What a wild ride RGL Season 7 Advanced has been. We've seen clutch plays, absolute beef, team deaths, and a new map. After eight weeks of chaos, the playoffs are here. Four teams will enter a double elimination bracket to determine who will win the division, and guarantee a place in RGL Season 8 Invite. Let's meet the competition.
#1: yeti (14-2)
- Scout: strider
- Scout: scarfs
- Roamer: jetz
- Pocket: gungon
- Demoman: ShiningStar
- Medic: RandomCookie
Leading the pack for the postseason will be yeti. At 14-2, they have set themselves up for success not only by holding the highest playoff seed but by not going undefeated they have avoided the dreaded curse of IM which has claimed many a championship hopeful. Everyone on this team has had at least a season of Invite experience, a statistic that towers over the other playoff rosters. Every player has been a solid contributor for yeti, but strider and scarfs have been a very strong Scout combo. Speaking of Scouts, Cat Posse's ShiningStar has returned to the division after a season of Invite and is looking to take another Advanced title, this time on Demoman. Their only losses were 5-1 defeats at the hands of Wage Slaves early in the season, and then to FX DEATH CULT in a meaningless week 8 match.
Excluding that latter game, this means yeti have defeated every other team during the regular season. More importantly, they have shown their ability to clutch games, as a whopping five of their matches were determined by one round. Flipping even just one of those games would've changed the playoff landscape significantly, so we'll see whether or not their good fortune can continue now that the stakes are highest. The final wrinkle for yeti will be a Medic switch at the eleventh hour, as eugenio left the roster after playing every match in the regular season. He will be replaced by RandomCookie, who previously played Medic with The Nest in Invite.
jetz shared his thoughts heading into playoffs:
Going into playoffs we feel pretty good I think, we started this season mostly as just a friend team and we only play 3 nights a week, so kind of surprised we made first seed. Last week we replaced eugenio with RandomCookie who played with me / strider / gungon in on The Nest in Invite a few seasons ago, and he's been performing super well. Our round one matchup is against the stock / phone team. Obviously stock and phone are probably the best players in the division, but I think we are probably still slightly favored to win this one since we are a bit stronger as a team over all, and we did beat them in the regular season. But it will be close for sure.
He then added:
Ooh and shoutout to wonder's team for being even with the other three playoff teams which basically all have Invite experience, while all his players are new to Advanced playoffs.
#2: dynasty (13-3)
- Scout: maze
- Scout: souyant
- Roamer: nurfu
- Pocket: wonder
- Demoman: zaboomafoo
- Medic: weeb_whacker
Speaking of wonder and his team, here they are. dynasty have improved massively on their 8-8 campaign in S5 with a dominant regular season showing. In contrast to yeti and their collective experience, all of the players on dynasty will be making their Advanced playoffs debuts. But don't let that difference fool you: dynasty faced off against yeti twice and just barely lost 3-4 both times on 5CP maps. In fact their remaining loss was also decided by one round, so they were literally three rounds away from a perfect season. As that and their record would suggest, they have handled their business and actually have the most rounds taken with the least rounds dropped of all teams in Advanced.
Like any team that has gotten this far, the lineup is well-balanced but particular attention has to be given to souyant. He has put up some monster numbers this season and is definitely in the conversation with former Invite Scouts like phone and scarfs for best in the division, which is impressive given his relative lack of experience. zaboomafoo and team captain wonder also make significant contributions from projectile classes. A well-rounded squad that are reaping the fruits of their labor.
As wonder eloquently and effortlessly put it:
maze tilts, souyant carries.
#3: FX DEATH CULT (12-4)
- Scout: Hunter 2.0
- Scout: fancyson
- Roamer: donovin
- Pocket: Reero
- Demoman: Rikachu
- Medic: charis
Every season has that team that either plays musical chairs with their lineup and classes or don't take the season as seriously as everyone else. FX DEATH CULT have checked off both boxes for this season, as they took a fluid class lineup, no scrims approach throughout S7. It's worked out quite well in their favor, given their record and playoff spot. Still, the general shenanigans surrounding this group offer contrasting views. They don't scrim much at all yet still produced clean victories. They only lost two matches to playoff teams but also two more to non-playoff squads. Will their practice regimen kick up now that a place on the podium is on the line? Calling them a wild card would not be that far-fetched.
The carousel of players include ex-Invite players Rikachu and donovin along with more recent talent in Hunter 2.0 and fancyson. All of these players are capable of piloting multiple classes and with zero restrictions between their starters, they could shift things around to their liking as many teams of similar style did before them. Rounding things off is medicinal man charis, fresh off one of the dumbest bans in recent memory. Hopefully he won't make the same mistake during playoffs, otherwise it may be the RGL cult with the last laugh.
Drip check staff member fancyson gave us an official press statement from the cult:
I don't think our team was intending to make playoffs. It just kinda happened. We've just been winging our games playing only Tues/Thurs and just kept winning LOL. It hardly makes sense, our closer wins were vs. worse teams and most of our wins against the top 5 were pretty one-sided. I think our teams strength is we don't really have any weak links on the team. Everybody is just good at what they do. donovin especially does so much work on Soldier and I'd say he's probably the reason we've made it were we are. As for our match vs dynasty, they're the only team we have yet to beat in the top 4, and I think they're gonna be the hardest team to beat in this bracket.
#4: call the team pauldogg (11-5)
- Scout: phone
- Scout: market
- Roamer: meatball
- Pocket: messiah
- Demoman: stock
- Medic: caboose
Owners of the worst team name in Advanced fill the final playoff spot. call the team pauldogg competed in the preseason Invite qualifiers and is a group that have played together at many various points in their career dating back to the ESEA days. Headlining this roster is Demo stock and Scout phone. Both these players have multiple seasons of Invite under their belts, and jetz' earlier claim of the duo being the best players in all of Advanced isn't far off. That being said, phone's Scout partner market has also impressed throughout their matches. TF2 in this day and age is a Scout's playground after all, and those two have certainly made the most of it.
While they have the worst record of the playoff teams it's only by one win and this group (yes I'm deliberately avoiding typing out their name) is right up there with yeti and FX DEATH CULT in terms of rounds won: tied with the latter at 61, while the former has 62. Conversely, they have just one win against the rest of the playoff field (and that was during week one) while also dropping the most rounds during the regular season. But now that they've punched their ticket to the postseason, this team will be just as dangerous as any.
market had this to say about their championship dreams:
When there's some shit to be won, goddamnit, I want it. I don't give a fuck what it is. Y'know what I'm talkin' about? I take no prisoners. I go hard doing this shit. Big dog. Big nuts. Over and out.
Upper Round 1: yeti vs. call the team pauldogg
- Regular season matchup: W4B Reckoner | yeti W 5-4
These two teams clashed in an exciting nailbiter of a Reckoner match that was tied 4-4 with just five minutes left in regulation. While we probably won't see Reckoner make another appearance in this series, we'll still get high-octane action as the Scouts from both rosters light up the scoreboard. The Demomen duel will also be interesting, having the veteran stock up against the offclassing ShiningStar. Will yeti repeat their victory from many weeks ago, or will stock's squad get revenge from Reckoner and send the #1 seed immediately into the lower bracket?
Upper Round 1: dynasty vs. FX DEATH CULT
- Regular season matchup: W4B Reckoner | dynasty W 5-2
Huh, what a coincidence that both UR1 games will be rematches from the exact same week. You don't see that every day, er...every season. Anyway this matchup pits teams of varying contrasts. The up-and-coming grinders vs. the lax multiclass talents with tons of experience. A team that almost stole the #1 seed from yeti vs. a team that got rolled by them. All lowercase vs. all uppercase. dynasty will look to make a statement win early in playoffs, FX DEATH CULT hopes to prove their regular season loss was just a fluke and new map johns.
With playoffs being double elimination (rightfully so), teams need not fear a UR1 loss but if they want to secure the safest path to an Advanced title, it'll start here. Make sure to tune into any coverage of playoff series in the upcoming weeks. Good luck to all teams and may the best one win.