Following ETF2L’s 5th Highlander Nations Cup, expectations were high for the 6th installment of the competition. Especially for some of the typical giants who usually dominate the competition: Sweden, Germany, Russia, and the the reigning champions, the United States of America.
However from the get-go, the 6th Nations Cup was destined not to adhere to expectations as Sweden failed to sign-up for the tournament on time, leaving the tournament already one big-hitter down, and setting the mood for how this Nations Cup was destined to play out.
The group stages matches played out normally for Germany and Russia, neither of them losing a match in their respective groups and earning the top seed of their group. In a completely unexpected result, the United States of America dropped a game against Lithuania on cp_steel. This loss meant for the first time in Nations Cup history, the United States of America did not advance to the playoffs stage of the competition.
The loss against Lithuania meant that Poland took the top spot of the group from the United States of America, and Poland did not put this advantage to waste. Poland moved up through the playoffs stage without dropping a single map to claim a spot in the Grand-Finals. This is the first Nations Cup where Poland made it past the Quarter-Finals stage, and they proved their top-seed in their group was earned.
In the final game of the tournament, Poland faced off against Russia, a team that had already found some success in prior cups. Russia has finished within the Top 4 during the last two Nations Cups and were looking to finally achieve that top result. Sadly for Russia, the power of the Polish hype-train was too much, and Poland scraped a double Golden Cap victory to win both maps of the best-of-three series.
We managed to grab an interview with Tercio, who gave us a thorough breakdown of how his country performed in this Nations Cup:
Starting off the nations cup we felt pretty confident. With doom, Graba and thaZu coming back, pick classes occupied by top notch prem players - chooper and STiNGHAN, up-and-coming highlander talents like stan and barthiz, proven prem maincaller - me, and dedicated 6s main, who became star of the final match - kwq. Despite good morale, we never planned to finish our group at the top, nor taking the grand final.
If you want some insight, we had two roster ideas: one featured me on demo and zinner pyro, other stan ruining the game with disgusting unlocks such as quickybomb launcher, while i could focus on our medics safety by burning every approaching threat. Both came in handy throughout the cup (e.g. when stan left the final in the middle of 2nd map, to go to Italy ^^).
Cutting it short now - toughest opponents were, in my opinion, USA and England, biggest upset of the torunament - USA and Italy eliminated in the group stage followed by cazaroc leaving france before their playoff game, man to be praised for poland's success - stinghan, for implementing his vision, by placing few people on arguably their weaker classes, which turned out great in the long run. Hopefully i've shown you how broken pyro class is.
Thanks to Kritzkast, who hosted the whole thing very professionally. Special thanks to zinner and bajer for joining in the middle of officials without preparation, and still delivering, Jakeowaty, Ber and lil Jessica for being part of the team, both ingame and on discord and last but not least our lovely polish community for constant support.
A big congratulations to Poland for winning the 6th Highlander Nations Cup! Accolades are in order as well for Russia, who came in 2nd place, and Germany, who triumphed over Finland.
There’s a lot to look forward to for the next Nations Cup: Sweden’s return after their administrative mistake, the United States of America having their rematch against the current champions, and as Poland solidifies themselves as a top team, the next Nations Cup is looking to be more competitive than ever before.