The remaining two qualifiers for Johnnyboi_i’s Salt Mine II have come to an end. Their conclusion brings a close to the qualifier stage of the 1v1 tournament and finalizes the somewhat unexpected list of playoff participants.
These two qualifiers determined who would join oKhalid & Dead-Monster (EU) and Firstkiller & Mile (NA) in the playoffs. Two spots were filled through qualifier wins, but the remaining four points-based spots were also decided.
Qualifier # 3 saw some notable upsets and an unexpected name in the grand final. Three of the four quarterfinals surprised, with ApparentlyJack’s win over Trex the only one to play out as planned. ScrubKilla, a fan favorite who was streaming his perspective to his twitch channel, lost a close 3-2 series to Revezy, and Zamué took down ThO 3-1. Saudi Arabian player Fy_Ali77, assuming Ahmad’s spot as the 2nd strongest KSA player in the tournament, took down Alpha54 3-1.
Ali’s streak was abruptly ended by Zamué in the semifinals. An all-English semifinal on the other side saw ApparentlyJack marginally beat out Revezy. Zamué, who’s promising Spanish 3v3 team recently signed to Vodafone Giants, put the breadth of his talent on display with three straight wins over Jack after an initial overtime loss.
Across the pond, a much tamer script saw NA heavyweights LionBlaze and AyyJayy beat out Sharrieff and Angel respectively, both with 3-1 scorelines. AyyJayy was performing exceptionally well going into the final, on course for an even matchup vs. LionBlaze. The final delivered with a back and forth series in which all four games were decided by a single goal. Lionblaze’s strong offense helped him take game one, but AyyJayy’s mechanical prowess ultimately secured him three narrow games to win the qualifier.
With the landscape of qualifying points starting to take shape, qualifier #4 became a tough battle between the numerous players jostling for enough points to push them into the top 8.
Points are accrued for all matches from the quarterfinals onward, and the determination for those coveted final points was on full display in EU as four tight quarterfinals played out. Joreuz, a tournament favorite, squeaked out a win over LuiisP in game 5. AztraL, too, had a tight 3-2 win over Oscillon, and Revezy dashed the hopes of a 2nd KSA player in the playoffs by winning 3-1 over Fy_Ali. ScrubKilla continued his trend of exciting series with a shocking series against Speed. Despite repeated last-second comebacks by Scrub, Speed eeked out the win in game 5 overtime in a result few predicted.
AztraL picked up form with each successive series in the qualifier and managed a sweep over Joreuz in the semis, though the Dutch player’s placement had already earned him enough points to guarantee a qualification spot. In another all-English semifinal, Speed failed to recreate the success he had against ScrubKilla, losing to Revezy in another sweep.
In the grand final, both players repeatedly traded wins all the way to game 5. In the end, Aztral’s impeccable mechanics, flawless recoveries and distinguishable speed proved too much for Revezy and netted the Belgian the final qualifier win.
ApparentlyJack had earnt enough points in existing qualifiers to not have to bother with #4. Revezy, Joreuz, and LuiisP picked up enough from their quarter- and semi-final series to snag the last few points-based spots. This notably pushed Alpha54 and ScrubKilla down and out of the top 8 and sent them home without qualification. ScrubKilla recently claimed Salt Mine II would be his last 1v1 tournament.
On NA’s side of the fourth qualifier, mechanical beast and a fan favorite Forky was sent home early by Jbot, who had an impressive run past Jruss and eventually Taroco (3-2) to make it to the finals. On the other side, Majicbear took down Melodic 3-1 with relative ease. Jbot’s impressive run ended eventually in the grand final, as Majirbear bested Jbot in two overtimes to take the series 3-1.
Whilst LionBlaze, one of the big NA 1s names, did not win a qualifier, consistently high finishes netted him the first NA points-based spot, followed by Kinseh in 6th. Jbot’s finals appearance just moved him into 8th, and Sharrieff watched intently as Majicbear’s semifinal win over Melodic awarded him a qualifying spot.
As always with the Salt Mine, it lived up to its name with plenty unfolding both within and beyond Rocket League’s pitches across the two qualifiers. In EU, ThO graced us with a paradigmatic salty 1s tweet after his early loss to LuiisP. The now-deleted tweet read “most boring series ever, only kickoff goals where he is the favour at cuz [sic] he is 1s main”.
In NA, Comm tweeted his intention to exit the Salt Mine after losing out from multiple server restarts during his series. JRuss, in a tied 2-2 series against Jbot, forfeited in frustration whilst only 2 goals down with more than 4 minutes left on the clock.
In an unbelievably unlikely and unfortunate event, RLRS player Karma, who was casting the Sharrieff vs. Taroco series at the time, was apparently struck by lightning through her controller after it hit her neighbours house. She continued casting the rest of the series following the event. She has since reported on twitter that she is fine, though she suffered shock and non-serious burns.
UPDATE: talking to doctor, hands are burned and controller is broken.— Karma (@KarmahTV) June 29, 2020
The 8-day long qualifier stage has now come to an end, and the 8 qualified players will be preparing for the start of the main event on the 1st July. Watch the action on Johnnyboi’s twitch channel as players in EU and NA fight through the double-to-single elimination bracket for at least $10,000 per region, and the title of Salt Mine II champion.