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The Mall Gaming Experience finale: They came, they saw, they were blown away

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This past weekend saw the conclusion of the 6-week long Mall Gaming Experience and local Dota 2 tournament - and what a final it was! But more on that later, let's backtrack first with some background information.

Came for the shopping. Stayed for the gaming

Building on the success of Gamer's Fest, the Mall Gaming Experience is a grass-root initiative designed to increase public interest and awareness in South African eSports. With nAvTV as hosts and event organizers, the Mall Gaming Experience aimed to show the public a slice of the South African games industry by combining eSports with casual gaming. The event, therefore, served as a platform whereby nAvTV could educate the general public about some of the aspects of gaming.

The Mall Gaming Experience offered something very unique, and looking at the footage below, something quite extraordinary.

 

A Dota 2 finale for the SA eSports records

Kicking off with a round of online qualifiers, which would guarantee the winner automatic entry into the finals, the next best 12 teams were required to compete a in LAN format hosted at various malls in the greater Johannesburg area. Teams were seeded into one of three groups, with the winner of each group gaining entry into the finals hosted at Cradlestone Mall on the 9th and 10th of July. Bravado Gaming emerged as the top team during the online qualifiers, with White Rabbit Gaming, Aperture Gaming, and Flipside Academy Ace’s joining them a double elimination format.

The first round of matches (best of 3 games) went as expected with Bravado overcoming Aperture and White Rabbit trumping Flipside. The first semi-final (best of 3 games) yielded a minor shock as Bravado were beaten by White Rabbit 2 to 1, knocking Bravado down into the loser’s bracket where they would face Aperture (who overcame Flipside to make it into the loser’s bracket semi-final).

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The loss to White Rabbit placed an enormous amount of pressure on Bravado to win their match against Aperture as many labelled them  tournament favourites after the online qualifiers. It’s at this stage that the boys from Bravado showed their experience and professionalism, beating Aperture 2 to 0, effectively setting up a tension filled rematch with White Rabbit in the final.

Attracting just over 20 000 viewers via live steam, it’s safe to say that the match between Bravado and White Rabbit was one of the best exhibitions of Dota 2 competitive play ever witnessed between two local teams. Played as a best of 5 games, the final descended into a battle of sheer willpower and determination – requiring both teams to put in a herculean effort as the entire match lasted just over 7 hours! White Rabbit took the first 2 games, but Bravado showed true quality as they fought back to win the next three matches, ultimately winning entire tournament. Check out our video of the finalists:

 

As I alluded to earlier, the entire point of the Mall Gaming Experience was to build on the momentum of Gamer’s Fest, by keeping local eSports in the public eye. In my opinion its mission accomplished for the team at nAvTV as well everyone else involved making the tournament a reality.

In closing, we’d like to give DeWet "RidditZ" Lombard-Bovey and his team a huge fist-pump for all his help and patience. He is a true ambassador of South African eSports!    

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