Power Rankings: Gullywash Week
Process was a fairly pedestrian week, almost all of the games went as expected. All that is, except for two major examples. Happy Schnapps (now Shekel Shakedown), my glorious Heimdall, gatekeeper of mid-high IM fell to the treacherous Syops TF2. Meanwhile in the most surprising game to date, A Groillion Dollars decimated Exultance in a game that may need to be investigated for collusion as the result of the game can only be explained as a massive payoff. Process saw a lot of teams not grasp the basics of mid, and teams where all people went to the same side of mid and moved forward as a team gave them a massive advantage in the game.
We now move to Gullywash, a map prone to some stalemate games but overall a very solid map. The schedule of games for this week is rather stacked as there are evenly matched games in mid-high IM. This week should give me a better idea as to the general hierarchy of IM for the future.
1. Pizzagon esports
To no one’s surprise, Pizzagon remains at the number 1 spot. I’m not entirely sure if Exultance’s egregious loss to Gorillion Dollars makes the Pizzagon loss worse (becuase Exultance got dusted) or better (Exultance’s loss showing just how much of a wildcard team they are). Either way, Pizzagon will remain at number 1 until they finally have their showdown with Bird Noises. Until then the road to an IM victory goes through Pizzagon. They just took care of business on Process week, destroying Mad Marx in their game to the point of running an absolute troll mid and still not losing a round. As predicted though, Ice Road Terror (RangaSquad), played them rather tough as it seems to be the team’s special ability to put up a dramatic fight against people ranked far above them.
To put Pizzagon in a comparative perspective, they are the obvious number one in IM right now but they are not quite as good as Getawhale Fanclub was. Pizzagon seems to have the better roster on paper and I would argue that they have a higher ceiling, but they just don’t seem to be displaying the level of dominance that Getawhale exuded during their run in the IM season.
2. Bird Noises
Bird Noises had a rather pedestrian Process week, only being marginally challenged by a Six Guys Off that brought arguably their strongest roster to date with a scout combo of Phlps and Pie_Hero. Despite Voll and Hellbent switching roles, Bird Noises have not seemed to miss a beat continuing to play extremely well. That could be due ot the strength of the soldiers, or the fact that the soldiers were never quite the focus of the team but an additive to the focus of Sigh and their remarkable Scout combo. They continue to play a very controlled style at neutral that allows Sigh to control the flow of the trades with a sniper behind him at positional advantage, and transition into a high soldier aggression allowing Sigh to make room and the Scouts to click bodies.
This week hopefully Bird Noises will show a consistent and bribery-proof nature that will dissaude any shocking upsets on Gullywash. They play Shekel Shakedown, my disgraced gatekeepers, and the apparently far more dangerous then intially expected Gorillion Dollars. The balanced strength of Bird Noises should prove far too much for either team, but sources have told me that Shekel has looked to make a dramatic change for the better with some sort of foundational change. Despite the unknown nature of their opponents, I expect Bird Noises to be unfettered until they finally get the matchupp against Pizzagon.
3. Kill Zill
It would seem I horribly jumped the gun on last week’s power rankings, with Exultance’s shocking win I expected more out of them. But Exultance disappointed me, so Kill Zill reclaims thier rightful place in the top 3 of IM. Putting Kill Zill back into 3rd was an easier decision than dropping them to fourth as Exultance lost to Gorillion Dollars just a few days after Kill Zill crushed them on Snakewater.
Kill Zill cruised to a process week that only combined to last 34 minutes, two games that barely lasted loner than a single half. It would seem that the roster movement keeps coming for Kill Zill as their pocket pickup, Zilly, has made the move over to Roamer to make room for Tankman to play the 300 man. Time will tell if the Tankman can emulate the TankGod himself, but one would hope that Kill Zill can find one consistent roster to improve with. Kill Zill has a short week for Gullywash as they only play Shekel Shakedown. This could prove to be a more interesting game than it seems if the mixup Shekel Shakedown is bringing turns out to be more dramatic then first expected, but I don’t expect it.
4. A Gorillion Dollars
Coming in at their highest ranking this season is Gorillion Dollars at fourth. In what has to be the most shocking result this season, they 5-0’d Exultance in a process game that looked as if Mustard and co. made a nest in the heads of their enemies. Starting from midway through the first round, they looked as if they had complete control of the game manipulating the Exultance players into repeated terrible decisions. The pickup of Carolina has been a fruitful endeavor, as Carolina has delivered the damage and positioning that Gorillion Dollars have been sorely needing in their games. Simultaneously, both Knuckles and Ex has made dramatic improvements mid-season and seem to be capable of actually competing with some of the strongest scout combos in the division. All of this seems to be coming together at a great time as they have only actually dropped two games this season.
This week Gorillion Dollars play against Bird Noises and Mad Lugubrious. Clearly Mustard will find an ally in anyone that seems to be making fun of or vaguely insulting Mad Luxurious after the debalce last season with player payment. Either way Mad Lugubrious won’t present much of a challenge for Gorillion Dollars and will give them ample space to focus on their game with Bird Noises. Honestly this game may matchup better than expected, Bird Noises have an overwhelming DM advantage across the board but Gorillion Dollars’ strength in calling may provide them the avenue through which they can challenge the current 2 seed. If Gorillion Dollars pulls this win off, first I would be surprised, but more importantly Gorillion Dollars has a chance at the top 3 this week.
5. Exultance TF2
In the pre-season rundown just one month ago, I mused on the idea that while Exultance had plenty of firepower across the board they may be an unstable team. I specifically highlighted their scouts as a potential tilting point which may bring Exultance tumbling down, but I honestly only expected it to come into play against the fellow members of the top 3 from the pre-season rundown. However, their game against Gorillion Dollars was far far worse than I ever imagined. By the third round of that fateful process game, I swear that they were attempting to play from a 270 degree angle. The tiltfest which I bore witness to shocked, scared, and disgusted me. I would not recommend a spectating of this demo for the weak of consitution, it is not for women nor children. Right now, most of Europe is currently denying the refugees from this disaster from entry.
The reason that I’ve gone on this tangent is simply because there isn’t anything else to say about their process week. They took care of business against Mumble Robots, but that game barely lasted longer than their loss to Gorillion Dollars. This type of tiltfest from Exultance can not be repeated if they have any hope of coming out of IM in the top 3, let alone an IM victory. Someone needed to reign this team back in, but they do not seem to have that type of player.
This week presents itself as a suitable bounceback for the Exultance boys. They play Six Guys Off and Mad Marx, two teams in the midst of roster struggles that may ease Exultance’s week. Honestly Exultance has nowhere to go but up from their performance against Gorillion Dollars, they hit rock bottom hard and fast.
6. Six Guys Off
Appropriately coming in at sixth are the Guys Off. They put up a rather good fight against Bird Noises, but I’m reluctant to really analyze any Six Guys Off game as they continue to use rtd! to decide what roster they bring into each game. Their game against Bird Noises presented what may be the best incarnatio of Six Guys Off, featuring Phlps and Pie_Hero on scout for that one game. Sources say that this roster isn’t going to stick, so who really knows what will be their roster for Gullywash week. Maybe they continue the musical chairs for positions. Maybe they bring in another highly skilled player from a dead team that confuses things. Maybe Six Guys Off goes with the surprise witness approach and brings in a wildcard ringer. Who knows. But, pretty mch all of their recent roster changes end up with them being better than the teams below them on the ranking but just not enough to topple those above them.
This week Six Guys Off have a juggernaut of a week. Their easy ride ended last week with a game against Bird Noises, and only gets more difficult as they face Pizzagon and Exultance. Unless Six Guys Off put together the most optimal roster possible, I don’t seem them avoiding an 0-2 week. However, Exultance proved that anything is possible if you can coerce a tilt out of them.
7. Syops TF2
Storming into the power rankings for the first time this season, Syops steals the seventh spot in the rankings from Shekel Shakedown. By assassinating my Heimdall, they now take the role of gatekeeping hopefully to ease the writing of future rankings. Syops was never really far from my power rankings, they came in at 9th in my pre-season rundown and more or less remained there ever since. They lost their spot on the power rankings not for any falloff of skill, but because I cut the number of teams down to 8 from 10. Syops take their position at 7th due to a victory over Shekel Shakedown in a very dirty game. Each point ultimately came down to who could play the post-uber fight worse. One uber from Air or KTB would result in a lot of space made for their respective team, only for their teammates to blow it in the most spectacular way possible losing people to horrible situations. The game honestly looked like whose team could let down the Pocket/Medic combo more. Luckily for Syops, their followup was just a little bit better more often and they came away with a 5-2 victory.
This week Syops will play to keep their spot at the bottom of the power rankings as they play against Ice Road Truckers and Mad Marx. As long as they go 2-0, they will keep their space in the top 8 and have a legitimate chance at playoffs. But if they go 1-1, I will lose my mind as it will most likely force me to use some circular logic to figure out where everyone goes. Overall Syops looks to be a team on the slow rise.
8. Shekel Shakedown
Down but not out, Shekel Shakedown came out of Process week with a 1-1 record. I attributed their loss against Syops to poor followup play, but I really have to touch on their last holds. Every single time they defended last with disadvantage, they brought out a highlander hold that seemed inpenetrable (not the least because Syops refused to scout last and seemed to suffer from short-term memory loss). But after their sentry gun would fall, nothing would watch the point and Syops repeatedly just stood on point with no one on Shekel to contest them directly. Shekel threw away last holds simply by not playing point.
Shekel Shakedown walk into a massacre this week as they are forced to play against both Bird Noises and Kill ZIll. I expect two quick losses for Shekel, unless their incredible switchup is as world-changing as expected. Maybe they pull out the coveted 7th man. While I disparaged Shekel for not living up their gatekeeper status, maybe I was just wrong on the placement of Syops. Maybe Syops was always behind the gate, and Shekel was still fulfilling their rightful place. Syops will answer that burning question for me this week, while Shekel gets beaten into submission in the background.