Week 4 Match Reviews
Last week went largely as expected, with only a few glitches. AD put up a much better fight against KND than expected, and the cast was cancelled on account of DolphiN’s internet cutting out and all other cameramen being unavailable. >>/Faction was a bit of a letdown as well, nowhere near as tense as I hoped it would be at the beginning of the season. Let’s get into it.
Galactic Kids Next Door vs. ApolodoshMap:
I want to preface this by saying that when I predicted a 2-1 for KND, I thought it’d be one close half for AD with KND taking the other two quite strongly. Instead, AD made KND hold them on last for 4 minutes in the third half, with the cart being literal pixels away at one point before KND was able to save the cart and the match. Most interestingly was KND’s roster changes: moving Nursey to pyro and putting blake on medic. With no offense to Blake I think this is definitely a downgrade compared to the alternative option, and takes away one of KND’s biggest advantages in Nursey. It was enough to win tonight as nearly every KND player outperformed their counterpart, but if they want to really show up as the expected favorites everyone thought they’d be at the start of the season, this is a match they can’t afford to be dropping rounds or raising blood pressure in. Bowl snapped out of the funk he’s been in the past two weeks and put out a dominating performance, and importantly SGC managed to get a leg up on shaayy in both SvS and total frags. There isn’t really anyone on AD that had an especially poor showing or got severely outclassed other than maybe Arzt, which leads me to think that AD’s strong team play is once again their biggest strength as they were a Planck’s length away from closing the DM gap with coordination and aggression. AD really hasn’t had a bad week this season and I think it’s time to stop writing this team off as flukey and acknowledge them as the contenders they are.MVPs:
Bowl (1st frag, 1st damage), SGC (2nd frag)
The Faction vs. Fast ForwardMap:
What might’ve been the hypest match of the season for me in week 1 ended up being one of the least climactic matches all season. >> continued their strong performance, taking a commanding win that while not exactly effortless, didn’t really ever make them sweat either. Andrew was a top performer in the server as always, Witness did more than adequately subbing in for eerie pootis, and Joe outperformed Dongo, but the rest of f’s players failed in the ‘team’ aspect as has been constant. Crab’s debut was lackluster, the combo’s stats were tolerable but not anything spectacular, and Andrew was matched by Fallen in pressure if not in kills. Seriously, pulling only 10 deaths against Andrew and Joe is an impressive feat, and trading 4 frags for 11 less deaths is something any sniper would take. The amount of pressure he was exerting left ample space for the >> flank to do work, with rain ending up top scoring the server over andrew. As far as the actual rounds go, >> never blew f out of the water like they did with KND. They were able to hold their initial 7:12 time without the cart ever getting as ridiculously near-cap as in AD/KND, and then responded to f’s 7 minute time with a 5 minute time of their own, showing their ability to adapt mid-game, something we’ve seen spark in their w1 match against IRENE and really blossom against KND. For Faction, I feel like Jeff Probst talking to the losing team of a Survivor challenge: “I’ve got nothing for ya. Head back to camp, tribal council later tonight.”MVPs:
rain (1st frag, 5 med kills, 63% of total), Fallen (3.6 KDA, 3rd lowest deaths), wish (3rd frag, 8 sniper kills, +5 over Fallen’s)
Chill Penguins vs. IRENEMap:
Not really much to say here. Bv got dismantled as was to be expected, and IRENE rolls to their 4th straight win. Bo4r, b4nny, and Jarrett all had strong showings, with speedy on spy coming in from the cold to take the 2nd frag spot on spy, outfragging all in the server sans bo4r. Zoey was a bright spot for Bv, the only penguin going positive and parting the red sea of the top 8 frags. Wish I had a little more narrative here but neither team has an expected close match for at least another week.MVPs:
speedy (2nd frag, +24 over counterpart, 8 med kills, 3rd damage), bo4r (1st frag, 2nd damage), zoey (1.1 K/D, +12 frags over next highest on team)
Week 5 Match Predictions
If you told me coming into this season that as we near the halfway mark, KND would be sitting at 4th and that Faction would still be behind them, I probably would’ve believed you since I’ve seen enough time travel anime but it’s still pretty crazy nonetheless. With two matches this week expected to be one-sided, >> vs AD looks to be the climax for RGLHL’s first act.
Galactic Kids Next Door vs. Chill PenguinsBans:
Warmtic (KND), Product (Bv), Lakeside (Bv), Cascade (KND)Map:
KND learning from their mistakes and going with Ashville over Cascade against a team banning Product and Lakeside only bodes well for them. While they come into this week off something of a performance nosedive, Bv isn’t really the team that’s going to be able to take advantage of them. It’s a good chance for them to regroup going into the second half after a recent spate of close games, but given how close Bv was to taking a round off >> 2 weeks ago on Ashville, they can’t start sleeping on the job. Zoey put up a strong performance last week and if Turkey’s able to repeat her round 3 from the past Ashville match, there’s definitely a timeline here where Bv takes a round. Winning? Not so likely.Prediction:
zoey, turkeylips, itsyAcore
IRENE vs. The FactionBans:
Product (IRENE), Cascade (f), Ashville (f), Warmtic (IRENE)Map:
Remember how I left off Faction’s match summary with a Survivor reference? Turns out fygg got voted off the island, and syath moves to replace the hole with sandblast coming in to play scout. It should ultimately result in a much stronger roster for Faction, with syath bringing much-needed main calling to f’s combo and sandblast being at-worst a sidegrade to syath, but more than likely an upgrade to flank DM and should synergize well with crab. Unfortunately for them, as IRENE’s not looking very mortal as they did at the beginning of the season and it might be too little, too late. Assuming IRENE wins this match, that leaves Faction at a disappointing 1-4 without many match points to their name, and it would require a near-complete reversal of their first half in the second to break into playoffs. As long as they still have andrew holding down the fort on sniper, though, they’ve got a chance, and the bright side is that IRENE isn’t a team they need to beat to hit playoffs. They may need rounds, though, and it’s going to be on andrew, syath, and sandblast to help take them.Prediction:
andrew, syath, sandblast
Fast Forward vs. Apolodosh - Match of the WeekBans:
Cascade (>>), Product (AD), Warmtic (AD), Lakeside (>>)Map:
This match will (hopefully) be casted by MDS and I at twitch.tv/extvesports!
It seems fitting, then, that the MOTW here is between the two overachievers through the first half of the season. A win here from >> all but cements them a spot in playoffs with a 4-1 record, as well as setting them up for a 2nd seed/guaranteed 3rd finish if they’re able to repeat it in the second half. AD comes into this match ranked 3rd against all expectations, only 2-2 but with enough match points from losses that they’d be able to overtake >> for 2nd with a 4-1 or better win. Faction’s roster changes optimistically promise better results in the 2nd half, so if AD wins here they’ll all but force Faction to upset top-table teams to even have a chance at knocking them out of the playoffs. In summary, both teams have a lot to play for here and I think they both know it.
On paper, as always, AD looks to be weaker. >>’s flank, their supposed weak point, has been shredding since week 1 and being able to shut down pablo and dev on a map like Ashville should give >> a great starting bump. Exile and the rest of the >> combo should also have the advantage, but they’ve been treading water the past few weeks and Arzt always seems able to punch about his scoreline in tandem with Ronnie, so AD has a way in there. Additionally, due to some scheduling issues >> doesn’t seem to be having any scrims going into this week, meaning AD has the leg up on them in practice as well. I’d lean towards Fallen in the SvS over shaayy especially after his performance last week, but both are likely to do well. All in all, it’ll hopefully be an extremely close match, one I’m looking forward to casting.Prediction:
rain, shaayy, RonnieJ
Fast Forward (+1)3.
Galactic Kids Next Door (-1)4.
>>’s strong performance against Faction and KND’s near-loss to AD is the fuel for this change, with Nursey’s alleged move to pyro the spark. 2-4 in general are all pretty close right now in terms of skill, so expect regular movement based off of results.