Extra Salt win ESEA Season 39 NA Premier with Forfeit win over ChocoCheck

ESEA Premier Season 39 came to a close following an exciting round of playoffs from the top eight teams of the season. The quarterfinals started with a bang when RBG Esports pulled an upset win over paiN Gaming, a team that went undefeated in the regular season. Party Astronauts bested Triumph, and Estra Salt defeated Bad News Bears. The rest of the quarters concluded with ChocoCheck triumphing over the other Brazilian squad, Team One.

In the first elimination round, paiN and Bad News Bears sought to start their lower bracket runs by knocking Team One and Triumph out of the playoffs. ChocoCheck handled RBG Esports in two maps to open the upper bracket semifinals, while Extra Salt sent Party Astronauts to the lower bracket in a repeat of their regular-season clash.

paiN then extended their lower-bracket lifeline with a clean two map victory over the Party Astronauts, eliminating the Americans from the playoffs. RBG suffered a first map loss to the Bad News Bears, but the Panthers struck back to even the scores and won their lower bracket matchup. Those two results set up a rematch of the opening round between RBG Esports and paiN in the lower bracket. Unlike the first time, it was paiN to pull out the stunning reverse sweep, not RBG. With that, paiN exacted revenge on their only loss of the entire season and set themselves up for a lower bracket final clash versus the winners’ final loser.

In the winners final, Extra Salt looked to secure a third straight finals appearance in the ESEA Premier League North America. This time, Ricky “floppy” Kemery was on the roster, a change from previous seasons. Chococheck had already secured a top-three finish, the best the team had ever accomplished. They sought to continue their dream run against the presumptive favorites. After a close Inferno that ended in Extra Salt’s favor, ChocoCheck failed to keep up on Nuke, clinching a spot in the finals for Extra Salt after dropping only a single map during their playoff run.

ChocoCheck’s loss brought them to the consolidation final versus paiN Gaming. In the second straight series, ChocoCheck picked Inferno and brought it close. They were unable to secure the map victory, taking them to the brink of elimination against the Brazilian behemoths. Unlike their game versus Extra Salt, ChocoCheck did not fold after the first map. They fought through Dust 2 and after a grueling quadruple overtime game, made the series even at one map apiece. Ancient was another close affair but the Americans managed to squeak by in the thirtieth round, winning the final map 16-14 and the series 2-1 to set up a rematch versus Extra Salt in the best-of-five Grand Finals.

The Finals would pit the two teams against one another for an invitation to the ESL Pro League Conference Season 16. This best-of-five would also be the most important test for the young ChocoCheck roster.

Unfortunately, the two teams did not play their best-of-five as ChocoCheck forfeited the Grand Finals due to being unable to field a full five-man roster. The team, which has eight members listed on its active roster, was not able to put together five players to compete for a ticket to the EPL Season 16 Conference and the lion’s share of $32,000. Extenuating circumstances left ChocoCheck with only four players out of the eight on their roster, forcing them to forfeit the match, giving the Salters the victory and the EPL Conference seat. This result marks both Extra Salt’s and ChocoCheck’s best-ever Premier League results, as anticlimactic as the final may have been.

Season 39 Final Standings
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