April’s Alienware Monthly Melee has come and passed, and the recently relocated Rogue squad came out on top over a field of 8 elite teams. Dropping a total of two maps in the entire tournament, Rogue’s triple DPS threat of AKM, Soon, and Nico proved too much for any team to handle. The only team who managed to even come close was Selfless, who forced the grand finals of the tournament all the way to a game 5 before ultimately falling short in a thrilling final game on Dorado. One team who punched above their weight class was Denial eSports, who won two of their three group matches before going on to beat Immortals in their first upper bracket matchup. Unfortunately for xQc, ZZA, and company, Denial fell to Rogue and then Selfless in the finals of both the upper and lower brackets. Finally, fan favorite NRG fell way short of expectations, even with Cloud 9 ringer Mendokusaii filling in for Seagull. Unable to win a single group match, NRG started in the lower bracket of the playoffs, managing a victory over MetaAthena before being eliminated themselves in a 2-1 loss to Immortals.
Let’s jump right into the coverage!
GRAND FINALS: ROGUE VS SELFLESS
In one of the most thrilling grand finals ever to take place during an Alienware Monthly Melee, Rogue and Selfless played a full 5 map series to decide which one of them would go home with the $6,000 1st place prize. This matchup is made even more intense knowing the history between these two teams. In the past two months, these teams have been at each others’ throats four times, with Rogue coming out on top 3-2 in every series so far. Since they came out of the upper bracket, Rogue started the series with a 1-0 lead, so the first map was King’s Row. We’ll be breaking down that map, and the final map of Dorado, as both games ended in very epic fashion.
GAME 1: KING’S ROW
King’s Row started with Selfless on the attack. They ran their standard attack composition, with Sinatraa on his iconic Tracer, Dafran playing the Soldier: 76, Emongg on Roadhog, with Kresnik’s Reinhardt, Michael3D’s Ana, and Dhak’s Lucio rounding out the rest of the composition. Rogue ran the same composition that they run in pretty much every situation, with AKM, Nico, and Soon playing the Soldier 76, Genji, and Tracer respectively. This matchup started just as explosively as you would expect, with both teams playing an incredibly aggressive style focused around the stellar DPS play. Rogue’s first point defense was very impressive, managing to eat over 3:30 off the clock and nearly forcing the first attack into Overtime, as well as forcing Sinatraa to swap from Tracer to Zarya. As a result, Selfless went into the “streets” phase of King’s Row with only 2:50 remaining on the clock.
Despite the short window of time, a good Tactical Visor from Dafran helped Selfless convincingly win the first team fight. As Selfless tried to finish out the objective, they were pushed back after an initial protracted team fight with a lot of work being done by Soon’s Tracer on the defense. Once Selfless got regrouped though, a nano-boosted Tactical Visor from Dafran was sufficient to clear out enough of Rogue to capture the second point. However, once again Rogue was able to eat all of the extra time off the clock, forcing Selfless down to 1:30 to complete the map.
As Selfless started their push into the final phase of King’s Row, an early Pulse Bomb kill from Soon seemed to signal failure for the initial Selfless attempt. However, a huge Earthshatter from Kresnik knocked down Nico, who had just pulled out the Dragonblade, turning the fight in the other direction. Dafran coming in with the Tactical Visor cleaned up the remaining members of Rogue, allowing the cart free push down the final stretch. As Rogue attempted to get back out to make a final stand on the payload, a massive Graviton Surge from Sinatraa held five members of the defense back. This allowed the rest of Selfless to clean up Soon, who was the only member of Rogue able to make it to the payload and contest. Despite a rough time on the first two phases, Selfless was able to complete King’s Row with 12 seconds remaining in their time bank.
When Rogue swapped to the attack, they ran the same dive composition that we see from them everywhere, with the only difference being AKM flexing onto the Pharah, and Unkoe starting out on the Mercy. After their initial dive failed, Unkoe swapped onto Zenyatta, but was able to help AKM do enough damage to build up a Rocket Barrage for the second fight. Despite getting an early kill with that ultimate, Rogue was pushed back yet again. However, the way Selfless was dealing with the dive composition can only be described as a “bend, don’t break” strategy. This required them to give up positioning on the point in order to avoid losing members of their defense. As a result, through each of these first two fights, Rogue was able to unlock a third of the objective, despite losing the fights fairly decisively. And with about 30 seconds remaining on the clock, Rogue was able to make a strong push for that final third, with 5 ultimates ready to do so. With all three DPS chiming in with kills, and a good Sound Barrier coming in from Winz, Rogue was able to unlock the objective in roughly the same amount of time as Selfless.
Selfless, in typical fashion, didn’t give Rogue any free space coming into streets phase. Soon and Nico got caught out of position looking for early picks, and were both picked off themselves, allowing Selfless the chance to take an early 6v4 fight as the payload pushed through the arches. After taking that first fight, however, Rogue pushed up through the upper levels of the hotel, and through some good use of the Orb of Discord out of Unkoe, and a Primal Rage from Knoxx, Rogue managed to push forward. As Rogue rounded the final corner, they were greeted by a nano-boosted Tactical Visor from Dafran, which immediately shut down Nico’s Dragonblade and helped to clean up the rest of the kills. At that point, Selfless, realizing there was less than a minute left on the clock, decided to take up forward positioning right outside the spawn doors of Rogue. As Rogue attempted to push in, Selfless’ Kresnik landed a massive Earthshatter, knocking down three opponents and seemingly spelling doom for the Rogue offense. However, the follow-up was non-existent, and Rogue managed to turn the fight around and complete the second objective.
The initial fight of the final phase was won decisively by Selfless, even forcing out a couple of ultimates from Rogue, and reducing their time to less than 30 seconds. Nico, however, was not quite done, and came in with two huge kills with a Self-Destruct. Easily able to clean up the rest of Selfless, Rogue pushed it forward through the final stretch. A huge Pulse Bomb from Soon weakened a few members of the defense, and the cleanup came in quickly. Despite both teams being forced to use nearly all of their allotted time, both teams now had a second chance to put up some extra points.
Going into extra rounds with a 12 second advantage meant that Selfless went on the defense first. Both teams had previously put up impressive defenses, so if the same thing happened here, it could very well come down to a matter of completion percentage on the zone. Knowing this, Rogue decided to run four DPS and two supports, with Unkoe playing Widowmaker and Knoxxx switching onto the Zenyatta. Unkoe landed some pretty impressive shots, managing to pick off Emongg and Dafran in an attempt to open up the final zone. However, a Nano Boost onto Sinatraa with 70% charge on Zarya meant that the cleanup was easy as Rogue tried to push onto the point, and Selfless was able to hold strong, only giving up 11.6% on the objective.
Due to the recent patch introducing percentage tracking on capture points, this left the door wide open for Selfless to take the victory with a quick, aggressive push on their attack. Knowing this, Rogue elected to go for a little bit more beef on their typical dive composition, swapping Nico back onto the D. Va for a little more survivability. Unkoe also played the Mercy, in the hopes that he could build up a Resurrect to give his team a second chance if needed. Massive Pharah play from AKM held off the initial attack, and allowed him to build up a Rocket Barrage for the final Selfless push. In an attempt to seal the victory for his team, AKM went deep with an aggressive ultimate, but Dafran was ready for it, and shut him down immediately. A few more members of Rogue fell, but Unkoe was ready with the Resurrect, and picked up four with it. The renewed fight began just as Overtime started, with Selfless at 5.9% of the 11.6% they needed to come out on top. Upon being picked up, Soon immediately went to work, helping Nico to take down Dafran, and bringing Michael3D down very low on the Ana. However, a huge hook from Emongg took AKM out of the skies, and a perfectly-timed Sound Barrier from Dhak kept his team healthy through everything Rogue threw at them. Some more huge Roadhog play from Emongg sealed the deal, and Rogue was able to complete the 11.6% they needed to win the map, and even up the series 1-1.
GAME 5: DORADO
Both teams managed to win one of the next two maps, with Rogue winning on a very decisive attack on Watchpoint Gibraltar, and Selfless edging out Rogue in a 3-2 nail-biter on Nepal. This brings us to the final map of the series, with Rogue choosing Dorado. Dorado is a map where Rogue has had a lot of success, earning a reputation for their incredibly strong defense in the church phase. However, the nature of Escort maps favors the in-your-face, aggressive style of Selfless. Both teams needed a huge performance here, and this game did not disappoint.
With Rogue choosing the map, Selfless elected to go on the attack first. Rogue was able to burn 1:30 off the clock on their initial defense, diving aggressively onto the cart before it even reached the first choke point. Despite losing Knoxxx early on, good Tracer play from Soon allowed Rogue to keep the payload contested and delay long enough for Knoxxx to get back and continue the stall. Over time, Selfless got the kills they needed, and moved the cart forward towards the first checkpoint. Due to the aggressiveness of Rogue’s defense however, they were able to regroup and challenge the payload before the first objective was captured, and they had a Nano Boost and a Tactical Visor available to do so. Those ultimates fell short though, as both Soon and Nico were picked off early, and a Sound Barrier from Dhak negated much of the damage being put out by AKM. On the back of some strong Roadhog and Soldier: 76 play from Emongg and Dafran, respectively, Selfless unlocked the first objective with 1:52 left on the clock, and moved forward into the church phase with nearly 4:30 available to them.
Coming into church phase, Dafran immediately looked for forward positioning to use his Tactical Visor on a flank. Rogue, however, had done their homework on their opponents, and knew exactly where Dafran would be hiding. The dual assailants of Soon and Nico took him down easily, and Selfless, knowing they were at a disadvantage, were forced to back down. This allowed Rogue to get themselves established on the high ground, which is where their second point defense starts to really cement itself.
By keeping up a constant rotation between Knoxxx, Soon, and Nico, Rogue was able to ensure they almost always had a presence on the payload, not allowing Selfless any space for free. Rogue easily won the first team fight by abusing this high ground control, only losing Nico in the fray. However, with spawns favoring the attackers, and an early pick onto Knoxxx coming from Emongg, Selfless started the next fight with a pretty significant advantage. A poor Nano Boost coming out onto a weak AKM meant that Nico’s Dragonblade didn’t get much value. But once again, the incredible stall coming out from Rogue’s defense meant that the payload didn’t get much forward progress, and over time, they were able to get themselves re-established on the high ground. Now down to less than a minute to complete second phase, Selfless was seeing their tournament life flashing before their eyes. AKM got Nano Boosted again, this time with a Tactical Visor to follow up, but a massive hook from Emongg took him off the high ground to be cleaned up, getting no value out of the two ultimates invested. Michael3D answered with a Nano Boost of his own onto Emongg, who proceeded to terrorize the remaining members of Rogue’s defense, eliminating 5 in the fray. With that, Selfless was able to push into the factory with just over 1:30 to finish the map.
Coming into the final point, Sinatraa was looking to get good value out of the Graviton Surge, but an aggressive early dive from Rogue forced Selfless to back up and regroup after losing a few members. Down to about 30 seconds on the clock, Soon looked to seal the deal with a big Pulse Bomb. That ultimate landed on Sinatraa’s Zarya, however, and was easily negated with the personal shield, leaving Soon out of position to be picked off by Dafran. With 10 seconds left on the clock, Sinatraa found the Graviton he had been looking for, capturing three, and combining with Dafran to clean up the rest. AKM attempted to make a last-minute clutch play with the Tactical Visor, but the rest of his team going down around him meant that it wasn’t enough. Eventually it came down to Winz, all alone on the payload, and even a Sound Barrier wasn’t enough for him to delay. Despite an extremely impressive defense from Rogue, Selfless was able to complete Dorado, which is a feat that nearly no other team has been able to accomplish.
As mentioned previously, Rogue has a lot of practice on Dorado, and their initial attack was a clear indicator of how strong they are there. Immediately diving in with AKM on the Pharah, aided by Soon and Nico reprising their typical Tracer/Genji duo, and of course Knoxxx on Winston, Rogue got on top of Selfless and came up with a full team wipe in the first 30 seconds of their attack. Early direct rocket hits from AKM were followed up on by the rest of Rogue’s offense, prompting the casters to call it “the best early attack on Courtyard we have ever seen”. However, they managed to wipe Selfless so quickly that Selfless was able to come back in for another fight, which they won in a reverse sweep without losing a man. Dafran was able to win the next fight almost single-handedly with a Nano-Boosted Tactical Visor, taking Rogue’s clock down below 2 minutes. An effective Dragonblade coming out from Nico in the next fight picked up two kills, and the rest of Rogue was there to clean up, capturing first point and moving into second with nearly 4 minutes left.
Coming into second, early picks from both sides prevented either team from fully engaging, but allowed Rogue to keep the payload moving slowly but surely around the corner in front of the church. All this free time, however, allowed Dafran and Michael3D to build up their ultimates, and Dafran managed to put the team on his back again with another Nano/Visor combo. Despite his team being wiped around him, Soon managed to stay alive, and at this point made what would end up being one of the most important plays of the game. By staying hidden and effectively using his Blinks and Recall, Soon was able to keep the payload moving forward the entire time Rogue was regrouping. Eventually this forced Selfless to abandon their high ground control in order to contest the free space he was getting. At this point, Rogue dove in with their full force. Despite losing Soon and Nico early on, some huge play from AKM on Pharah contributed to another team fight win and a capture of the second objective.
Now pushing into the Lumerica Co. factory with over 3 minutes on the clock, Rogue looked set to post a very impressive time on Dorado. Once again, however, a Nano/Visor combo from Dafran turned them back and forced a regroup. Soon attempted the same shenanigans to gain some free cart space. Selfless responded immediately, jumping down onto the payload to contest. Despite stopping the forward progress, this abandoned the high ground advantage yet again. Soon whiffed on his Pulse Bomb, but redeemed himself with a full clip of the Pulse Pistols onto Dafran, removing him from the fight. Once again, this first pick was the call to action for the full dive from the rest of Rogue. Sinatraa attempted to turn the fight around with a Graviton Surge, but the follow-up wasn’t there, and he too went down. Selfless attempted to come back out and stop the cart before it got to the end, but AKM was ready with the Tactical Visor, contributing to a full team wipe, and allowing Rogue to complete the map with 50 seconds left on the clock.
This 50 seconds would end up being massive, and it resulted in Selfless taking their turn at attack first. Their initial dive saw some success, largely because of Dafran picking up three kills on Pharah, but the rest of his team fell around him and they were pushed back. However, those three kills allowed Selfless to have an advantage starting the next fight, and despite losing members, they were able to keep the cart pushing forward. Once again, Emongg came up huge with his Roadhog play, getting a total of 8 hook kills on their second attack. Selfless managed to take the first point, and pushed the cart out to the front of the church. Good ultimate management allowed Rogue to come back out with a huge advantage, though, and they did so to great effect, stopping the cart 62 meters past the first checkpoint.
This defense from Rogue was impressive, but ensured that their final attack would have to be as successful as their first. Selfless remembered the attack from Rogue in the first round, and positioned themselves to deny AKM the value on Pharah. Emongg and Sinatraa both managed to pick up kills, pushing Rogue back to regroup. Once they did regroup, AKM started the next fight with a pick onto Dafran, which was exactly the opening they needed. The AKM show continued as the fight broke down, landing rocket after rocket onto the remaining members of Selfless. Unlocking the first checkpoint with 30 seconds remaining, Rogue was in a very strong position to get those extra 62 meters and take the map and the series.
Emongg continued to put the team in his backpack, landing yet another huge hook onto Nico, denying any aggressive positioning from Rogue with 20 seconds remaining on the clock. Unkoe went down as well, putting fear in the hearts of Rogue fans everywhere. Down 6v4 with 15 seconds remaining, Rogue’s hopes rested in the hands of AKM, who had a Rocket Barrage ready to go. He did not disappoint, managing to take down Dafran immediately before being taken down himself. This opened up the full dive from Rogue, and Unkoe and Knoxxx went to work. Now with less than 30 meters left to push, Rogue was just looking to close things out in Overtime. Dafran was able to get up onto the high ground to use the Tactical Visor, but was met by a Primal Rage and a Sound Barrier to negate the ultimate. At this point, the DPS of Rogue went to work, cleaning up the rest of Selfless until it was just Kresnik and Dafran left on the point. They were quickly finished off, and Rogue pushed it the final few meters, taking the map, series, and the $6,000 grand prize!