UGC Platinum HL Season 20 Playoffs Week 3 Preview and Week 2 Review

Playoffs Week 2

 

Hope everyone had a Happy Thanksgiving. Even you filthy Canadians and the one back in October. Get real.

Another week down and our first team bows out of playoffs. With two more weeks remaining we’ll find out who will be crowned champion of Season 20. We’ll only have one match to look forward to on Monday (which means that no matches get skipped when casting) and then the first of potentially two BO3s for Grand Finals, starting on December 5th.

Let’s talk about last week.

(Home Team vs Away Team)

The Kids (8-0) vs Dunning-Kruger Effect v4 (7-1)

Predicted outcome: 2-1 dK

Final score: 2-0 dK

Match length + Logs: Lakeside: 32:39 // http://logs.tf/1573515 Steel: 1 2

Cast: Sigafoo + Rogue + saam: https://www.twitch.tv/sigafoo/v/102596855

Lakeside | 3-2 dK

Wow, Lakeside was a heart-pounding map. Even half-watching as I socialize with family, I found it hard to look away for a second with how back and forth the map was. Coming down to final seconds in the final round, the map was almost enough to send us into a tiebreaker map, considering dK’s dominance on Steel.

The map time itself is actually pretty crazy, although I do believe there may have been a brief pause (or I could have just made that up completely.) Still 30 minutes for a HALF of KOTH, totaling nearly 400 kills and over 150k damage is just insane.

Breaking down the stats, there is no clear winner or loser in both damage and frags. The Kids actually edged out 20 more frags and about 2k more damage which ultimately made the game close, but dK just played the position a little bit better.

Off the back of strong performances by nearly everyone on the team, dK managed to hold the cap during th double overtime in the final round. To name a few, bo4r, Spamfest, and odb all contributed massively to their team’s success. What I think is especially amazing about these logs as well is the fact that 9 players ended up between 20 and 23 frags, just to give you an idea of how neck and neck it really was.

For the Kids, playemakers included the pick classes, yosh and feint, as well as all three members of the combo.

On one hand, there’s a lot that can be said about the match. It provides us an exciting preview on what we can expect for Grand Finals, provided The Kids don’t manage to be upset in their lower bracket game. On the other, there’s little I can say that can mean more than just watching the cast of the map itself, which I’d suggest to anyone who wasn’t able to catch it.

I know for a fact that we’re all hoping for more action like this as the playoffs continue.

Steel | 2-0 dK

Steel didn’t go quite as well for The Kids as Lakeside did. I was also terribly, terribly incorrect in regards to my predicition for the map.

No, The Kids didn’t seem to have anything left in the tank when it came time for Steel and dK took the map easily.

Starting with the first round, dK made quck work opting to skip D on their path to a 6 minute cap time on E. Karl cleaned up a hell of a lot during the offense, with a quarter of his team’s kills belonging to him as he lead his team to a quick, yet beatable time.

dK had other plans though, as when it came time for defense, The Kids fell apart. Although Ender surprisingly managed the most frags (overall in the half, 10 of his 13 kills were with the Shotgun/Pistol) the rest of The Kids couldn’t follow suit, with those 8 frags amounting to about 30% of his team’s total for their offense. The Kids didn’t manage to cap past 2nd, which can either mean they failed in their attempts to cap C, or they went for the ACE push (but of course, this information is omitted from logs.) Either way, dK took the first half with ease.

The second half didn’t really see much of a change. The Kids did manage to cap E this time, but it took them a miserable 15 or so minutes to do so. As the sides switched, there wasn’t much the Kids could do to prevent such a strong offense from blazing through the cap points. Electing to go ACE, dK capped the E point in just about 5 minutes, leaving The Kids’ time in the dust. Depending on how you look at it, it’s surprising to see bo4r at the top of the Frag column and just behind the Demos for top damage. Although bo4r is a top 2 Sniper, it’s hard to see a Sniper succeed so well on this map. As the rest of the frags fall though, it’s mostly dK who stand above the rest ad they simply outplayed The Kids in every facet of the map.

dK has secured their place in their 3rd straight Grand Finals match going back to Season 18. Although it’s debatable whether they’ve won 2 straight, I’m sure the thought in everyone’s mind is “Threepeat.”

Fast Forward (4-4) vs Chill Penguins (4-4)

Predicted outcome: 2-1 [››]

Final score: 2-0 Bv

Match length + Logs: Ashville: http://logs.tf/1573532 Millstone: 1 2 3

Ashville | 3-1 Bv:

Man oh man, look who’s eating his words. Well, I think everyone is eating their words because Bv came out and trounced Fast Forward. Try as they might, they just could not keep up with the power that the flank had to offer.

Bv’s flank played very, very well. Both whymeo and American put up huge frag totals, and crab_f made his presence known in the form of damage and 4 picks on the enemy Medic. In fact, everyone joined in on the fun, with Coldster dying 17 times, 7 of which belong to the flank and 7 to the pick classes. Speaking of, both blinx and Kris18 put up 26 frags, broke over 400 DPM (Kris at 500) and prevented Sully from doing anything during the match, combining for 13 kills on the enemy Sniper who struggled throughout the game.

If there was one bright spot for Fast Forward, it was Carcin who managed to top frag for the server as well as dish out 350DPM as a Heavy. Few other members on Fast Forward managed to really make waves.

Besides the round that Fast Forward converted, the other three weren’t exactly close with Bv completing their 3 minute cap time in under 5 minutes in two of those games. Perhaps it was this momentum and confidence that carried Bv into placement through Millstone.

Millstone | 2-1 Bv:

So, the surprising thing for me here is that Bv actually dropped a round on the map. Not only did they have Fast Forward on the back heels, but this is the map that they’ve dedicated their time to mastering this season.

In fact, it was the first half that Fast Forward won, lending further credence to the belief that playing just one half of Stopwatch in playoffs is a poor choice. Imagine what could have happened had FF/Bv elected to play just one half. Fast Forward could have ended up forcing a 3rd map and maybe found their way into third place. Without going on too much of a rant, I’m glad these teams decided to play a full map and didn’t let the map be decided by chance. Hopefully at some point it can be made a requirement to play the full map, but I digress.

Round 1:

Fast Forward came out of the gate swinging on Millstone and absolutely crushed Bv. Bv clocked in their offense at 15 minutes, which regardless of map is not an impressive time. Exile, Carcin, Crimson, and Spu totaled for 88 frags of their teams 202 for the entire match, with 23, 23, 22, and 20 respectively. All four put up better numbers than anyone on Bv, where crab_f and blinx topped off at 18 a piece. When things are so stacked that 4 players out frag your entire team in the half, you’re definitely in trouble.

The next half of the round was a little closer statwise, but Fast Forward didn’t struggle at all, capping up the cart in just under 9 minutes. With familiar names like Carcin, Exile, and Spu in the mix, as well as Sully continuing his solid game, Fast Forward didn’t sweat at all going up 1-0.

Round 2:

Fast Forward’s dominance was short-lived as the roles reversed almost perfectly in round two. Although Bv never had the dominant statline that Fast Forward did, they held them in check with 12 minute defense. It wasn’t the best offense in the world, but it was certainly doable for Fast Forward to come out on top 2-0 on Bv’s pick.

Bv obviously sensing the danger in going to a third map, Bv came out much stronger on offense than their first attempt, cutting down their time by over 6 minutes. It was a must-win round to prevent Fast Forward the chance to come back from 0-1 in the series, and Bv did so in style.

In the round, besides the obvious performers- Exile and Carcin, on the Bv side, Blinx and Kris18 kept their team afloat with a steady stream of picks on the opposing combo, Engie, and Sniper.

Round 3:

The final round did not seem up to debate in Bv’s eyes. They were hungry and destined for a season where they can finally say they’ve topped their 4 win plateau. With Bv attacking first, they put up a respectable 8 minute time, faster than any round by one of the teams thus far. For Bv, it was fast enough to secure them placement. Fast Forward attempted their offense, but failed to cap past the 3rd point to give Bv the map victory, 2-1. A shorter round, no doubt, due to the quick offense and failure to go through all the points for Fast Forward, but still one where Paals managed to drop a huge 19-5 K/D, doing his best Carcin impression.

Finally for Bv, they have tasted the sweet taste of Platinum placement and will go on to face The Kids in the Lower Bracket final, which we’ll talk about next.


Playoffs – Week 3 Matchup

(Home team vs Away team)

The Kids (8-1) vs Chill Penguins mspaint_2016-11-26_11-25-33

Sorry, I wasn’t able to put five wins anywhere near [REDACTED]’s name so I had to draw it.

Predicted outcome: 2-1 The Kids

Maps: Ashville, Millstone, Upward

Ashville: 3-1 The Kids

So here we are, The Kids on the precibus of another Grand Finals berth and Chill Penguins finally reaching two milestones- placement and a 5th win on the season. The first map we’ll see between the two will be Ashville.

Bv came out and surprised me with their dominance on the map over Fast Forward, who was assumed to be well in control of the map going into it. The question is if Bv can keep this momentum going against a much more potent roster. They’ve got a shot to keep it close but there’s way too much going in the favor of The Kids.

Although whymeo has been consistently strong on the map, she faces her toughest challenge yet with either Slemnish or Vand, both of which are very capable Invite Scouts. To help on the flank battle are crab_f, American, and Chicobo, but the whole lot seem to be overshadowed by Etney, Lazy, and Ender. Even if a player or two on Bv’s flank has a stronger individual game, the sum of the parts for The Kids win that battle.

In terms of pick classes, The Kids hold a pretty clear advantage too. Although Kris18 has been performing on another level during this playoff run, feint operates on a plane of Spy existence that few HL Spies have reached. The same can be said for the yosh/blinx fight, whereas Blinx has been a huge part of the Bv offense, yosh is arguably still the best Sniper in Highlander (although I’m sure a number of dK players would have something to say about that.)

So what’s left for Bv? m66 is. The quiet, but ever powerful Demoman who has been really cementing himself at the top of Highlander. And although The Kids do hold advanatages on Heavy and Medic, it wouldn’t be surprising to me to see m66 do a lot to make the combo successful and walk away with a huge statline, even over Giraffe.

The Kids knocked Bv down 3-0 their last time on the map, just two weeks ago, but Bv should be much more confident and prepared coming into this one. It’ll be closer, but it’s still The Kids’ map.

Millstone: 2-1 Bv

Honestly, I’m not sure how much I can say about this map without completely making up a whole lot about it. It’s a foreign map to me, which I’ve been unable to cast/watch at all when played this season. Still, I can BS my way through saying that Bv still holds an advantage on the map. The reason is mainly because no one else in Highlander seems to pay the map any attention, besides Bv who decided to befriend the map, which is kind of like the personification of that weird kid who eats his own boogers at the corner of the cafeteria. (The map is the weird kid btw, but I’m not entirely convinced that crab_f does not eat boogers.)

I’ve heard stories of Bv’s dominance on the map and how with their specific holds they’ve beem able to trump The Kids in previous scrims on the map, so it’s not unheard of that they can take the map BO3. Of course, it will still have to be all hands on deck with m66, blinx, and Kris18 all making plays and outperforming their counterparts on The Kids.

The Kids may have less experience on the map, but a pick is still a pick and and uber drop is still a sign that you should push the point, and of course The Kids have such basics mastered. If Bv is able to play a clean game with minimal mistakes, their map knowledge should promote their victory, even if the stats are in favor of The Kids. If things get sloppy however, and people feed, drop, walk into sightlines, or give up frivolous advantages, expect some heavy steamrolling by The Kids crew.

Upward: 2-0 The Kids

Don’t let the 2-0 fool you, I don’t think this map will be a layup for The Kids. Last season, The Kids were almost a joke on this map. They seemed to lose every sense of that dominant team once they loaded up in the server, but they still are a very different team from that point, mainly due to their all-star Heavy, Vanilla Love.

If I had to guess, this map would go something like the matchup between these two teams on Steel 2 weeks ago. Bv will be good, but The Kids will be better. Yeah Bv might set a 6 and a half minute time, but The Kids will then roll through and cap in 5.

Truth be told, I don’t see a lot happening defensively for either team. It may seem silly to say that, especially with the epitome of Engineer mains, Ender, playing for The Kids, but Bv is too aggressive to allow The Kids a solid defense and should be able to push off of the small advantages.

Still, everything is in favor of The Kids. The flank, combo, pick classes all hold advantages, big or small over their counterparts on Bv. And unless blinx and Kris18 play out of their minds, I sincerely doubt they can stop yosh from putting up insane numbers. The whole game can change around the Sniper on Upward (well, HL in general) and yosh is the catalyst for The Kids.

If I had to make an all out, crazy guess I would say that the round that The Kids attacks first will be a quick one, maybe 15 minutes (including the 2 minute setup time) altogether. The Kids will cap super quick and Bv will reach last but lose by mere moments. When Bv ends up setting the time however, they’re going to struggle greatly and The Kids will be able to walk it in. It’s something in the way that the aggressive teams operate. You give them the do-or-die situation, race against the clock, they’ll show up to play. Give them all the time in the world and they’ll bang their head against the door until it breaks.

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