UGC HL Season 19 Week 1

Intro

Somehow, we’re back. Highlander’s still alive, even after the VAC wave, and the death of Gold. Platinum’s a bit different now, what with 15 teams all lined up to play. There’s a whole lot of drama that I’m not at all qualified to even begin to explain, but the summary is that due to various issues, perceived or real, the decision was made to remove the Gold division for a season, pushing up more or less every team that would’ve played in Gold into Plat. The whitelist hasn’t changed much, with only the Short Circuit bidding farewell, and no new toys to play with. Borneo’s the first map of the season, and will be hopefully a good proving ground for plenty of these Gold teams to see how they interact with each other and the non high-Plat teams to grab whatever remaining playoff spots are up for grabs.

Teams

Appolodosh

S4rr / Benn / Arzt Hispanian / Bleek / Bonesaw / NotACleverMan / Ice / sullyy / shotaway

As with quite a few teams on this list, Appolodosh seems like a fairly quality Gold team, but nobody on the team sticks out as a player who would be solidly Plat in a more typical season. Bleek especially seems to have come out of nowhere, with his most recent experience coming from Pay 2 Win two seasons ago. On the other hand, sullyy’s made quite a name for himself over the offseason, being hailed as one of the best Snipers below Platinum, and then deciding that if Gold didn’t exist, he’d quit. The rest of the players seem to be solidly Gold-level, with a noticeable questionmark on S4rr’s new decision to offclass to Scout.

 

appel

Split_ / Rolling / American / Mae / Carcin / Yipyapper / Spork / smilez / Jayden

American finally reached Platinum, in the season he wanted to reach it, but the circumstances have changed. While he did put together a quality roster of ‘allstar’ Gold talent, as well as some 6s talent and others like Split_/Carcin, the end placement of this team will be largely due to their surroundings. While they do have some weaknesses, apparently relying on mae too much, they should be able to land a pretty decent spot at the end of the season off of the questionable level of the other teams in Platinum.

 

Burt Macklin

Megaboy / Paddie / Dowd / Coldster / Pie / Gamemaster / Overseer / (retro/milk) / Devoi

In a team that will be the excuse of Steel leaders ‘managing’ and allowing dual-maining for seasons to come, we have FBI. With the primary leader not even on the starting roster, there’s a whole lot of questions that come up. Obviously Paddie immediately sticks out, and those more attuned to 6s will know megaboy, as well as the more senior members with overseer. With the possible exception of Coldster, however, the rest of the team seems like a mishmash. If their less-experienced players can show themselves as Platinum-level on their class, and paddie shows up for their matches, they may just be able to surprise some people.

 

Chill Penguins

whymeo / June / HA Johnny / monkey66 / Paals / Chicobo / GammaOrionis / SpaceGhostCoffee / Kris18

After last season and barely sneaking into playoffs, Bv have returned for another season, losing yet another leader. Their roster looks almost entirely new, with some pretty interesting pickups. While the loss of bo4r is huge, SGC should be able to do a lot more this season without having to lead a team. There’s a handful of Gold talent on the team as well, with whymeo and Kris18 being the most notable and the most likely to make an impact. There’s no reason to think that Bv should be any worse off than last season, especially with the larger pool of teams to kick around, but the 4-4 Bv regular season curse is a strong thing.

 

Dunning-Kruger Effect v4

Vant / corsa / ? / b4nny / Karl / Spamfest / Skeez / Axiomatic / Hng

Even without a full roster just yet, it’s hard to not imagine that dK will be one of the best. With only Karl, corsa, and b4nny returning from last season, the dK crew has only improved their lineup. Spamfest, Hng, and Axiomatic all make their return to high Platinum, instantly reshuffling anyone’s Top 3 list of the classes they play on. Skeez is worth mentioning as well, the star Medic for .$$ now on a team that’ll rely less on gimmicks and DM and more on gamesense and coordination. Corsa and b4nny shuffle classes, with corsa on Soldier and b4nny on Demoman. Vand comes up from Gold, having received a lot of acclaim from his time in Invite, so he’ll no doubt be a fantastic fit for dK. [Note: Vand was confirmed by an outside source.]

 

EVL Gaming

Jaay / Cap$ize / Billysaurus / Uber / Fire / Niko Jims / Fishy-Lin / Vinny / Scruff McGruff

Another team that basically reinvented itself after last season, Vinny has taken control of the EVL Gaming leadership and added a confusing array of players. Scruff McGruff and Uber should both bolster EVL, but players like Fishy-Lin and Jaay have a lot to prove. Their weak spots seem to be spread out pretty well, so hopefully between their more experienced players, EVL Gaming can patch up holes before they face an actual challenge.

 

Goof Ducks

Bleh / Han / Deejay / Coco / Freelander / Exaflamer / Mojoe / Jesus / DayNife

With yet another moronic namechange, Daynife’s team returns to Plat, kicking and screaming all the way. It’s evident why, too, as aside the returning Corn Quacks members, I’ve got myself questioning if this is a Platinum team. While Mojoe and Exaflamer may have Platinum experience to some extent, the majority of this team seems very much not-Platinum. We’ll see how this team plays against the Platinum expansion pack, but aside Coco I can’t quite say that any of these new players had any sort of hype surrounding them.

 

bote

fuzion / p3nguin / spring rolls / Rightjustify / brick / Spades Slick / Rogue / bo4r / Vipa

A boat built from almost entirely new wood hopefully won’t sink, right? On one hand, the team’s good – that much isn’t really contestable. Fuzion, Rightjustify, brick, Spades, and bo4r are all high level players. But then you have players like p3nguin, a former sub moved to starter mere days ago, spring rolls, apparently done with following tiptoes around Gold/low-Plat, and Vipa, the one and only Steel Scrub. It seems eerily similar to the DRS mindset, with the hopeful difference being an unclicked “Change to Not Ready” button in the leader login.

 

Kids Next Door

Slemnish / Etney / Katsy / goldfish / Kresnik / Ender / Nursey / yosh / Dimento

After a bad crash on Gullywash last season, .knd have prepared for another easy season. With only really one other team able to realistically challenge them, and another potential team facing them in Week 1, Kids Next Door are looking to try and repeat their 8-0 from last season. Scizor and Jarrett have bid the team goodbye, but Slemnish and goldfish have come in to take their place, and seem to have done well enough already.

 

Life of Kid Warrior

triiiple / speedy / Frost / exile / civ. / Gaberoll / Doppel / Akemi / 88 Fingers Eddward

Another team that seems like it would’ve done solidly well in Gold, kw will have some trouble adjusting to Platinum. Their record will suffer from it, now having to contend for more highly contested ranks. Their roster would be acceptable for Gold, but in an environment with better teams, the roster doesn’t really hold up. Exile and civ. are no doubt skilled players, and the rest of the team has significant Gold experience, but it’s hard to point at any individual player, aside maybe civ. or Akemi as a Platinum-level player.

 

Man Crush Monday

bowswer / bunny / Minti / Ezrik / beanie / Shea / Couches / Watterson / Evil

While there is a player or two on this team with significant Platinum experience, a lot of MCM is largely unproven. Aside bowswer and Couches, none of these players have ever played on a Platinum team (Ezrik on eHarmony doesn’t count), so it’ll be interesting to see this team prove why they were one of the three ‘save Gold’ moveup teams during the offseason, goldfish or not.

 

PlatinumTales

Keith / Crab_F / Lavableman / DrunkUncle / Castiel / NicKk / Mariposa / Enrique / Pearl

One of the most hyped rosters before the death of Gold, the newly christened PlatinumTales has quite the expectation to meet. Some of that may have been tampered by the new challenge of Platinum, but enough players are devout followers of Keith, Crab_f, Mariposa, and Enrique for there to be a reasonable balance.

 

The DeLisi Experience

Wish / Super / November / Max / Caboose / Poseidon / Rhy / Zoey / Phone

With the exception of November and Caboose, DeLisi is downright scary. Poseidon and Phone return from the grave, with others like Wish, Rhy, and Zoey taking the death of Gold as a chance to play in Platinum. Each of these players on their own should be strong enough to hold their own, especially in the expanded Platinum.

 

The Pyongyang Pyonggang

Kairu / Steve / Seven / rev / Rue / rosario / tiptoes / Comanglia / Proto

The spearhead of the effort to save Gold, PINGPONG definitely has a respectable roster – enough to somehow land a high enough TER to face dK Week 1. It’s hard to pinpoint any specific issue with the team, as mostly everyone has a faint question mark orbiting them. Rev especially isn’t the most well known for being able to commit to a team, and Kairu/Seven are more well known for their out-of-game TF2 contributions/actions than their ability to play at a Platinum level (if Seven can even take it seriously at all). A handful of them, however, like Rue, Rosario, and Proto, will hopefully use this to prove that the ‘allstar’ clamor given to them in Gold was well-founded.

 

Water under Abridge

Hoi / Abridge / Front Line Bait / Brrton / Specs / E4 / Brotein / Aqua / Fundai

To be quite frank, I don’t even know if this is their roster. And, if it is, I’m not recognizing anyone. A relic from when five teams were allowed to move into Plat due to Gold dying, A decided to doggedly stick it out in Platinum, even after any team they could contest having moved down.

 

Matchups

 

Kids Next Door VS bote

If this match was taking place later in the season, it’d be a lot better. It’s hard to go up against the strongest team in Platinum Week 1, especially when that team has seasons of experience together over you. If bote can make this closer than expected, then hopefully that means we’ll see a more interesting late-level playoffs, but as it stands it’s hard to predict that bote will be able to secure a half, even though they should make it competitive. 2-0 in favor of Kids Next Door.

 

Dunning Kruger Effect VS Pyongyang Pyonggang

On the other hand, PINGPONG’s not in a similar position. They’re well out of the group of teams that can contest dK, even with the unknown player(s). Should they be able to contest dK more than just a tribute amount, especially with safrix subbing in, there’ll be something to say for PINPGONG’s future, but I think they’ll mostly follow the expected outcome, mostly of no choice of their own. 2-0 in favor of Dunning-Kruger Effect.

 

appel VS Goof Ducks

This game should be a lot closer. Goof Ducks have a very questionable roster, but appel doesn’t have a huge array of Platinum experience in their ranks, especially with blinx subbing in for Split_ this week. Mae should have free reign up against Coco, but Jesus on the other side should be mostly uncontested against smilez. With appel relying much more on Mae and getting more mileage out of him, appel should have the advantage there, assuming they stick to their strategy and mae doesn’t get shut down by Quack Gooses. :> won’t go down too easily, but they’ll also struggle to truly gain a foothold. 2-0 in favor of appel.

 

Water Under Abridge vs EVL Gaming

There’s not much to say. I don’t think anyone’s really expecting anything from Water Under Abridge, certainly not before they start facing the 0-3/0-4 teams. EVL should be able to take this with little challenge. 2-0 in favor of EVL Gaming.

 

Dragon Tales vs Chill Penguins

This’ll be a good proving ground for either team. Bv are definitely the favorite to win this, though if that’s a general truth or specific to Borneo is something we’ll see going forward. With the Bv players being generally stronger overall, especially in the combo, it’s hard to see uhoh taking the victory here. If SpaceGhostsCoffee returns to the form we saw at the start of last season, he should be able to handle anything Enrique throws at him, but if he’s still struggling, then the key to an PlatinumTales victory will be through Enrique. Keith will be someone to keep an eye on as well – uhoh will need him to be able to balance cart duties and fragging, but Bv’s whymeo can stay on cart far much more, confident that Bv will be able to do what needs to be done. 2-1 in favor of Chill Penguins.

 

Man Crush Monday vs Apollodosh

There are definitely good players on both sides, though it does feel like MCM’s got the advantage on most of the classes. This’ll be a good test for both teams, the winner of which should be pretty strong inside the expansion bubble. While Apollodosh’s pick classes can probably go toe to toe with MCM’s, MCM should have slight advantages in the rest of the areas to take the win. 2-1 in favor of Man Crush Monday.

 

Burt Macklin vs The DeLisi Experience

Depending on who shows up for FBI (paddie), this’ll be either a decent game or a roll. While paddie won’t be able to give FBI the win, it’ll help to readjust the imbalance between the two teams. FBI are definitely one of those teams that will struggle in the upcoming weeks, and DeLisi should by no means be one of the teams that FBI will be able to sneak a victory from. 2-0 in the favor of The Delisi Experience.

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