January 9th, 2016
UGC Gold Team Rankings – Season 18
by whymeo, VoxDei, and hungry
Hey there everyone! I’m really excited to be writing for TKE and to bring you these team rankings for Gold, along with VoxDei and hungry. I was already planning out my team rankings for the season when VoxDei, who was also working on a team rankings article, contacted me about working with him on TKE, so the choice for my first article was a rather easy one!
We’ve made a sort of “tier list” of all the teams in the upcoming season of Gold. The teams have been split into four different tiers, Tier I being the highest rated teams and Tier IV being the lowest rated. Please note, because of how early on it is making it hard to determine the exact skill level of a team, this is not a ranking of #1 to #17. Each separate tier is one skill group; the order of the teams within a tier is not based on their skill.
Well, now that we have that out of the way, onto the rankings…
If you’d like to view the rankings in a “tier list” format, click here! Hover over a team’s name on the list to view the write up for that team.
* Teams are sorted alphabetically within their tier.
Tier I: Gold Elite
appel – Last season’s 2nd place gold team, they return with many new changes to their team. While some may argue that a few of the changes are downgrades from last season, their impressive flank and coordination can only lead to good things. Expect the team to contend for placement once again!
Independent Fighters Alliance – Back for their 14th season, the roster is relatively unchanged besides Vipa on spy and Kooza switching to pyro. The team (as always) will easily contend at the top of gold with their strong DM and chemistry, but their lack of scrims and somewhat subpar preseason scrims may show signs of another underwhelming season to come.
Quail Noises – Probably the team with the strongest DM in gold, the new additions of train, pomf, yimi, and hungry will allow the team to match mae’s aggressive playstyle (something they could not do last season.) However, organization and communication is still an issue for this team and may cause a few very close games/upsets to occur over the course of the season.
appel – Although on paper the roster doesn’t look like it will be able to swing with the best, their consistent performance, strong flank, and team chemistry will keep them at the top.
Quail Noises – Primarily a core group of 6s players attempting to fit into Highlander. I’d expect some shaky games out of maps/teams they can’t win with their DM. However, their DM is off the charts, so expect this to be a rare occurrence.
The Syndicate: Reborn – They just keep winning. TMP creates space and everyone else follows his lead. Exile is putting out massive damage and everything seems to be clicking for this new team. Recent scrims have me feeling this team deserves a spot in the top tier of the rankings.
Player(s) to watch: ZZ (), SmileZ (), Bunny (), Zaku (), Blinx (), American ()
Off-Season Scrim Summary: Appel has been doing excellently in scrims, rolling through mid-Gold teams and gaining multiple wins over notable teams such as EVL. They even beat Quail Noises in one half, however Quails was without their demoman, mae.
Overview: Appel is looking to be Quails biggest threat going into the season, boasting an absolutely stunning roster. American has done what he’s best at once again, adding players to his team such as ZZ, Zaku and SmileZ that lack the reputation of other Gold players, but are in fact better than most of their counterparts in the division. Appel’s biggest problem is their combo’s lack of coordination, which results in a lot of unnecessary medic deaths. If they could only iron out their issues with their combo, appel would be a serious threat to Quails.
Player(s) to watch: Literally the entire team
Off-Season Scrim Summary: Quail Noises has been absolutely dominating low-Plat in scrims, easily beating teams like Chill Penguins and amw. Though they did recently lose to appel and The Syndicate in scrims, their loss to appel was without mae and the loss to -ts- had vlad ringing for -ts- on lakeside. In short, these guys haven’t truly lost a scrim to a Gold team yet and have been destroying low-Plat.
Overview: Take the high-IM talent of mae, train, voll and yimi, add in the plat experience of hungry, pomf and bubs^ and add a dash of mir and juss and you have Quail Noises. Quails is the team to beat this season and for good reason – IM players and plat players combined tend to make for solid mid-plat teams and Quails is no exception, the difference here being Quails is playing in Gold! This is looking to be a strong season of Gold, so Quails will not be without competition, but at the end of the day they’re the team that everyone expects to win.
The Syndicate: Reborn
Player(s) to watch: TMP (), beanie (), exile (), DrZoidy ()
Off-Season Scrim Summary: The Syndicate: Reborn has been doing absolutely amazing in scrims so far, with wins over teams like Quail Noises and Corn Ducks.
Overview: Rising from the ashes of Gibus to the Max comes a new Gold team featuring beanie on heavy and DrZoidy on scout. This time around however, they’ve picked up famed pyro main TMP, known largely for playing way too much pyro. TMP’s experience on pyro shows, having an extremely creative play style that completely baffles Gold teams*. Combine TMP’s ability to run circles around Gold teams with the great dm of beanie, exile and DrZoidy and you have one of the most solid teams in Gold this season.
Tier II: High Gold
Papa’s Peddlers – Although the gold champions of S16, this is NOT the same team as before. With only Teapot and Proto returning, the names on the team are not as impressive as they were before. However, big pickups in players like watterson and max will help to alleviate the losses of key S16 individuals. The team’s preseason scrims have not been impressive, but look for this team to catch fire in the coming weeks.
Social Justice Warriors – The champs of silver last season, SJW will head into S18 as a high gold team under the DM of goldfish and their perfection of playing around him. They have the DM and capability to be contenders, but their lack of scrims vs high gold/in general leave a lot of questions unanswered.
The Syndicate: Reborn – The new iteration of ‘Gibus to the Max’, the surprisingly successful team from last season, has revamped their roster and look stronger than ever. With the additions of exile and TMP to help out the NUMBER ONE HEAVY IN GOLD, beanie, the team is a strong contender for placement and will likely be a Tier 1 team as the season progresses.
Team Jeebus 2 – Silver champions in S15, the team returns under the mighty calling/direction of Mini. Although DM is not so strong within the combo, players like Kairu and Xig more than make up for it. Scrims have been inconsistent thus far, but expect it to pick up once the roster is finalized.
Independent Fighters Alliance – IFA is going to be one of the best this season due to the experience of their players. There is a fear of them underdelivering, as they did go on a 3 game slide last season, but plenty of promise to be had.
Papa’s Peddlers – One of my favorite looking rosters this coming season, especially with watterson on Sniper, however their scrims have been a bit lacking in terms of coordination. I can still see them ranking among the best when the cobwebs get dusted.
Social Justice Warriors – A team whose dominance has been asserted by their scrims and fans looks to compete in the Top 3 of Gold. You may have to excuse any oversight, but aside from DynamoVic and Goldfish, few players rank in the top of my lists.
Team Jeebus 2 – This team should be able to rank among the upper half of Gold this season, but there is clearly a fair amount of rust on some of the players. Scrims only started recently, but once things get back into full swing, expect Xig to do work along with crit_happens, lead by his Medic, Mini.
Independent Fighters Alliance
Player(s) to watch: WISH (), vipa (), Pharaoh (), pie_hero (), TERRY CREWS ()
Off-Season Scrim Summary: IFA has been struggling in scrims. This may be partly due to the fact that they often have a lot of ringers, but their performance overall has been unimpressive. They even struggled to beat DOES IT in one scrim (http://logs.tf/1189021?highlight=76561197990180566.) For high-Gold scrims, IFA has lost to both arzt’s old team and Papa’s Peddlers.
Overview: Whenever I bring up IFA’s performance the last couple of seasons and in off-season scrims I always hear “oh, they probably aren’t trying”. While this may be true, I haven’t seen any reason to believe that they will start trying once the season begins – as they certainly haven’t played like the top Gold team everyone expects them to be in a while. IFA has a lot of strong players and I expect them to make playoffs, but I think out of all the high-Gold teams this season they are the least likely to make top 3.
Player(s) to watch: backup extraordinaire mime bread
Off-Season Scrim Summary: TMP keeps taking out our sentries (i.e. we lose to -ts- a lot.)
Overview: I like getting carried by Max and Watterson it’s super cool.
Social Justice Warriors
Player(s) to watch: Goldfish (), DynamoVic (), evil ()
Off-Season Scrim Summary: SJW has had an interesting but overall not extremely revealing scrim record so far over this off-season. They seem to be scrimming a lot of low-Gold teams with some plat thrown in. Although Goldfish, DynamoVic and evil have all put up impressive performances against Corn Ducks, SJW has not been able to beat them. Scrims against low-mid Gold teams don’t tell us a whole lot about how they’ll perform in high-Gold and their one recent high-Gold scrim against appel was a decisive 3-0 win for appel.
Overview: The silver meme team comes to gold; the forums cower in fear and clutch their Gold threads close. In all seriousness, SJW is a really good team that is sure to do well in Gold. With goldfish putting out huge levels of damage and DynamoVic able to keep up with any Gold sniper SJW certainly could make it all the way to the top of Gold. However, I think a top 3 finish for them is unlikely, but time will tell. Expect to see them in playoffs at the very least!
Tier III: Mid Gold
Cadillacs and Dinosaurs – After an excellent first gold season, cnd is looking to extend the success. However, with the lost of their best player, odb, the team’s fortunes are shaky this season, with both good and poor preseason scrims. With the switch of flick from demo to scout, coupled with the arrival of a rusty eagle on sniper, this team has a lot to work on if they wish to be as successful as last season.
DOES IT – A revamped gold team from s16, the returning “DOES IT” has maintained most of its members, while adding on a few new ones. Their new additions of June and Triiiple on pyro and heavy, with a switch or Rhy to med, will certainly make for a stronger combo than before. However, the team loses a lot without wish on the flank, and preseason scrims have been subpar so far. The talent is there to be a strong mid gold team, but they are still missing something to make it all click together.
Meme Stealers 2.0 – A high silver team in s16 that came out of nowhere, the Meme Stealers have returned to try their hand at gold. It’s hard to say how this team will pan out, considering the lack of scrims thus far. But with players like Jaaay and Crackle (albeit on demoman) on the team, the DM should be there to compete. A loss of their sniper, Akemi, hurts tremendously, but with a solid replacement they should be able to hold their own.
Shadowball – A merger of two high silver teams, Shadowball is looking to put their foot in Gold’s door. The flank of Sherm and Unicorn Wizard seem to be the most impressive and consistent players on the team, while the addition of Zoey can only make them better. A loss of their main heavy for the first couple of weeks might hurt, but expect this team to be a solid mid gold team.
SPACEBEARS – A group of UGC veterans, the SPACEBEARS return with several well-known old school names. Players like Sharpshot and doxed will likely be among the best or their classes, and do not be surprised to see occasional big plays from Frank West and Sithreis. Although competitive with Tier III, they seem to have trouble against the teams in the top two tiers so far. Will the SPACEBEARS go beyond .500, or have another season of mediocrity?
U$A – After six seasons, U$A returns to gold. However, only one original member returns to the starting lineup (Brandicus.) Regardless, the new team is looking solid, especially with the pickup of Campy on Demoman. They’ve been up and down vs teams in their tier and above, but in the words of their #1 fan, joshcash, they could make “UGC great again.”
Cadillacs and Dinosaurs – Cadillacs and Dinosaurs finished with a 5-3 record last season, but much of that had to do with their Soldier, odb. If flick can compete as well on Scout as he did on Demoman, and eagle can come back strong on Sniper, they will be a team to look out for. I have to place them in the 3rd tier, but they’re a team that falls in almost a 2.5 spot.
DOES IT – A well rounded roster that does not compare to the top 5, but will not be anywhere near as poor as the lower echelon of the league.
Meme Stealers 2.0 – A wildcard team that might start 3-1 before falling to 4-4. Their roster is dangerous, so it will come down to their coordination.
Shadowball – I have a feeling that I may be underestimating this team, so I expect things to shake up after the first week of the season. With a pickup like Zoey on Sniper, and Sherm playing Scout, I fully expect some strength out of the gate to propel them higher.
SPACEBEARS – Staying conservative as I have not seen this team play, but doxed on Sniper may turn this team into the upper tiers of Gold.
U$A – Kezia on Scout and Campy on Demo? Sign me up. Will we see the rest of the team step up to the damage that will certainly be done by these two?
Cadillacs and Dinosaurs
Player(s) to watch: eagle (), dave (), minti ()
Off-Season Scrim Summary: Cadillacs and Dinosaurs has racked up a lot of losses to high-Gold teams, but promising performances from eagle, dave and minti (plus wins over almost all the rest of mid-Gold) suggest they have the talent to make playoffs.
Overview: It’s true what they say: no one quits tf2. Eagle is back and now playing in Gold. Although his performance so far has been inconsistent, he has outsniped both xig and SmileZ in scrims. Picking up eagle may have been the change cNd needed to truly be competitive this season and now stand a good chance of slipping into playoffs at 8th or 7th seed, schedule willing.
Player(s) to watch: super (), triiiple (), water ()
Off-Season Scrim Summary: Varied scrim results, sometimes doing well against mid-Gold teams.
Overview: I think this team has a lot of solid players but doesn’t quite have the skill to make playoffs. They have a good chance of going 4-4, but playoffs seem out of the question.
Meme Stealers 2.0
Player(s) to watch: crackle (), ice ()
Off-Season Scrim Summary:
Meme Stealers hasn’t scrimmed much since team rosters have started to finalize, but were losing to mid-Gold teams about a month ago.
Overview: Meme stealers returns from Season 16 Silver, moving up to Gold. In S16 Meme Stealers managed to make playoffs despite not playing the first week’s match. In playoffs, they went on to almost take the team that went on to get 2nd in silver, Super Fast Lightning Quails, out of playoffs in the quarter-finals. Their 3-4 match against SFLQ and their overall S16 Silver performance do bode well for them and I admittedly find Meme Stealers to be the hardest team to place out of all the teams in Gold. I’ve shifted these guys between Tier IV and Tier III so many times I’ve lost count now. So far, their Gold scrims haven’t been going that well and no one on their roster stands out in particular to me, but they were one of the best teams in the season of Silver that had teams like SSVW, appel, SFLQ and 4b. My gut tells me they’ll be low-Gold, but I don’t think they’re quite Tier IV low-Gold. I might even be seriously wrong with thinking they’ll be low-Gold, but we’ll see.
Player(s) to watch: Unicorn Wizard (), zoey ()
Off-Season Scrim Summary: Shadowball has been doing decently in scrims, but seems unable to beat the top of mid-Gold (e.g. cNd).
Overview: Unicorn wizard is likely to be one of the better soldiers in Gold this season and Shadowball’s recent pickup of zoey on sniper helps, but the team seems unable to compete with other mid-Gold teams that have a shot at playoffs. Great performances by Unicorn Wizard and zoey could sneak them into playoffs at 8th seed, but their playoffs run would be short lived. Expect their flank of Unicorn Wizard and sherm to run all over the low/mid-Gold teams they’ll be facing in the season though.
Player(s) to watch: Jolte0n (), marty (), zabi ()
Off-Season Scrim Summary: SWAK has been doing okay in scrims against mid/low-Gold teams, but have been unable to beat the top of mid-Gold.
Overview: Although Jolte0n has been going ham on sniper, it’s looking like another finish outside of the top 8 for SWAK. Still, I have faith in their ability to always go at least 4-4 and think they’ll do it yet again this season.
Team Jeebus 2
Player(s) to watch: xig (), WLLY (), Mr. DelDongo ()
Off-Season Scrim Summary: Team Jeebus has been scrimming mid-Gold teams and doing well.
Overview: How hard can xig carry? Well, if No Breaks is anything to base off of to mid-gold at least. Team Jeebus is a solid mid-gold team with a good chance to break into playoffs at 8th-6th seed. The team’s performance, however, will largely be based on how well xig is doing. I doubt xig alone will be able to get them that far through playoffs.
Player(s) to watch: campy (), moof ()
Off-Season Scrim Summary: U$A has been going even with most mid-Gold teams in scrims.
Overview: Campy on demo and moof on sniper seems like a promising roster, but U$A still seems rather shaky. We will see if they’ll be able to capitalize on their highly skilled demo and sniper once the season starts, but for now it’s looking like a finish outside of playoffs for U$A.
Tier IV: Low Gold
Local Top Gun – A newly formed team with some familiar faces, Willmatic’s squad is looking to prove that they belong in gold. Even with Lennon in the combo, the team does not look to be above Tier IV, with many teams having stronger players in most positions. They’ll have a lot of time to develop, however, and there is always a chance for an impressive upset to occur.
Mature Dads Only – One of the three silver teams to move up from last season, Mature Dads is looking to be the weakest of the three. However, they are still very competitive with teams in Tier III and below. Standouts on the team include phone and caboose, both usually top fragging/top damaging for the team. It’s hard to say whether they belong in this tier, since they’ve done well vs tier III teams…but have had a lot of ringers in the process. It’ll be no surprise to see this team move up quickly if all goes well for them.
Silence of the Pans – Returning to gold after a poor showing in s16, the new roster of Shh! looks to be better than before, but not by much. With several additions, and key players like BOX OF CHEESE returning, the team is looking to improve on their 2-6 S16 record. Judging off their current roster, this should be achievable, but don’t expect them to go anywhere above mid gold right now.
SWAK – A 4-4 staple of Gold, SWAK returns for their fourth season of Gold (4-4-4?). The team’s roster has changed over the seasons, but players like Zabi, marty, and Jolteon return to be the staples of the team. Although they’ve always been a .500 team, scrims have not gone so well for them lately. Will the streak end? Hopefully not!
Local Top Gun – I really like the names I’m seeing on the roster, including crayboff, computer, and Will, but much of this teams success will depend on other classes playing up to their intended level.
Mature Dads Only – Admittedly a small sample size of scrims I’ve seen with this team, but they have not been great. This could change, but it will depend on how they compete in the first few weeks.
Silence of the Pans – Admittedly, if dj can do work with the nerfed Loose Cannon, this team will have a strong player in their arsenal, but I don’t see many other players making huge waves. If these guys can play off of the space that dj and phazil will make, they will do some damage.
SWAK – It’s been a rough month for this team. Zabi’s move to demo helped bring some life to the team, but it has not been enough. Jolteon can snipe with the best, but is it enough to carry the load?
Local Top Gun
Player(s) to watch: fatswimdude (), WiLLmaTiC ()
Off-Season Scrim Summary: Local Top Gun has lost to most of low and mid-Gold in scrims, even losing some scrims to silver teams. However, some decent scrims against mid-Gold teams mean not all hope is lost for Local Top Gun.
Overview: This entire team seems to be fatswimdude and WiLLmaTiC. They’re still looking for a scout, so a good pickup there would make their flank quite strong, but either way the roster seems doomed to low-Gold. A good scout would make their flank completely out-perform all other low-Gold flanks this season, so there is the chance this could net them some wins. If they pick up a mediocre scout though, I don’t see this team gaining wins over anything but Tier IV teams and even that is uncertain.
Mature Dads Only
Player(s) to watch: phone (), caboose ()
Off-Season Scrim Summary: Not many scrims but decent performances against low-Gold teams.
Overview: Going 6-2 in a joke season of Silver would seem to put this team near the bottom of low-Gold, but phone and caboose have been putting out good numbers in scrims. I still think they’ll be near the bottom of Gold however.
Silence of the Pans
Player(s) to watch: beep (), dj ()
Off-Season Scrim Summary: Silence of the Pans has been doing decently against the rest of low-Gold.
Overview: Beep and dj have been putting out good numbers for Silence of the Pans and might just save them from a 2-6 finish. Still, I think that once the season starts other low-Gold teams with overall stronger rosters will jump ahead of Silence of the Pans in overall skill. Also, last time I saw these guys in action they had their sniper main-calling, which doesn’t seem like a recipe for success.
Player(s) to watch: doxed (), sharpshot ()
Off-Season Scrim Summary: Some decent performances against mid-Gold teams but overall not many scrims.
Overview: We haven’t seen much out of SpaceBears yet, but if I had to guess I’d expect a low-Gold finish.