Compared to week 3, this week was absurdly quiet. Only on this continent though. Across the oceans, NA representatives Froyotech and Classic Mixup fought hard at i52, and to keep a long story short, Froyotech came out victorious with a thrashing of Epsilon Esports in the first international Grand Final in the iSeries. However, with 2 teams out of the country, a TF2 update on Thursday postponing matches, and the already dead 6cuties, Invite matches simply didn't happen or had to be delayed to accommodate the client and traveling teams. Just 2 matches happened this week, which basically means the rankings will remain unchanged for now, but with just 3 weeks left in the season, it's crunch time for the bubble teams with LAN on the line. Every matchup from here on out is crucial to their LAN aspirations, and I expect to see some more quality TF2 out of the Invite teams down the line. Not only will we look at some math and possible end of season records for the teams, but to prevent overlap from last week, I've also asked legendary capture point master Ggglygy on his thoughts regarding the teams and Invite this season, and he has blessed us with his insight.
Looks like Froyotech is the #1 team in the world right now, as seen from their games at i52. Upon their return, they'll have to play Ding Dong Daddy on Metalworks, and Street Hoops and eLevate TF2 on Viaduct. The Metalworks match should pose no problem, and I predict another 5-0 in b4nny's favor. Viaduct will be the key week for Froyotech as both Street Hoops and eLevate will be looking to cause upsets. Both opponents have capable Snipers to rely on (paragon and alfa / Decimate), and Froyotech's natural counter Sniper would probably be clckwrk. However, I don't know if taking clckwrk off Scout is worth the class change. Maybe it'd be justified if clckwrk gets every headshot, but he'll probably get more results staying Scout. Still, while I wouldn't be surprised to see them with 2 more wins, I don't think either Viaduct match is a "guaranteed" victory for this team.
Froyotech's LAN seed is all but secured. Even if they were to lose to the 3 LAN teams from last season, their dominating performances against everyone else in the division means a "worst record scenario" leaves them at 12-4 and a guaranteed spot at LAN. If they take revenge against eLevate this week, things could get more interesting between the 2 teams as their fight for the #1 seed continues.
"After conquering Yurop in roughly the same amount of time England participated in the World Cup, complete with a championship match featuring all the excitement of hearing, “Dude, your getting a Dell!” Froyotech return home world champions. I don't know what else to say about the perennial juggernauts that hasn't already been said, except Lansky, next time Shade sexually harasses you on camera, say “Remember these?” then rip your shirt off, then squeeze your nips. Anyways, these guys are really good at videogames. Also they have the best backups ever." - Ggglygy
In changing their brand to eLevate, the old Exertus welcome Wood Pig and Froyotech on Viaduct, in addition to the reschedule against Classic Mixup on Metalworks. Viaduct should be a really good map for eLevate, with Bdonski constantly throwing down damage for his Scouts to clean up. If there was ever a map where alfa could play full time Sniper, this would be the map. I'm reminded of No Need for Names during S12, who had powah play Sniper full time while Roamer rr switched to Scout. I don't think eLevate will have the same setup, but I'd be really surprised if alfa didn't go Sniper often. Cozen and his survivability will also be a key variable in these matches. All in all, Wood Pig shouldn't pose much of a problem and I predict eLv to win 4-1. Froyotech vs. eLevate will be covered in the Match of the Week.
The question for eLevate isn't whether or not they'll get to LAN but which seed they'll take. Since they're already with a 9-0 record (including the future forfeit win), I'm pretty sure it's impossible to not make LAN barring some strange rounds for shenanigans. The only matches I could see them losing would be those against Mad Men, 20b, Mixup, and Froyotech, meaning eLevate could finish anywhere between a 12-4 and 16-0.
"The team formerly known as Exertus has been re-sponsored and branded with glorious eXtine inspired formatting. I will be referring to them as eLeXevertusate for the rest of the season. What hasn't changed for these lads is, of course, their 8-0 undefeated record, and their placement at the top of Invite standings. It's been fairly smooth sailing so far for eLXTS, the only questions remaining are: will they remain undefeated and hold the coveted #1 seed for LAN, and will Alfa have more playtime on Sniper than scout this season? * cue Rocky theme music. *" - _Ggglygy_
Mixup return from Europe after putting on crazy matches despite a 3rd place finish. During the i52 post event stream, a European (I believe it may have been WARHURYEAH) commented on how pissed he would have been if Mixup had made it to the Grand Final, when it appeared they hardly put effort in, as opposed to Immunity who went through bootcamp, etc. etc. (paraphrasing). This outlook may or may not ring true for this ESEA season. It's true that in seasons past, Mixup have been somewhat lax about the regular season, I don't know if they've ever been this vulnerable. Would the games at i52 reignite the drive to play their best and outperform their Invite opponents? Or would they consider the stage at Europe their "last stand," with the ESEA and CEVO / GXL LANs serving as the smaller conclusion of Mixup's story. Only time will tell.
Classic Mixup's path to LAN may not be as clear as eLevate or Froyotech's, but it's still up to them to improve or weaken their seed. Out of their remaining matches, wins are likely to come against Ding Dong Daddy, 6cuties, The Hurricane, and Wood Pig. This bumps Mixup to 9 wins, and honestly I can't really predict from here. If Mixup keeps their foot on the gas pedal upon their return, I'd say that every matchup is winnable. If they choose to be more casual, teams like Street Hoops and Mad Men could steal wins away from them, and leave Mixup with a few "unnecessary" losses that would lower their seed.
"In this humble plebians opinion, I was surprised Mixup was able to snag their 3rd place finish, let alone being a golden cap away from a North American showdown. Although they did provide the most entertaining matches of i52, at times this season, Mixup have looked rusty, even disorganized. For example, Harbleu uncharacteristically leads all of ESEA in dropped ubers. I fully expect Mixup to ramp up the playing intensity come LAN time, but if seeings remain the way they are now, a first round faceoff against Froyo looks unpromising." - Ggglygy
Mad Men were not shaken by the 5-0 loss against Froyotech, and they went on to defeat The Hurricane on Metalworks with a score of 5-1. A common philosophy in TF2 is that the Demoman is responsible for damage, and the Scouts responsible for cleanup. This statement could not be more true for the Mad Men, with Chriztafah almost always bottom fragging but bl4nk and Mike are way ahead with monstrous numbers of frags, thanks to Chriztafah's healthy damage output. And with this being the epitome of Mad Men's playstyle, a map like Viaduct is like giving candy to a baby. That being said, their schedule is not as exciting as they'd like. They will take a forfeit win and then play Ding Dong Daddy. If Mad Men had played teams like Street Hoops or Mixup and won, they'd carry crazy momentum for the rest of the season but alas, beggars can't be choosers. Mad Men should walk away from Viaduct with a 6-4 record, with momentum going into Sunshine week.
Mad Men were in a similar state during their S14 campaign, where they needed a few key victories in the last 2 weeks to secure a LAN spot. Wins against Wood Pig and The Hurricane would place them at 8-4 and within striking distance, but Sunshine week (Street Hoops and eLevate) is their most important. Even coming away 1-1 from Sunshine week would leave them in a healthy position. Traditionally, any teams that have had a 9-7 record has made LAN, so they'd need to ensure that 9-7 record along with some losses from Street Hoops. When you take into account that Mad Men have had a few 5-4 losses against last season's LAN teams, a LAN appearance from these Mad Men is certainly a possibility.
"Mad Men have developed a pretty good strategy. Get the scouts to shoot everything. My son, YouMustMichael, along with bl4nk are both in the top 10 for scout frags in ESEA. Hopefully, they can make a push to secure a LAN seed, as it's always entertaining seeing DM heavy teams with 5 ping. Quick shoutouts to Indust for being in 2nd place for overall Medic frags (16) and Marmaduke, who after four seasons, finally reached double digit total wins for Invite matches!" - Ggglygy
Even though Street Hoops have to play both Metalworks matches on top of their Viaduct games, they can't get sloppy. Especially tonight, where they'll take on Wood Pig on Metalworks which has pretty huge implications. Moving onto Viaduct week, Street Hoops will play Froyotech whenever the world champions return from Europe, and The Hurricane. Deadbolt has had an excellent season thus far on Demo, getting more comfortable with the class as the season marches on. He and cyzer must be happy to play Viaduct this week. The pressure is on paragon (on either Scout or Sniper) to not fall behind the enemy Scouts, as he can't always play behind cyzer's shadow. In a similar vein, ninjanick needs to watch his milking tendencies as drops would be quite costly on Viaduct.
If Street Hoops braves the marathon of Metalworks and Viaduct matches with a 2-2 (wins against Wood Pig and The Hurricane, losses against Mixup and Froyotech), they'd be just behind Mad Men at 6-5. However, should they win this key matchup tonight against Wood Pig they'd go into the last week of the season with at least 9 wins, a comfortable position though the Process lineup of Mixup and eLevate will not be easy. But this season has been so damn close, trying to predict the ending records for the bubble teams is harder than ever. One thing is for sure, we can count on 20b to put on a show.
"Like the Ottawa River in the 18th century, there is a logjam for the 4th place LAN seed. Street Hoops currently have a tenuous grasp on the position, despite the fact they've experienced more 5 - 4's than the guy who does countdowns at NASA. Despite their losses by nipplehairs, Street Hoops have made quite an impression, showing me that they could be a legitimate LAN contender, however, they face a huge match (tonight!!) against Wood Pig." - Ggglygy
Recently, Wood Pig and Mangachu parted ways, adjusting their roster slightly which left a question mark over their Roamer slot. In their 5-2 victory over Ding Dong Daddy, JakeRockwell played for them, but with smaka very recently joining the roster, more questions were raised: Was Jake only ringing, and smaka the starting Roamer? Or is smaka merely joining as a backup? Not to be befuddled, I asked Wood Pig Scout meb on the development. He responded with, "I don't know lol." So there you have it. Wood Pig takes on Classic Mixup and eLevate TF2 this week. While my first instinct is to consider both losses, you never truly know on Viaduct. Similarly to paragon on Street Hoops, meb needs to play well against Scouts like enigma, squid, Decimate, and alfa to ensure any chance of winning those matches. Mason will need to be careful against the destructive ubers of rando and the constant suicides of Seagull.
With the likely wins against Ding Dong Daddy and The Hurricane, Wood Pig are guaranteed 7 wins, meaning getting 2 more wins - say, against Mad Men and Street Hoops - pushes them ever closer to that 4th seed. Again, it's hard for me to say, though tonight's Metalworks against 20b will help paint a clearer picture.
"After Old Yellering Mangachu last week, Wood Pig have signed JacobRockwell (and perhaps colourblind wunderkind smaka?) to play for them. The 3rd team with 4 wins in these power rankings, who are still in the fight for LAN contention, should have people cheering for them based solely upon the amazing trash talk that would transpire in Dallas if they were to attend." - Ggglygy
Ictus and his friends are unfortunately out of the LAN race, though any upset victory against Mixup or Mad Men would throw the latter's LAN plans for a loop. The Hurricane's Viaduct opponents are Street Hoops and Ding Dong Daddy. ChinGoo, icTus, shootist, and insom should fight well against their counterparts, but the disparity between grape / ninjanick and SureShot (unless he plays out of his mind) / Sakura will be too great. 4-1 in favor of Street Hoops.
Given that they have losses against everyone except Ding Dong Daddy, I expect The Hurricane to finish the season 4-12. The remaining 2 wins will come from Ding Dong Daddy this week and 6cuties. They may have not made LAN, but they've definitely played well this season, and should continue to improve when next season rolls around.
"Winners of this seasons “Best Name in Invite Award” the FU's have put on a pretty good showing thus far, especially considering the rookies on the team. I don't have much to say for you brave Category 5's, other than I hope you stick around and continue to improve!! Shoutout to insom's two day ban for violating the Invite conduct policy and also maybe the NFL's substance abuse policy!! Seriously, literally everything is a violation there! Even breathing!! No Fun League!!!" - Ggglygy
Considering Ding Dong Daddy have not won a match this season, it's impossible for them to make LAN. Regardless, one must applaud the men on Ding Dong Daddy for braving their first season of Invite. Their matches this week include Froyotech, Mad Men, and The Hurricane. Not only are those 3 teams in alphabetical order, but ordered by (decreasing) difficulty, as well. However, Viaduct is a fantastic upset map, and you never know what will happen to the LAN race if Ding Dong Daddy pulls off a sudden victory, especially against a team like Mad Men. Still I'm going to have to bet against them: 4-0 loss to Mad Men, 4-1 loss to The Hurricane. On the bright side, they don't have to scrim Sunshine (pun was unintentional I swear) because their only Sunshine match is against 6cuties, meaning showstopper can say he's undefeated in ESEA Invite on Sunshine. 8)
Ding Dong Daddy are looking to finish out the season at 2-14. They have had a rough first season of Invite, but like Blame Game last season, they'll hopefully seek to use this season as a source of improvement, and I look forward to seeing them compete in the seasons to come.
"We come to the valiant last place heroes (not counting dead teams) Ding Dong Daddy. What they lack in the win column, they've made up for in being used as impromptu candles, and actually showing up to every match and not just calling it a day, so kudos to you fellas." - Ggglygy
Kudos to you, Gggly, for writing something for 6cuties when I didn't plan on doing so myself.
" 'Here she lies, a pretty bud,
Lately made of flesh and blood:
Who as soon as fell fast asleep
As her little eyes did peep.
Give her strewings, but not stir
The earth that lightly covers her.' - Robert Herrick" - Ggglygy
Match of the Week
It's finally here. The rematch between Froyotech and eLevate. This is eLevate's toughest remaining hurdle en route to a perfect season, and Froyotech's chance at sweet revenge. A win for Froyotech means a return to #1 in the ESEA standings, while an eLevate win brings them another step closer to 1st seed.
It's hard for me to say that one team has a clear cut advantage over the other. Both Medics will be staying alive and milking ubers, both Demomen will be constantly putting out damage, and all the Soldiers will be landing airshots. However, clckwrk and b4nny are easily the best Scout pair in Invite right now so Decimate and alfa need to bring their A-game and contain clckwrk the same way they did during Granary week. I'm also inclined to think lansky will really put the pressure on rando with his ubers. That being said, TF2 is a team game, and Viaduct is a map of seconds. It's up to each team to play tight and not overextend, gaining better advantages as time ticks down and the point is traded back and forth.
If you asked me to name someone on each team who needs to step up in this matchup, I'd spend half an hour trying to dance around the question and then pick someone by throwing a dart. In all seriousness, I would pick duwatna on Froyotech and rando on eLevate. Bdonski currently averages 350 DPM so far, a number that is only going to increase on a map like Viaduct. Should duwatna have the weaker performance, his Scouts will have less openings to take advantage of, though they are certainly capable of creating openings themselves. Rando, on the other hand, has to play toe to toe with lansky, or shade's milking prowess may give Froyotech much better ubers.
While I'd love to see eLevate continue to go undefeated, I believe Froyotech will win this time, but not as convincingly as their other victories this season. Viaduct is a map which produces scores that can be misleading, so I'll tentatively place a 4-2 prediction for Froyotech, but I'm hoping eLevate proves me wrong.
Prediction: eLevate TF2 - 2, Froyotech - 4
Players to Watch: Bdonski, Decimate, duwatna, clckwrk
- eLevate TF2
- Classic Mixup
- Mad Men
- Street Hoops Esports
- Wood Pig
- The Hurricane
- Ding Dong Daddy
- 6cuties [R.I.P]
Editor's Note: Special thanks to Ggglygy for the collaboration, and again to brownstone for proofreading so meticulously. I apologize for the late release, but with no matches happening I didn't really know what to do. As I said during the week 5 edition, I'm going to be doing specials to spice these up, and I have something crazy obnoxious planned for next week. There's a hint regarding it hidden in this Power Ranking. Until then, hope you enjoyed!