We have finally been freed from the Blandlands, a week that didn’t necessarily bring any surprises to the table. For the most part, the higher seeded teams took care of business and put down any detractors and contenders. Dog1 is proving to have a dominance that has not effectively been seen since Getawhale Fanclub (now EVL with a few key additions) and are doing it with a roster that is arguably much worse than that team. Meanwhile Netflix n’ Chill showed an astonishing amount of strength with their slightly adjusted roster, but suffer from similar weaknesses to Dog1.
Now we move from one map which I hate with an unnecessary fervor to another one in Granary, aka the demoman deathtrap. It is a mid point that is about sixty-five percent blind-spots and height. There are a few interesting match-ups as the Young Hunters will have to continue their kumite through the top teams in IM. The marque match-up of this week actually comes in the form of Snailed It vs. Netflix n’ Chill on granary. This game should be one of the best of the season.
Micah and Saam
At this point I should start the power rankings at #2 because Dog1 flatly refuses to let go of this spot. Like a German Shepard with a tennis ball they will take that ball and refuse to bring it back because this is not catch, that was a donation and the ball is theirs. The Dog1 squad absolutely mauled Frickin Awesom Gamers in a 27 minute game that demonstrated Rikachu’s dominance over other demomen in the league this season by dropping 363 and top-fragging in the server with 30 kills. They then disappointingly dropped a round to Elite Pwnage Squad who I may need to put above the Gamers this week. Everything that I’ve said up to this point applies here; the power classes including the aforementioned Rikachu dominated and Micah continued to play well with an increasing amount of production. Sadly the gaping weak point for Dog1 is still making itself known in Saam. I don’t know what dark magic that Saam possesses over the rest of this team but his continued roster spot is a mystery. His contribution to the game seems to entirely come in the form of psychological frags from his rampant bind and chat spamming. Maybe he brings coffee and donuts to the rest of the team and pays for the server, I don’t know. Dog1 continues to keep rolling. This week they play Young Hunters Social Club who have shown they belong up the power rankings but not quite at this level.
How Are They Still Here Award: Saam
#2: Netflix n Chill Yourself
Air and Wrech
Immediately making my worries seem both stupid and baseless, the Netflix Gang showed absolutely on calling weaknesses. All in all the team managed to show profound improvement across the board. They made quick and decisive calls in order to break the Flipper Skipper’s 2nd holds and repeatedly made the small adjustments in order to maintain their dominance on mids. The addition of Sneaky at pocket was immediately a revelation as he dropped a ton of damage while playing a much looser style of pocket than Mustardoverlord. He was willing to go far off the beam and into the other team, putting the beam onto Chriz and the scouts in the ensuing fight. He would go into some roamer tactics that showed an almost disappointing amount of effectiveness, but overall played an amazing game. Sneaky and Chriz combined to do over 732 damage per minute and garner 41 frags. The combo of Netflix n’ Chill is now the only team that can questionably challenge that of Dog1 and it makes their upcoming game on Metalworks all the more exciting. The only reason I haven’t given that game the pre-mature match of the season is because it is on Metalworks. Similar to Dog1, Wrech is the standout weakpoint on his team consistently bottom-damaging on his team much in the way of Saam. However he plays poorly with less heals so it is not as egregious. Either way comparing the two is like declaring a winner in an arm-wrestling contest between two quadriplegics.
The “I’m the missing legs in the would you rather have actual Cancer or no legs” comparison between Saam and Wrech on scout. Which would you want, there will be no poll award: Wrech
#3: Snailed It
Skag and Skeez
The Snail boys got quite the scare from the Young Hunters Social Club last week. They were down 3-0 after the first half before slowly bringing it back in the 2nd half to force an overtime game. They immediately took control of overtime and forced the YHSC team to sit on last for almost an entire timeout of the round but a poor push into second allowed the Snailed It gang to destroy them in a re-fight and take last. The team showed a great amount of mental fortitude, maintaining their focus and avoiding the type of game losing tilting that teams showed last season (Exultance vs. Mustardsquad). They managed to claw their way back into this game off the back of some absolutely insane soldier play. Where I thought the strengths of Snailed It were chiefly in their scouts, I have been foolish in not giving enough credit to their consistently incredible soldiers. Rolling and Shiki have been standout players and In only predicted this kind of performance from Rolling. Glider seems to be struggling with some of the tougher teams, but he still holds his own. The incredible soldier play of Snailed It is what will give them the chance to potentially topple the Netflix giants on granary pro. Either way this game will be extremely interesting.
3rd Best Pocket Award (behind Ranga and Sneaky): Shiki
#4: Frickin Awesome Gamers
Yimi and Train
Maintaining their spot at fourth despite the disappointing roll that they experienced from Dog1 is Frickin Awesome Gamers. They keep such a spot because of the way in which Lil Chubby Ducks got dismantled by Young Hunters Social Club who I am reluctant to just shoot all the way up to fourth. The Gamers did not look as if they ever had a change against Dog1 and were dismantled. They did not have to play a second game on Badlands due to the death of the other team, and they have already gotten a forfeit win off of Twilight Zone on granary. This week the Gamers play essentially no one which will give them the time to prepare for a game against Young Hunters coming up on Metalworks. The incredible potential of Frickin Awesome Gamers is not exactly coming to fruition as they just can not seem to win gamers against the better teams in IM. The use of Train against Dog1 got them no results either, despite second fragging in the server and getting the second most damage on their team. I had hoped by this point in the season they would come into their own but this does not seem to be the case.
Technically has not lost a game his entire career award: Trippa
#5: Young Hunters Social Club
Ex and Blues
Conquering Lil Chubby Ducks last week but losing in a close game against Snailed It moves the Social Club up to fifth this week. They seem to be team with less fragging power than I initially expected with the roster they have come with this season and do not seem to have the calling and gamesense to bring them north of fourth. Highlighting their overtime loss against Snailed It was a questionable decision to push out and capture second. They appeared to have put on an impenetrable defense on last with highlander style classes, they repeatedly repelled the various attempts of Snailed It to capture last despite a few close calls. When they finally had their opportunity to push 2nd, they did so with 2 minutes left on the round clock. Had they just waited the extra few minutes, the round would have been reset and they would have had another crack at mid. Instead they committed far too hard to 2nd and found themselves being wiped at the hands of Snailed It and lost the game. Overall the team showed they have the potential to fight the top 3, but losing such a strong lead against Snailed It is something that absolutely could not happen. The tough road continues for Young Hunters Social Club as they now have to play against Dog1 on Granary.
#6: Lil’ Chubby Ducks
Pie_hero and Yeeegz
Continuing to play with my heartstrings and disappoint me is Lil Chubby Ducks. They are sitting at sixth this week because of a quick loss to YHSC. With the team committing to Pie_Hero and Yeeegz on scout, they should be sporting an invite level scout combo that could carry games but it is not coming to fruition. In fact the Young Hunters scouts appeared to repeatedly outplay the duo despite receiving less heals. Phelon himself exerted a ton of influence in duck hunting and the Ducks found themselves with their beak on the opposite side of their head. The most poor game from Pie_Hero this season comes at potentially the worst moment. Perhaps there is too much PDA going on during the games for the scout combo to concentrate? Who knows. The two soldiers of the ducks continue to not quite live up to their potential, Hooli in particular seemed to struggle this game. Overall I can’t keep letting the Ducks back into my heart only for them to disappoint me. The Ducks should get a week to rebound as they play two fairly weak teams in comparison to themselves. Hopefully a few wins should get them some much needed confidence and cohesion.
Prom King and Queen: Pie_hero and Yeeegz
#7: Flipper Skippers
Ictus and Mikey
On one hand the Netflix n’ Chill group surprised me with how solid they played, on the other hand the Flippers Skippers disappointed me. They didn’t appear to have any kind of cohesion during their game. Sureshot played an extremely greedy style of roamer in this game and ended up being very feast or famine. He would either grab two picks or die doing nothing. His repeated absence on the flank while the Skippers held 2nd allowed the Netflix team to push flank and pick on the poor scout left alone there. Weeble in particular continues to disappoint so far this season, not quite being near the lofty heights of his best days on either scout or sniper. Ictus played fairly well and continually won 1v1s with the Netflix scouts, but this came at the expense of scouts who he should Decimate regularly. This was a disappointing first outing for the Salty Skippers, but I expect them to start pulling it together for the rest of the season.
Fastest Player: Schnell
#8: Shadow Ninja Warriors
Glukkon and Vaati
Rounding out the top 8 this week is Shadow Ninja Warriors. They pulled in Del “God” Po to sub in for Glukkon against Elite Pwnage Squad. The Warriors easily dispatched the Squad in a game that made me sad to write the names of the teams. Somehow after the top 7, the names of teams get longer and worse as teams go for the route that romcom anime have went by cramming as many words as possible into a title name. In comparison the bastion of beautiful brevity, Dog1, is my great paragon of solid naming. Honestly I’m just vamping because I have nothing to say about Shadow Ninja Warriors. They are going to have a up and down week coming up, they will be up against Creative Juices and suffer underneath the devastating Snail trail of Snailed It. Words.
7th Man of the Year: Delpo