This weekend is the long-awaited Chicago homestand event where fans hoped the Huntsmen would bounce back from recent woes. Conversely, the tournament started off on a sour note for Chicago. The Huntsmen looked as bad as they have all season opening with a 3-2 loss to the New York Subliners. However, the Huntsmen did what they do best: rally when it matters most. How has the weekend shaped up for the Huntsmen heading into championship Sunday?
The Scrapy Road to the Semifinals
Whether it was in respawns or Search and Destroy the Huntsmen continued their sloppy play from previous tournaments to start CDL Chicago. Especially when Chicago needed it most, the deficits piled up and were too much to overcome. In their first match against the Subliners, the Huntsmen got smoked in all game modes. On the opening Hardpoint, the Huntsmen were simply outgunned and out-rotated. Chicago lost most of the key gunfights and were outmaneuvered on the map. Following up with the Search and Destroy maps, Chicago’s woes continued. Chicago got off to a quick deficit early and found themselves down 1-4. The team clawed back and pushed map two to around 11 but there was simply too much to overcome.
Although Chicago managed to push things to a map five, the sailing was not smooth. In Domination, it was late-game heroics by Envoy to secure a single-digit victory and make the score 1-2 – the Huntsmen were barely alive. On the following map, the Huntsmen fought tooth and nail to keep things even. If not for Arcitys’ nine-piece on the fourth hill, it is likely Chicago would have been sent packing earlier. In the final Search and Destroy, the Huntsmen just did not have what it takes to pull out the victory. Whether it was getting first blooded or not being able to effectively trade out kills, Chicago could not get comfortable on Ramazza. However, on Saturday, things went a little differently for the Huntsmen.
The Saturday Bounceback
On Saturday, Chicago were up against their toughest challenge yet: fighting out of the losers bracket. Although it does not matter how teams make it to championship Sunday, the prosperous path forward was never going to be easy for Chicago
Knockout Match Against London Royal Ravens
Luckily for Chicago and its fans, Saturday went a little differently for the Huntsmen. The team opened the day against the London Royal Ravens which could have taken the Atlanta FaZe to a map four or five a day earlier. It was not always pretty, but Chicago clutched up when they needed it most. The two Hardpoint maps were decided by a total of 22 points, Chicago clutched up when they needed it. The Huntsmen got key rotations and gunfight wins at the exact moment they needed it which propelled them to two match victories.
It is no secret that the Huntsmen are struggling in Search and Destroy this season. Conversely, in the series against the Ravens, map two went more smoothly for Chicago. The team looked like literal huntsmen and could not be stopped on the map. Chicago took the Search and Destroy by a score of 6-1. While the team got smacked in the Domination, every team experiences in the occasional tournament. The tide was finally starting to change for Chicago.
Rematch Against the New York Subliners
In the last match of the day, Chicago got what they wanted: a chance for redemption. For the last spot in the semifinals, Chicago had to beat the New York Subliners. The Huntsmen looked very different from their match on Friday evening. Although they dropped the first map, Chicago rotated much better and made the opening map more competitive. One thing was certain, Chicago was going to learn from their loss on Friday and use it against the Subliners on Saturday.
Plain and simple: Chicago clutched up. Where the Huntsmen struggled in previous tournaments they excelled against New York. In Search and Destroy, Chicago did not dig themselves a hole. They more or less traded round for round early and accelerated late in the match to even things up at a map a piece early. In Domination, it took a herculean effort, but Chicago took over late in the game. They were down about 25 points with two minutes left, but this did not deter Chicago.
The Result Down the Stretch?
With about six seconds on the clock, the Huntsmen executed a neutralization of the B flag and capped both spawn flags to take the lead and steal map three. Once the team arrived on map four, all their hard work appeared to culminate. The team played it clean and earned themselves a series victory. Rotations were crisp, key gunfights were won and against the skin of their teeth Chicago earned themselves a spot in the semifinal.
The team has its work cut out for them, but they are undefeated against Dallas and hope to continue their perfect record on championship Sunday.
Featured image courtesy of the Call of Duty League