Week 2 Review
It wasn’t a pretty week for UGC’s top divisions. All but 3 matches in Platinum and Gold ended 4-0, one of which was in Plat.
It seemed like it could be a pretty fun week looking at the schedule, with matches between the #1-#3 teams and #2-#4 (in terms of Power Rankings) but, clearly the skill disparity is a bit too large between each of these teams.
Lakeside proved to be unforgiving for the teams at a disadvantage, and will definitely hurt their pride.
(Home Team vs Away Team)
Predicted outcome: 4-1 The Kids
Final score: 4-0 The Kids
Match length + Logs: 22:07 // http://logs.tf/1535646
I fully expected Bv to be able to manage a round against the weakened roster of The Kids, but there was too much going in their favor for this to happen. The flank battle was ultimately a huge loss for Bv, with Vand and Ender combining for 62 frags overall, two of the top 3 spots for the week. Ender and Vand cleaned up a lot of these kills on the Bv flank of whymeo, crab_f, and Chicobo and put in a ton of work for their team.
A number of Bv players had decent games, capped off by m66’s 26/18/548 (K/D/DPM) statline, but the rest were mostly forgettable. The first round was the closest in going in Bv’s favor, with a 6:33 round time (~2:30 mins cap time) and relatively close frags/damage, but they were not able to capitalize and the match went downhill for them from here.
Bv still has some positives to take out of this, with m66’s solid effort amidst a disastrous match, and crab_f and blinx are still proving to be strong pickups, but it’s back to the drawing board for Bv moving forward.
Predicted outcome: 4-2 smangs
Final score: 4-1 smangs
Match length + Logs: 32:32 // http://logs.tf/1535848
Turquoise Jeep lost a disappointing match to Bv last week which was definitely in their grasp. Unfortunately for m|G, they’ve now traded places and the disappointment falls on their end.
m|G has definitely put up a solid roster, but I didn’t believe they were strong enough to take down Jeep in this one. However, I was expecting a stronger show out of the #6 team and I’m sure they did as well, failing to deliver.
Realistically, the game was close at a few points. 4/5 rounds were over 6 minutes long, with two clocking in at 7:02 and 8:13, although I have a suspicion that the latter was due to a pause. Despite the bit of back and forth, m|G wasn’t able to convert their rounds and the score looks a bit more lopsided.
The big performance of the night was fuzion, who continues to prove his worth on Demo with a 45/22/611 (K/D/DPM) stat line. Despite a few more members of Jeep moving towards main-classing, fuzion has still proved to be their top player.
SmileZ also continued to impress with a 43/21/401 performance, which hung in contention with Linkuser, who had 3 less kills, but 900 more damage. SmileZ and fuzion are undoubtedly raising their stock on the team with consistent efforts like this. As a quick mention, both saam and Rolling also performed well for Jeep in the match.
m|G had some different luck and overall were outperformed by Jeep statistically. Although there were some solid games out of bagel, Scruff, and the aforementioned Linkuser, there was just as much on the opposite end of things that kept m|G down. It also didn’t help that Rogue had issues staying alive, dying twice more than rightjustify. He had 6 deaths to both the Demo and Sniper as well as 5 and 4 to the Spy and Scout respectively.
Jeep is going to improve to 1-1 and get a chance at further redemption as the season goes on, despite their challenge against dK coming up next week.
Predicted outcome: 4-1 dK
Final score: 4-0 dK
Match length + Logs: 21:11 // http://logs.tf/1535849
There’s even less to say about this match than there was about The Kids and Bv. #mcm got picked apart in every aspect of the game, which is kind of disappointing to say the least. The only two players to mount a positive game were watterson and Geosus, with watterson being the only one above 20 frags. Everyone on dK besides Spades also managed to outfrag every #mcm player, save for watterson.
It was clearly a frustrating game on their side and it says a lot about their perceived level during this season of Plat, especially considering the broad underperformance of a number of players on the team.
For dK however, this was business as usual racking up big point totals across the board, with bo4r leading the pack with 31/13/513 on the day. Other members of dK also managed to excel, including well… every single person on their team.
#mcm is going to get to recover a bit, although they don’t go into a necessarily easy match against Fast Forward next week. dK of course is continuing to have little contention at the top of the division.
Predicted outcome: 4-2 [››]
Final score: 4-0 [››]
Match length + Logs: 22:36 // http://logs.tf/1535628
And the surprise of the week goes to Fast Forward.
Fast Forward winning isn’t much of a surprise. They have the more composed roster all around, but I didn’t think the match was going to be over in about 20 minutes.
The hope for grapeSquad may be dwindling this season as they fall 0-2, with plenty more teams in the division who shouldn’t have much trouble dispelling their efforts.
A couple members for grapeSquad were able to keep up (relatively) in terms of their own stats, and put some power forward, but overall, they were just outplayed by Fast Forward, who will be continuing to earn their spot in the division after this win on Monday.
A number of players on their team, keith, exile, Sully, and cloudshade all had solid performances, topping the charts in terms of frags. All 4 besides exile also managed 3 Med picks each, with yuki also coming into the picture with 4 on the night.
It’s hard to say what’s going wrong for grapeSquad. Lakeside is an unforgiving map if you’re not 100% confident in what you’re doing and if there’s a disconnect between the flank and combo. To be fair, this can happen on any map, but Lakeside seems to exacerbate and highlight these flaws in any team.
Still, not much changes in the Power Rankings. We have yet to have the matches to decide a lot of the placement (ie: dK vs The Kids, #mcm vs Jeep/Bv) but the lower part of the division is still looking to be relatively clear. Again, I’ll be taking in account two things in the Power Rankings. 1) How the team did in their last match and 2) how strong the roster is compared to the other teams in the division.
(Rank, Team, Tag, Change in ranking)
1. Dunning-Kruger Effect v4 (dK) [-]
No roster changes and a 4-0 win over #mcm mean there’s not much to say and there’s nothing to change.
Remaining schedule: smangs, Bv, m|G, The Kids, [››]
2. The Kids (The Kid) [-]
Much like dK, The Kids take a 4-0 victory over the #4 Bv, so we won’t see any changes, nor will we until The Kids and dK square off. (Or unless The Kids get upset by #mcm in a future week.)
Remaining schedule: [♥], m|G, #mcm, dK, smangs
3. Man Crush Monday (#mcm) [-]
The crushing defeat to dK doesn’t mean that #mcm is worse than the teams who have yet to play the top two, it just shows the disparity between dK and The Kids versus the rest of the division. No roster changes as well means no move.
Remaining schedule: [››], [♥], the Kids, smangs, Bv
4. Chill Penguins (Bv) [-]
Basically mimicking what was said about #mcm, Bv loses but it was to a team that exceeds them in skill. Turquoise Jeep may have fortified their roster a bit, but I’m going to need to see a bit more change before I can drop Bv from their #4 spot.
Remaining schedule: m|G, dK, [››], [♥], #mcm
5. Turquoise Jeep Records (smangs) [-]
Jeep prove to be contenders yet again with a strong 4-1 victory over m|G. They’ve also strengthened their roster by adding yet another main class with Willy on Heavy.
As mentioned before, we’ll have to see a bit more progression (or regression from Bv) before I switch up the #4 and #5 ranks.
Remaining schedule: dK, [››], [♥], #mcm, The Kids
6. Fast Forward ([››]) [+1]
Fast Forward walked right through grapeSquad with their win and are proving more and more to be a team that belongs in Plat. This win undoubtedly sets them apart from the bottom of the division and will move back up in their original #6 spot due to their resurgence and m|G’s failures.
Their only roster change will be wax on Engineer, replacing biz.
Remaining schedule: #mcm, smangs, Bv, m|G, dK
7. Memento Glory (m|G) [-1]
I think I hyped myself up a bit too much about m|G, which is making me more disappointed than I should be that they are currently struggling. They haven’t had the easiest go of things so far, going up against #mcm and Jeep, but the road for them is not going to get easier and they will have to be resilient in order to climb their way into playoffs, especially starting 0-2 without having yet played The Kids and dK.
Remaining schedule: Bv, The Kids, dK, [››], [♥]
8. grapeSquad ([♥]) [-]
grapeSquad have now proven their rank at #8 due to more than just a late entry into the division and a Week 1 match against dK. Losing 4-0 to Fast Forward just cements their place as number 8 for the time being, which will likely not change unless they start showing some promise and come up big against teams like m|G and Jeep down the road.
Remaining schedule: The Kids, #mcm, smangs, Bv, m|G
Week 3 Matchups
Ahh, Upward week. The staple Payload map of every Highlander season.
Although pretty stable in its meta, it’s not necessarily an easy map to master and requires a lot of work from the Demoman and Sniper to have any success on the map. Long sightlines, few chokes, and what can be one of the most annoying last points if not pushed correctly. Let’s get into some matches.
(Home team vs Away team)
Predicted outcome: 2-0 The Kids
Oh boy… We can joke all we want about lower ranked teams finding a way of pulling an upset, but unfortunately for grapeSquad, I don’t think this is their week.
After a demoralizing 4-0 against one of the few teams they should have rivaled in skill, they walk into a matchup against a Top 2 team which likely won’t be very close.
The only hope that grapeSquad has, is that The Kids were notoriously lackluster on Upward last season, which comes as a surprise due to their dominance on the map seasons past. With a slightly different team, they may find themselves having a bit more success, but regardless, it’s unlikely that grapeSquad sneaks their way into a victory this week.
Class by class, the advantage racks up for The Kids, with the only close matchup being on Demo with Giraffe vs Goldfish. Despite this, Goldfish won’t have his usual +forward and DM success, since the combo for The Kids, should be able to dispel him quickly if he finds himself out of position or over extended.
I’ll make a bold prediction by saying I don’t think that grapeSquad will manage to cap last in both halves. Sorry guys 😦
Predicted outcome: 2-0 Bv
Memento Glory has definitely been my biggest disappointment so far in this short season, probably because I’ve had such high hopes for them and they have yet to reach the level of success that I believe their roster has the ability of achieving. My beliefs aside, I don’t think that this is the week they improve to 1-2, with a strong Bv roster standing in their way.
The Chill Penguins are early favorites for the 4th playoff spot in my eyes, and they’re playing like they want it. Even moreso, it doesn’t seem like they’re satisfied with just 4th- they want placement this season.
I think this has the chance to be a pretty close one, but I do think that m|G will be hard pressed to convert a round and both will be narrow losses.
Overall the rosters between the two are relatively close. m|G holds a slight advantage in the flank and on Sniper as well, assuming bagel is in peak form. What Bv does have is far more coordination and determination to win on their side. There’s a lot that Bv hold over m|G in terms of intangibles that will keep them in control of this matchup.
To reiterate, m|G is not outclassed at all by Bv, and we should see two teams close in terms of individual talent square off, but Bv’s team-play is what will set them apart. There of course, is always the chance that m|G hits their stride and Linkuser and Cap$ize tear up while bagel chips away endlessly at Bv’s hopes, but it will be up to Bv to ensure that they adapt and focus down the stronger players on m|G to thwart any chance of an upset.
It can’t be overstated how important a Sniper can be on this map, so if blinx is able to contest bagel then there should be little standing in Bv’s way to a 2-1 start.
Predicted outcome: 2-0 dK
Turquoise Jeep still has a long way to prove they can be a placement team this season, but they can do so here if they can manage to put up a fight against dK.
It’s not going to be easy. While the rest of the division is just trying to match up with the The Kids, dK sits alone with little competition, even a step above their #2 counterpart. Turquoise Jeep on the other hand, is still coming back from a Week 1 loss against Bv.
dK pretty reliably outclasses Jeep in most areas, however I’m most excited to see the flank of SmileZ and rolling against Spamfest and Bobby, which is probably the closest matchup we’ll see in terms of relative skill. Not to be forgotten will be fuzion versus odb, with fuzion continuing to prove his worth on Demo, and bo4r versus saam (who is playing in Carcin’s place again) so we’ll have to see if brick’s “investment” will pay off here.
Overall, dK just seems too strong a team to drop a round on Upward, despite the game looking more like Bv vs m|G, more so than The Kids vs grapeSquad. Still, a couple of close calls for dK should be nothing more than that and will likely not snowball into a loss, although a round win for Jeep should not be counted out.
Predicted outcome: 2-1 #mcm
This right here is my Match of the Week, so why not do something I did last season and go through a class by class comparison of the teams.
– keith vs Shea | Edge: keith
Shea has proved his ability to DM pretty well on Scout since his move from Engineer last season, but how does he stack up against a Scout whose skill is starting to be more well recognized in HL? Honestly on a map like Upward, it’s hard to tell who will do better, since it depends so much on openings from the rest of your team to be able to walk in and get picks, but straight Scout vs Scout, I think keith holds an advantage here.
– yuki vs bunny | Edge: bunny
I’m not going to lie, Yuki was relatively unknown to me until I saw he was on Fast Forward’s roster and moved into Plat, so take what I say with a grain of salt as it comes with some ignorance. From experience, I’ve seen the way bunny plays, and I know that he will have some success bombing the combo and disrupting gameplay for Fast Forward throughout the match. Add into this that Geosus and Rue will be there to deny yuki’s bombs relatively consistently and bunny is likely going to have a more productive outing.
– oblivion vs Geosus | Edge: N/A
Geosus has a passive playstyle which is really, really helpful for Couches and the rest of the combo, however Oblivion will be more likely to be front and center to try and put out some damage and rack up frags (as well as deaths.) I guess the edge depends on what you’re looking for. If it’s combo protection, it’s Geosus hands down, frags, it’s Oblivion.
– exile vs Ezrik | Edge: exile
These two Demomen are incredibly close in skill, which makes the edge here, really tight. I’m not totally convinced that exile will have a better game, but Ezrik seems to be struggling a bit more this season, whereas exile has put forth some solid games, even in their loss against The Kids in Week 1. Whether there’s some kind of miscommunication in the combo, or if he had just been having a rough start remains to be seen, but as of this moment, exile is looking better.
– civ vs rue | Edge: rue
The battle of the three letter Heavies comes up in this matchup and my edge goes to Rue here. Rue’s playstyle will likely lend itself to some more success within the combo and should do a good job in supporting Ezrik to help him succeed. Also, with Geosus protecting the combo, Rue is likely to spend some more time alive than civ here as well.
– wax vs DrZoidy | Edge: DrZoidy
I think this may be the battle that everyone is waiting for (not really.) Wax was vocal about his displeasure in being rejected for a tryout for #mcm in favor of DrZoidy, who was given the spot, as well as a bribe to do so. The question here is, will Wax be aiming to make #mcm regret their decision or will DrZoidy prove to have been the better choice?
Upward is a pretty cut-and-dry Engineer map, so I don’t think Zoidy’s inexperience on the class will inhibit him too much in having an okay game, and offensively Zoidy’s DM is strong enough to put himself above Wax in this contest.
– Coldster vs Couches | Edge: Couches
Despite the #mcm combo being in a bit of disarray, Couches is still one of the premier Medics in Platinum this season. It’s really hard to judge which Medic will do better, since it relies so heavily on the rest of the team to keep them alive, but ever so slightly, due to reasons I’ve mentioned before in regards to combo protection, Couches should have a better game.
– sully vs watterson | Edge: watterson
This is probably going to be a pretty close Sniper v Sniper matchup and can go a long way in determining who will come out victorious this week.
Watterson has excelled on Upward, as evidenced by his play during last season’s playoffs where he almost single–handedly brought his team to a victory against bote. That being said, when sully is “on” it’s hard-pressed to outplay him. Watterson will likely come out with better overall stats, with a close SvS statline, but also more deaths due to his aggressive playstyle. We’ll have to see who comes out on top.
cloudshade vs Evil | Edge: Evil
In a couple seasons, if Spies like deaft and feint drop out of the game, Evil is going to find himself inching his way into being the top Spy in Platinum. Cloudshade is an up-and-coming player, who despite hearing he was a really strong Sniper, I don’t know too much about. If his Ambassador aim is as good as his Sniper Rifle aim, then there’s no doubt he can do some damage, and he might be forced to take pot-shots from afar if Geosus can hunt him down.
Overall Edge: #mcm
The favorite here is still #mcm despite Fast Forward’s strong performances leading up to this game. #mcm has a lot to work on in terms of coordination, but their DM and team chemistry has helped them succeed a lot, especially off the backs of their elite Sniper and Spy.
If Fast Forward starts to have some success, #mcm must quickly adapt to counter, or they may quickly find themselves tilting and falling apart in terms of communication. If this happens Fast Forward should be able to take a round and could even find themselves victorious. With me no longer playing this season, I think this will be the game that I end up casting. Stay tuned 🙂