December 11, 2015
UGC Gold Highlander Offseason
Countdown to Season 18: One month Remains
The forums have been abuzz with talk about Gold teams springing up for the new season of UGC Highlander. From new, exciting move-ups like Fake and Gay, to the ever-competing Independent Fighter’s Alliance, to the super teams like Quail Noises forming, there is certainly a lot on the horizon for the next season of Gold.
It is far too early to begin thinking about power rankings, but clearly, some teams have caused enough of a splash to be feared with just names on a forum alone. I also spoke to a few Gold leaders recently to get some information about how their offseason has progressed, the pickups they’ve gotten, as well as how their team is shaping up. However, there is one common theme- Quail Noises is going be really, really good.
Maybe the wildcard of this UGC season, Trump 2016 is a new team formed by DrZoidy and beanie , former teammates from Gibus to the Max. The team is a complete rehaul, with DrZoidy and beanie being the only returning members.
Despite a 4-4 record last season, DrZoidy and beanie distinguished themselves as some of the better players in their position, which aided their quest to create a top Gold team.
I’ve had information from the get go about this team and it has not disappointed after the initial hype. Names being tossed around included those of flare, Jesus, exile, and TMP. With flare and Jesus now in Platinum, only the latter two were rostered. Scrims early on have gone well for Trump 2016, contending against and beating other mid-high Gold teams.
I asked DrZoidy how tryouts have gone, he added this piece of news, “Most of the tryouts we’ve had so far have been really impressive. We just picked up Kris18 on spy and vinny on sniper earlier today.” During our interview, we jumped into a few topics regarding the larger scope of Gold this season.
Vox: Although the season is still a bit out of the way, what teams are looking formidable so far?
Zoidy: I haven’t been able to scrim too many teams yet. But roster wise, Quail noises, IFA and american’s team look really solid.
Vox: Feel free to get cocky here. If the power rankings came out tomorrow- where would you rank yourself?
Zoidy: I’d say somewhere in the top 4, I haven’t been able to check out the majority of teams so I’m not completely sure how good gold is this season.
Certainly a strong bit of confidence coming early out of DrZoidy, although he did preface it with the fact that a lot of teams have yet to form and that it is still early in the tryout period. If Zoidy’s pickups go the same trend they have been, there’s no reason they can’t land a playoff berth with the roster that is coming together.
Arzt Hispanian , co-leader of LFT, told me about his tryouts have gone, and I got a pretty excited reception, being that the team is near-complete. When asked about anyone in particular he stated, “Actually, everyone has impressed me.”
Arzt cites his recent ventures in EU TF2 as the reason for the line is of great tryouts, as he hasn’t been around to get too caught up in the wider perception of various players in the NA scene, but rather how their experience and skill. Trelan and Max are two pickups who have been playing well for LFT.
Arzt Hispanian: Both of them work really well together.
Arzt Hispanian: Max does the damage and main calls really well
Arzt Hispanian: and Trelan actively listens to damage calls
Arzt Hispanian: and is able to get insane kill streaks
Arzt Hispanian: while not taking damage himself.
Arzt Hispanian: Also Trelan listens to spy time well and is able to spy check really well, allowing me, the pyro, to remain in the flank for longer periods of time.
Arzt is co-leading with Ice, and their team is turning into a pretty strong contender, especially with it only being formed relatively recently. In fact, Ice and Arzt hadn’t even spoken much before this decision to co-lead. However, Arzt was happy that the team dynamic is coming along nicely.
Arzt Hispanian: Indeed, I’m really excited to play my 6th season in Gold.
Arzt Hispanian: I’m also excited to play with these guys some more
Arzt Hispanian: especially since everyone is pretty much new to me.
After speaking with Arzt, I spoke with Mini , leader of Team Jeebus 2.0: Need for Jeebs, a rebuild of the former champions of Season 15 Silver. Mini spoke highly of Quail Noises’ prospective flank, but offered this caveat:
Mini: If I get who I want on flank though, we’ll have a flank that can actually contest train/voll.
I asked Mini about living up to the legacy of his Silver Championship, who won 11 straight games after picking up a little-known Sniper legend. Mini stated that if he can roster who he wants, he has no doubt they could be a Top 3 team.
Mini is also playing together with a corps of people who he has been familiar with for a few seasons. When asked if the chemistry was still there, Mini said, “For those people who have played together, yeah. Most of us have played together on some team whether is be Team Jeebus or Team Willy.”
Personally, I’m expecting Jeebus 2.0 to fare well in Gold. Players like crit_happens and WLLY will be certain to live up to their team’s former glory, while pickups like xig and kairu will be sure to keep running for placement all season long. With a leader such as Mini behind them, there’s no doubt that dream could become a reality.
Lastly, I spoke to tex , from u$a, a team whose goal is to “Make UGC Great again,” as according to JoshCash, who will be backing up for the team.
Vox: How have your scrims been going so far?
tex: Our scrims have been going fairly well. Right now we’re trying to solidify our roster and build on our team chemistry.
Vox: Any promising tryouts?
tex: Yeah, we’ve had a few really good tryouts.
Vox: Awesome, anyone specifically you’d like to shout out?
tex: I’ll shout out my boy waterr, he’s been a big help in getting things rolling.
tex was also keen to say how he expects IFA and Quail Noises to be some of the toughest competitors this season, which seems to be keeping with the trend. All three of the leaders I asked* mentioned those two teams specifically, and I doubt anyone would be able to raise a hand otherwise. I also put tex on the spot by asking him where he ranks his team.
u$a.tex: Probably like #10 or so
u$a.tex: If you asked joshcash, he would be inclined to say #1
Although much of the u$a roster is still in the works, with Scout, Demo, Heavy, and Engineer up for grabs, some of their tryouts bode well for the potential of this team. Names include Seymour and Note on Scout, and BattleBull on Heavy.
I’m already feeling the hype for this season. There has been a lot of the discussion on the UGC forums related to the future state of Gold. Namely, the level of skill a team should require before moving up. The concern is that a larger Gold will lead to a “watering down” of the skill level, but the current skill disparity of Silver has sparked this conversation to expand Gold’s reach.
To gain some insight on the community’s opinion, I’ve added a poll here: http://goo.gl/forms/NGQ9sBFshn
Let me know what you think in the comments or if there is anything you’d like me to specifically report on – including teams, players, opinions, or pretty much anything.
* Only three as I didn’t ask Arzt about prospective Gold teams.