UGC HL Platinum Season 18 Playoffs Week 1


Three hours later and I only just realize I forgot to put an intro in. We’re in playoffs now, and bid farewell to aMw, EVL, and :>. There are some cool interviews with the layoff team leaders, so go read that and ignore my incompetency!

Last Week


:> vs EVL, :> victorious 2-1

After spending ten minutes figuring out how to explain just what :>’s roster was for the game and giving up, I’ll just point out that heavyIssGonRain and scoutLehcs outperformed their EVL counterparts, heavyBonesaw and scoutLinkuser, the two players with the best KA/Ds on either side. Then, I’ll spend the rest of the piece wondering how a Gold Sniper/caster can somehow jump to Platinum Medic and then perform admirably after I jokingly suggested he should do it. Seriously though, with only three :> members present and on their standard class, it’ll definitely be an interesting end to the team’s season.


‘92 vs .knd, .knd victorious 2-0

While I doubt many were expecting something different with regards to score, I don’t think the lineup ‘92 brought was particularly amusing, as with odb missing, the team opted to ring demomanDeathy and then just pick and choose the classes they wanted to play. With a token Bugs-ing from .knd, they took it in a very convincing manner.


m|M vs .$$, m|M victorious 2-1

I don’t like to point out the Medic death comparison too much, especially having done it just last week, but medicApple died half as much as medic$keez did, and on a map like Steel, it definitely hurts a bit more than normal. demomanGiraffe and soldierJackster seem to have led their teams when it comes to pulling in kills and making space, with Giraffe going 43:16 and Jackster going 42:21. spyDeaft also did fantastically, going equal on kills with Invader.


dK vs aMw, dK victorious 2-0

It’s hard for aMw to end their season off the way they did, but there wasn’t much they could’ve done against dK. While sniperVlad, demomanSplit and spyfeint all did spectacularly, the rest of aMw simply wasn’t up to going toe to toe with their dK opponents.



For the first week of playoffs, I’ve gone ahead and asked the team leaders a handful of questions, as opposed to going over the teams. The people interviewed, in order of ranking, were Kresnik, Skeez, Karl, Eerie Person, SpaceGhost’sCoffee, and IssGonRain.


1 – Kids Next Door [Scizor / Etney / Katsy / Jarrett / Kresnik / Ender / Nursey / yosh / Dimento]

As Kids Next Door come into playoffs, it’s with no rounds dropped. Were you expecting to be able to do that, and do you expect to continue that into playoffs?


We weren’t expecting to not drop a single round, but part of the mindset I like to have in the team is confidence. So we went into every match expecting, and playing hard for a win. It’s nice to see it pay off as well as it has. Regarding playoffs, I don’t honestly know. It probably depends on who we play on what maps, but I fully expect to drop a stray round or two on Gullywash, considering the nature of the map and how late in the playoffs it is. Although since we’ve made it this far, we’re gonna be trying our hardest to keep that specific streak going.

The playoff expansion gave you a week off, though it does cause you to miss out on Upward, commonly considered one of .knd’s best map, as well as adding two teams to playoffs. Do you think it’ll change anything for your team, and playoffs as a whole?

For us, it definitely lowers the fun factor of the playoffs, considering we lose out on playing a favorite of ours, although we should have enough fun just playing together, it definitely puts us in a less advantageous position with the maps we’ll be playing. As a whole, I don’t know how much playoffs will be affected, outside of giving 92 a second chance to come back into playoffs. Chill Penguins improved a lot through the season, but still aren’t likely to beat dK outside of a b4nny drinking binge the night before.

One final question, then: What did you think of the round robin system, as well as the map pool and the weapon banlist?

I think at the top, a RR system will always be more fair and benefit the league as a whole. Preplanning for casts, stronger top of gold, lessened skill gap for platinum, teams dying end up being more fair for everyone. The map pool and ban list ended up being great this season. There was a lot of discussion in pre-season about machina or razorback, and we definitely ended up banning the right weapon. I do still feel like there are a few outliers weapon-wise that could end up on the chopping block as teams learn to abuse them more (like Bonk!, Base Jumper, Short Circuit), but who knows where the meta will take some of these. I fully expect to see a return of a custom map next season, though hopefully this off season will involve a lot of map testing to prepare


2 – $ilver $avages [Godwash / Jackster / Lazy / Invader / Trelan / Angryofficer / Skeez / Feroaffer / Pellovley]

A Week 9 loss to Momento Mori was a bit of a shock for most people. While you narrowly avoid the rank down and extra match due to it, are you concerned at all that a loss like that or the one agianst .knd will repeat itself sometime in the playoff weeks?


Yeah, definitely. A lot of us want to just blow it off to the side saying “it was steel” or w/e and that we’ll never see the map in playoffs but we lost the map due to a large reason we’ve had all season. Our comms in general are awful and compared to the other playoff teams – probably the worst. That and  there was a LOT of counter-calling going on between our designated caller and other members in the combo. Both of those were by far our biggest issues all season.


Interesting! Regardless, $ilver $avages were all but confirmed for playoffs early on. Aside the week off you guys get due to the expansion, do you think there’ll be any major changes due to it?


For the most part, I think everyone already has a set image of how the final placements in Plat will happen whether they want to admit it. I can’t imagine too many upsets happening at all, but I guess the 6 teams allowed both MM/92 to get in, and those two are really closely matched teams. I believe the play the 1st week on upward which should be a great game.


With that said, how far do you see .$$ going? You have the two teams that beat you in the other bracket, which you’ll intersect on Gullywash – are you expecting to come out victorious there, maybe even handing .knd their first loss?


The thing about playoffs in general this season is that all the teams are so evenly matched in DM save for maybe one or two teams. In previous seasons it was pretty obvious that a team like .knd, mTs, or dK had clear DM advantages over all the other playoff teams. This season it’s 100% going to come down to the teamwork and calling aspect of the teams to determine winners. As for us specifically, obviously our goal is 1st place but the kndragons are still a step above everyone in Plat and it’ll take definitely take a lot of effort from us to beat them or even beat dK again. I know heading into playoffs, things like map reviews and demo reviews are things a lot of us have expressed interest in. It’s something we’ve never really done before and something that could really help us out in the coordination/teamwork department.


That’s good to hear, best of luck! A more generic question for the ending – what did you think of the round robin system, as well as the mappool and item whitelist?


Love the round robin. When it was introduced in S16 I know pretty much everyone I spoke to loved it compared to the old system. The mappool was great this season, one of the better we’ve had in awhile. Me personally, I would’ve liked to see borneo in over Swiftwater but that’s just because I’m awful at swift haha. I’m sure whitelist will become a major point of discussion heading into this next season with MM right around the corner, but for S18 I was fairly happy. The Machina ban was nice, but that was sort of countered by the recent Cozy Camper buff which made sniper even more ridiculous but overall, the stupid weapons were still kept banned which is always a good thing.


3 – Dunning Kruger Effect [b4nny / Bobby / Huey Lewis / Xan / Karl / Jordan_ / Metawe / corsa / Acooma]

With the playoff expansion, you go from facing one of the top two seeds immediately on Upward, to facing the #6 seed, Bv. Does that change dK’s playoff plans at all? What do you think of the expansion?


I think the expansion is good in that it allows more teams to participate and the changed structure rewards the top seeds for their success during the regular season. However viaduct has historically been dK’s weakest map and as a staple playoffs map it has always challenged dK to get into finals, and thus the change forces dK to play the #2 seed on their best map and our worst map.


Dunning Kruger’s had a particularly rough season this time around, spending a significant part of the season with roster troubles. Do you feel that it’s affected your team’s play at all, back then and now? Was there anything you would’ve done differently to avoid the issues that arose from the roster turbulence?


If I had to restart the season we would have never picked up muma, his immature approach to a team environment caused constant roster changes. The nonstop changing roster hurt the team’s performance quite a bit as going into our viaduct match vs $$ we changed rosters between the weeks scrims, the pregame, and then again for the match. Additionally several players have quit throughout the season which were irreplaceable talents and who we have struggled to find a reliable replacement.


Speaking of matches like against .$$, are you expecting the various rematches in playoffs, for your teams and others, to go differently? Do you think the time is coming soon where .knd will drop a round or a game?


I think having a stable roster and not a pug team when playing $$ will give a serious boon to our chances of winning. I think if knd stops getting ideal matchups do the to luck of the weeks maps they will lose rounds and games.


Alright, one final question. There was a fair bit of discussion in the offseason about whether or not Platinum should be round robin, as well as the standard map pool/whitelist discussions. What did you think of how those three variables turned out?


I think the round robin is a must in Plat and I have always supported it. I think there could be some changes to the whitelist and the map pool and don’t really agree with the way admins have handled them this season.


4 – Memento Mori [Syath / Doll / Geosus / Giraffe / Eerie Person / scratchy / Apple / Bagel / Deaft]

When the playoff expansion was announced, it was assumed that Memento Mori was going to be in one of those two spots. Then, a victory against .$$ pushed you into #4, giving you playoffs even without the expansion. Were you expecting or banking on anything like that?


Honestly yes, I was prepping prior to the expansion announcement to beat $$ and all the games before that. In order to reach the 4th seed it was necessary. Steel has always been one of our stronger maps, so I was pretty confident we could pull the win off.


With that said, you’ve got a varied scoreline against the rest of the playoff contenders. How well are you expeting Memento Mori to do?


I think the matchups we have are looking toward our favour, the exception being vs knd on viaduct which we unfortunately lost to on week 4. After that the games ahead of us aren’t really out of the question for us to take home tbh.


With that confidence you mentioned regarding your match against .$$ – are you surprised at all at other aspects of the playoff placement, such as .knd going undefeated and Bv beating :>?


.knd going undefeated isn’t really a surprise, the core of knd have been playing together for awhile and in almost every game they outclass their counterparts. Bv beating Goofbirds didn’t surprise me too, as :> have been having a lot of internal conflict for the entire season, it was just inevitable.


Alright, cool! To finish this off – what did you think of the round robin this season, as well as the map pool and weapon banlist?


Round robin has been a fantastic inclusion imo, it’s kinda sad that if a team dies it sorta ruins the system a bit but other than that I like it. For maps this season, I was really disappointed that Borneo wasn’t included over Swiftwater/Badwater Pro, it’s personally my favourite hl map and it always yields good matches/scrims . The banlist I don’t really have much of a problem with, Short Circuit is annoying but it gives something for the engineer to do lol and it’s only really obnoxious on steel from what I’ve seen.


5 – ‘92 Dream Team [Slemnish / trippah / jekjekj / odb / Vanilla Love / LittleDeath / Coldster / SGC / Scruff McGruff]

You were expected to make playoffs, expansion or not, up until the last week’s results came in, where you found yourself in fifth place due to m|M taking a victory against .$$ – is this something you were expecting at all to happen? What do you think about the expansion?


I am happy with the expansion, i believe we were like .5 of a match point away from being in 4th place, so a close call I guess, but it all worked out in the end. Even if we were in 4th place we’d still be playing m|M in 5th place so it wouldn’t have made too much of a difference if it was still expanded playoffs.


You’ve got a fairly concerning scoreline against the teams above you, aside m|M. Are you expecting to be able to reverse those scores in playoffs and show your team as a stronger contender for a top three finish?


I think we have the potential to make some noise. A lot of the season wasn’t terribly serious. While i wouldn’t be terribly surprised if our scores against the top teams were the same as the regular season, it could go either way. Some of what factored into our performance agains the higher plat teams were the maps. We’re pretty terrible at payload and cp_steel, which was all of our matches against the top teams.


Alright, best of luck in those games! One final question – what did you think of the round robin this season, as well as the map pool and item whitelist?


I personally love the round robin, I think it’s a great system. The map pool was pretty decent overall this season, there wasn’t any outright terrible maps, and the old classics were back. The item whitelist is totally fine except for the short circuit. Most of plat has agreed that it’s, broken, stupid, and should not be in this game. Other than that I have no complaints. Thanks for the interview!


6 – Chill Penguins [Seer / Dreadnought / HA Johnny / m66 / IssGonRain / SilentDom / GammaOrionis / bo4r / Danish]

So, your playoff seed was basically decided at the last second, at the mercy of the expansion. Aside your own team’s participation due to it, what did you think of the expansion?


I think the expansion for playoffs is a good idea, and one I fought for. It gives low-mid platinum an actual goal. I also like the idea that it pushes back the grandfinals a week so it can have more views (as no one would be playing their hl match at that time). I heard it may be the last time it happens sadly though.


When the playoff expansion was announced officially, were you expecting or planning for Chill Penguins to make it?


When mtn was alive, no. After they died I expected a chance, I had a feeling it would all come down to the badwater match.


Are you expecting to get revenge for your regular season’s scorelines against the various playoff teams?


I don’t think we’ll touch the top 3 teams very well, especially since the next map is viaduct after we play dk on upward. We’ll try our best and see what happens though


Alright. One final question to finish it off – what did you think about the round robin for Platinum, as well as the item whitelist and map pool?


Round robin is a really cool concept, despite a team dying I think it worked out pretty well. I would like to see it in the future, although I also heard that is uncertain. With the whitelist I only had a real problem with the shortcircuit, and various sniper unlocks. I think the maplist was one of the best yet. The only thing I would touch would be possibly adding borneo in there somewhere.




Dunning Kruger Effect vs Chill Penguins

Chill Penguins did sneak into playoffs by beating :>, and they have improved since their first few weeks, and they do have players like sniperbo4r and soldierDreadnought, dK should be a bit too much to handle. Their play here will indicate how well they’ll be able to play outside of m|M or ‘92, but it’s not unreasonable to see dK in control the entire time. 2-0 in favor of Dunning Kruger Effect.


Memento Mori vs ‘92 Dream Team

To be quite frank, this game could go either way. demomanGiraffe and demomanodb are certainly going to be the biggest playmakers for their teams, paving the way to a win for their respective teams. scoutSyath and scoutslemnish, while relegated to cart duty for a significant part of the game, will definitely have an effect on the game, and if one of them can get the edge on his counterpart, will put their team ahead. While the Sniper matchup will always be relevant, it’s certainly arguable that sniperBagel and sniperSpaceGhostsCoffee are the weaker Snipers in playoffs, so they’ll have this game to set themselves up before facing off some particularly scary players. 2-1 in favor of Memento Mori.


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