RGL Season 5 Advanced was one of the most competitive non-Invite divisions we have seen in a long time. For seven weeks of the regular season, nearly the entire division was viably in the playoff hunt. After standout performances, rising stars, and viciously close matches, the postseason is finally here. Eight teams enter, only one team can win a championship and get their Invite fees waived for next season. Let's meet the contestants.
#1: Honey Bacon Club (15-1)
- Scout: pom
- Scout: tony
- Roamer: Hunter 2.0
- Pocket: KutchKutch
- Demoman: artist
- Medic: rasta_ronald
:\ AKA Honey Bacon Club have followed the script first written by MILKIES: Win Div-2, pickup experienced Soldiers, and then take the #1 seed in the division after promotion. Granted, it was not as easy or as dominant as their record might have you believe. For starters, they had five wins by one round (the most out of all the playoff teams), so they hung on during a handful of games by the skin of their teeth. They also traded 5-2 maps with Cat Posse, and it was the win during Process week that ultimately gave them the record advantage to secure the top seed.
Regardless, this a core group of fraggers that have risen the ranks quickly. The veteran presence of bumbo and Hunter 2.0 (who previously played together on Alan Gaming) was a clean compliment to their aggressive playstyles. The star of the show is undoubtedly Demoman artist, who plays the class like the sticky nerf never happened. artist has a high damage, low death statline on nearly every map, and the rest of the team's jobs are made much easier with his presence around. Last-minute changes resulted in KutchKutch shifting to pocket while tony joins on Scout. How quickly they can get acclimated to the new lineup remains to be seen, though defeating Cat Posse was certainly a good start.
Season 4 Div-2's Players Choice Award Best Medic rasta_ronald shared some thoughts on the upcoming postseason brawl:
I'm feeling pretty pumped going into the first round of playoffs. The departure of bumbo was unfortunate, but Tony and KutchKutch have transitioned well to their new roles. We were able to beat Cat Posse with this new roster and secure the number one seed, which was definitely a morale boost. Everyone has been playing well, and we are confident in our playoff run.
#2: Cat Posse (14-2)
- Scout: ShiningStar
- Scout: yumyum
- Roamer: Toss
- Pocket: KTB
- Demoman: kurama
- Medic: reigh
For the first 15 matches of the season, Cat Posse made a convincing case as the top team in the division as they dismantled the opposition (outside of a quirky 5-4 upset at the hands of The Goblin Zone). Then at the eleventh hour, a loss to Honey Bacon Club knocked them into the #2 spot for playoffs. But make no mistake, they have been dominant. If you take away the ten rounds given up to Honey Bacon Club and Goblin Zone in losses, Cat Posse will have only dropped 13 rounds across 14 matches.
This team has the advantage of having nearly everyone back from their Season 3 campaign, only needing to bring in KTB and kurama. The former is an ex-Invite Soldier legend while the latter won Amateur (on Medic) with WAP. This team has playmakers at every position, but is spearheaded by their Scout combo in yumyum and ShiningStar. Roaming Soldier Toss✓ is not to be underestimated either, as his bombs have terrorized Medics throughout the season. Cat Posse also are one of only two teams in the playoffs without a single roster change during the season, which combined with their previous history together, has only helped their cause.
Looking ahead to the playoffs, faze kura_beast had this to say:
We are looking forward to facing these teams again in playoffs, it seems very exciting. It's unfortunate for our last loss but we'll come back and take the crown too. Good luck to everybody in playoffs.
#3: dior addicts (12-4)
- Scout: claps
- Scout: rick
- Roamer: vegan
- Pocket: aimer
- Demoman: Kevito
- Medic: urmphitank
While Advanced was an absolute bloodbath for teams outside the top two, the totally clean and controversy-free dior addicts quietly staked their claim as the #3 team and that translated to their playoff position. They've kind of had a weird season, juggling some lineup issues here and there. Outside of losing to Cat Posse and Honey Bacon Club, which happened to literally everyone else, a forfeit and then a stumble on Sunshine to dynasty comprise their remaining losses. With regard to their wins, save for a pair of close calls, dior addicts have handled their business. For comparison, they have only dropped two more rounds than Honey Bacon Club despite the three win differential.
Half this current roster was part of Family Friendly Content who took the Main championship in Season 3. DM menace claps in particular is looking for his third straight division title as after taking gold in Main, went on to win Div-2 with Honey Bacon Club last season. To win three different divisions in three consecutive seasons would be an extremely impressive accomplishment, and almost certainly a first in TF2 history.
Roaming Soldier vegan (and the entirety of dior addicts) shared words of impeccable wisdom:
Elite. Mogo. Shigalin. AppleBottomJeans. ARROWHEAD. FreePalestine.
#4: iBuyWinrar (11-5)
- Scout: mc
- Scout: percy
- Roamer: Grape Juice III
- Pocket: fygg
- Demoman: air
- Medic: styles
Before Season 5 began, many had iBuyWinrar as a favorite to comfortably make playoffs. By the end of week three however, things were looking a little shaky with a 3-3 record. This ushered in a flurry of changes for the remaining weeks: fygg jumped ship from Portland Burnsiders to play pocket, ironically replacing vanxi who had replaced her before the start of the season. Then percy came back from a break, taking over Scout duties from Apt. Last but not least, air and mc switched roles to Demoman and Scout, respectively. There may be some other tweaks on the horizons, but they were not disclosed at time of publishing.
All these changes have helped iBuyWinrar finish strong, closing out the season with six straight wins. The team has snagged the 4th seed, and are certainly riding some momentum off their win streak. Fans might be a little concerned with their record against other playoff teams, however. They are 2-5 against the field, though perhaps a saving grace is that one of the two wins was against their first round opponent TeamSolouMlpst. Should they progress past them, iBuyWinrar will need to reverse fortunes against the rest of the competition.
Resident Persona fan and top 500 jumper Grape Juice III commented:
The playoffs race was super close. A ton of teams had potential to take the 4-8 seed and likewise I think a lot of teams in playoffs right now have the ability to beat each other, so this postseason should be a super entertaining one.
fygg chimed in with:
Why won't Grape Juice accept my undying love?
#5: TeamSolouMlpst (10-6)
- Player #1: um
- Player #2: carcin
- Player #3: Lights
- Player #4: tresh
- Player #5: hayes
- Player #6: Walrex
Every season seems to always have at least two specific kind of teams: the Highlander team, and the team bombarded with class restrictions. Case in point: TeamSolouMlpst has the same number of (meaningful) restrictions as the rest of Advanced combined. These developments did not faze them, in fact they proceeded to play musical chairs with their class lineup all season long. What you see above is their most recent configuration, but don't be surprised if they show up next week with something completely different...again. Some stability can be found in hayes running Loch-n-Load and tresh switching to Sniper, at the very least.
Everyone on TeamSolouMlpst has played a variety of roles throughout the season, but with their mechanics and Invite experience, pretty much every iteration of their roster has worked out for them. Almost all of their six losses were to playoff teams, with an additional three of those being decided by a single round. One has to wonder if a more consistent roster might have flipped some of those results. Regardless, this team is ready for a rematch against iBuyWinrar in the first round.
Team captain and namesake um simply said the following:
Honestly I think the juicer will win playoffs, he has been of the grind.
#6: Portland Burnsiders (10-6)
- Scout: yerb
- Scout: RPC
- Roamer: Yimi
- Pocket: Kylorfo
- Demoman: det
- Medic: squidie
The story of Portland Burnsiders is a rollercoaster of a tale. From Invite qualifiers, to multiple roster changes, to yerb getting banned the last two weeks of the season, it has been a wild ride. After starting the first four weeks with a .500 record they elevated their game, going 6-2 in the second half of the season. Two key catalysts were roster moves regarding det and Yimi. det joined after a brief stint in Invite with HRTeam, replacing fygg who departed for iBuyWinrar. Yimi on the other hand, returns to competitive play after a long break, last seen in ESEA Season 28 Invite playing Scout for MyAnimeList.
As expected of a lower-seeded team, they have had mixed results against other playoff squads. Close wins against iBuyWinrar and g*ming, and close losses to Honey Bacon Club and Cat Posse. They did get blown out by TeamSolouMlpst and dior addicts, though the former happened on Villa which was an unfamiliar map for the team. The latter however, is their first round opponent. With yerb back from suspension and Yimi starting to settle into roaming, this could be the most comfortable the team has been in a while.
With first round coming up, Kylorfo put it simply:
Uh I don't know we just gonna try to play our best and see what happens I guess lol should be fun.
yerb followed up with:
Hoping for new pugs, I dunno why we had to kill PugChamp. Add up to RGL pugs.
#7: The Goblin Zone (10-6)
- Scout: saam
- Scout: Waldo
- Roamer: tomato tom
- Pocket: Muma
- Demoman: hedge
- Medic: bloompi
The Goblin Zone are one of very few teams to have existed in every season of RGL so far, and after spending a season offclassing in Div-2 have returned to more familiar territory appearing in Advanced playoffs again. Unlike Season 2 however, their journey this time around was much different. The core of hedge, tomato tom, and saam welcomed newest recruits bloompi and Muma for their Season 5 campaign. To make room for bloompi, tomato tom would shift to playing roamer, where he could flex his jumper might.
Anyone that has scrimmed The Goblin Zone this season knows that these goblins literally only want one thing and it's disgusting: to play the Pyro class. Waldo and Muma have likely accrued more time on Pyro than the entire rest of the division combined. Muma has also been sighted dumpster diving, rolling out to midfights with the Beggar's Bazooka from time to time. They are simply put one of the most unpredictable wild card teams in this playoffs showdown, and it would not be surprising at all to see them go all the way to the finals or flame out in the first round. Speaking of the first round, they face off against Cat Posse, who they defeated during Sunshine week in a close 5-4. Can they do it again, eliminating one of the favorites in the process?
When asked about the playoffs, saam with two a's said:
Fuck cops. Also I'm trying to adopt a rat if anyone has any rat care tips.
#8: g*ming (9-7)
- Scout: zanda
- Scout: Pauly
- Roamer: Scream
- Pocket: Shiny
- Demoman: dog
- Medic: FrickMyNick
At the beginning of the season on All Around Advanced, it was predicted that a 9-7 record would be enough to make playoffs given how competitive the division would be. Eight weeks later, and g*ming prove that theory correct as they slide into the final spot for the postseason dance. They have had a tumultuous season marred by some availability issues, but the decision to shift FrickMyNick to Medic and dust Pauly off the bench during the penultimate week seemed to have stabilized the group. Resident Highlander Demoman dog has also been elevated to very recently to the starting role.
Perhaps indicative of their placement, g*ming have the most losses to non-playoff teams at three. On the flipside, they also had three losses by the score of 4-3. As a result, their rounds% rivals that of teams like #6 Portland Burnsiders and #4 iBuyWinrar. Given that one of their close losses was to Honey Bacon Club, we'll see if these gamers can get some revenge and show how much they've grown since that week 2 Villa matchup. With a radically different lineup, perhaps that'll give them the boost they need.
Against his better judgment, Scream composed the following:
Pl*yoffs is gonn* cont*in some epic g*ming. We will be there with hopes of m*king the second round. With the *ddition of P*ul and Dog we think we h*ve good odds, but the *rtist te*m is tough so we'll be re*dy for a gre*t match. Also, shoutouts to prolific prop hunter pl*yer and expert TF2 degener*te ShinyM*reepFan (KrispyKreme2012 if you didn't know) for sticking out the entire se*son on soldier.
The first round of Season 5 Advanced playoffs start next week. Tune in to All Around Advanced this Sunday where we'll take a more in-depth look at the first round matchups. And stay tuned for coverage of the Advanced playoffs across TeamFortressTV, Fireside, and BLANCTV. Good luck to everyone participating, may the best team win.