From scapegoat to GOAT, Bance’s individual turnaround was a huge catalyst for Toronto Ultra’s Stage 2 Major win. Throughout the stage, he improved drastically in both SnD and Control, going from a 0.83 K/D in SnD and a 0.84 K/D in Control to a 1.05 K/D in SnD and a 1.05 K/D in Control.
Ultra Instinct: Ben Bance was a different player in Stage 2.
Ultra had a negative Hardpoint record (9-11) in Stage 2, but were able to consistently win their Controls and SnD’s en route to the Major victory. The team as a whole was better in terms of trading kills and getting into comfortable set ups. Bance was thriving by finding kills around the map, and his success has played a major role in Ultra’s consistent form.
Bance’s performances also improved as the Stage 2 progressed. After winning the Major, Bance shared, in a tweet, a message that he sent his fiancée a few weeks prior.
After a poor start in Stage 2, Bance considered retirement.
Confidence is a key factor to his improved gameplay, and there were visible differences between the two series Ultra played against FaZe at the Major. In the first winner’s bracket best-of-five series, there were situations where Bance played tentatively, or was unable to close out crucial kills in Search. In the grand finals, we saw a confident and composed Bance pushing into FaZe’s set ups. During the finals, Bance took the initiative to make plays around the map. He notched a 1.44 K/D in the finals and was named player of the split.
The move for Insight clearly worked for Toronto, but Bance’s resurgence tipped Ultra over the edge against FaZe.
Prestinni had a slow start to the year in Stage 1. With Loony as his SMG duo, the Seattle Surge SMG’s were frequently outslain. In Stage 1, Seattle’s SMG’s never combined for a positive K/D in any series; Prestinni and Loony combined for a net K/D differential of -135 in Stage 1. Seattle Surge fans were once again getting ready to strap in for a rough year, but Prestinni managed to step up in a big way in Stage 2. He finished Stage 2 with a 1.04 overall K/D, and a team best 1.13 K/D in Hardpoint.
Prestinni was one of the best HP players in the League in Stage 2. Over that period, Surge had a 58% win rate in the game mode, the most improved HP team in the League.
At times, Surge still has slaying issues. Gunless also stepped up in a big way, going from a 0.93 K/D in Stage 1 to a 1.07 K/D in Stage 2. In SnD, Prestinni sits below a 1.00, but his first blood percentage increased from 10.0% to 18.1%. Prestinni, like Bance, received blame for his team’s slow start, and is now playing much more confidently and effectively around the map.
In a large part due to Preston’s play, Seattle has moved up from 11th place to 8th place in Breaking Point’s most recent CDL Power Rankings. Seattle looked like a dangerous team towards the end of Stage 2, one that was capable of upsetting top teams. Can the team carry forward this momentum? In Stage 3, the team must find a way to win Control (at 3-10, Seattle are currently the worst Control team). Otherwise, Prestinni’s return to form may not be enough to turn around Surge’s fortunes.