Wargaming.net League European Finals Retrospective

This year’s EU Finals in Sofia was full of upsets and surprises, making it an event to remember.

The Wargaming.net League European 2015 Finals saw some of the best World of Tanks players scattered across the European region gather in Sofia, Bulgaria, to battle it out for the title of champion. It was the WGL’s mission to bring a big spectacle to a new locale and spread the word about eSports.

During the tournament we saw a lot of surprises. So as the dust settled, we were there to give you a recap of all the fast and furious tank action.

The City of Sofia

Sofia is a city in the midst of numerous exciting developments. Investment in the city is on the rise, so you’ll see a lot of modern buildings emerging wherever you visit. The city is flanked by mountain ranges, mixing picturesque scenery with the contemporary. Hosting the event in Sofia allowed us to visit somewhere new that has an exciting and a growing eSports scene.

The Sofia Events Center where we set up our trenches was the perfect arena for the event, allowing us all the space needed to get our teams settled and fans in their seats. There was a great turnout for the Finals, and a lot lively spectators gathered at the center to watch the six teams fight for supremacy. We provided people with paper and markers so they could doodle away in true eSports fashion, and some of the pictures even found their way to the teams’ desks.

The Teams

With everything in place it was time to start proceedings. Of the six teams that had assembled in Sofia there were EU Season 4 Champions Schoolbus, the newly named PENTA Sports (formerly WASD), and self-proclaimed underdogs WUSA. Winners of the first season of the WGL Virtus.PRO were present; GGWP wanted to continue their streak of wins after the previous phase of the League, and South East Europe champions Kazna Kru were poised to shake things up.

In the casting chairs were Oliver Maxfield and Lauren Scott to relate all the action as it unfolded for viewers both at the stadium and those tuning in over Twitch.tv. On the analysts desk was our Australian host, Mitch leslie, breaking down each battle for the crowd, letting them know what was happening and why.

To keep the spectators entertained while teams cooled off and the staff set up the next matches was NAME, who played mini-games with the crowd and kept everyone up to speed with the day. And, unlike many live events, we managed to keep the event running pretty smoothly so no one waited around for too long.

Day 1

Back to the battles. Most fans had their money on Virtus.PRO and Schoolbus to be the teams leading the charge and snagging the prizes. The first match played into this narrative, with Kazna Kru losing 1:5 to Schoolbus. PENTA Sports then mirrored this defeat to WUSA, which meant that Schoolbus progressed to the next round, leaving Kazna Kru to face off with PENTA Sports. However, Kazna Kru dug deep, and after a tight set of skirmishes, PENTA Sports lost 5:4, meaning that the former progressed to the next round.

After a short break where teams could gather their composure, it was time for the next two battles. The first to face off were Schoolbus and WUSA. When the former secured a 5:2 win, it looked certain that Schoolbus were definite final match contenders. All that was left to decide was who would go up against Virtus.PRO for that coveted second final round place.

WUSA took to the battlefield against Kazna Kru, and, to many peoples’ surprise, Kazna dominated the games and won 1:5. It seemed like whatever had happened after their initial defeat, the only place to go was up. And up meant taking on the goliaths of Virtus.PRO. The WGL EU Finals were certainly shaping up to be full of upsets and surprises.

Day 2

Though Kazna had made it out of the first day alive and on the rise, their biggest challenge still awaited them. Virtus.PRO, Schoolbus and GGWP were the giants ready to battle it out. On the line was a ticket to the Grand Finals in Warsaw (for those that had proved their worth throughout the whole Season).

Nerves were on edge. Tension was palpable. A slice of the €100,000 was tantalizingly in reach: all teams had to do was seize it. But there could be only one champion.

First to clash was favorites Virtus.PRO, who went up against Kazna Kru. And Kazna was about to show people that they weren’t simply lucky by winning the game with a decisive score of 2:5. Next up was GGWP against Schoolbus. Surely we’d see a return to normality? Yes. If only for a little while. GGWP crashed out, losing 2:5 to Schoolbus.

With the die cast, we knew our finalists. Though only half of the final two was expected. Schoolbus had trounced Kazna Kru in their first meeting. Would it happen again? Would the pressure get to Kazna?

Well, there was the battle for third place that needed to be decided first. Virtus.PRO and GGWP took to the stage to claw back some pride, and whatever slump the former may have found themselves in was put to rest when Virtus.PRO won 5:1. Third and fourth place had now been settled. Now it was time for the main event. Who was your money on?

Up was down; left was right—it had been a crazy old tournament so far. But would the status quo be restored in the final matches?

Kazna had no intention of repeating earlier mistakes and Schoolbus had to reclaim their crown. The matches were too close to call—back and forth, right down to the wire. Kazna would take a round, then Schoolbus. But it was Kazna who claimed victory in the end, and they were crowned WGL EU 2015 Finals champions.

The Aftermath

The WGL EU 2014 Finals was a tournament filled with tight skirmishes and big surprises. The new Attack/Defense mode kept battles furious and a spectacle to watch. This wouldn’t have been possible if not for the city of Sofia and all those who joined in to make the event possible. We’d like to thank everyone who turned up or watched the show online. The WGL will be back for the Grand Finals in Warsaw in April so get ready for more eSports action.