We are approaching the home stretch of the season, finishing it out with probably the three best push maps in the rotation. What's due this week? Snakewater. It's a love-hate relationship for most, but a fairly solid map regardless. It can offer very interesting and intense mid-fights, but tends to be one of the slower maps in the game due to stalemates at the last control point. To make everything more interesting, it's featuring Xensity, a contender in the ESEA-Invite season 13 LAN race.
The LAN race is close right now. Basically, bp and mix^ have qualified, while Fully Torqued, Xensity, and Chess Club are contention for the third and fourth LAN spots. Chess Club seem to have a smooth ride for the rest of the season, almost certainly giving them a LAN spot, and Fully Torqued have two forfeit wins ahead to make it a bit easier on their shoulders. Where does this leave Xensity? Xensity need big wins, and this would be a time to do it.
Honestly, Xensity are a team that have improved more and more as the season progressed. With roster changes and a new gameplan, they are certainly a better squad with a lot of potential, especially with a huge win over Chess Club on Metalworks where Ma3la and relic played out of their minds. All of this being said, Xensity is certainly a team with a lot going for them right now and cannot be taken lightly by anyone. So, where does this lead Xensity to for this week?
A team that's 10-0.
I'm certain bp wants to match mix^'s perfect season with a perfect season of their own. I don't really need to make it any more obvious that bp have been absolutely great this season, either. What adds some spice to this match is that Shade will not be in town for a couple of weeks. Therefore, Blaze will be filling in for Shade in the meantime. Let's see how everyone matches up.
Soldiers: Ma3la & relic vs lansky & Taggerung
I think this is actually a very interesting matchup. Again, it wasn't too long ago when Ma3la and relic showed that they can step their game up in a very impressive fashion. However, lansky and Taggerung are simply effective, period. I think the one who needs to step up the most here is Ma3la, so we shall see.
Scouts: rb & spadez vs cyzer & Shrugger
This should be fairly in bp's favor here, as cyzer and Shrugger work together incredibly well with solid aim. Just because scout vs scout might be in bp's favor doesn't mean that rb and spadez won't be factors in this though. If they play smart and don't get too ahead of themselves with +forwarding, then it can be a solid matchup.
Demoman: smaka vs b4nny
A lot of people tend to forget about smaka and how good he still is, so I think a big advantage that smaka has here is he's simply underestimated. However, b4nny is still b4nny, so expect the usual high damage and sneaky traps. I'm actually going to be interested in this matchup, because both demomen have been around for a while and know what to do here. Hopefully smaka's eye is better now, haha. Get well soon, Dustin :).
Medic: blinky vs blaze
Both medics should be fine here, unless blaze possibly makes a few mistakes due to just not being familiar with medic. Fully Torqued did scrim bp with blaze in the lineup recently though, and blaze seemed to do fine. Not much else to say here.
The map: cp_snakewater
It's a solid map. It can be a little slow and last pushes can be dull when it's a standoff, but otherwise this map is interesting. I have no idea how either team likes this map, but it's very open for jumping and enough silly spots to have sneaky flanks. Who does this favor more? Probably bp, because they are good at switching it up with playing in your face, baiting you into a flank or trap, and/or good timed aggression. However, relic has been playing great lately on roamer, so he can definitely turn the tide here with big plays. Snakewater requires so much coordination and timing that any miscues can completely cost you a round. If Xensity are on their game and focused, they can make this close, but bp is surely looking to roll through here.
I see this being 5-1 in bp's favor.