Flash Lux VS. KongDoo Panthera looked like a pretty uneven matchup going in, considering the squads’ polar opposite seasons. For Flash Lux, this matchup wouldn’t have any impact on their end of season. With only a single map win to their name, the rookie squad were already locked into fourth place. As for Panthera, the squad hadn’t lost a match yet, and would advance even if they lost.
Although the match itself didn’t carry any weight in the standings, there was still a certain amount of pride associated with it. Whether it was Panthera’s string of wins, or Flash Lux’s string of losses, a miraculous win from Flash Lux would put an end to both streaks going into their respective playoff and relegation matches.
The two rounds of Lijiang tower set the tone for the series, as KongDoo seemed to be playing with their food. The entire roster were throwing out ultimates haphazardly, and only seemed concerned with making individual plays. Flash Lux did manage to show signs of life in both rounds, – generally off the back of team wide graviton surges from Kim “Modern” Su Hoon’s Zarya – but they weren’t enough to overcome Panthera’s superstar roster. Throughout both rounds, An “Wakawaka” Jee Ho eradicated his opponents on both Pharah and Zarya. With their flex player delivering streams of multi kills without the need for his ultimate, Panthera took both rounds using their roster’s brute force.
Flash Lux showed more coordination on King’s Row, but it still wasn’t enough to pull out a win.
In their attack, Flash Lux managed to launch several coordinated flanking attacks, as well as exploit Panthera’s aggression. By combining freezing from Kim “Veil” Ho-wook’s Mei, and patient ability usage from Modern’s Zarya, the attackers baited Panthera into over committing themselves to needles fights, knowing that they wouldn’t be content with waiting out the clock. Although their improved coordination almost lead to a full push, Flash Lux were stopped short at two points, after being torn apart by a last minute Bastion pick.
KongDoo struck back with a vengeance on their attack, with Kim “Rascal” Dong Jun making his debut on Sombra. Although several teams had experimented with Sombra throughout Apex, Rascal was the first to make her look truly dominant. Panthera’s DPS attacked from all angles, using the mobile hacker’s translocator to move between vantage points in the blink of an eye. Once his ultimate was charged, Rascal would drop down and activate his EMP, disabling enemy abilities and allowing his team to blaze through each fight. With the generally unimpressive hacker doing wonders for their teamfights, Panthera bulldozed through to a win in the second round.
With their first place seed all but guaranteed, KongDoo chose to experiment on their Hanamura defense. Similarly to their victory against RunAway on the same map, Panthera replaced their typical Lucio pick with a Soldier 76, in order to run him alongside 3 tanks, Mei, and Ana. Flash Lux refused to fall as easily as their predecessors, and managed to break through the damage heavy comp thanks to Veil’s precise Hanzo play. Although Veil and co. managed to leverage early pressure on point B, they eventually fell victim to Hanamura’s quick respawns, and were stopped with one point.
KongDoo responded with a dominant attacking round, as they trampled through both points. For one of the first times in the series, Panthera were dead set on closing the game out. Both the randomly used ultimates and the unsual picks were gone, in favor of a coordinated rush, led by Fissure’s Reinhardt. With Fissure playing the front line role of an immovable object, the rest of Flash Lux were able to demonstrate their unstoppable force, as they eradicated their opponents on both points.
With a third undefeated match in the books, KongDoo Panthera look strong going into playoffs. Although they’ve looked dominant so far, today’s game did show signs of the squad’s solo queue mentality rearing its head once again. With that said, the squad’s dominant ending on Hanamura shows that the players should be able to work together when necessary.
In Flash Lux’s case, this loss will unfortunately mean a trip to the promotion tournament without a single series win. Although this may be the end of Flash Lux’s Apex career, their players can at least hold their heads high, knowing that they were the only amateur team to compete at this season’s level of competition.
Photos via OGN Global (twitch.tv/ognglobal)