August 21th, 2016
UGC Plat Highlander Season 19
Playoffs Week 3
Only 4 teams remain in playoffs for Plat and the race to the finish is on. We’re gonna see some awesome matchups this week which we’ll get to at the bottom of the article.
This will be a relatively short article because of the amount of matches, but I’ve put a lot of detail into each of the match previews.
Predicted Outcome: 4-0 bote
Final result: 4-1 bote
Match length + Logs: 27:52 // http://logs.tf/1498191
I’d have to say that DeLisi didn’t stand much of a chance here. My biggest surprise is that they took a round despite getting outfragged quite handily. This may speak volumes regarding bote’s cohesion, considering the round they lost they only held the point for 30 seconds.
Putting that round out of your mind, it was all bote, all day. Saam performed excellently in place of SmileZ, managing a 40-16 stat line narrowly missing out on top DPM by 1000 damage. Of his 40 kills, he took down Percy, the enemy Sniper 13 times, the Demo 7, and the Soldier 6 with 47% accuracy. That’s about as good as a performance you’d want out of a Sniper and Saam delivered. Vari and p3nguin combined for 66-46 on the flank, which crossfire and phone could not keep up with. phone did manage the top frag spot on his team, but he did not have an easy go staying alive with a 29-30 K/D line because of the bote flank.
Caboose also managed a solid game for DeLisi, and despite Percy’s SvS troubles, he put up a respectable 25 frags (~1 KPM) but that’s about where it ends for the DeLisi crew. Struggles for the sub players on DeLisi were plentiful, with crossfire and Tenna not able to get a solid footing during the loss. Jayden also had a surprisingly tough game, but this was because the entirety of bote was clearly very spy aware. Each member managed at least one kill onto the opposing Spy, with Spring Rolls doing his job, topping the board out with 8.
bote also saw some great performances by their Demo, Rightjustify, and Vipa, the Spy. Anytime your Spy is able to get into the top of the leaderboard for frags, it’s going to be a good day.
I can’t imagine that the DeLisi roster as it is will be coming back for a repeat season, but a number of players can and should find their way onto some low-mid Plat teams. bote of course will be moving on to play #mcm on Upward and vie for at least 3rd place.
Predicted Outcome: 4-2 #mcm
Final result: 4-0 #mcm
Match length + Logs: 21:31 // http://logs.tf/1498066
#mcm is going to rub salt in the wound of Bv and officially kill their season.
On the plus side, Bv did manage to break the 4 win mark, but that also comes with 7 losses. #mcm continued their dominance over everyone outside of the top 3 and did so in impressive fashion.
If you read last week’s article you know that I thought that #mcm would throw, as they’ve done often this season against the aforementioned teams, and potentially lose a round or two. Clearly this was not the case. #mcm came out with a point to prove and did not allow anyone on Bv to stand in their way. I should have known on a DM heavy map that #mcm would nail the coffin shut.
The logs, as to be expected, were very one sided. The players I believed could make a huge impact were not able to get the ball rolling with Paals and m66 unable to make their mark. Paals actually had a statistically sound game, outperforming Rue on #mcm, but more assistance from his team was necessary. Meo and June, try as they might, could not hold down the flank, despite meo tying Paals for top frags on the team. With an extra member on #mcm’s flank, American was able to provide a lift and help blinx and bunny succeed.
American was afforded this luxury because of the trouble that Kris18 had getting anything done against #mcm. Often it’s possible to punish American’s aggressive play since there’s less focus on the combo, but DrZoidy and bunny helped in the spy checking role as well, leading Kris to a disappointing game.
In the Sniper vs Sniper battle, watterson ran away with the game. I’d attribute this to a couple factors outside of watterson’s skill. SGC was clearly pretty rusty and almost did not play this game. I believe he had not been able to practice with the team outside of their pregame scrim and missed their Thursday scrims and matchup against EVL. To add insult to injury, Evil (outside of 7 Med picks and 16 combo picks) made life hell for SGC, taking him out 9 times. This softened SGC up and allowed watterson to get more comfortable behind the scope.
#mcm will move on to play bote in the Lower Bracket Semifinals this Monday (tomorrow!) and Bv will look to rebuild for Season 20.
No change in Power rankings. What did you expect?
Playoffs: Week 3 Preview
Only four teams remain and one will be facing elimination this week. Between bote and #mcm, this is going to be the battle for placement. One team will leave with an “oh so close” 4th place title and one will guarantee a number on their badge from UGC. In the Upper Bracket game, the stakes are just as high, fighting for the advantage of an extra buffer for a loss and the guarantee of at least 2nd place.
(Home team vs Visiting Team)
Predicted Outcome: 2-1 The Kids
Okay Vox, why would you put dK as number 1 in the Power Rankings if you think .knd is going to win this map? The answer is simple, .knd is just better equipped for a victory here.
Make no mistake I believe that these teams will meet again in the Grand Finals and that dK will win 2 straight BO3s to claim their just-missed 1st place badge. I just can’t see dK losing a map that’s not Upward with bo4r leading the charge, but there’s a time and place for that writeup and it’s not right now.
We’re looking at two superstar teams who are going to take this game down to the wire, so here’s the matchup.
Taking a look for the flanks on either team, you have slemnish and Etney going up against Vand and Corsa. Personally, I’m going to give the edge in this matchup to .knd. Slemnish and Etney have been an unstoppable force this season and ever so slightly outdid the dK pair during their Vanguard match in week 3. For comparison:
dK flank – 84-87/600 DPM
.knd flank – 91-81/518 DPM
You can argue that the damage put out by dK makes the better flank or at least ties it, but nothing like this is ever as simple as reading stats. Etney should have a better game, being able to pressure and drop Skeez moreso than Corsa will be able to do to Nursey. Slemnish should still outdo Vand, even if by a couple frags.
Looking into the combo, I have to give the edge to dK, outside of the Medic matchup. You have a combo of b4nny and Karl going up against Giraffe and Blues. Make no mistake, .knd’s combo is not made up of slouches and Giraffe brings a lot more to a team than the stats can imply, but the same can obviously be said for b4nny, who also boasts superior Demo DM. Again I go back to the flimsy comparison that is Vanguard to see that b4nny finished 61-20 vs Giraffe’s 32-33. Now, in regards to Heavies, Karl should be looked at as the more experienced and accomplished Highlander HWG, which should push the combo way over the edge. Note that Karl did not play in the match on Vanguard.
There are definitely two huge positives for .knd in terms of the combo matchup that I should mention though. One is simple, Nursey is certainly ahead of Skeez in the Medic race. Nursey is undoubtedly the best Medic and HL and makes a strong case for Invite, so clearly she’s the best Medic in TF2 since European players don’t count as people. The other positive for .knd is that Upward will be much more conducive to Giraffe’s strengths and play style than it is b4nny’s, so there’s a solid chance the dK combo could be outdone.
We move on to the pick classes, with .knd’s feint and yosh going up against Deaft and bo4r. This to me is going to be the most exciting part of the game, probably because of the Sniper main in me. bo4r has been looking to prove himself as the best Sniper in Platinum and has made a very strong case this season, whereas yosh is a tried and true Top 3 Plat Sniper who has excelled season after season. Going into this season I would have said that yosh is the clear cut winner, but after 10 weeks of Highlander it’s not so obvious anymore. The debate of “who is better overall” can be taken up some other time in some other place, but we’re talking about one match and I think that bo4r has the upper hand. He’s been dominant in each of his matches, propelling bote, then dK to victories each week and he has the potential to really make the pieces fall in favor of dK on Upward. The SvS will be close, but when the match ends, bo4r will have a massive stat line which will leave us scratching our heads.
The Spies are a tougher comparison. I have not had much experience watching or playing against feint and only slightly more so with Deaft. Perhaps this leads to some bias, but I think Deaft should be able to cause more harm and distraction to .knd than feint would to dK. The upside for .knd is that Katsy is an amazing Pyro and has a lot of potential to prevent Deaft from being as big a nuisance as he often is, but Billy holds the same power for dK.
Lest we forget our Engineers. To be honest, I have a very small grasp on what makes an Engineer better than another. I couldn’t accurately tell you who has better placement, DM, gamesense, what have you, by the limited sample size I’ve seen from each player. All I do know is that they’re clearly the best in HL for a reason and that Ender is my boy. Maybe this will be the match where I’ll pay close attention.
The score will read 2-1 .knd at the end of the match.
Predicted Outcome: 2-1 bote
This is a tough match to write about. I would be lying if I said I didn’t care at all about a 3rd place Plat medal sitting in my inventory because I paid for a server and did very little to help #mcm achieve their success outside of teaching watterson how to Snipe and secretly pulling strings from my server control panel to hinder opponents.
As fate would have it, these teams also last played on Vanguard week, just like our Upper Bracket teams. Interesting and useless fact. Truth be told, I don’t think #mcm has the stuff to pull this victory out. Undoubtedly the strongest team outside of the Top 3, which they’ve proved to get to this point, but will they have a chance to surpass their perceived ceiling?
Again, let’s take a look at our players for either side.
On the flank, bote is going to be using syath and p3nguin, while over on the #mcm side, blinx and bunny will stand. Initially, it had to be a disappointment to bote that fuzion would be unable to make the match, but they’ve found a suitable substitute in syath, who had a fantastic season for Goof Ducks, despite their hardships. The soldiers stand about even. p3nguin has done some great things for bote and has been showing signs of a rapidly improving Soldier, but bunny has done the same for #mcm as well. To be frank, I’m not sure who would win in an MGE fight, but I’d put my money on bunny. The Scout matchup is less of a tossup. I know that blinx is a strong player and has been a huge part of the #mcm offense for most of the season, but Syath just has incredible DM which will prove useful for bote in this matchup. Despite the close battle on Soldier, with Syath on the flank I believe that bote holds the advantage here.
The combo also holds a web of complicated comparisons as well. I think in terms of straight DM, Rightjustify and Carcin should outdo Ezrik and Rue. Rj just has incredible aim with his pipes and regardless of his K/D always has a massive damage number to back up his play. Carcin has been filling in for Brick during his absence and has performed as well as you would need him to. I don’t think he may be the leader that Brick is (there can only be one Captain) but he’s been a solid choice for a backup. On the #mcm side, it would be hard to ask Ezrik to outperform Rj in this match. Despite his own monstrous DM abilities, I just can’t see Rj allowing himself to be beat out by #mcm in this department so the Demo battle should go to bote. In terms of the Heavies, I’ll give a slight advantage to Rue over Carcin mainly because of experience and the cohesion with his team, being that Carcin is a sub. The DM should be relatively even, but Carcin’s aggressive play often yields big results. The Medic matchup will be a huge question for me. Will Rogue be rusty after barely playing with his team for over a week or scrimming the map? bote is already struggling with a cohesion issue and the lack of a strong maincaller, and it might be exacerbated with the looming question of how Rogue will fit back in. bote wins on the DM front but #mcm has better coordination. Unfortunately for #mcm, I think that bote’s flank and combo will overtake the well coordinated #mcm combo and do them in.
Again, we get to our pick classes. SmileZ vs watterson and Evil vs Vipa. This is not an easy choice. In fact, I don’t think there is a right choice here, because depending on the day, one could easily outdo the other. Much like the .knd vs dK matchup, there can’t be a clear winner on Spy. Both bring a lot to the table and both have gone above and beyond for their team. Evil is a combo focusing machine and has minced and mulched each team he’s played in the playoffs and it’s up to Spring Rolls to stop him. In the same vein, Vipa is already an incredibly strong Spy, and he might perform even better with American’s “balls to the wall” style of Pyro which will spend more time on the flank than on the combo. SmileZ vs watterson will be a matchup to try and prove who is the stronger of the two. The problem is, regardless of the outcome, I still think that you can’t really draw a perfect conclusion. It’s like bo4r vs yosh. One may be better than the other overall, but we’re talking about who will perform better in this match and I have to give a slight edge to SmileZ. He’s got a stronger team and should be able to perform better because of it. No matter how much #mcm wants to play around watterson, the fact remains that sniping is often easier when the rest of your team is often doing better, and that’s where SmileZ will find added success. I even looked back at the matchups so far in Playoffs. Steel week was a modest week for both Snipers, the first match on Product they both struggled (SmileZ vs bo4r + dK, watterson vs barycenter + .knd) and SmileZ did not play the 2nd Product match. watterson completely destroyed SGC and Bv in Product #2, but getting back to my older point, who helped who? Did the team make watterson’s job easier or did watterson make his team’s job easier. I suspect it’s not black and white and both aspects worked symbiotically to crush Bv.
I wish I could cast both of these games simultaneously, but it isn’t possible. 2-1 for bote and I narrowly miss out on placement after carrying my team this far.