April 4th, 2016
UGC Gold Highlander Season 18
Playoffs Week 4: Grand Finals
Well, we’re finally here. After a eleven weeks of matches, it’s time for Gold’s grand finals! And what a trip it’s been, with sJ’s previous win over appel being overturned when it was discovered that smilez was outsniped so cleanly by dynamovic in that match only because of the meme that just won’t die, gamebanana wallhacks. With new found confidence after coming back into the bracket, appel made quick work of their remaining opponents, beating both Don’t Tilt and Papa’s Peddlers 4-1 on viaduct. Now they look to try and take out the team we’ve been expecting to win all along, Quail Noises, in what is sure to be an exciting best of three!
Interestingly, we won’t be seeing viaduct in this best of three, with the maps being lakeside, cp_steel and a cp_gullywash decider. If I had to guess, I believe quails sensed that appel had weakness on lakeside because of the fact that appel dropped 3 rounds to pepe in the regular season on lakeside. However, appel actually was performing very well in lakeside scrims and I believe their mediocre performance in that match was a mix of nerves and Smilez’s decision to run cozy camper instead of razorback, which proto took advantage of. So, I think appel will be able to put up a good fight on lakeside this time around, having learned from their mistakes. Before we get too in depth with the maps though, let’s do a class comparison:
Scout – yimi vs. bff-forever | Slight Edge: bff-forever
This will be a close one. Both these players are amazing scouts, but bff is a much more experienced highlander scout than yimi. While bff was looking rusty when he first came in to play for appel after blinx quit, he’s recently started to regain his footing and is starting to look like he did in S17 Plat when he played for Chill Penguins. On maps like cp_steel and gullywash, I expect bff’s better understanding of how to play highlander scout to give him a slight advantage over yimi. On lakeside, where they both can rely almost entirely on dm, I think yimi will come out a bit ahead. Overall though I expect bff to have slightly more impact on this match than yimi will, but both of these guys are going to go absolutely insane!
Soldier – sigh vs. bunny | Edge: sigh
Bunny has been going hard in playoffs and if this was any other soldier I’d give the edge to bunny. However, sigh’s dm is likely to make his performances on these maps massive. Bunny is the more experienced highlander soldier and his dm is extremely good aswell, so I don’t expect sigh to outperform bunny by a huge amount by any means.
Pyro – bubs^ vs. american | Edge: american
American has been doing extremely well since playoffs started and I don’t expect the trend to end in this match. Bubs is a capable pyro, but american has some amazing flare dm. I definitely expect american to come out on top here.
Demo – mae vs. glider | Slight Edge: mae
This is another tricky one. Both these guys are crazy good 6’s demos with some monstrous dm, but I’m going to have to go with the player with more highlander experience again. Really though, this could go either way because both of these guys are amazing demomen.
Heavy – rue vs. vipa | Edge: rue
Vipa is a solid heavy, but rue has a lot more heavy experience than him. Plus, glider is likely to take a lot more heals away from vipa than mae is from rue, as voll is quite prone to healing rue. I expect vipa to take more of a backseat role and protect the combo as glider and brulee go forward and do the damage.
Engineer – juss vs. nokk | Slight Edge: Juss
Nokk is pretty new to the appel roster, but is a more experienced engineer. I think juss might perform a bit better because of his familiarity with his roster however.
Medic – voll vs. brulee | Edge: voll
Voll has had an insanely good record on medic this season, with no drops and very few deaths. Part of that is his team’s dominance, but it’s also hard to deny that quails didn’t start being so dominate until after voll made the switch to med for quails. Brulee’s a good medic too, but I expect voll to have a bigger impact for his team.
Sniper – kev vs. Smilez | Edge: smilez
This should be a pretty easy sniper v. sniper for smilez, but kev has been doing well lately so you never know.
Spy – Jayden vs. pomf | Edge: Jayden
Pomf is certainly a good spy and in our match against them on viaduct he even used his knife some, which definitely widens the range of situations he’s effective in as spy. However, Jayden has proven himself to be, in my opinion, the best spy in Gold this season. Jayden is going to go huge for appel here and I don’t think pomf will quite be able to keep up.
Map 1 (-Quail Noises’- pick): Lakeside
meo’s prediction: quails wins 3-1
I think appel has learned a lot from their mistakes against pepe in their regular season match on lakeside and should be able to at least take a round here. However, quails’ dm really plays to their advantage on this map, not particularly surprising since they picked it. It’s not like appel doesn’t have any advantages on this map, with Smilez and Jayden likely to outperform their counterparts, but sigh, yimi and mae’s dm is going to prove simply way too much for appel to keep up here. This map should go to quails.
Map 2 (appel’s pick): cp_steel
meo’s prediction: appel wins
This is a smart pick from appel. Not only does coordination matter more on steel than dm, which plays to appel’s favor and not quails, but over aggressiveness is punished heavily on cp_steel defense with extremely long spawn times, which will directly counter sigh and yimi’s very aggressive style. With glider certainly able to keep up with mae, as long as appel doesn’t let nerves get to them and plays well they should be able to win this map.
Map 3 (decider): cp_gullywash
meo’s prediction: appel wins 3-2*
A totally crazy prediction, but I actually think appel might walk away with this first best of three and reset the bracket. Just because it’s a sixes map doesn’t mean that sixes players will be good at playing it in highlander, and my personal experience playing quails definitely showed weakness on the map. Quails played pepe in week 3 and actually dropped two rounds to pepe, at a time when pepe was doing very poorly overall. Quails flank played pretty disjointed, with yimi trying to get behind the enemy team at every opportunity which led to large gaps in their defense. With bff and bunny being an extremely solid flank, they’ll be ready to punish yimi and sigh whenever they get more aggressive than they should be. Furthermore, glider is a high-IM demo just like mae, taking away one of quails biggest advantages. Rue will probably outperform vipa, but not by any ridiculous amounts. So, with the flank fight being slightly in appel’s favor and the combo fight being slightly in quails’ favor, I believe on this map it will come down to pick classes and I put my money on Smilez and Jayden taking this game home for appel.
*I do not expect either team to reach a full 4 rounds on this map.