Week 1 has passed, setting the pace for this season of Highlander. It honestly looks to be one of the best we’ve had in recent memory, with only a handful of teams looking to be way too far ahead or behind of the pack. We visit Ashville this week, a KOTH map that has more than its share of controversy for being a common HL map. With it being regarded as a strong flank map, we should see a strong showing from the Scouts that were so sadly disregarded on Upward, as well as excellent plays from Soldiers and Spies.
However, let’s take a look at some of the previous week’s matches. Thanks to Mamboulay’s fantastic website, stats.playcomp.tf, we can look into more depth at some of the stuff that really matters – stats.
:> vs mtn.
Widely regarded as the match of the week, Goofbirds (formerly Corn Ducks) vs Route From Smokin Trees had a cast, a close prediction from last week’s article, and many saying it was going to be a good game. An outlier, interestingly enough, was the forum predictions: in roughly an 8:2 split, many of the expert match predictors on the forums predicted mtn. to win. While sadly logs are not present on playcomp.tf due to incompleteness, the cast makes up for it slightly. While it was a close game, with many players proving their worth, Goofbirds took a 2-0 victory. Jesus was definitely the player with the biggest impact, pulling off streak after streak against the mtn. players.
evl vs knd
Nobody was expecting this game to be close – Kids Next Door have been the peak of Highlander teams for a few seasons now, with EVL being a moveup from Gold with some admittedly juicy pickups. While the 2-0 was predictable, EVL performed better than expected in that situation. While bowswer5, one of their three “playmaker pickups” had significant struggle getting more than a handful of picks throughout the games, Linkuser and stabby had significant effect on the match, pulling in the most frags for their team, 15 apiece. However, when seven out of the enemy team’s nine players tie or have more frags than your top fragger, it doesn’t paint the prettiest of pictures.
bv vs $$
If EVL vs knd. was a roll, Bv vs .$$ was a wash. While bo4r and Dreadnought managed to pull together a tidy sum of kills, it’s hard to overcome Invader and Feroaffer pulling nearly 50 frags each. While GammaOrionis performed admirably on Medic, with a surprisingly small 14 deaths given the situation, it’s hard to take anything more from the logs outside of the question – can .$$ do as well against more evenly matched teams?
92 vs amw
A Million Ways has always been a team that struggled, either with score, or roster, or both. Personally I’ve always been a fan of the perennial Djgresser team, and with a match against a solidly high team in Week 1, aMw had the ability to prove themselves. More specifically, vlad had the ability to prove himself. Leading the entire division in frags, Vlad led aMw to give ‘92 a far more closer 2-1 game than ‘92 was hoping to experience. With /slemnish and /SpaceGhostsCoffee both trying to not have to snipe against vlad, switching off somewhere in the second half and SGC getting lucky with respawn waves to avoid a switch back to Sniper, aMw have definitely proven themselves able to take victories elsewhere when the opportunity comes.
mm vs dk
Memento Mori vs Dunning Kruger was the last match of the week, rounding out a list of matchups that looked overall very weak, and rounding out a list of matches that turned out to be surprisingly close. While dK did win the game, phorofor left the team as a result of it, with /muma also declaring his departure. muma had switched roles with /Xan for the second half, picking up Demoman and Xan heading to Soldier. While muma will be playing this week as well, it’s unknown if he’ll be continuing afterwards. While some of the pickups for m|M had been solid, none of dK evidently expected more than a token’s worth of resistance. With high kill and death counts across the board, it’s evident neither team had a moment’s rest, with players constantly going behind or pushing forward.
1: Kids Next Door +1 [Scizor / Etney / Katsy / Jarrett / Kresnik / Ender / Nursey / yosh / Jacob]
While taking the victory against EVL was perhaps the most expected thing this week, the struggles that dK went through in their week give knd. the ability to usurp the top spot, at least for now. With no improvements on their side to speak of however, dK should be looking to take their spot as the season progresses.
2: Dunning Kruger v3 -1 [b4nny / Muma / Huey Lewis / Xan / Karl / Jordan / Metawe / corsa / Acooma]
Although dK ended up winning their 1st match of the season, in reality they will end up losing out in the short run, with phorofor and potentially Muma stepping down. Already a team claiming to not have any of the chemistry from previous season, they’ve now lost a significant amount of their team chemistry that they had built up in preseason. While they’ll eventually find strong player(s?) to replace them, they’ll find themselves playing a catch-up game with the ghost of where dK could’ve been without those losses.
3: .$ilver $avages [OddWash / Jackster / Lazy / Invader / Trelan / Angryofficer / Skeez / Feroaffer / Rolls Royce]
$ilver $avages don’t disappoint, and they’ve proved it again. They played Chill Penguins in Week 1, completely flooring them in every way. While they haven’t proved an ability to climb up the rankings, they’ve certainly confirmed their high rank. If dK continue to slip, however, .$$ may find themselves with a +1 next to their name in the near future.
4: ‘92 Dream Team [Slemnish / trippah / ? / odb / Vanilla Love / LittleDeath / saam / SGC / Scruff McGruff]
The disappearance of Satan is a large blow to ‘92, as Satan was by far one of their most accomplished players. While their substitute, jekjekj, who may be given the starter spot, is by no means inexperienced, it’s diffcult to say that any Pyro can realistically match up to Satan. Their close game against aMw is more a commendation of aMw than it is a slight for ‘92. Their apparent issue with having their starters all show up for scrims shines a far darker light on them than their close victory, especially with an unknown Pyro. With some teams below them in rankings looking to prove their first week’s result was more than a fluke, and a game against m|M this week, ‘92 will have significant struggle holding onto the #4 playoff seed as the weeks progress.
5: Memento Mori +1 [? / Doll / Geosus / Giraffe / Eerie person / Spades Slick / Apple / Bagel / Triton]
Despite replacing their Soldier, and still lacking a Scout, their 1-2 game against dK means that m|M has the potential to play with the big boys. Doll is most definitely a capable Soldier, though his lack of starting experience in any recent season may prove to be an issue. m|M could very easily collapse here and let other teams surpass them, but with a game against ‘92 coming up, they’ll no doubt realize the importance of winning there.
6: Goofbirds +1 [fUZION / p3nguin / Deejay / Rightjustify / Civ / Sigafoo / Drake / Jesus / Daynife]
Somehow winning the worst name change award in Week 1 in a season mtn. is participating in, Goofbirds took the 2-0 against Route From Smokin Trees, picking up a rank moveup. They’ve yet to break the upper rank, and a game against .knd while m|M and ‘92 face off should do nothing to change that. It’s hard to say anything about Goofbirds in general, and with their position in the division, they’re setting up to be the standard ‘mid-level team’ that all the teams around them will be compared to.
7: Route From Smoking Trees -2 [Syath / Crasian / Brandy / sigh / brick / SailsAway / Coldster / barycenter / Deaft]
mtn. have taken the largest fall from grace this week, not even taking a round from Goofbirds. While it’s hard to imagine they’ll stay so low for so long, if their game against Goofbirds is anything to go off of, there may not be much area for them to move up with. Such a good roster being so low in the rankings, and with the ability to trade rounds and scrims with most of the teams above them, only spells good things for the strength of division.
8: A Million Ways [Madoff / Fire / Digresser / Split_ / Fireshaker / Spamfest / Spork / vlad / feint]
While aMw did have a fantastic game against ‘92 (correction, Vlad and Split had a fantastic game against ‘92), dropping down mtn. three spots after a single loss isn’t reasonable, so aMw will have to settle with the knowledge that they’ll probably find themselves higher up as the season continues. They should be able to ascend the rankings by a handful of spots as the season goes on, especially if their players keep up the ability that they showed in Week 1.
9: EVL Gaming HL +1 [Linkuser / Cap$ize / Billysaurus / Avast / Bonesaw / kNyne / ROGUE / bowswer5 / stabby]
There are two primary reasons EVL have traded spots with Bv – Bv’s awful play against .$$, and EVL’s potential they showed against knd. A game against aMw give them potential to continue a +1/Week rise, but they’ll have to perform better than they did against knd. in order to succeed in that.
10: Chill Penguins -1 [Seer / Dreadnought / HA Johnny / Monkey66 / IssGonRain / SilentDom / GammaOrionis / Bo4r / Danish]
Chill Penguins was unable to prove themselves against $ilver $avages in the 1st match and suffered a 2-0 loss for upward. They have a far way to climb in order to make it to the top of this division but it is still early, with plenty of room for improvement and many more matches to show for.
This upcoming week
Kids Next Door vs Goofbirds
While Goofbirds had many people talking after dismantling mtn., knd. should be well beyond their level. Jesus will have quite the opponent this week in yosh, as well as the flanks of fUZION and p3nguin against Scizor and Etney. There shouldn’t be potential for a win here for :>, but depending on the amount of rounds they take, could hint towards the budding of a contender. 4-1 in favor of Kids Next Door.
$ilver $avages vs Route From Smoking Trees
After a startling loss against :>, mtn. won’t be looking forwards to playing .$$ high off their recent crush of Bv. barycenter vs Feroaffer will matter a lot in this game, but players like Godwash and Invader may find themselves with little contention. With mtn. apparently changing up their Demoman and Soldier, they’ll struggle to get any rounds here, let alone a victory. 4-0 in favor of $ilver $avages
A Million Ways vs EVL Gaming
EVL Gaming picked up a rank with their play against knd., and look to pick up yet another with a victory against aMw. Linkuser of EVL and Spamfest of aMw will enjoy this game a lot, and should be able to run free for the most part. Split and Avast facing off should be the highlight of this match, with Spork and Rogue thrown into the fire of Ashville hoping to avoid being made a fool of by feint and stabby. This match could easily go either way depending on how some of the players (vlad) play. 4-2 in favor of A Million Ways.
Dunning Kruger Effect v3 vs Chill Penguins
After falling apart a bit after closely winning against m|M, dK should have an easy week to recuperate, with Bv likely being unable to muster the necessary skill to take advantage of dK’s momentary weakness. 4-0 in favor of Dunning Kruger Effect v3
Memento Mori vs ‘92 Dream Team
‘92 Dream Team has been struggling. What looked like a really potent team in the offseason has been hit by trouble after trouble, unable to maintain their potency for long enough for it to matter. Memento Mori, on the other hand, have been impressing many, picking up some powerful players and setting themselves up as a powerful team. If ‘92 lose here, that should confirm a downward spiral that will result in them struggling to make playoffs. If the ‘92 Sniper(s) can avoid being tilted against Bagel like what happened last week with Vlad, ‘92 should be able to set themselves up to give m|M a run for their money. 4-3 in favor of Memento Mori.