ESL ANZ Champs Season 16: Grayhound reign supreme over Vertex, securing Pro League slot

Grayhound have emerged as the winners of ESL ANZ Champs Season 16 over Vertex in a 3-1 fashion, locking in a spot for themselves at Pro League Season 18. Despite recently returning from international events and playing with a stand-in, the ‘hounds’ made quick work of their domestic rivals.

Grayhound didn’t miss a beat since returning home from their string of international travel for the Paris Major and IEM Dallas. Having qualified for the playoffs through Stage 1, Grayhound were absent in Stage 2 where their opponent, e-LEMON-ators qualified to face them in the semifinals.

Jayden “foggers” Graham and co. weren’t a match for the tenured Grayhound side, despite GH having to field a stand-in. Patrick “Falcon” Desousa, the super sub got straight to work and finished the series against e-LEMON-ators with the most kills in the server.

On the other side of the playoffs bracket, Vertex met Rooster. Vertex have cemented themselves in the region as a top squad that on occasion can contest with GH, but otherwise is a gatekeeper for the teams below. Rooster on the other hand continue to improve and impress despite setbacks with and roster instabilities.

Rooster’s season ended in the semifinals to Vertex after a 16-6 loss on Anubis and a nail-biting overtime loss on Nuke 19-15. Although disappointing for Rooster who turned their ANZ Champs season around in Stage 2, it was good news for Vertex who now had a crack at the Pro League spot on offer in the final.

With Grayhound and Vertex heading into the best-of-five final, Vertex would have their work cut out for them in order to get over GH who have benefited from their recent months overseas and the experience that comes with that.

In the finals, Grayhound were able to edge out the win, but not without a fight from Vertex. GH set the tone for the series and reminded Vertex that they are ‘Number 1’ in Australia with a 16-5 win on Vertigo.

Vertex replied on Inferno with the entire squad having a great showing to take the map 16-13 and tie up the best-of-five series at 1-1. With Anubis and Mirage up next Grayhound edged out the series and prevented the final map Nuke, pocketing both maps 16-13.

With the ANZ Champs title under their belt, Grayhound pocket the lion’s share of the prize money but more importantly the qualification spot into ESL Pro League Season 18. For Grayhound this will be another opportunity to build on the recent overseas results and again face up into the world’s best teams.

For Vertex and the other squads who missed out on the spot, there will be an Oceanic qualifier for Pro League in July..

ESL ANZ Champs Season 16 Schedule & Results

ESL ANZ Champs Season 16 featured two stages that were both double-elimination brackets, all matches being Bo3. In Stage 1, the top two squads advanced directly to playoffs and the remaining six teams proceeded to Stage 2.

Stage 2 introduced two more teams following a last-chance qualifier and once again, only the top two teams advanced from this stage to round out the playoff bracket.

ESL ANZ Champs Season 16 — Stage 1 Schedule & Results

Match Teams Time (AEST)
Opening Round
Monday, Mar 27 Vertex 2-1 Sunday School 5pm
Grayhound 2-0 Stirlz’s Angels 9pm
Tuesday, Mar 28 e-LEMON-ators 2-1 Rooster 5pm
The Big Dogs 2-0 Encore 8:40pm
Upper Bracket Semifinals
Wednesday, Mar 29 Vertex 2-0 e-LEMON-ators 5pm
Grayhound 2-0 The Big Dogs
Lower Bracket Round 1
Tuesday, Apr 11 Sunday School 2-0 Rooster 6pm
Stirlz’s Angels 0-2 Encore 9:15pm
Lower Bracket Quarterfinal
Wednesday, Apr 12 Encore 2-0 e-LEMON-ators 6pm
The Big Dogs 2-0 Sunday School 8:30pm
Upper Bracket Final
Thursday, Apr 13 Vertex 0-2 Grayhound 6pm
Lower Bracket Semifinal
Encore 2-0 The Big Dogs 8:30pm
Lower Bracket Final
Friday, Apr 14 Encore 0-2 Vertex 6pm
Grand Final
Grayhound 2-1Vertex 8:50pm

ESL ANZ Champs Season 16 — Stage 2 Schedule & Results

Match Teams Time (AEST)
Opening Round
Monday, May 22 Sunday School 2-0 DXA 6pm
Mindfreak 0-2 e-LEMON-ators 9:10pm
Tuesday, May 23 Rooster 2-0 Stirlz’s Angels 6pm
The Big Dogs 2-0 Antic 8:10pm
Upper Bracket Semifinals
Wednesday, May 24 Sunday School 2-0 e-LEMON-ators 6pm
The Big Dogs 0-2 Rooster 9pm
Lower Bracket Round 1
Thursday, May 25 DXA 0-2 Mindfreak 6pm
Antic 2-1 Stirlz Angels 8:45pm
Lower Bracket Quarterfinal
Wednesday, June 7 e-LEMON-ators 2-0 Antic 6pm
The Big Dogs 2-1 Mindfreak 8:30pm
Upper Bracket Final
Thursday, June 8 Rooster 2-0 Sunday School 6pm
Lower Bracket Semifinal
Thursday, June 8 e-LEMON-ators 2-0 The Big Dogs 8:45pm
Lower Bracket Final
Friday, June 9 Sunday School 0-2 e-LEMON-ators 6pm
Grand Final
Friday, June 9 Rooster 2-1 e-LEMON-ators 9pm

ESL ANZ Champs Season 16 — Playoffs Schedule & Results

Match Teams Time (AEST)
Semi Final
Saturday, June 10 Grayhound 2-0 e-LEMON-ators 5pm
Rooster 0-2 Vertex 7:30pm
Grand Final
Sunday, June 11 Grayhound 3-1 Vertex 5pm

ESL ANZ Champs Season 16 Rosters

Three squads entered the tournament via the Last Chance Qualifier.

DXA, Mindfreak, and Antic were the three teams added to ANZ Champs for Stage 2, filling the two additional slots and replacing the slot left by Encore’s departure from the event following Stage 1.

Vertex and Grayhound remained unchanged in the event outside of Falcon subbing in for the playoffs.

Team Squad
Grayhound Gaming Sico Liazz aliStair Vexite INS
Vertex Esports Club BRACE ADDICT pz HaZR malta
The Big Dogs SkulL Omichella N1ghtraid forevint nauh
Mindfreak isa1ah Word chief tucks Forleks
e-LEMON-ators apocdud SaVage viridian foggers damyo
Sunday School rekonz supar versa guag nexar
Rooster chelleos ADK nettik asap TjP
Stirlz’s Angels ObZen Drox ToM callum_murray gump
DXA Esports Kiyo NeoAgricola bebest lucas Roflko
Antic Esports Noisia James jokes RaZ kyson

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