UGC Plat Highlander Season 19: Playoffs Week 3.5

August 24th(ish), 2016

UGC Plat Highlander Season 19

Playoffs Week 3.5

by VoxDei

Ladies and gentlemen, we have our Top 3 for Season 19. Not much to anyone’s surprise, the top 3 end up as dK, .knd, and bote. The latter two will be duking it out for the chance to get some revenge on the team who sent them to the Lower Bracket and a guaranteed 2nd place minimum. The other will be reserved to 3rd place honors.

The Kids vs Dunning-Kruger Effect v4

Predicted Outcome: 2-1 The Kids

Final result: 2-0 dK

Match length + Logs: 36:00 //

This match was a lot of fun to watch despite not ending exactly the way I expected. dK came out on top and was simply the better team overall. Nothing about this victory was undeserved. Despite ending 2-0, the game was merely seconds from reaching an overtime round, but dK was able to hang on.

First, I’ll talk about what went positively for .knd. It’s not difficult to isolate yosh as a huge factor in what allowed .knd to keep this so competitive. He finished modestly above bo4r in frags, but more importantly, nearly doubled the next player on his team’s frags. A 48-16 game is nothing to scoff at, especially when your opponent is bo4r, so my hat’s off to yosh in this one. feint and slemnish were also a part of some pretty impactful plays combining for half of both Skeez’s and bo4r’s deaths. (3/6 for Skeez, 10/21 for bo4r.)

So what went wrong for .knd? Firstly, Nursey had a tough game. Skeez ends up with over 10,000 more heals throughout the match and 16 more assists. I’m not sure who needed to pick up the slack, but something inside the .knd combo seemed disjointed. Nursey only died 7 times, but 3 of those were to Deaft, who managed 9 combo picks overall in his 17 frags. Nursey did also die to bo4r twice, one of which was a drop, but that just seemed to be due to pressure dK was posting on last (and a nice shot) moreso than faulty positioning.

For dK, there’s not much to nitpick. Their combo had a strong game overall. Corsa was supported in his aggressive playstyle by Karl and Skeez. Karl put up a huge 32 frag performance, focusing down the flank and Spy of .knd to reach such a number. Lastly, as previously mentioned, Skeez ends up with 36 assists, 6 deaths and nearly 1500 H/M, which is a pretty incredible statline. Not to be overshadowed was bo4r, who topped the kill column for dK, finishing with 43 frags and edging out the SvS 10-8 against yosh. Had he not kept yosh down (10 of his 16 deaths) we could have seen even bigger totals from the .knd Sniper.

The loss may be a tough pill to swallow for .knd. They might feel pretty confident with their chances to move back into Grand Finals, but the overtime round was literally seconds away from happening. Make no mistake that the 2-0 was very close between these two teams, so a 3rd round could have gone either way. Regardless, dK now holds the advantage going into Grand Finals, poised for a “repeat” performance while .knd lives to fight another day against bote on Thursday.

The Knotty Buoys vs Man Crush Monday

Predicted Outcome: 2-1 bote

Final result: 2-1 bote

Match length + Logs: 56:23 //

I’m not sure where to start with this. To be completely honest, I only caught what was shown on stream and I haven’t had time to do a post-production cast or watch the rest of it.

I’m going to organize this a bit differently and test it out for future articles.

The Knotty Buoys: What went well?

Everyone on the team performed at least half-decently on their class. No one really shows up as the goat (not the acronym) for bote when glancing at the logs. Rolling/Wanko, who is a Soldier main by trade, put up the least amount of frags, other than the Engie (which is forgivable on Upward) but still managed 33 assists and 218 DPM in an hour long match as Pyro. Not bad.

The bright spots for bote were plentiful. Carcin, syath, and SmileZ all performed toward the top of the charts, the latter of the 3 stepping up big to prevent watterson from having an even bigger game than he already had. In fact including those 3, Rightjustify also had over 50 frags in the game, compared to only 2 who could boast the same on the #mcm side.

What went wrong?

One of the glaring issues goes back to the first half, where #mcm surprised bote by taking the round. The blemish on the round is Rogue dying 10 times in just 15 minutes (5 of those to Evil) and Couches only dying once.

Fortunately for bote, this was something they cleaned up quickly, and in the remaining 45 minutes, Rogue only died 12 more times which I had to believe lead to their success. Moving on past their victory round into the final, bote seemed poised for an easy victory, preventing #mcm from setting a solid time. This looked to be in the bag, especially when the first point went so quickly for bote, but things slowed to a halt leading to a fiery fighting finish on the final cap.

Man Crush Monday: What went well?

Watterson. Watterson “went well.” If not for watterson’s huge performance, it’s likely we would have seen a different game unfold here. Until that final round, he kept SmileZ in check with the SvS 9-5 in favor of the catface man, before ending 12-11 for SmileZ. Topping the charts with a 66-33 performance and almost 379 DPM is enough to give watterson the MVP award, but there’s more to this story.

Although I can’t overstate watterson’s contribution, I won’t allow myself to understate Evil’s who had yet another fantastic game, putting up 51 frags with 24 on the enemy combo. American, although managing semi-normal Pyro DPM numbers, actually has a solid game in regards to frags, placing him 3rd on his team in the kills category. It’s also important to point out Ezrik, who despite modest Kill totals, topped the charts massively in regards to DPM, outdoing Rj by about 70DPM. Maybe this is where all the frags for American came from- cleaning up on Ezrik’s huge damage.

What went wrong?

You can only keep the momentum during an upset up for so long. After their monster first half, the second wasn’t much to write home about failing to reach 3rd. Something changed for #mcm because they weren’t able to get back on a hot streak. The final/overtime round saw this come in full effect. They set a rather disappointing time chugging into last, and we saw some struggles dealing with bote’s usual suspects. Everything seemed sloppy. Couches died more often, watterson finally cooled off, and the cohesion between the combo was lacking. Perhaps the fatigue finally got to the surging #mcm team.

Wrap up:

It’s crazy to me that this game actually came down to milliseconds and wonky physics. I say that because with 2 seconds left on the clock, the remaining 2 bote members on cart died, but apparently were on long enough for TF2 to register the victory. Watch this video below for clarification. You can slow down the video as well. In the end, p3nguin saved the bote season.

It was a wild ride and both teams deserved to succeed. I think this bodes well for #mcm next season, going from a would-be Gold team to 2 seconds from placement. Bote has performed admirably all season, comfortably taking the 3rd seed through playoffs and earning their placement badge.

Power Rankings

I’m not going to even include this in the next write up.

  1. dK
  2. .knd
  3. bote

Playoffs: Week 4 Preview

One more match is left before the Grand Finals and it will be taking place between The Kids and The Knotty Buoys. These teams haven’t played since Week 1 of the regular season when .knd took their Borneo game 2-0. Bote must be happy after securing a placement badge, but I’m hoping that they haven’t become complacent. This is going to be one of their greatest challenges this season and we’re all hoping for a close one.

For anyone unfamiliar with the format, it will be a Best of 3 maps in which only one half will be played.

(Home team vs Visiting Team)

The Kids vs The Knotty Buoys

Predicted Outcome: 2-0 The Kids

Maps: Product, Upward, Vanguard

Sadly for bote, I believe the season ends here. To be frank, I don’t think it will be very close given the map choices. I’ll explain below.

Product: The Kids win 3-1

Product is the quintessential competitive map. It’s played in ESEA and in every format that UGC offers (HL, 6s, 4s.) The reasons can be discussed another time, but briefly it’s because it offers fast paced, frag heavy gameplay with a good blend between DM and strategy. It’s true that a team can win Product completely on DM alone, but between two good teams, the strategy of how and when to push is key.

.knd has the edge overall as a team due to their better coordination and DM which should be the two things any team needs to win. It’s no secret that bote has been struggling with their coordination as evidenced by their last Product matchup against dK. Perhaps that’s why .knd picked Product as their map in the BO3. They know they’ll be able to rely on the flank of Slemnish and Etney despite the challenge that fuzion and p3nguin bring. The big question on what flank will perform better will be decided by which combo can protect against the enemy Soldier’s big bombs. Both Slemnish and fuzion will mop up regardless- their skill is insane and there’s little that can be done to stop their brand of terror. The Soldiers on the other hand will be limited by who can have the most success against the enemy combo. If Katsy and Blues can protect more than Spring Rolls and Carcin/Brick (we’ll get to that later) then .knd should have the advantage. Of course, the opposite holds true.

Moving on, the .knd combo should outdo bote’s not by DM but by cohesion. I’ve made it clear in my last article that Rightjustify can put out some fat damage as a Demo, but he’s going up against a Demo that should be able to match him and potentially one up him because of the combo support he’s going to receive. It will be a rough night for bote if they’re not able to resolve their lingering cohesion in a hurry. Giraffe is aggressive, smart, and he’s backed up by one of the best, if not the best Medic in North America.

When I spoke to brick this morning, he wasn’t sure which Heavy, Carcin or himself, would suit up for tomorrow nights matches. As has been said before, Carcin can put up a strong game as Heavy, but brick brings and experience on the class which cannot be matched by many. Carcin had an okay game against dK last week as Heavy, but there was definitely room for improvement. On the .knd side, I’m unaware if Blues’ performance in the last match was due to the map or something else, but we’ll see what he can muster up on Product.

I’ll make a quick note about the Snipers and Spies for this matchup as well. SmileZ can absolutely hold his own in Sniper v Sniper, but you’re going up against yosh on a map like Product. I don’t doubt that SmileZ will get in a few jabs of his own, but it’s unlikely to me that he becomes the x-factor in taking down .knd in this map. Between vipa and feint, both should have a fair amount of success. We’ve seen vipa repeatedly put up solid totals on the map, even during the bote loss to dK. It’s harder to gauge feints success quantitatively, since .knd’s Product matchups have been against {Dragon Tales} and #mcm, but he put up some average numbers in their recent 4-0 against the latter team. Both should have an impact.

I don’t see any way that .knd lose Product and it’s a pretty smart pick by them. bote isn’t one to get shut out, so we should see them manage to sneak a round past .knd to keep it interesting.

Upward: The Kids win 1-0

This writeup will be a bit quicker since I went over (almost) everyone and their relative skill during the Product piece.

Again, I think we’ll see a pretty close game here, but .knd is going to walk away with the win and stamp their ticket to the Grand Finals.

I do like the pick of Upward against .knd by bote. Combing through scrim logs, it’s looked like bote has had some relative success splitting games with .knd on this map, however neither team really looked prepared in their Monday matchups and maybe that’s what bote is banking on.

Nothing really changes in the flank battle. The Scouts will ride the cart, chase down Spies and (hopefully) be a strong part of uber trades whereas the Soldiers will try to force ubers and lock down the ‘chokey’ flank routes that Upward offers. fuzion and Slemnish should go about even, depending on their heal spread and how big of a piece they’re allowed to be by their own team. In terms of Soldiers I expect Etney to have a bigger impact for .knd in terms of intangibles but p3nguin to have a statistically stronger game.

Again, the combo is the linchpin of it all. Maybe I’m naive to something, somewhere, but I just don’t see Giraffe and Nursey being outplayed by Rj and Rogue. That’s not to say that Rj will have a weak game or even only muster up the status quo, but Giraffe’s aggression may not be punished as hard as dK was able to on Monday. The one thing that bote has going for them is that Carcin put up a huge performance against #mcm. If Carcin is able to keep up this level of play against .knd, then Rj will have the support necessary to lead his combo to a victory.

Much like last week, I have no idea how to tell who is going to perform better as an Engineer. I do know that I trust that Ender has been so successful for so many seasons outside of his DM. Spades has proved himself a worthy member of bote’s crew and should be a mainstay in Platinum as long as he’d like to keep playing, but the edge should go to Ender regardless.

Much like the Product match, yosh should have a better game than SmileZ, especially if he continues playing like he did against dK. This will cause considerable harm to the entire bote team if they play scared, especially because Rightjustify won’t be able to put out as much damage if that’s the case. To add to this, Rogue is probably going to have to spend some extra time buffing SmileZ, which could be spread elsewhere had bote been going up against a weaker Sniper.

Between the Spies, feint should have slightly more success, mainly because Katsy should shut down vipa when he tries to go in for big picks. That’s not to say that Spring Rolls won’t do the same on the other side, but feint should have more opportunities if Spring Rolls has trouble staying alive with the amount of pressure .knd is going to put on bote.

(If necessary) Vanguard: The Kids win 3-2 (Time Expires)

If I’m .knd I don’t want it to come to this. They narrowly beat out dK in the regular season and 5CP can be a wildcard map with backcaps and turtling an extra concern. If the tie-breaker map comes up, .knd might already be crumbling and bote will have a chance to strike, but they’ll have to be in A+ form to win. .knd has struggled on 5CP before, namely Gullywash, so it’s not out of the realm of possibility for bote to secure a victory should the opportunity arise. This map is anybody’s game.



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