May 27th, 2016
ESEA-O 6v6 S22
Pre-Season Top 16 Rankings
Well, the time is almost here for Season 22 of ESEA to start and another season of tf2 Open to begin. This season is one of the most interesting seasons of Open in a long, long time – with only ONE ex-invite player (Br0nze) in all of open and teams of IM/Invite sandbaggers nowhere to be seen. This may be a result of the trend of Invite skill level increasing as of late, thus bringing more of the talent that was prone to sandbag in open back to invite or High-IM (to try and snag a spot in Invite next season). Whether this is the case or not, this new trend in ESEA of a stronger Invite and an Open made up of actual Open teams can only be seen as a positive thing in my eyes. It’s not often that we have seasons of Open where we don’t know what teams will be playing in the grand finals right from the start and I hope everyone who got a chance to play in Open this season appreciates the increased competitiveness!
As far as these rankings go, I’ll be starting the pre-season off with a “Tier List”, separating my top 16 teams into 4 different tiers – with Tier I being the stronger Tier and Tier IV being the weakest. Please note that the order of teams within a tier is NOT related to their skill in comparison with other teams in their tier. Now, onto the list:
ORDER WITHIN TIERS IS MEANINGLESS AND NOT A COMPARISON OF TEAMS TO ONE ANOTHER
Egg Salad Dressing:
Scouts: keith and wolves
One of the few playoff open teams that return from last season, Egg Salad Dressing is looking to be a strong contender for placement this season. Their main claim to fame of course is their rising star scout, keith, but the whole team is very well coordinated and boasts the dm to backup their strong teamplay – despite their rather interesting choices in usernames, but then again, that is coming from o_oWhyMeo_o.
Scouts: Br0nze and kiin
Quite the interesting team, with quite the range of experience – from open to invite. This team is a remake of the 9-7 Open team from Season 20, Disney Jam Thursday, with some very notable additions like Br0nze on scout. Br0nze of course is one of the main reasons this team is looked to as a high-Open team, but the whole roster is really at home in high-Open this season. Raisin and heartstrings both have previous experience on high-Open teams and the rest of the team so far look impressive despite their lack of experience outside of mid-Open.
Scouts: demoted and juicy
The demoted + juicy scout combo is looking to be a rather terrifying one and has been putting out some insane numbers for their team during this off-season. Most of this team is returning from S17 Open and their experience as a team will play a big role in their performance this season. No Johns should make top 4 at the very least.
The Westbrook Effect:
Scouts: madoff and coughy
Medic: Kevin Durant
In my opinion, The Westbrook Effect is the most promising roster out any team in Open this season. Gardener + daffodil is one hell of a soldier combo and madoff + coughy are just as an impressive scout combo. Rounding out the roster, JOE and Kevin Durant are solid players themselves. The main issue is that, so far, scrims for this team have been few and far between and the scrims they have played have had wildly inconsistent results. Perhaps this low number of scrims suggests a lack of commitment this season or perhaps they’re just waiting for the season to start to really start getting serious with practice. Either way, with a roster this good, I expect this team to perform well when the tough matches roll around.
Bearly Getting by:
Scouts: fen and mag
I’ll confess – I originally placed this roster in tier III in my first draft of the tiers. However, once I started looking into logs it was immediately clear this team belongs in tier II. With almost no losses to tier III and below teams and plenty of wins against tier I and II teams, this team is definitely looking to get into the top 8 and perhaps even top 4 this season. Pinto is probably the most notable player on this team, a very solid roamer who has also proved himself amazing at sniper in a game on viaduct last season playing for Sherlock Homies. However, fen and mag are also a very solid scout combo and can be expected to do a lot of work for this team.
Scouts: spades and bo4r
A team of highlander players, specifically from the Plat highlander team Bote. None of these players are new to ESEA except brick, who seems to have adapted to the role of 6’s pocket just fine. The biggest question is how much bo4r will care – last season we saw some huge performances from bo4r at the start of the season, even carrying his team to victory in a 5v6, then a quick decline in interest in 6’s and a sharp falloff of performance. I’d say, unlike last season, where half of bo4r’s team also lost interest in 6’s before the season was halfway over, all of Bote 6v6 are highlander players that are quite interested in improving at 6’s. This should hopefully keep bo4r invested in the team and keep some stunning performances coming from him. Even if bo4r isn’t able to deliver however, this team has plenty of other talent to fall back on, with spades being a very experienced 6’s scout by now and rightjustify and vipa knowing their way around their classes in 6’s quite well too. I definitely expect a lot out of this team, but their ability to make a run for top 4 depends on how committed they are to 6’s.
Scouts: monkeysuit and kobe
The big question with this team is if they will implode or not before playoffs roll around. My money’s on that they’ll implode. This team is certainly solid, but very big personalities (and egos) are likely to result in some internal conflicts at best and a dead team at worst.
Le Sparkle Gang Black:
Scouts: barycenter and THE BILLDOZER
Roamer: megaboy and whoever replaces him when he leaves
People who are saying this team isn’t going to be high-Open aren’t really paying much attention to Open this season. I’d wager in a more regular season (i.e. a few sandbagging teams + a couple more Open teams that are able to compete at a low/mid IM level) this team would fall somewhere in the 11th-15th place range. However, with no sandbagging teams and a slightly weaker top of Open this team should be able to find themselves at least in the second round of playoffs. Megalinx and barycenter will be the backbone of this team’s dm, but pokemon and brulee also make for an experienced and competent combo. The only real question marks on this team are THE BILLDOZER and megaboy, BILLDOZER because his scout abilities are largely unproven and megaboy because….well, no one really knows if he’s going to leave or not. This team’s success requires them to keep a solid roamer throughout the season as well as BILLDOZER to perform well on scout, but even if those two things don’t happen this team should at the very least find themselves in playoffs.
Not Around Bears:
Scouts: zacice and saturn
Not Around Bears was on an upward trend ever since they picked up ed on scout. However, his absence now makes me wonder if he did more for the team than just being really good at scout. I obviously have no insight on the inner workings of NAB, but they have been looking weaker since their loss of ed. Whether they’re simply missing his dm or he brought a lot of direction to the team is unknown, but NAB aren’t looking like quite the same team from last season. They still appear to be contenders for top 8, but if they can rise above that is looking uncertain. Still, NAB has a lot of talent and it would never be wise to write them off. If this new roster can come back to the skill level that we were seeing out of NAB near the end of last season, and they very well could, expect a lot of great things out of them.
Can’t Predict Stupid:
Scouts: Duke and SD
A partially returning renegades, Can’t Predict Stupid looks to be a solid team yet again. However, their name is more literal than you might expect, as their returning scouts of Duke and SD are known to play a bit…aggressive. Let’s just say they belong to the RainofLight school of thought on scout gameplay and leave it at that. Like RoL of though, they do have good dm, and that can get you far in open. I don’t expect Can’t Predict Stupid to break into the top 8 this season, but they do have a better shot at it than last season.
Kuwumbu Jungle 2:
Scouts: dippidy and link
Pocket: crasian (temporarily)
Although a promising start for a roster, with a flank of dippidy and link on scout plus fatswimdude on roamer, their lack of a full roster at this point in the season is a bit worrisome. If this team can get their roster sorted out I expect them to make an appearance in playoffs, but I’m not sure they can accomplish much beyond that being so far behind on making a team.
Scouts: Jaker and yuker
A returning team from open that barely missed playoffs last season, I think they should be able to sneak in this time. I don’t think they’re quite competitive with the top of Open and I expect their season to end week 1 of playoffs. However, the team is made up of relatively new talent so you never know – they might surprise me. Oh and a side note: no that is not lights of blue elephant fame.
Shutup Mom im Bowflexing:
Scouts: apt and dreamboat
Medic: Dr. Shdwpuppet
This team has a lot of players that have been playing tf2 for quite a while, specifically tino, fdwdo and Dr. Shdwpuppet. They all have a lot of experience, including some time in IM, which should add a lot to this team’s stability – or so you would think. So far scrim results have been all over the place, sometimes beating teams I’d say are roughly in the top 8 and sometimes losing to teams I don’t even consider top 16. If these guys can get things organized and start to build some better teamplay their experience should take them far.
Every Villain is Lemons:
Scouts: troopo and flick
Although EVIL has some solid dm, especially noticeable in troopo and faust, they don’t seem like a particularly coordinated team. They may sneak into playoffs, but I wouldn’t predict them to go any further than that.
Meme Stealers 6v6:
Scouts: jaay and vinny
JJslim returns to another division I’m writing articles for, back to haunt me with his on-again off-again performances. I swear, one minute the guy can look like some serious up-and-coming talent and the next he looks like a steel player that accidentally wandered onto a Gold roster. Anyway, JJslim’s ability to frustrate my attempts to pin down his talent and thus his team’s skill level aside, this roster does have some promise. Jaay is the most notable player on this team, as he has been absolutely slamming on scout this off-season. Pwnu doesn’t seem half bad at pocket himself and JJslim, when he’s on, is a solid roamer. If this team can manage to be consistent they might cause some upsets, but if they don’t they may miss out on playoffs altogether.
Scouts: uber and bwelp
Medic: Translucent Feces
Wut Dude is a combination of two teams from last season, blasty blast and that’s so randal, both who missed out on playoffs. This team may be able to take advantage of the lack of sandbagging teams to nab a spot in the top 16, but they ultimately don’t seem able to contest with most of the talent at the top of Open this season.
Teams right outside top 16: Hurricane Watch and Bob-omb Squad