With the first spot in the TEC Gauntlet up for grabs, a fresh looking Reckoning Esports took on ROG Academy in the Round of 32. ROG Academy picked up Icebox, with Reckoning Esports opting for Split and Breeze resulting in the potential decider.
Reckoning Esports started their defence on Icebox with aplomb, winning six uncontested rounds in a row before ROG Academy called for a timeout. The timeout seemed to have worked as ROG Academy then executed a fake towards B while slowly creeping into the A site, catching Karan ‘BRZ’ Chhabra off-guard. They proceeded to convert the advantage into their first round of the match. The second soon followed and this time, it was Reckoning Esports calling for a timeout. The Mumbai-based organization seemed to rework their defence setups and traded rounds with ROG Academy to move to a 7-3 lead before a couple of mishaps saw ROG Academy end the half with 5 rounds on the board. The second half pistol round saw Reckoning Esports quickly take control of and plant the spike at A. However, Piyush ‘clouda’ Kalwania walled right in front of the spike and defused it, with Reckoning Esports too slow to react to the Sage counter wall. ROG Academy shut down a fast mid-to-B attempt under tube to level the scores. Thereafter, ROG Academy continued to trump Reckoning and dismantle their attempt to execute their post-plant strategies, with their continued use of Sage’s wall to block-and-defuse. Reckoning Esports did bring one round back facing down the barrel at 7-12 but a comeback at that stage was too much of an ask as ROG Academy took their own map pick home with a scoreline of 13-8.
ROG Academy took up where they had left off as Split started, with three quick rounds on the board before Reckoning Esports could even get going. A good B split execute got Reckoning their first round at B. ROG Academy raced to a 6-2 lead and it was soon extended to 7-2 after Chirant ‘Trance’ Saluja came up big with a triple-kill. Reckoning Esports just couldn’t find some solace as ROG Academy continued to capitalize on their errors to end the half with a 9-3 lead. Reckoning did start the second half well, reading ROG Academy’s late A take to jump to a 4v2 advantage. However, Piyush ‘clouda’ Kalwania made sure the entry from CT to elbow wasn’t an easy one and he picked off two on the cross to win the second pistol round of the map for ROG Academy. At 3-11 and facing elimination, Reckoning Esports rallied to win a couple of rounds. However, ROG Academy gathered themselves up fast and used Killjoy’s Lockdown at A to take control of the site quickly to reach match and series point. ROG Academy didn’t waste any more time and successfully took control of A site patiently, baiting Nairit ‘L0sttt’ Banerjee’s Viper out of his ultimate to nullify the threat and plant the spike. Reckoning Esports had a 4v3 advantage during the retake but a good crossfire setup at elbow-CT ensured the win for ROG Academy, who closed out Split 13-5 and the series with a 2-0 scoreline.
Two fresh lineups but it was ROG Academy who triumphed, mostly pouncing on the mistakes committed by Reckoning Esports, who will now have to wait till the Season 2 qualifiers to book a slot in the TEC Gauntlet Main Event.