After the Six Sweden was announced, the stakes in the NAL are higher than ever. Week 7 may have been a turning point for TSM.
After the Six Sweden was announced just days prior, it seems that the stakes in the NAL have risen. Especially as we enter the final weeks of domestic play, every game may be the last opportunity to secure seeding. Though on the surface, the standings seemingly saw little change, NAL Week 7 was perhaps the most significant week yet for TSM and SpaceStation.
Have TSM turned their season around?
Week 7 of the NAL marked one of the final times TSM had to prove themselves against a fellow top team. Prior to week six, TSM had dropped games against three of the top five in the NAL. Despite suffering from several missteps against Soniqs, TSM stepped up their game and snapped their losing streak before it spiraled any further.
In the first three rounds in Clubhouse, it seemed that Soniqs were poised to take another convincing map largely off the efforts of Richie "Rexen" Coronado. Round 5 saw the tides shift in favor of TSM. A triple kill from Jason "Beaulo" Doty kicked off TSM's eventual win. Beaulo's sharp play propelled TSM's comeback, as his initial 0-3 K/D turned to a 13-7 scoreline by the end of the game.
TSM's game was not flawless. Blunders such as the grenade friendly fire incident showed that TSM still have plenty to improve upon. Beaulo's ability to still clutch the round and maintain his team's momentum certainly inspires confidence in fans despite the misplays.
TSM appeared to be a far more competent and cohesive squad compared to their recent performance. If NAL Week 7 truly is a turning point in their season, it is coming at the right time. TSM finally turned their winrate positive and is beginning to grow the gap between 4th and 5th place. As the NAL mainstays enter the 'easier' part of their season, it seems TSM on track to make it to the Six Sweden.
SpaceStation finds First Place after NAL Week 7
The top spot is currently shared between SpaceStation and Oxygen after the most round of matches. SpaceStation has made a strong claim to the throne after stringing together several strong weeks. Matthew "Hotancold" Stevens once again top fragged in a decisive 7-2 victory for the side of SSG.
As Hotancold still tops that boards in overall rating (1.49), K-D (+36), ESR (+14), and falls second in KOST (77%), SSG may hold the best individual performer and overall team in the NAL. After week 7 of the NAL, it appears as though North America's most promising player has not lost his step. With only matches against Beastcoast and Xset remaining, it seems unlikely that anyone can usurp SSG's spot.