This weekend, the PLG Nationals Injustice 2 Tournament Series ended with a blast, culminating with a regional final with some of best and most talented players in the Middle East. Following a mix of online and live qualifiers in different countries, more than 200 players competed to reach the top 8 spots for the regional finals live at VOX Cinemas, presented by PS4. The results of this tournament were a mix of predictable and surprising stories, so for those of you that couldn’t make it to any of the tournament, or even missed the livestream, here is what you need to know.
The Online Qualifiers – The rise of the Saudi Shark
The first round saw a number of exciting matches, but it eventually all ended up with an iconic match between Bahrain’s Azeez “X-Azeez” Aljowder and Saudi Arabia’s Baraa “Shark Teeth” Aljaadi. Indeed, in their first clash in the online qualifier winner bracket, Shark Teeth won the match with a total of 3-2 with his trusty Aquaman, which saw X-Azeez drop down to the Losers brackets. The results were then in favor of both until X-Azeez managed to climb to the grand final and face Shark Teeth again to try to one last time, but the win was for the KSA players. Whatever the outcome was in the grand finals of the online qualifier, both players qualified to the regional finals.
Kuwait qualifiers – The newcomers on the PLG fighting game scene
The live qualifiers in Kuwait were held at Competitive Gaming Club, a local Kuwait City high-end gaming cafe, and powered by ExtravaGaming, where more than 30 players competed for two more seats at the regional finals. The event was full of surprise, as newcomer Abdulwahab Al-Kandari shocked everyone by reaching the semi-final in his first competitive tournament, to lose sadly to Ahmed “BlackCat” Hussein, who advanced and met Otham “Nazova” Al-Rashid in the country finals. In best of 3 set of Catwoman (BlackCat) against Nazova’s Batman, the later finished first winning a brand new PlayStation 4 Pro, while Ahmed walked away with a PlayStation VR, and both advanced to the regional finals.
Bahrain qualifiers – A big win for the Saleh brothers
At the Bahrain qualifiers hosted at during Animania, the tournament was a bigger challenge than most players expected, as many veteran players from the region participated in the games. At the center of the crowd was notable previous finalists of both the 2015 and 2016 Mortal Kombat X Middle East Cup , such as “Smoker” and the winner of both year’s Sayed “Tekken Master” Hashim. Over 32 players competed (most of them from Bahrain and Saudi Arabia) in a challenging of double elimination bracket, ending Tekken Master finishing first, followed by his older brother Abdullah “Undertaker” Saleh.
UAE Qualifiers – From the living room to the rise of heros on the big screen
The UAE qualifiers were held at the VOX Cinemas in Mall of the Emirates, where we have witnessed many new talents from the UAE but also other neighboring countries like Kuwait and KSA. After a double elimination bracket, and a close one for Shaheen “Arkive-UAE” Al-Marar from Falcon Arena, the latter joined Kuwait’s Hamad “Hope” Al-Ammar as the two final qualified players for the regional finals. Both players met in the 3rd round of the winner’s brackets, with Hamad coming on top with a 2-0 win, pushing Shaheen to the Losers Rounds, who had a longer journey to get back to the Grand Finals, by defeating 5 more players. After defeating promising UAE player Ali Tahir and Saad Saleh, Shaheen went up back to the UAE qualifier grand finals, and secured his spot into the regional finals alongside Hamad.
Regional finals – The Middle East best 8 Injustice 2 players
The regional finals were held on Saturday 22nd of July, right after the UAE qualifiers, hosted at VOX Cinemas in Mall of the Emirates. All these players competed against each other to win the prize pool of $ 5000 (divided into $ 3,000 for first place, $ 1,500 for the second place and $ 500 for the third winner. Following an intense first round, the tournament was divided into two parts: Aziz “XAzeez” Al Jowder, Abdullah “Undertaker” Saleh, Sayed “Tekken Master” Hashem and Barra “SharkTeeth” continuing in the winners bracket, with all 3 Kuwaitis Hussein “BlackCat” Ahmed, Othman “Nazova” Al-Rashid, Hamad “Hope” Al-Ammar, and Shaheen “Arkive-UAE” Almarar fall to the Loser brackets.
Round 2 saw a similar outcome from the previous qualifiers, with X-Azeez losing to Shark Teeth in his set, and Tekken Master got rid of his brother Undertake, which then got out of the tournament after a 2-0 loss against Black Cat. Tekken Master continued what it seems to be an easy journey throught the winner brackets, winning the semi-finals against Shark Teeth, who managed eventually to get back to the grand finals after a thrilling 3-2 match against Kuwait’s Nazova. Meeting Tekken Master in the grand finals, the Saudi player tried hard to beat Hashem’s Atrocitus, and even managed to grab one win in the Best of 5 set, but the Bahraini champion prevailed as the top player in the room, to win the championship series, $3,000, and a paid trip to compete at VSFighting 2017 in the UK. SharkTeeth went back home with a $1500, and third place Nazova with $500.