In this first of a series of ESEA S12 LAN preview articles, [/flag][b]squid[/b] of former [/flag][b]Pinball Wizards[/b] fame gives us a look at the fourth-seeded [/flag][b]Chess Club[/b] and their prospects going into LAN.
Just a few short months ago, [/flag]Chess Club was neck and neck with Xensity in the invite poll. Fast forward to the post season, and Xensity is facing Intermediate playoff elimination while Chess club is lining up flights to Dallas. Heading into the season, Madmen (No Need for Names)looked like the primary opposition for the 4th LAN spot, but Chess club ended up securing not one but three wins against nNn, each less decisive as the season played out. Chess Club barely survived the season, though; Weeble quit during the season, Kermit was having trouble showing up to matches, and the team was barely putting in the scrim time required. This waning team dedication manifested itself in Chess Club's inability to beat any of the other three LAN teams in a match, but their talent was proven through wins over the other four teams with less time spent practicing. Regardless, Chess club still has not upped the pace of their scrim schedule.
Will Kermit's debut lan performance be enough to secure a win in Texas? Will the team fall flat when faced with LAN veterans like [/flag]Mixup and [/flag]Leviathan Gaming? We will have to wait to find out.
The Chess club roster has stayed mostly the same throughout the season, with the exception of <b>SOnMyChest</b> bowing out of the LAN crew, and Omar taking over. I'll go out on a limb here and say that <b>Tri</b> is probably the second best Pocket going to LAN this season. Accompanied by the creative and aggressive medic stylings of Stultus, Tri is able to exert a lot of pressure on the opposing team during ubers. He is the anchor for the team, so to speak. The rest of Chess Club, orbiting around the combo, is always tethered to a very healthy Tri. Tri played on HRG in Season 10 and defended their 4th place seed at LAN. Like Tri, Omar was also a part of that iteration of HRG, and played an important role in securing the coveted LAN spot. HRG's LAN performance can only be described as unorganized, but also as very promising. Disappointingly enough, no one from the Season 10 group made it to the following Season 11 LAN. With <b>SOnMyChest</b> stepping aside, <b>Weeble</b> is making a return to scout alongside <b>Omar</b>. Following a number of underwhelming seasons, Weeble's breakout season was cut short by college life. With 14 hours in the last two weeks, Weeble hasn't exactly made a full-fledged return, but he is certainly gearing up. Having never played at the ESEA lan before, Weeble is definitely a question mark in terms of LAN ability. Will Weeble pick up his game like Clockwork has, LAN after LAN? Or will Weeble follow in the footsteps of Blaze and Shrugger, and perform below his normal online ability? Omar's question mark isn't so much about whether or not he can play to his best on LAN, but instead about how his playstyle will fit in with the rest of Chess club. Having only played three matches with the new team, it is hard to say whether or not Omar can compliment the aggressive playstyles of his teammates in the same way S could. Although these two probably won't live up to top LAN performers like Ruwin, Enigma, Cyzer and Clockwork, they certainly are more than capable of rivaling the other uncertain lan attendees. <b>Kermit</b> and <b>Taggerung</b> both have developed personalized playstyles on their respective classes, Demo and Soldier. Kermit's speedy rollouts, strong DM and often times surprisingly aggressive play is capable of catching even the most attentive opponents off guard. Tagg's bombs may oft be accompanied by him asking "Team? Hello?" but when all the pieces come together, his plays will make pushes for teams in otherwise stale situations. Again, both of these players have not been to LAN before - whether or not their playstyles will survive the pressures of LAN remains to be seen.
Undoubtedly, Chess club has bitten off a lot to chew. LG, Mixup and Whales are all very tall orders to take on, especially considering this is a debut LAN for two thirds of the team. If one of the higher seeds falters, surely Chess club will be there to capitalize. Will they, however, overcome Mixup in the first round and coast the upper bracket all the way to the finals? Probably not. Every match will be a struggle, every potential win a fight. At least Kermit can finally shed his 'Lan Dodger' title, and hopefully the team can make a splash, even if only in the lower brackets.