Playoffs Week 2
So we’ve reached Week 2 of 4 in the UGC Plat Playoffs. For all other divisions, they’ll be welcoming in Week 1, set to find their way into placement medals or disappointment. For Platinum, 4 teams still remain, but 2 are in the hot seat with an elimination match coming up on Monday.
It’s important to note that this coming Thursday will not host the Lower Bracket Finals due to Thanksgiving, instead it will take place the following morning between two of the remaining 3 teams.
Let’s talk about last week.
(Home Team vs Away Team)
Predicted outcome: 2-0 The Kids
Final score: 2-0 The Kids
First, I can admit when I was wrong and I said Bv would get shut out completely against The Kids. After 4 straight round wins (3 on Ashville, 1 on Steel) Bv came out strong and toppled The Kids, forcing an overtime half on Steel- we’ll get into those details a little later though.
Ashville wasn’t really close overall, which was anticipated. The Kids, superior in both coordination and DM, put both to good use to prevent Bv from taking a round or allowing any of them to put up some crazy numbers.
On the Bv side, whymeo continues to have some success on the map, but unfortunately the rest of her team couldn’t really keep up. Most posted negative numbers, and a third of the fragging classes couldn’t even break double digits. It’s part of the reason that The Kids were able to put up almost 50 more frags in the short 18 minute match.
Nope, The Kids had little intention to let a sliver of hope reach the Bv roster. They kept the rounds relatively short, not allowing Bv much cap time, their players stayed alive (Nursey died twice) and all but one player reached double digits with 3 players combining for half of their teams total frag-power.
I think it was safe to say that this was The Kids map through and through. For Bv, it’s a performance they won’t soon forget, as a number of their players seemed to struggle a bit more than they would have hoped. However, there was still a map left for Bv to try and take over.
The first half of Steel was again, expected. Looking to be on their way to a quick 2-0 on the map before hitting the showers, The Kids let Bv cap in 9:30 minutes, maybe not the best time when you’re supposed to be a completely dominant team, but they did manage to come back the next round and post up a 5:30 time. Yeah, victory was imminent.
The second half was when the surprise happened. After being bullied around, Bv decided they weren’t going to go down too easily. It looked all but wrapped up when The Kids put up another time of 5 and change, but Bv set a blazingly fast 4 minute time to tilt a number of the Kids. What’s so surprising about this round is how Bv just came out and outplayed them. There weren’t any huge heroics. 3 of their players tied for the most frags with 11 each, but it was rounded out by their bottom 3 combining for 9 total. Nope, Bv actually just caught The Kids off guard and played the round perfectly, going ABCE.
They carried the momentum into the final half. Now riding high on their round win, Bv put more wind into their sails after completing another round in 4:30 with the same ABCE push. How could things go wrong now? Well, at the end of the day, The Kids are the number one seed for a reason. They’ve dropped rounds this season, they understand how to regain momentum, and they just came out and stunned Bv with a 3:38 time. Build me up, just to break me down, eh? The most surprising part, assuming the logs are correct, is the fact that The Kids had the chance to go right around the world with an ABCDE in just that short amount of time.
Regardless, Bv put up a fight. They’re not out of the brackets yet and will hope to break the dreaded 4-win ceiling that’s been placed over their head. Some say it’s some black magic that haunts the roster since its inception. Others say that one of their players might be cursed. This reporter now believes that it’s something that Ender has programmed in all those sleepless nights, to protect himself from those he fears the most…
Predicted outcome: 2-0 dK
Final score: 2-0 dK
Cast: Sigafoo, Rogue, and VoxDei: https://www.twitch.tv/sigafoo/v/101148209
I expected this game to go easily in the favor of dK, but I didn’t expect it to be this easy.
Fast Forward just seemed to fold and die early on in the match and never recover. Although they started off with a solid mid on Ashville, looking like they showed up to win, dK quickly put to bed any whispers of an upset.
Not only did dK hold an advantage DM-wise, they won the map with superior strategy as well. Although we saw Fast Forward over commit a few times and try to get aggressive in an attempt to prevent dK from re-taking the point, dK wasn’t fooled and played off of this aggressiveness, stealing picks and playing off of their uber/player advantages to reclaim the point.
Statistically, the map was dominated by dK as you would expect. The flank of spamfest and Bobby, along with bo4r took the top 3 spots for frags, until watterson (who rang for Fast Forward) eked in above odb.
One other thing I’d like to mention is how much work Bobby did for his team on the map. He picks up the top frag, 3rd in damage behind both Demos, and managed to secure 3 of Coldster’s 4 deaths. Someone stop this man.
Swiftwater ended up being a similar storyline to Ashville. Swap “fighting point” with “bashing your head repeatedly at a brick wall” and it’ll sum up Fast Forward’s offensive attempts.
Truth be told, I wouldn’t say a lack of coordination was preventing Fast Forward from playing well on Swiftwater, rather lack of execution. When their struggles hit trying to tackle 2nd and 3rd, it wasn’t until Spu walked in with a drop on Metawe that Fast Forward found their footing. Once this happened, of course the floodgates opened, but they lacked the ability to get that crucial pick in a timely manner. The problem is, you can’t rely on your Spy to manage the drop at every point.
Fast Forward had little trouble once they had an advantage, it was just waiting for someone on their team to get them into a position where they would have it. Alas, the 11:27 they set would not be enough. dK came through, capping in 7 minutes to win the game since they did not play a full map.
There’s a lot for Fast Forward to look forward to on Swiftwater come Monday, since they’ll be facing a softer opponent with Bv and they looked okay on the map once someone could step up and get the pick they were waiting for. We’ll take a look at that next.
Playoffs – Week 2 Matchups
(Home team vs Away team)
Predicted outcome: 2-1 dK
Maps: Lakeside, Steel, Swiftwater
Lakeside: 3-2 dK
The first map in the BO3 will be Lakeside. Although The Kids’ pick, I actually think Lakeside should favor dK’s firepower.
After watching Bobby’s performance last week, I’m confident that he can almost single-handedly carry dK to a victory on another open KOTH map. Coordinating bombs with his fellow flank members, or Vipa will be a key part in dK’s victory on the map, especially if bo4r can get going and prevent the front line from being mobbed by The Kids’ combo.
Still, it’s hard for me to see dK taking the map cleanly. The Kids chose the map for a reason, and it’s that level of experience and individual skill that’s kept them at the top of the league for yet another season. It’s easy to flip everything around and say the same for the side of The Kids. Obviously Etney and Vand/Slemnish (unconfirmed, but for the sake of the article I will assume Slemnish) will be a big part of what changes the game for The Kids. It’s going to rely more on the Scout however to contest the flank of dK. Yosh still obviously has his tremendous upside and did perform better than bo4r in their match in Week 6, so he might still be able to carry that edge into the match.
At the end of it though, it still feels like this one is in dK’s hands, they certainly have the tools to take The Kids’ map.
Steel: 2-1 The Kids
I think the most controversial of my picks will be The Kids taking Steel. This stems from a few things.
For one, I full expect Slemnish to absolutely wreak havoc on the entirety of dK. Although Billy, Bobby, and Spamfest are not easy opponents, there’s just too much skill there to be denied his right to feast.
So who else changes the game? I think Nursey’s ability to stay alive will swing things heavily in The Kids’ favor as well. If Metawe struggles to keep up with flank pressure and feint’s prowess, having Nursey up consistently will be a huge part in The Kids taking this map, especially since Giraffe and Vanilla Love will do a lot to protect her.
The Kids also had really strong offensive performances against Bv. Obviously a much weaker team, but it does show knowledge with both coordination and execution, which will need to be top notch to take the map. dK will also be at a disadvantage because the team hasn’t really played the map that much. They got a forced bye week when Steel came up in the regular season and have it played it outside of scrims. The standard meta doesn’t change much, but not having put your plan into action with your players could be a bad sign. We’ll see how dK stacks up with The Kids’ more prepared roster.
Swiftwater: 2-1 dK
This map will be the one to send dK into the Grand Finals and The Kids into the risk of falling past 2nd place. Swiftwater is a map that will diminish the advantages for The Kids and highlight some of the dK strengths.
We saw how well dK played the map last Monday, preventing any chance that Fast Forward had to force a 3rd map. If dK can play the exact same way (except be more Spy aware) they should be able to take the match over The Kids.
The flank strength of The Kids, namely their Scout Slemnish, will not really have the freedom to do too much offensively until they reach the open area on the 4th cap. With this, Bobby should be able to play more aggressively in the tight hallways of the first few cap points on Swiftwater, which should be a huge boom for dK.
A lot is still going to hinge on the team who can execute better, and really there’s no way to predict who that will be. Both combos are made up of some of the best that UGC has to offer and the differences and advantages are minute between the two. It’s a coin flip and I’ve landed on dK.
With the competitiveness and the mere shreds that I can call advantages, the two teams are really so close in skill, the winner will go to who is more prepared, which no one on the outside can really predict. For me, dK might take this overall with their flank presence and the aforementioned combo strength. The tossup between yosh+feint vs bo4r+vipa, will again cause ripples to determine the team that is safe from a potential 3rd place finish.
At the very least, we’ll hope that those shreds really do end up making the difference and we’ll see a high-powered, close matchup that will make us hyped for the likely rematch come Grand Finals time. See you all there.
Predicted outcome: 2-1 [››]
Maps: Millstone, Ashville, Swiftwater
The lower bracket match is going to be an awesome clash between these two teams who were all but guaranteed playoffs pretty early on in the season.
Truth be told, it’s not much of a surprise these two ended up in the lower bracket considering the teams they were going up against, but the fight for a guaranteed 3rd place is going to mean a lot will be on the line for both teams.
Looking at the map choices, it looks like it favors Fast Forward overall. Although Bv benefit from their Millstone pick, Swiftwater has been a stronger map for Fast Forward, and their DM outmatches Bv’s which should play into their hands for Ashville.
Millstone: 2-0 Bv
There isn’t too much to mention here, honestly. It’s a pretty new map and most of Highlander is still scratching their heads on how to play it (and praying they won’t have to.) Bv on the other hand has scrimmed the map religiously and are probably one of the strongest teams on the map because of it, performing well on the map in scrims as well as in their match.
Fast Forward’s combo will definitely be more potent than #mcm’s from Week 7, but the strategy on how to play the map should be in Bv’s favor and lend them to a pretty solid win on the map putting them up 1-0. Fast Forward will have to be careful playing a map down in the series, but they should go in with the expectation that they’ll have to win the latter two maps. A win on Millstone is just gravy.
Ashville: 3-1 Fast Forward
This is where the fun begins. Bv’s performances on the map have been lackluster at best, although not much more can be said about Fast Forward. Both played their Upper Bracket rivals on the map and didn’t do much to stop the 3-0 roll.
However, pretty much down the line Fast Forward holds and advantage. Although this seems to be whymeo’s map, keith should be able to shut her down relatively well with a little help. The big plus in the favor of Bv however is the advantage of crab_f and American over crimson and Oblivion. Although Oblivion hasn’t been a roll over at all this season, if American is at the top of his game, he should easily be able to wipe up the flank with crab_f. The flank battle will be tight, but it will be decided by those two players, no question.
The combo gets hard to judge. Exile is quickly becoming one of the premier Demomen in the league, but m66 is a silent killer that always seems to put up over 500 DPM regardless of the situation you put him in. The big factor will be carcin (who is playing for civ this week) over Paals. As I’ve mentioned before, Paals seems to be struggling a lot this season, which may be holding back the Bv combo, which is not what they need against a combo of Exile, carcin, and Coldster. Even if for argument’s sake, you call m66 and Exile even, carcin and Coldster hold a clear advantage over Paals and Gamma and that could very well be the difference that changes the entire game for Fast Forward.
I am looking forward to seeing how the pick classes do in this one. Blinx and sully should be a close matchup, likely decided by who is slightly more supported by his team. However, considering how poor Ashville can be for Snipers, I don’t expect either to be the hero in this matchup. Finally, for Spu and Kris18, the numbers will also likely be similar. It really depends on what team is going to spend more time spychecking. Does that sound like a cop out? It is.
Swiftwater: 2-1 Fast Forward
This map definitely has the change to be a toss up, but I’d have to believe Fast Forward hold an advantage for most of the reasons I explained before. It comes down to the combo, and Fast Forward has that no doubt. Although their performance in the half against dK last week was less-than-impressive, Bv is nowhere near the level of dK.
Both teams came out with surprises in Week 1 when this map was played in the regular season. Fast Forward by taking a round off of The Kids, and Bv by beating Turquoise Jeep. It’s only fitting that one of their seasons will end on the same map.
I also definitely expect Sully and Spu to come out with a better performance than blinx and Kris18 coming off of their Ashville victory. If these guys are getting picks, the Fast Forward combo will not be stopped and will skip their way to last.
So what does Bv need to stop this? They need to prevent themselves from falling into disadvantages on Defense. In all honesty, I’m not too worried about Bv finding a way to push offensively, their danger more lies on them being able to stop Fast Forward from simply walking all over their cap time. Poor uber trades, players feeding, uber drops, etc., will be the death of Bv considering the firepower on the Fast Forward side and the aggressive nature of Fast Forward. These little mistakes will happen and Fast Forward will capitalize. TL;DR- Both teams will have a strong offense so the only chance Bv will have is if they keep their defensive advantages, considering the inherit advantage Fast Forward holds.