After a weeklong Granary induced hiatus, I return. You know, despite no one mentioning or caring about its absence. A week of mid-terms and papers made it extremely easy to justify this break while I plotted such wonderful things for the power rankings. Things which may or may not exist, depending on who you ask. Last week on Metalworks we only saw one match that had a surprising finish, where Chubby Ducks managed to conquer Snailed It. Metalworks is one of the most reviled maps in the rotation, which is unfair because Granary should have that illustrious award. The hierarchy of IM has been set in stone with the past week with the victory of Dog1 over El Classico pretty much guaranteeing that Dog1 would end this season 16-0.
The eighth seed is the most up in the air spot, Welcome To Base World made an attempt to surge their way up to 8th but now see a giant barrier in front of them. Their last three games are against El Classico, Dog1, and Flipper Skippers. I do not foresee them coming out of this extended week with any wins and it may ruin their chances to make the playoffs, despite having 9 wins already. Sparkle Gang has a chance to play a similar role to the one that they played last season where they can ruin another team’s playoff chances, but have slim to no chance to actually make the playoffs themselves. If they can slip up Don’t Slip, then Don’t Slip may not make the playoffs because they will not beat Young Hunters Social Club
Micah and Saam
To absolutely no one’s surprise, Dog1 will complete the entire season’s power rankings at number one. An extremely strong team coming into the season, no one was actually able to cobble together enough strength to topple these Cliffords the Big Red Dogs. Therefore they were able to crush everyone systematically, if you count multiple come from behind victories as crushing everyone. The mere fact that they have the mental fortitude to not crumble under pressure is an incredible talent in and of itself. they were the consensus number seed and thus far have made good on that. Despite technically only having one scout the entire season they were able to cement an undefeated season. This was mostly defied in the Classico game where it seemed that both Saam and Micah had fairly good goods. To be fair none of the scouts in the Dog1 vs. El Classico game had a particularly impressive game, but that could be as much due to the map as their own faults. Air, Saam, and Micah all had games that were profoundly similar to one another to the extent that I could not separate any one scout out as having the “best game”.
The Dog1 power classes were always going to guarantee an advantage in IM, and Cookiejake was a player seemingly of equivalent skill on medic. Micah’s steady improvement gave Dog1 just enough of a buttress to defeat all comers. I do not know if I can guarantee a IM victory but Dog1 should undoubtedly find their way into invite next. Honestly, if they are able to make it up to Invite then they should probably look at getting a new scout tandem worthy of their power classes. The final regular season award this season goes to Dog1’s team picture. Perhaps their most powerful asset, their dog in a plane picture has repeatedly carried the team to victory.
Season MVP: Team Picture
#2: El Classico
Air and Wrech
Despite a loss to Dog1, but also possibly because of their lost to Dog1, the El Classico team has cemented their spot as the number two team in IM. A team that is shockingly similar to Dog1 in composition and strengths, El Classico boasts extremely strong power class players with a scout combo that is alternatively depressing and mediocre. Their weakness lies in the fact that they are just a bit weaker across the board than Dog1. Ranga is a better pocket and Liko is a better roamer. The closest comparison is between Chriz and Rikachu who are both DM monster demomen, but I think that Chriz had the biggest gap between playing time before his return last season to consistent play.
El Classico absolutely crushed Don’t Slip in a rapid game that saw their soldiers do whatever they wanted whenever they wanted. Then the biggest game of the season ended in a 50 drag that saw Trippa take literally everyone’s kills and with Dog1 winning 5-2. The second overall strongest team in IM in El Classico just could not conquer those rabid dogs. Again we saw the metalworks phenomena where a demoman losing on this map gets absolutely no damage because the map is not designed in such a way that a backpedaling demoman can do much of anything. Metalworks tends to be entirely soldier oriented aside from a few standout performances here and there from demomen. El Classico will be able to reload and prepare themselves for playoffs because they only Base World who are pretty good, but not even in the atmosphere of the Classic Men. Like I alluded to with Dog1, if this team wants to move forward then they are going to have to get a new scout pair. I had thought that Air played with heals and Wrech played off to the side but Wrech racked up a ridiculous amount of deaths without enough kills or damage to make up for it.
Most Underscores: Chriz_Tah_Fah
#3: Snailed It
Skag and Skeez
Maintaining their spot in 3rd despite a hugely disappointing loss to the Chubby Ducks is Snailed It. It would seem that the Snailed It team just repeatedly fell to a snowball of their own mistakes, repeatedly falling to a Chubby scout combo that is outright devastating in the right games. Snailed It seem to consistently need sub help, but it does not change their playstyle or skill all that much. Glider had a very impressive game, picking up the most frags on his team and doing a fair amount of damage. He seems to have rebounded from a series of struggles against strong teams. It was an hour long slugfest and I’m pretty sure that everyone involved needs some level of psychotherapy due to being stuck in this environment for such an extent of time. A team looking to compete at the highest level of IM can not repeatedly lose people in advantageous and neutral positions, so Snailed It will have to improve in that manner.
Two of Snailed It’s three losses have come after getting a massive first half leads and going to the second half with all of the momentum in the world. Snailed It was one of the few teams that managed to push Dog1 to the very brink and they seem like they can be an absolute terror at their strongest, but they need to iron out some of these toddling mistakes. At a certain level, pretty much everyone properly pulls off the small stuff and avoids such massive momentum killers as snowballing deaths at the worst moments. Still, I believe that Snailed It has the capability to win IM if they can catch fire from their scouts as their soldiers generally play very well.
Sub of the Season: Stochast1c
#4: Slammin’ Salmon
Yimi and Train
With the departure of Trippa into the lost wilderness, the Slamon have picked up Chessy Macgodver on pocket. Just few seasons ago on pocket in open (I know it is open), he put up cartoonish numbers with Great Nights Together. It looks like there was absolutely no growing pains as the Slammin Salmon immediately dispatched YHSC into the Shadow Realm in a 22 minute 5-1 that displayed a dominance that they never really saw with Trippa. Cheesy continued his particular brand of crushing people and he is reunited with his Great Nights Demoman Odb(and also his medic Luxor). Odb himself put up a very strong performance. Frankly this strong of a performance against what I perceived to be a team on the rise in YHSC is sort of puzzling, but I’ll take it at first value. Slammin Salmon with their two recent pickups have the capability to possible uproot Snailed It from top 3 and conceivably make a run at El Classico. I still believe that Dog1 is out of their reach and ready to bomb my expectations at any moment but Slammin Salmon were and are still a very strong team.
Cheesiest Player: Cheesy Macgyver
#5: Young Hunters Social Club
Ex and Blues
Honestly I’m a little confused. I expected YHSC to possibly come out with a win in their game against Slammin Salmon. A new pocket, you would think, could create some inner turmoil that may make them vulnerable to lose against another strong team but that was not the case. The Hunters forgot all of their ammo at home, they did not feed their horses in weeks, and did not have their neon orange hats. It all ended in disappointment as they were drowned by the Salmon in one of the most disastrous hunting accidents in recent memory. The Salmon flatly refused to go the way of the ducks and fought back. The Hunters have ended up with 10 wins and may be gated from moving up anymore seedings, they can potentially play a hand in crushing the dreams of Don’t Slip but there is not much else to say other than I expected more from the Hunters this season. Tsk tsk tsk.
#6: Lil’ Chubby Ducks
Pie_hero and Yeeegz
They are doing it to me again. Just when I want to quit on this team they go and do something like beat Snailed It. Secretly my favorite team in IM, the Ducks have also been the most confusing. Just when I think they hit their stride, they barely escape a game with Base World. They have such a seemingly strong roster across the board, but never seem to put it together. Hooli seems to have been cemented as their pocket, but he has not shown the strongest performances. Tooth seems to be slowly finding his form on roamer once again. The centerpieces of the Ducks are the scout combo and Mae. If they can just find a vintage 6Cuties playstyle where they just repeatedly sell out their soldiers in order to make room and heals go to their strongest players; then I can possibly see them going fairly far in the rest of the season. Now that I have said this, they will lose to BLANC Esports but beat Flipper Skippers in a quick game. This will further confuse me and I will just quit. Either way the Yeeegz, Mae, Pie_Hero triplicate are among the strongest in IM matched by Rikachu, Liko, and Ranga and few others.
Least Vowels: Split_
#7: Flipper Skippers
Ictus and Mikey
The Flipper Skippers come in at seventh yet again. They are an overall strong team that has yet to truly prove themselves against the strongest competition in IM. They have crushed the lower ranked teams in IM but were unable to beat the highest seeded teams in IM. It would have been foolish to expect them to be hastily put together and defeat those teams, but I expected them be a little stronger. KTB officially seems be playing roamer now while SureShot is on pocket, so they may be able to improve in time for the playoffs if they make it (which they should). The Flipper Skippers will mostly likely need to win 2 of their remaining three games in order to do so. They play against Sparkle Gang, Base World, and Chubby Ducks. Based off of their current record, you would expect their games against Sparkle Gang and Base World to be close but I do not necessarily think so. They should easily handle Sparkle Gang, and Base World may put up a fight but I do not expect them to actually drop that game. Hopefully for them the match against Chubby Ducks is just a seeding match because I don’t expect a victory there. However knowing Chubby Ducks, I have now jinxed them beyond all comprehension.
Best Article of Clothing: Ictus
#8: Don’t Slip
Glukkon and Vaati
Finally changing their name to something slightly more original and less redundant, but something that is still not wholly original in Don’t Slip. They just crawled out of murderer’s row where they got mauled, beaten, and left for dead by El Classico and Slammin Salmon. This past week lasted about 50 minutes total through two matches, which is fairly impressive in a tiny moral victory type of way considering the strength of the two teams that they had to face. The Don’t Slip team probably needs ten wins as well to guarantee a playoff spot, which means they only need 1 of 2 games. They play against YHSC who have made a game out of murdering the lower ranked teams so I expect that to be another quick loss. However, a shining ray of hope may shine at the end of this death tunnel for Don’t Slip in the form of Sparkle Gang. Sparkle Gang has not had a very strong season and will be just on the outside of the playoffs yet again, but they are a dangerous team with a few strong players that can throw a monkey wrench into a game. Don’t Slip will need to avoid the spoiler game and make their way into the playoffs, where they will be promptly crushed in a brutal manner.
Named After a Fallen Console: DC