Alright, everyone give yourselves a pat on the back: we made it. The last week of the season and the last chance for some teams to make or break their season is finally here, and for some players this will be the last ESEA matches for awhile. For those who will crawl into playoffs on their meager collection of forfeit wins and close matches, the next couple weeks will be filled with frantic scrims and bated breath while they wait for the playoff map schedule to be posted. In Open especially, a team could end up spending the equivalent of half a season's time playing playoff matches to make it to the Grand Final, and then only have a week or two of down time before the start of the next season.
But before we get ahead of ourselves looking to the bright future of season 18 (please let there be a season 18, Killing!) a handful of teams will bring the fate of their season down to the wire this week. Pinoy Boys have been on a downward spiral the last couple weeks and will need to secure some wins if they don't want to get left out of the top 16. I paid for the wrong Wowzers will also need to step up their game this week if they want to stay in it, while teams like Not Up to Var, Champagne and Cocaine, and Some Explosions in Sky are poised to jump in at the tail end of the top 16. Princess best cat is hanging on to the #16 spot currently, and somehow I never realized Tankman was on this team, the former ward of legendary demoman Duwatna, who never helped Tankman at all. They'll need to play some pretty intense matches this week if they want to hold on to that 16th place, and judging from their last couple matches, its pretty possible for them to do just that.
For all those teams that will make it into IM next season, congrats! You'll finally know what its like to play in a division very few people pay attention to.
1. Sparkle Bunnies (13-1)
Last week, Sparkle Bunnies made a statement that said: “If we can't go undefeated, nobody can.” The 5-1 victory over airheads was brutal and hard fought, with Yeegz and Gls looking very stylish on this scout-centric map. Hero stuck to soldier for pretty much the whole match, and true to form was the driving force during most of the fights, with blew also going pretty hard in the paint. To be honest, I would have liked to see these teams play on a different map as it seems that airheads just couldn't quite wrap their heads on how to play certain situations on sunshine. The last week for Sparkle Bunnies will be against Graveguns Aneurysm and Off Top, both of which should be fantastic games. I'm not sure if we'll see Yeeegz or Oobii, but the Gleegz scout combo is pretty scary right now to be honest. I'll be happy seeing either of them alongside Gls. Off Top will finally have a chance to prove themselves as a top team this season, but with so many forfeits I'm not sure if they still have the edge to take a win here. Either way, Lydi gets a chance at revenge against her old team and the rest of the team is probably just happy to be playing a match, quite frankly. Sparkle Bunnies won't need to come away with some crazy wins here, but a first place seed would be a nice way to start the post season and they are only a few round differences away with Airheads to make it. Good luck, friends.
2. Airheads (13-1)
Airheads had their perfect season spoiled by Sparkle Bunnies last week, and I can imagine they aren't too happy about it. A lot of the mid fights seemed to be pretty one sided, as it seemed like there was a crucial element to the mid missing. Without being too critical, in some cases the dudes on Airheads seemed to play these mids a bit too passive, with Geknaiir spamming the majority of the time and not getting too much done until it was too late. Air still went pretty huge during a lot of the fights, but one man (boy?) can't do it all himself in this game unfortunately. Skyrolla took a lot of heals and did a lot of damage, but some small thing just wouldn't allow them to win out during team fights. With a narrow 4-3 win over Rolling with Rolling, it has become apparent that sunshine just isn't their map. Snakewater week should be a bit more friendly to them with matches against Luca Goers and ddddd (abbreviated). Any more losses here won't really hurt them too much, except maybe their pride (which is where it counts the most, obviously) but the boys should have a 15-1 season and depending on how the Sparkle Bunnies matches go, that coveted first place seed.
3. Cake Dough Cheddar (12-2)
The heavy classes got the spotlight last week on CDC's only sunshine match against I paid for the wrong wowzers (I hate typing this team name) which was a pretty close match all things considered. Despite being out damaged and out fragged, Cake Dough Cheddar came out on top with the win, probably because Monkey Suit is so bad at not back capping. Either way, Jay and Hellbent did a whole lot of work on this match, and even though the scouts didn't do too badly, their stats were destroyed by so much holding, which unfortunately has become a staple for this map at just about every level. The last couple matches of the season might be closer than expected, but to be honest when I think of snakewater all I can think about are the insane sniper sightlines and how I can't wait for Fox to abuse them. Their soldiers will be the deciding factors on mids, and with a new demo at the reins, the team is poised to be a likely candidate for the grand final.
4. Off Top (12-1)
The dudes and lady on Off Top finally get a week with two matches to be played, just in time for the end of the season. Both of these matches will be pretty exciting to watch, as they are against some highly rated playoff teams. I honestly don't know how either of their matches this week will go, but I'll predict a loss of some kind to Sparkle Bunnies and a win over Kawaii 5-o. Kawaii 5-o, despite having a pretty stacked roster, are shaping up to be a middle of the pack team for all intents and purposes and against a team like Off Top I don't know if they can come away with a win. More than anything, I will be stoked to see this team finally play some matches against teams that are closer to their caliber instead of just forfeiting their way to the top through no fault of their own. One last note, Antwan is an insane sniper because he plays more CS:GO than he does TF2, and I for one will be keeping my eyes peeled for some round ending plays from him.
5. Graveguns Aneurysm (13-1)
Graveguns Aneurysm have gone through most of their season with a pretty cushy schedule, only recently playing a few teams in the top ten. Last week they took a win off of dddddddddd as their only match on sunshine, albeit dropping three rounds. Their final week of the season will put them up against Sparkle Bunnies (MOTW) and Kawaii 5-o. Kawaii 5-o haven't looked all that solid all season, and even after picking up Seymour it appears the team is still having trouble. A map like snakewater will require a good amount of cohesion between the flank and the combo in a lot of situations, which should provide some opportunities to catch Kawaii 5-o out of position. At this point, this team is guaranteed a spot in the top half of the playoff teams and should hang around in the upper bracket for awhile before being ousted by one of the other top 5 teams to the lower bracket.
6. dddddddddddddddddddddddd (11-3)
The most obnoxious team name in Open had a solid sunshine week, beating Luca Goers 5-4 and taking three rounds off of Graveguns Aneurysm. I was a little worried that I had put this team in the top 10 before they had really proven themselves, but its nice to see that they can hang with the other top 10 teams. Their last week of the season will be interesting enough, as they will be going up against Pinoy Boys and Airheads. The match against Airheads might be a little closer than some may think, but I'm not too sure if they will be able to contain the super scout that is Air. The Pinoy Boys might actually lose to dddddddddddddddddddddd, and in doing so they actually might throw away their playoff spot if they aren't careful. The d's could definitely take advantage of this to get themselves a slightly better seed, but at this stage in the game its a bit of overkill to be honest. Good luck in playoffs, hopefully this team sticks around to move up to IM next season.
7. Luca Goers (11-3)
Out of all the teams this season, I've been most intrigued by the team formerly known as Do It For Bill. They've had some big wins and some tough losses, and come all the way to the end of what is their first season of ESEA for most of them with a decent record and dreams of an IM roster next season. As long as the team does decently during the post season, I hope this team stays together and continues to improve as its been fun to watch them this season. Anyway, outside of awkward sentimental crap, The Luca Goers will go up against the toughest opponents they will meet this season and get a taste of what to expect in playoffs. If they can pull out a win from either Airheads or Cake Dough Cheddar, it would be pretty epic to say the least. Last week they stomped the shit out of Kawaii 5-o on sunshine in a blowout roll, Nursey with only 3 deaths the whole game, and Trip going bananas on what is becoming a scout favorite map. I hope to see some of that momentum in their last few matches as the team gears up for playoffs.
8. Kawaii 5-o (11-3)
I am thoroughly confused by this team. Sometimes I just assume that they haven't really practiced all that much or they just throw some games, but their losses from the last couple of weeks have been baffling to say the least. Getting rolled by Luca Goers probably didn't feel good, but they also probably don't care that much considering they already made playoffs. I'm going to assume they didn't want to waste energy scrimming instead of totally beefing it. Anyway, if the team doesnt want to end their season 11-5 they'll need to step up their collective games, because even though losing won't make a difference really in how they end up in the final seeding for anyone, it would kind of spell out what everyone can expect from the team in the post season.
9. Pinoy Boys (9-5)
Pinoy Boys have gone on a 4 game losing streak, which is definitely not the way anyone wants to end a season. With so many roster shakeups towards the end of the season, it appears the team chemistry has been a little all over the place, and its taken a turn for the worse. Their best possible raecord is 11-5 right now, but they need to win at least one more match in order to stay in the top 16. After such a good start to the season, its a bit of a shame to see so many losses in a row, and I'm sure the morale can't be too high. Hopefully Owl can tell some silly jokes or change his ESEA alias to something funny and witty to lighten the mood. Nevermind, he already did it. GEKNAIIR SUCKS. Good luck boys! Zambler you need to do better, thanks.
10. Hungry Hungry Ogres (10-4)
Hungry Hungry Ogres debut in the power rankings comes at the very end of the season, sorry about that. I totally know the feeling. Deathanchor hated me and my team for so long and kept us out of the power rankings despite ending the season 12-4. I'm pretty sure Rigel was in Open that season, so thats why mentioning this is relevant. Anyway, I don't really know too many people on this team but from what I have seen from the match, Rigel is still pretty good and the other two heavy classes don't do too bad either. This team or American Jerks probably should have been in the rankings instead of Bsc's team last week, so again I apologize. I'm not even going to talk about how their season has go because anyone can go look at their ESEA page and figure that out on their own. I do feel that this team will upset someone during playoffs, I'm not sure who yet but it will definitely come out of nowhere, because nobody expects a team that hasn't been covered in these rankings to beat them. Good luck, newcomers. Sorry I made you late to the party.
Teams to watch:
- siblings with benefits
- Hotel Moskau
- No Johns
- I paid for the wrong wowzers
- American Jerks
Match of the Week: Sparkle Bunnies vs Graveguns Aneurysm
This match will also probably happen a second time during playoffs, I'm guessing towards the third round of the upper bracket or so. This match will be a battle of scouts, with Gls and Oobii (if she doesn't have 3000 ms) both having great DM and exceptional timing and Nate and Power Mangoes bringing a lot of raw fragging power to bring to the table. The heavy classes for both teams are somewhat equal, although I think Hero has more presence than any player on either team. Nate has a tendency to die a lot though, and I think this is something that Sparkle Bunnies will take advantage of. Sparkle Bunnies to take this one 5-2 IMO.
Players to Watch: Naterivers, Power Mangoes, Hero, Gloobii