Denial eSports kicked off UMG Orlando on Friday, January 2, with two matches in pool play. Pool C, consisting of Denial eSports, Team EnvyUs, Rise Nation, Synergy Gaming, and one team from the open bracket, seemed to be one of the most intriguing groups entering the tournament. With Denial and EnvyUs being the favorites entering pool play, the Wolf Pack needed to enter the day strong to prove their dominance in Pool C.
Denial squared off against Rise Nation in their first match of UMG Orlando. Rise Nation’s roster is comprised of Wheats, Pacman, Chino, and Diabolic, and despite a disappointing finish at MLG Columbus, Rise is not a squad to be taken lightly.
The first map of the match was Hardpoint on Detroit, which is one of Denial’s favorite map and game mode combinations. After the first rotation of hardpoints, Denial had a hefty 150-81 lead which they held to the end of the match, capturing the first map by a final score of 250-123.
After taking the 1-0 series lead, Denial was confident entering the second map, Search and Destroy on Solar. Rise took an early 2-5 lead, but after persevering, Denial was able to bring the score back to 5-5. After a determined Denial squad was able to tie the score in the map, Rise ended up taking the deciding round and winning Search and Destroy on Solar by a score of 6-5.
Map 3 was Capture the Flag on Bio Lab, and as the series was tied at 1-1, this was a pivotal map that Denial needed to win to try and take control of the series. Denial took a comfortable 3-1 lead into halftime and continued to keep the pressure on as they took Capture the Flag on Bio Lab by a score of 5-2.
Denial entered map 4, Uplink on Comeback, with a 2-1 series lead and the opportunity to close out their first victory in pool play. Uplink on Comeback is one of Denial’s best map and game mode combinations, and it showed as they defeated Rise by a score of 7-6 to claim the 3-1 series victory.
In their second pool play match of the day, Denial was pitted against Team EnvyUs. Team EnvyUs consists of Clayster, JKap, Nameless, and Merk, which are a collective of some of the most experienced players in the game. Earlier in the day, EnvyUs fell to another team in Pool C, Synrgy Gaming, by a score of 3-0. Denial and EnvyUs were the two favorites in Pool C entering the tournament, and this match on Main Stage at UMG Orlando was one of the premier matches of the day.
To kick things off, the first map of the series was Hardpoint on Bio Lab. Denial faced a seemingly insurmountable deficit for the majority of the map, but after dominating EnvyUs on the final two hardpoints, the Wolf Pack took the first map of the series by a score of 227-219.
Denial kept the momentum going as they entered map 2, Search and Destroy on Terrace. The Wolf Pack took the map by a score of 6-2, and was just one map away from finishing off Team EnvyUs in their second match of the day.
Map 3 was Uplink on Detroit, and the only way for EnvyUs to get back into the match was for one of their key players to step up; and that’s exactly what happened. Tied at 5-5 in the second half of the map, Nameless scored the deciding point for EnvyUs to take map 3 by a score of 6-5 and narrow Denial’s series lead to 2-1.
Entering map 4, Capture the Flag on Retreat, Denial knew they needed to stop the momentum that EnvyUs had gained from winning their first map of the series. After entering halftime down by a score of 1-0, Denial was able to regain their composure and win the map by a score of 2-1 and secure the series 3-1.
After finishing the day with a 2-0 record in pool play, Denial sits atop Pool C entering the second day of UMG Orlando. Denial will face off against the other two teams in Pool C, Synergy Gaming and the team who makes it out of the open bracket, tomorrow on Saturday, January 3.