped, allowing Ascent to retake their second. Despite a great initiation, they lose the fight, forcing them back onto their last. They manage to push back into mid and cap but then lose another fight and are pushed back onto last, but $5 fails a last push and are pushed back into mid. Positioning and a backcap net Ascent mid and second, and a quick push nets them the round. The sixth midfight ends up with Ascent winning, but at the cost of their med. $5 are able to repush mid, but a backcap by rando and shrugger allows them to take second and last to win the round and the map Metalworks 5-1, winning them the series 2-1 and advancing them to the upper bracket finals.
On the other side of the bracket, froyotech would meet up with Street Hoops eSports, whom they had easily beaten Week 1 on Process 5-0.
The series opened on Snakewater. The opening midfight was a dead heat, with both teams losing all but a scout and medic in the initial fight. Street Hoops took the mid, but spawns allowed FROYO to repush mid. This led to a back-and-forth battle on Street Hoops's second, which ended with a key pick that allows Street Hoops to push back onto mid. They follow this up with a force of shade's uber on second, allowing them to push last and get a round. FROYO responded with a dominant second mid, wiping Street Hoops and rolling into last. Street Hoops manages to hold them off and push their second, but FROYO are able to retake the second point and move into last to take the round and even the scoreline at 1-1.
The third round sees Street Hoops take mid and second, and an uber drop by shade as FROYO attempt to repush mid gives Street Hoops the advantage they need to take another round. FROYO come out strong in the next mid, but are ultimately unable to do anything with their mid win as time expires, with the first half ending 2-1 in the favor of Street Hoops.
Not to be deterred by being down at halftime, FROYO take another strong mid by wiping Street Hoops, allowing them to take another easy round and tying the game. They took the next mid in similar fashion, but Street Hoops was able to hold their last and then retake their second and hold it for some time before FROYO powered through and took the round to take their first lead of the game with ten minutes left.
FROYO then managed to dominate the next mid and round, adding to their lead and putting them on match point. Street Hoops fought back in the next round, but were ultimately shut out by a failed Kritzkrieg play, giving FROYO the round and ending Snakewater 5-2.
The second map of the night was Granary, and Street Hoops bounced back with a mid win despite losing both soldiers. They manage to take second after trading ubers, and an offensive heavy play by alfa seals them the firsr round. Street Hoops manages to take mid and push all the way to last, but they fail their push, allowing FROYO to easily take three points, and they eventually take the round to even up the scoreline.
The next two rounds go by extremely quickly - FROYO wipes Street Hoops and takes a round, and then Street Hoops wipes FROYO and takes a round. In the last round of the half, FROYO again dominantly wins mid and manages to end the half with a slim lead at 3-2.
The first mid of the second half ends with a close fight going to Street Hoops, allowing them to eventually take the round and tie the score once again. The two teams once again trade rounds, putting the score at 4-4 with the next round deciding the match. A close mid goes to Street Hoops, and despite FROYO's best efforts they are unable to stop Street Hoops from marching in and taking last to earn the round and the map win 4-4, tying the series.
Like the other match, technical difficulties result in the deciding map of Metalworks being moved to the next night. STV issues also affected this match, preventing the first half from being spectated or recorded. All we know is that the first half was very close, with FROYO coming out on top with a 2-1 lead after 30 minutes of play.
The first mid of the second half ends with FROYO conceding mid. Street Hoops attempts to push after trading players, but retreats after losing their pocket and FROYO pursues to muscle Street Hoops out of mid. Street Hoops holds aggressively, but eventually wipes during a team fight and allows FROYO to take second. They then attempt to retake second after getting several picks, but a well-timed uber allows FROYO to rush last and take the round.
FROYO then manage to wipe Street Hoops in the next round and take mid and second, but are unable to hold on to it. Street Hoops them pushes all the way to FROYO's second, but an ambush by blaze leads to a wipe for Street Hoops, FROYO then push all the way to, the Street Hoops last, but lose a very close fight for the point. The ensuing fight on second sees Street Hoops losing three players, giving FROYO the advantage to push last and extend their lead to 4-1.
The sixth mix goes to FROYO, who then manage to take second. After a fight where both teams lose several players and stalemate, FROYO forces cozen and tried to push with their uber advantage and fails, getting pushed out of mid. However, cozen gets forced and Street Hoops gets wiped on a backcap play, allowing FROYO to take mod and second with an advantage. Despite an Ubersaw play to get the uber by cozen, Street Hoops falls on last to give the round to FROYO, ending Metalworks at 5-1 and advancing FROYO to the upper bracket finals.