Inazuma edge Insignia in the battle of the underdogs in Group A opener at TEC Gauntlet

    Inazuma managed to come back from a heavy defeat on Icebox to beat Insignia 2-1 (5-13 Icebox, 13-4 Ascent, 13-9 Haven) to put themselves on the board in Group A of the TEC Gauntlet Group Stages.

    Inazuma started on the Attack side on Icebox and immediately chose to hit the B site, where Sachin ‘Con3’ Golhar clutched a 1v2 post-plant situation to hand his side the lead. Inazuma proceeded to win 3 of the first 4 rounds of the half before Insignia started exacting their revenge and gaining more control of the proceedings. Shlok ‘Shloakzyy’ Ojha showed up big time for his side, getting frags on the board on every round thereafter, with 16 kills in the following 7 rounds as Insignia posted as many rounds on the board in succession before Omkar ‘omkar09’ Thube’s triple-kill saw Inazuma go into the half trailing 4-8. Shloakzy continued to dominate individually on the server, making sure the trades were even or in Insignia’s favour on the second-half pistol as Insignia converted a 3v3 post-plant to bag the pistol. The Attackers had three successful conversions in the rounds that followed, racing to a 12-4 lead, with Inazuma unable to whittle down their lead. Some accurate Operator work from Jaspreet ‘Spawn’ Singh delayed the inevitable but a triple-kill from Soham ‘zDeadscope’ after a good lurk towards the tube area pushed Insignia over the edge to post a dominant 13-5 win over Inazuma on Icebox.

    Inazuma had revenge on their minds as the two teams entered Ascent, with Spawn and Suraj ‘naikzera’ Naik’s doubles making sure Inazuma ended up on the right side of the brawl on the pistol round. Inazuma seemed much more composed in their defence on Ascent compared to Icebox, shutting down Insignia four rounds in a row to race to a 5-0 lead. A successful retake of the A site in a 3v3 situation gave Inazuma their sixth straight round on Ascent. A triple-kill from Ron ‘Trill’ finally got Insignia on the board but their joy was short-lived as Inazuma carried on leaving a trail of blaze and bodies on the defence on Ascent, shutting Insignia down on three of the rounds that followed before Insignia pegged back a couple to end the half with a 3-9 deficit. Spawn was the star of the first half, with over 20 kills to his name in the first 12 rounds, including an ace on the fourth. The dominance continued on the Attack, with a 1v2 clutch from Con3 pocketing Inazuma the second-half pistol. Like Icebox, the leading side raced to map point before the other side put up a front. Insignia won the 16th round thanks to some smooth spectre action from Vikrant ‘69G’ Sharma before Inazuma locked down Ascent 13-4 after a good fake towards the B with the Killjoy Lockdown to plant and successfully defend the spike at A, pushing the series onto the decider.

    The deciding map, Haven, started with Insignia seizing some momentum early on with the pistol win after a pacey execute towards A. However, once the full buy rolled out for Inazuma, they returned to the dominant ways that they had displayed on the defence on Ascent. Insignia managed to plant the spike on 7 of the remaining 10 rounds of the first-half but could only defend it successfully once, thanks to some methodical retakes from Inazuma, who seized a quick 9-3 lead after the first half. Insignia though were not meant to be bogged down by the sizeable lead and began shrinking it with the pistol win, thanks to a triple-kill from Laksh ‘Tippy’ and his Phoenix on the frenzy. Once again, as the full buy rolled out for Inazuma, Harsh ‘f1redup’ Jain opened up a stacked C site with a double kill to force Trill to save the Operator and push Inazuma into double figures on Haven. The two teams started trading rounds, which meant Inazuma found themselves on several series points at 12-7. The duelists of Insignia, Tippy and Trill, started piecing together kills and with it, a couple of rounds. But, a well-calculated fake at C with the help of Killjoy’s Lockdown ensured control of the A site, which Inazuma converted to take the map 13-9 and the series 2-1.

    A well-rounded effort from both sides in this Group A opener wherein no individual managed to stand out firmly throughout the entire series. However, f1redup arrived when it truly mattered on Haven, with 23 frags and 7 first kills to push Inazuma over the edge and that is why, the Maharashtrian is our WD Black MVP for the game.

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