Lower Bracket Finals Review
It was a pretty awesome match between The Kids and Bv (for the most part) last Monday, but the more exciting thing is that it means we are only a day away from our S20 Grand Finals.
There was an error in the last article in regards to the third map pick between the two teams, which was Swiftwater rather than Upward. It turns out the map wasn’t necessary anyway so no harm done, right?
(Home Team vs Away Team)
Predicted outcome: 2-1 The Kids
Final score: 2-0 The Kids
Cast: Rogue, Vipa, VoxDei, Sigafoo: https://www.twitch.tv/sigafoo/v/104045532
Ashville | 3-1 The Kids
First off, let me say that I was very impressed with the way Bv played this map. I’m not sure The Kids really expected Bv to come out and do so well on a KOTH map, especially considering the DM they have on their roster.
Still, Bv made it an interesting map. If I remember correctly, no round was soundly in The Kids’ control. There was a lot of back and forth and the playmakers for Bv were making space to give the team a fighting chance. I mentioned it a few times in the cast but we were seconds away from a 2-2 where the teams would duke it out in a tiebreaker round, which would have only added to the drama.
Bv found strength in the usual places with crab_f, Kris18, and Monkey66 all having fantastic games. crab_f ended up with the most frags for his team and put up a monstrous 465 DPM on top of his team-leading 3 Medic picks.
The problem for Bv is that despite a lot of their players having good games, The Kids just had better games overall. Whether it’s Giraffe with his 31 Frags and 535 DPM or Ender with 29 kills- wait hold up. Ender actually 2nd fragged overall on Engineer on the map. Sure, Ashville definitely lends itself to a strong flank presence for Engie, but damn if that’s not impressive.
Bv looked poised to play pretty well on Millstone considering how well they did on Ashville. Despite getting outfragged they did not let themselves get outplayed and kept the match overall competitive, even outdamaging The Kids with all that power from crab_f and Monkey66. The Kids had other plans in mind however when we reached Bv’s map choice of Millstone
Millstone | 2-0 The Kids
If Ashville was a close, competitive game, Millstone was… well, I can’t find the right word to convey the absolute disparity between how Bv played the two maps.
The Kids were in control for 99% of the game, save for some last second heroics in the final seconds of the final round. Bv has talked a pretty big game about their Ashville strategies, but finally met their match against The Kids. Out-coordinated, out-fragged, and out of contention.
The per-minute stats on the logs are bugged, so don’t trust them too much, but it does paint a solid picture as to how The Kids manhandled Bv. There’s not a whole lot to say in regards to the match, Bv tried and tried but were never able to execute exactly what they needed done. Their strategy seemed sound, but was picked apart by The Kids simply due to sheer ability. The stats are lopsided, just like the match was with a sea of players from The Kids topping the charts. Impacts were felt across the board, so singling out a specific player seems moot. The entire team played cohesively and played hyper-aggressively, which Bv let them get away with.
For Bv, there were few positives to take out of it. Yeah, m66 did a lot of damage but none of the kills were converted, feeding uber right into split’s hands who popped twice as much as Gamma (and also died half as much.) blinx was one of the lone bright spots in the match who was consistently on form throughout the match. He was also the catalyst for Bv’s desperation push in the final round of the match. blinx obliterated the whole of The Kids as the 4th point was reached, allowing Bv to make a bid for the cart with mere seconds remaining. With the 3x chugging the cart along, Bv fell short during the final meters despite the uber in the spawn of The Kids and some last-second heroics by a few other Bv players. They waited until the last moments, but Bv gave us a show at last.
Bv will settle for 3rd place, although I’m sure none of their members are feeling disappointed with their season’s performance. Snagging a placement medal and finally reaching 5 wins in a Plat season will not go unnoticed for the bulk of Bv. For The Kids, it means another Grand Finals berth and the chance to get revenge on dK for their 2nd place medal last season and knocking them into the Lower Bracket.
Grand Finals Preview
(Home team vs Away team)
Was there any chance things weren’t going to end this way? No way. As was foretold long, long ago (aka preseason) the Grand Finals match will be a rematch of our S19 Grand Finals between dK and The Kids. Similarly, The Kids came into the playoffs undefeated, having thwarted dK’s first attempt to dispatch them. But playoffs drew near and the Upper Bracket Final was won by dK, sending The Kids into the Lower Bracket match.
Last season The Kids managed to force a second BO3 (as is necessary for the LB team to win Grand Finals) but came up short in that match. Will The Kids be able to do the same or will dK manage to hold onto the title of the best team in HL? We’ll find out on Monday.
Predicted outcome: 2-0 dK
Maps: Upward, Millstone, Lakeside
Upward: 2-0 dK
So we start our Grand Finals off with a battle on Upward, a map that was kind of forgotten in the regular season. Only one competitive match was played that week with neither dK or The Kids having competition. Actually, dK literally had no competition considering their opponent that week forfeited.
History suggests that dK should be able to take the map in a competitive 2-0. What I mean by that is that both rounds will be very close, but dK will ultimately win out.
The two teams are very close in regards to overall skill, as would be expected by the two best teams in Highlander, but let’s take a closer look at the teams and how they’re suited on Upward.
Although flank classes aren’t as impactful as they are on a KOTH or 5CP map, dK’s flank should still be able to get their against The Kids. The dK flank of Spamfest and Bobby is at this point the premier in the league because of Bobby’s adept gameplay and Spamfest’s strong DM. The combo for The Kids is going to struggle when those two are about, especially when accompanied by Billysaurus when they start to push offensively. Of course, The Kids’ flank is not some kind of rollover, regardless of who plays Scout (it may not be Vand or Slemnish) but on the whole, dK should win the flank battle.
The combo is really where things get more dicey. For dK that means odb, Karl, and metawe. The Kids boast Giraffe, Vanilla Love, and split (who will be playing in place of Nursey.) Although on any given day one flank can outplay the other, I’m going to give the slightest of advantages over to The Kids. Giraffe had a huge confidence boost of a game against Bv last week, and although Vanilla Love was absent, his presence should boost Giraffe’s performance even more. Of course, odb is one of the strongest, if not the strongest Demo in Plat DM-wise so there is a ton he can do to change the pace and course of the game.
While the combo does their thing, my eyes will be on the ever-intriguing yosh vs bo4r battle. These two go back and forth in each of their matches in terms of who will have the better performance, but bo4r should be able to hold the advantage in this one with his team in the driver’s seat. Yosh performed well last week, but was edged out slightly by blinx, who although strong, isn’t on bo4r’s level. Speaking of pick classes, we also need to look towards the Spies for the match- feint for The Kids and vipa for dK. Although feint holds a small advantage over vipa in terms of Spy play, feint does have to answer to Billysaurus when attempting to make impactful picks. Vipa doesn’t exactly have it easy with Lazy on the case for The Kids, but he may have some more opportunities than feint in this one.
Lest we forget our Engineers. Both are some of the best in HL at this point, but you’d be hard-pressed to find someone better than Ender at this point in the game. Potent both offensively and defensively, The Kids are definitely glad he’s in their corner. Still, the amount of pressure dK should be able to put down during offensive transitions should stifle some of Ender’s attempts to support his team and ultimately secure them the map victory.
Millstone: 2-1 dK
Millstone finds its way into the Plat Grand Finals which feels like a sinful sentence to type.
Alas, the top two teams in HL will attempt to out-maneuver their opponents on the new map that has actually seen a fair amount of playtime in the post-season. The Kids have played it most recently, easily taking down Bv 2-0 last week, as you read before. It’s hard for me to give the map outright to dK, but The Kids will obviously face a much tougher challenge this week.
The Kids have the stuff to take a round, especially if Giraffe continues to play the way he did last week on the map. The problem is that Bv was able to get into positions to make the right play (ie: their strategy was on point) but the skill disparity between the teams seemed to make the difference, rather than The Kids outplaying them strategically as well. Of course, this didn’t happen with every push out of Bv. There were a ton of pushes stunted by The Kids simply by strong plays out of individual players, so it’s not like The Kids have nothing in terms of strategy, especially if we talk about how they play offensively.
dK isn’t going to fold as easily as Bv did and won’t let The Kids get comfortable on defense as they did so consistently against Bv. dK will pressure The Kids and force them to transition well to win the game, which will be tough with room to roam for Spamfest and Bobby.
dK could shock The Kids by completely crushing the first round, but overall it should be a very competitive map, much like Upward should be. The Kids will need to rely on their combo to continue to make plays and can’t let themselves get runover by bo4r at any point, as blinx was able to do during the final minutes of that last round. It’s certainly possible, but I’d predict that at the end of Millstone, dK will be our Season 20 champs.
Lakeside (If necessary): 3-2 The Kids
With these teams being as competitive as they are, the likelihood of a 3rd map is well within reason. The exciting part is that it can end on the same heart-pounding map as the Upper Bracket Finals began with. That match, ending 3-2 for dK by mere seconds, set a tone for the rivalry that we’ll hope to see continue throughout these Grand Finals. However, it just seems to me that if The Kids can get so far as to take Upward or Millstone from dK that they’ll have the stuff to turn the tide against dK.
Personally, I’m hoping we’ll at least see a third map at the very least so we can get as much out of these players before some of them likely leave the scene, especially considering how well the last Lakeside match between these two teams went.
We’ll see you tomorrow on http://twitch.tv/sigafoo!