Invite veteran TheFragile gives us his breakdown of the players, classes, matchup, and map in the upcoming ESEA Match of the Week featuring reigning champions Classic Mixup and the currently undefeated bp.
Awww yeah, Gravelpit. It's the best map for spectators and can be a nightmare to play as a player, because every mistake you make can cost you precious seconds or even the round. The best part about all of this? It's starring the two titans of TF2 right now, and you can bet that everyone will be watching this.
A big question to ask here is if Ruwin will be playing. As of right now, Ruwin "should be" playing, so hopefully everyone can expect the full rematch with all six starters on the board. Otherwise, OOV will likely fill in as medic in the meantime.
The preparation for this match is actually kind of weird for both of these teams during the week. I know that bp lost their entire Sunday night of potentially scrimming Gravelpit because of the match they were supposed to play against Fully Torqued. Even with missing a night of practice, bp still has the rest of the week to solidify everything. Now, you might say that mix^ has an edge here due to more time for practicing, right?
Well, kind of.
Despite mix^ having a few issues earlier in the season due to a lack of practice and backups, they still haven't played too much this week. However, they are pretty much the only team with mostly the same roster from last season. Does that mean they already have a pretty good feel for Gravelpit? Probably. It's also worth mentioning that mix^ has to play Fully Torqued on Wednesday as well, so they can adjust their gameplan accordingly for bp if necessary. I just hope that mix^ is ready to go this Thursday night, because out of every single match on every map this season, this is probably the most anticipated one on paper. It's hard to say for sure who has the upper hand here. All players on mix^ have much more Gravelpit experience under their belts, but bp has been practicing a bunch this season.
Soldiers: TLR & Harbleu vs Lansky & Taggerung
Lansky and Taggerung have been very impressive this season, but TLR and harbleu are probably the best, individually and as a soldier combo, in the game. TLR is surgical when it comes to making plays, keeping his team in the game with his great deathmatch skills, and has also played Gravelpit very well ever since he first entered ESEA-Invite. Harbleu makes crazy plays, annoys the hell out of by flanking and/or bombing on you, and has pretty much no fear whenever he's flying through the air onto the entire enemy team. Lansky, however, is very underestimated, so I would not be surprised if he plays very well in this match with high damage and a solid K/D ratio. Taggerung is also doing quite well at doing some crazy roaming, so this is by no means a mismatch of any kind. After all, these are the top two teams in TF2 right now, so this will get quite interesting.
Scouts and Utility: Enigma & Yz50 vs Cyzer & Shrugger
Man, this is really hard to judge. Both scout combos are incredibly effective and carry a big part of success for their own team. It will be interesting to see if there are any sniper fights or spy plays, but it's hard to say how either team will pick their classes due to Gravelpit offering a handful of practical class selections. It's hard to really comment on this other than the fact that I think this is quite even. All four players have awesome aim, a smart gameplan, and a great sense of what to do no matter what class they play. Expect these guys to make the game very interesting.
Demoman: Platinum vs b4nny
It's safe to say b4nny is the best demoman without much argument. He puts out sick damage, sets up perfect traps, and really makes everyone around him better. However, Platinum rapidly caught up to b4nny in recent seasons, matching and even outperforming a lot of his damage and smarts. I think the only thing to note here is that b4nny is still putting tons of hours into TF2, while Platinum hasn't been playing as much on top of the fact that mix^ haven't been scrimming too much. That's not to say Platinum has fallen behind though, because that guy is still incredibly good. I think a lot of this match will have to do with how each demoman performs to help make key plays and good pushes, perhaps even some nice kritzkrieg plays. Even if b4nny might have a minor edge on Platinum here, mix^ knows how much of an impact b4nny has at any given point.
Medic: Ruwin vs Shade
Strictly running off just playing medic alone, I would say the only advantage, albeit risky, that Shade has over Ruwin is that he's willing to milk uber a lot longer. Now, if you consider each team here, Shade has wonderful protection as b4nny is a wall of damage that many have trouble penetrating. Likewise, TLR also does a great job protecting his medic, so this matchup is fine. It's hard to comment on any noticeable differences here since the medic skill ceiling is so low, but Ruwin will ideally do a little more for his team from his solid positioning and good dodging. This is all assuming that Ruwin plays, of course.
The Map: Gravelpit
Gravelpit demands few mistakes and solid play if you want to win. The best part about this is bp and mix^ have few mistakes and solid play. Right now, bp is perfect this season, and they are certainly looking to continue a perfect record with careful, diligent execution. On top of that, bp had a fairly convincing win over a favored mix^ on Viaduct earlier this season, which has somewhat comparable gameplay to Gravelpit. Despite all of this, Platinum and his different versions of mix^ over the past two or three seasons have been fantastic. Don't forget that lansky was on mix^ back in season 11, too. A good advantage that mix^ has here is that pretty much all of them have been under many high-pressure Gravelpit matches, which are incredibly good intangibles for this map. Another good thing about both of these teams is that they can identify problems in their own game and weaknesses in an opponent's game very quickly. I wouldn't expect any ridiculously long defense holds in this match, assuming no one gets flustered.
The Teams: mix^ vs bp
It seems that bp is striving super hard for an undefeated season, and why not? It's a good confidence booster and strikes fear into everyone else when LAN comes. It seems to me that mix^ is doing what they can for now and will likely bootcamp hard about two or three weeks before LAN to get in top form. So, what does this match mean for both teams? It's a mental thing. If bp wins here, bp along with everyone else will say "yeah, bp is the best for sure." If mix^ wins, it gives them their power back and makes the LAN picture a lot more interesting instead of assuming bp will roll through LAN. I must admit that I'm actually kind of afraid of mix^ winning here, because I don't want them to think "wow, we beat bp without much practice, I guess that means we don't need too much practice". Regardless, both teams are awesome and this will be probably the most watched match in the entire season.
I can't decide who is going to win this match, but this is going to be good.