January 15th, 2016
UGC Gold Highlander Season 18
Week 1 Preview – Upward Momentum
by VoxDei and whymeo
It is official. The match schedules have been posted. Barring any team deaths or admin intervention, the matchups are below.
As you can see from the above image and the name of the article, our first map of the season is pl_upward, a standard in UGC Highlander.
With any staple map, it’s developed its own meta throughout the course of its life in competitive. Will teams play with that standard in mind, or will they break the mold and challenge their opponents to counter a new style of play? We’ll know Monday night.
Be sure to check out our Pre-Season Rankings to get an idea of what to look for out of each team! Note that these rankings were posted and locked on 1/9/15, so this does not include any newly formed teams or roster changes from the past week in UGC.
(Home team vs Visiting Team)
meo’s Prediction: appel wins (2-0)
VoxDei’s Prediction: appel wins (2-1)
meo’s Player(s) to watch: appel – bunny , ZZ , SmileZ | SJW – crab_f , Goldfish , DynamoVic
VoxDei’s Player(s) to watch: appel – bunny , SmileZ | SJW – Goldfish , DynamoVic
meo’s Writeup: SJW is far from a bad team and most of their players would do fine on mid-Gold teams. However, there really is no getting around the fact that the entire team is based around Goldfish and he’s really the only player on their team that has been looking like a high-Gold player on SJW, with the possible exception of crab_f. This is a really interesting matchup however, because SJW makes up for their lack of individual skill by playing an extremely coordinated game based around Goldfish- the exact opposite of the so far extremely uncoordinated appel which plays off the amazing DM of literally their entire roster. Payload will probably be appel’s worst map type this season, but despite SJW’s coordination and appel’s lack thereof, I simply can’t believe appel will lose when literally all their players are individually better than SJW’s.
VoxDei’s Writeup: A battle between two of the most talked about teams coming into this season. SJW reminds me a lot of appel in regards to their quick rise in divisional skill. Much of appel’s team is strong enough to win this with DM and strategy if they can stay focused. Expect big plays out of bunny to keep fishy (, SJW) out of position from her combo and for some messy ubers. Dad beats Jr, 2-1.
meo’s Prediction: Jeebus wins (2-1)
VoxDei’s Prediction: Jeebus wins (2-0)
meo’s Player(s) to watch: IFA – wish , Vipa | Jeebus – kairu , xig , Mr. DelDongo
VoxDei’s Player(s) to watch: IFA – wish , Vipa | Jeebus – xig , Mr. DelDongo
meo’s Writeup: As you’ve probably heard me say already, IFA is overrated. Pie_hero (, IFA) can’t keep up with other high-Gold Snipers* despite his amazing DM, Pharoah (, IFA) doesn’t really play HL properly, and the rest of their roster (besides wish and Vipa) is pretty weak. I think a lot of people are overrating Jeebus going into the season too though, so it’s hard to call. I think xig will thoroughly out snipe pie_hero, which will likely give Jeebus the edge they need to win this matchup on a map like Upward.
*Just want to mention, pie_hero is bit of an underrated Scout in IM and he’s a great player – just not as good at Sniper as the rest of high-Gold.
VoxDei’s Writeup: Perhaps a rather startling prediction, but I expect Jeebus to take this one cleanly. Although no longer in a main-calling role, Mini (, Jeebus) is a smart enough player to tell his team what they need to better and when. Both of these teams have not scrimmed much this offseason, Jeebus even less so with the new roster, but when all else fails, trust in xig. 2-0 Praise Jeebus.
meo’s Prediction: Quail Noises wins (2-1)
VoxDei’s Prediction: Tune in Monday to find out!
meo’s Player(s) to watch: VoxDei
Seriously though: / ^ )> – mae , pomf , yimi | -ts- – beanie , TMP
VoxDei’s Player(s) to watch: Everyone on both teams excluding DrZoidy (, -ts-.) You can literally watch all of these players live at 9:30pm EST this Monday on twitch.tv/voxxxxxxxxxx. Cast starts at 9!
meo’s Writeup: After dominating low-Plat and Gold in scrims for the majority of the off-season, Quails started to show some weakness the last couple weeks. Have teams surpassed them coordination wise far enough to outplay Quails despite their stunning DM? If any team is going to beat Quails right now, it would be The Syndicate. Unlike Quails and appel, The Syndicate has an extremely good roster full of players with great DM, but also has no major coordination issues. Quails definitely outclasses -ts- in terms of individual player skill, but not by that much. Despite the superior teamwork of The Syndicate I think Quails will win this based on the fact that kev ( , / ^)>), is likely to completely out-snipe vinny (, -ts-.) On a map besides Upward however, the result may end up being a bit different…
VoxDei’s Writeup: The train has left the station. That’s right, the Quailers original Sniper this season has quit TF2 for Maplestory. However, they were able to fill the spot with Kevin2019, which should not hurt them. -ts- has a lot of hype to live up to, but Quail Noises has it worse. I do still believe that the Quails on their best day out match the boys on -ts- on theirs. However, recent scrims on Upward prove that -ts- has the upper hand. Despite this, Quail Noises will come to play, and hard. A tough one to call as this one may come down to a single mistake by the losing team.
meo’s Prediction: N/A – meo plays for ££
VoxDei’s Prediction: ££ wins (2-0)
meo’s Player(s) to watch: N/A
VoxDei’s Player(s) to watch: Shadowball – Zoey | ££ – Max , watterson
meo’s Writeup: N/A
VoxDei’s Writeup: Although Shadowball can’t be completely counted out, I don’t see a scenario in which Papa throws unless they truly crumble. Their biggest mistake will be if they underestimate what Shadowball can put forth, but in the end, this game is theirs unless they give it away. Papa bless, 2-0.
meo’s Prediction: U$A wins (2-0)
VoxDei’s Prediction: SPACEBEARS wins (2-1)
meo’s Player(s) to watch: U$A -Campy , moof | SPACEBEARS – Sharpshot
VoxDei’s Player(s) to watch: U$A -Campy , moof | SPACEBEARS – doxed
meo’s Writeup: I really don’t see a team with moof on Sniper and campy on Demoman losing on Upward against SPACEBEARS. It simply doesn’t seem possible.
VoxDei’s Writeup: I have to say, I’m swinging either way on this one. Both teams have a pretty comparable roster, but I think that SPACEBEARS might have a chance to pull this one out. I would not be at all surprised if U$A took the game however. A close 2-1 for the grizzlies in space suits.
meo’s Prediction: cNd wins (2-0)
VoxDei’s Prediction: cNd wins (2-0)
meo’s Player(s) to watch: cNd – minti , eagle , dave | father – phone
VoxDei’s Player(s) to watch: cNd – eagle | father – phone
meo’s Writeup: Mature Dads Only is looking to be a weak Silver move up team. Combine this with the fact that this is Upward week and cNd’s best player is their Sniper, eagle, I’m not seeing anything but a roll in favor of cNd here. Expect eagle, dave, and minti to all put in a ton of work for cNd in this match.
VoxDei’s Writeup: This is probably easy money for the Cadillac Crew. I haven’t really seen these two teams scrim much, but if last season’s record is any indication, you can expect flick (, cNd) and his team to come out strong. As I’ve said throughout the offseason, as long as flick’s move to Scout ends up being a net positive for the team, they can perform very well. Mature Dads may drive Caddys, but these ones drive themselves 😎 2-0 cNd.
meo’s Prediction: DOES IT wins (2-0)
VoxDei’s Prediction: DOES IT wins (2-1)
meo’s Player(s) to watch: DOES IT – Super , Rhy , Triiiple
VoxDei’s Player(s) to watch: DOES IT – Triiiple , Water | ChibiHutJr – Jaaay
meo’s Writeup: Earlier, I was thinking this matchup would be a close one. However, ChibiHutJr’s roster has been shuffled around recently, putting them in what appears to be a worse state than they were previously. DOES IT is looking to be a solid mid-Gold team this season and I don’t see them having any trouble defeating the ex-Meme Stealers this week.
VoxDei’s Writeup: Baited by Rhy has the better roster fluidity with some pretty solid players all throughout, whereas ChibiHutJr will have some players that will outmatch the guys on DOES IT. I always vote for team cohesion, although ChibiHutJr will probably end up surprising out of the gate, going up 1-0 before finding themselves with a loss. 2-1 for Rhy and crew.
meo’s Prediction: SWAK wins (2-0)
VoxDei’s Prediction: SWAK wins (2-0)
meo’s Player(s) to watch: SWAK – Zabi , Jolte0n
VoxDei’s Player(s) to watch: SWAK – Zabi , Jolte0n | No.2 – Who is on their team???
meo’s Writeup: While we all appreciate No.2 taking one for the team and coming to Gold to keep the number of teams even, I think they’re going to have a really rough time in Gold. Playing the forever 4-4 Gold team of SWAK, I think No.2 will find it impossible to win here and will only have any chance of beating the very bottom of Gold this season.
VoxDei’s Writeup: I’m still questioning how No.2 managed to find their way into Gold as there’s been no mention of their roster. Whether it was privately shared with UGC staff, or just moved up to fill an even-team quota, someone’s gotta share it with the rest of the league or SWAK could be walking into a roster that has no name. Assuming they’re the same 5-3 Silver team from last season, this should be an easy 2-0 with Jolte0n at the top of the scoreboard. 2-0 SWAK.
meo’s Prediction: Shh! wins (2-0)
VoxDei’s Prediction: Shh! wins (2-0)
meo’s Player(s) to watch: Shh! – beep! , dj Box of Cheese
VoxDei’s Player(s) to watch: Shh! – dj Box of Cheese | -aa- – Caban
meo’s Writeup: Alphabet Alliterations is another team that everyone is scratching their heads about, trying to figure out why they were put into Gold. Shh! is far from one of the best teams in Gold this season, but they actually seem to belong in the division. -aa- will have to play the best game of their life if they want to win here, or any matches this season for that matter.
VoxDei’s Writeup: Shh! definitely pulled a lucky card this week, as I believe this is one of the few teams they have a solid chance at beating. Their roster, albeit lackluster, benefits from players like beep!, dj, and phazil (, Shh!) depending on how hard he memes. On the -aa- side, they may benefit from some experienced players, but the team is largely comprised of some mid-Silver and Steel experience. Shh! should take this being that it’s Upward. 2-0 Pans.
meo’s Prediction: #TOPGUN wins (2-1)
VoxDei’s Prediction: wu^ wins (2-1)
meo’s Player(s) to watch: #TOPGUN – fatswimdude , WiLLmaTiC
VoxDei’s Player(s) to watch: #TOPGUN – Crayboff , WiLLmaTiC | wu^ – Whoever shows up
meo’s Writeup: I originally was thinking wu^ would take this, but giving it some more thought I’ve changed my mind. Local Top Gun has been scrimming much longer over the off-season than wu^, and wu^’s roster isn’t even complete. I’m guessing WiLLmaTiC will be much better than whatever Sniper is found to play for wu^ this match, a huge advantage on Upward. Furthermore, fatswimdude has been doing his absolute damnedest to carry Local Top Gun in scrims and I think his hard work will pay off against teams like wu^. Seriously, fatswimdude does not belong on a low-Gold team; the man frags.
VoxDei’s Writeup: This is hard to call, as Wu^’s roster has only 5 players on it. On top of that, they are missing key elements like a Sniper, Demo, and Medic. If these roles are filled at even a mid-low Gold level, they should be able to win, unless they implode (likely.) Again, it’s hard to judge a team on what they could be, but #TOPGUN will need some special circumstances to take this.