12 teams enter; one team leaves. Those were the rules of The Grand Finals 2015. HellRaisers, the CIS team, ultimately survived unscathed (or thereabouts) after two days of intense tank combat, clinching the title and a chunk of $300,000.
From April 25–26 at EXPO XXI in Warsaw, 11 prospective champions met on the eSports battlefield to dethrone last year’s winners Na`Vi. Viewers at the stadium and at home got to feast their eyes on epic tank battles, watching underdogs rise through ranks, heavy-hitters come crashing down and unfortunate teams get turned into scrap.
Day 1 had 12 bright-eyed hopefuls step into the arena with nothing to lose but everything to gain. Showing some of that bravado that won them the title last year, Na`Vi left their opponents in the dust, beating EL Gaming and RG Razer in two 5:0 victories.
That wasn’t the first smack down of the day: Elevate came undone against Virtus.PRO and Santa Clause and 6 Deers, losing 5:1 and 5:0. Another American team also dropped out: RUlette lost to Schoolbus 5:0 and YaTo Gaming 5:2.
When Day 1 came to a close, RG Razer, Elevate, RUlette and Arete had all hopped aboard the train home.
Day 2 began with eight teams still in the running. Santa Clause and 6 Deers were sent packing back to the North Pole when Elong defeated them 5:2. Battle-worn Schoolbus clashed with their EU equals Kazna Kru and were shown the door in a 5:3 loss.
The two CIS teams, Na`Vi and HellRaisers also advanced to the semifinals when they quashed Virtus.PRO 5:3 and YaTo 5:4, respectively. But if your money were on the underdogs Kazna Kru to rise to the top of the ladder, you were out of luck. Chinese team EL Gaming beat them 5:3. For the other spot in the semifinals, HellRaisers faced off with Na`Vi and took the win 5:2.
Later in the day, it was time to decide who would take the bronze. Kazna and Na`Vi rolled out against each other. The latter regained some ground and took third place, trouncing the former 5:0.
The only battle left was perhaps the most important: the final fight to determine the champion. All bets were off, both teams had surprised and shocked during the event. HellRaisers showed why they deserved the title, destroying EL Gaming 7:1.